Tales from the Jugular

Queensyche - Who Killed Sister Mary--Solved!

By: Frank Hill
Published: Friday, October 15, 2004
Queensyche - Who Killed Sister Mary--Solved!

In 1988, Queensryche released the CD that many feel is the apex of their career. Metal fans went apeshit over the story of a disenchanted young man brainwashed to assassinate political leaders and his problems with love. 'Operation: mindcrime' has been called one of the greatest if not THE greatest metal records of all time and all the band's subsequent releases are still being compared to this masterpiece.

The Mindcrime period was phenomenal with its mixed presentation combining audio and visual media through videos, concerts and the songs themselves. Recently, it's been reported in press releases that after 15 years, Queensryche will be revisiting the story of Nikki, Mary & Dr. X in the sequel called 'Operation: mindcrime II'. One of the enduring mysteries of the plot is who killed Sister Mary the reformed prostitute/love interest of the main character Nikki.

Did Nikki kill her while drug-induced and not remember? Did Dr. X kill her and frame Nikki? Hints and suggestions were placed all through the songs and videos that suggest certain scenarios. It's currently being noted that no consensus has ever been reached and the band has shied away from answering the question for the past 16 years. Singer Geoff Tate has said that he gets still gets hundreds of letters asking for the answer.

"In particular, fans have always asked one burning question in relation to the 'Operation:mindcrime' plot: "Who killed Sister Mary?" The new album, scheduled for release in 2005, will address that question." --Queensryche Press Release:

What hasn't been touched upon lately, is that it's already been revealed who killed Mary and I'd like to speculate on how it all went down.


In 1989, MTV's Headbanger's Ball held a "Queensryche - Solve the Mindcrime" contest, asking viewers who killed Mary. Figure it out and you could be one of 7 people to receive a leather tour jacket as a prize. It was said that a clue or answer was in 'Video: mindcrime" the 1989 VHS collection of 9 videos based on the record's songs. I believe that all the answers were revealed in the tape and that by looking at the lyrics, you can tell the basic outline of how it happened.

The setting: In the intro to 'Suite Sister Mary', Nikki has been told by Dr X from his car window to "Kill her. And get the priest as well." In the church, Nikki shoots the molesting priest, Father William, as told in these lines: "The priest is cold and dead on his knees he fed/From my barrel of death, he turned the holy water red", leaving him and Mary together.

From Queensryche's website: "Mary watches in disgust as her lover Nikki's troubled face dissolves into the leering, drooling face of the priest huffing and puffing above her. "...Altar...sacrifice..." something snaps inside her head."

Nikki decides that instead of following his mission to kill her, he sets off to get Dr. X. Sound effects at the end included a large door closing and one loud rim-shot on the drums.

From Queensryche's website: "After Nikki leaves, Mary is plagued by the vision of Nikki turning into Father William. As they made love on the altar, the memories came flooding back. Years filled with men who has used her, degraded and beaten her, and driven their hatred and coldness into her heart. Once, she thought Nikki was her hope. But now he seemed like all the rest. She hated him. She hated men. She hated life."

Nikki returns and finds his lover dead and runs off into the night only to be arrested and charged with crimes (disorderly conduct, carrying a concealed weapon without a license, and resisting arrest) and sent to the State Hospital where he tries to recall the events of what happened. The entire CD is supposed to take place over the course of 1 minute of reflection in Nikki's mind and everything is wrapped with the words "I remember now." completing the circle.

So, who killed her and how?

In an old interview with ex-guitarist Chris Degarmo, he said that for the song 'Electric Requiem', "Nikki comes back to the church and finds Mary dead hanging by her rosary..." and in the song 'Eyes of a Stranger', the lines are written "Every night the dreams return to haunt me/Your rosary wrapped around your throat". This all seems to suggest a choke/hanging, but I don't think so.

If you watch 'Video: mindcrime' all the way through, you get all the same videos that were shown on TV. Then the credits roll and after that a second video version of 'I Don't Believe In Love' is played. Words are images are flashed throughout the accompanying videos showing what could be reality or what could be mental fantasies, but two scenes and one word stands out near the end that I think give it all away.

Dr X. handing gun to Mary?

The clue to Mary's death?

On the top is a shot of Dr. X handing a gun to a kneeling Mary and below it is a quick flashing pic of a dead Mary with the word 'suicide' done completely different from all the other word flashes throughout. That's the clue referred to in the contest. Mary killed herself. My theory is that she shot herself with a gun that Dr. X gave her and it's indicated by the drum sound at the end of 'Suite Sister Mary'.

Is Queensryche going to change things around, maybe come up with some ulterior reasoning and conveniently forget what's been done for the new CD? I don't think so. It states in the press release that in regards to Mary's killing, "The new album, scheduled for release in 2005, will address that question."--address being the key word. Possibilities exist to expand the details and fill in gaps along the timeline in II.

Some ideas:

  • Dr. X came back in and gave her Nikki's gun to use on herself. Nikki returns, takes the gun and is later caught with it?
  • Nikki gave her his gun?
  • Mary used a different gun which was later removed?
  • Before Dr. X left, he gave her a gun telling her to get the priest and Nikki as well opening a chance for one to eliminate the other?
  • What happened with Dr. X and Nikki afterwards?

    Queensryche is now on tour performing Operation: Mindcrime complete with classical musicians in addition to an actor and actress/vocalist playing the two major roles. When the final curtain drops, a preview of a song from Mindcrime II entitled “The Hostage” makes its debut followed by “Coming in 2005” as the last message on the screen. We shall see soon enough what the answers are.

    If you've made it this far then here's a treat--images of some breasts flashed from 'Video: mindcrime'. But those breasts belong to who....mwahahahahahaha!?

    Ta-tas!     Yummy!

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