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Previously On: The Walking Dead - "In Harm's Way"

The middle installment of The Walking Dead's second season turns out to be its banner episode.

For as much as Telltale's The Walking Dead is about making tough choices, it's equally about suffering the consequences of those choices. Consider a line Carlos delivers in "In Harm's Way." Clementine and her friends have been captured by Carver, the vile autocrat at the head of a group of survivors some of Clem's crew once were a part of. Finding themselves essentially imprisoned in what Carver affectionately refers to as "their new home," Kenny, ever the emotional creature, is frantically trying to plot their eventual escape. Carlos confronts Kenny with the reality of their situation by chiding him for wanting to act without thinking, explaining that making rash decisions in a world this dangerous often leads to people getting killed.

He's telling Kenny this mostly out of the very specific fear of what might happen to his daughter if they're caught, but in effect, he's summarizing the guiding principle of this series for the player. In The Walking Dead, you are presented with choices and often not a great deal of time in which to think them out. Some choices might seem inconsequential, yet may still result in someone dying--or, at least, dying sooner than they would otherwise. In an ideal world, you'd take all the time you could to carefully consider every possible outcome of every presented scenario, but rarely are you afforded such in this world. The best you can hope to do is learn from your errors, remember the advice people give you, and try to think things through with what little time you're afforded. The world around you is going to do whatever it's going to do, and most likely what it's going to do is something horrible. In the face of that reality, all you can do is try to make the best decisions you can when your back is against the wall, and rarely are the best decisions made in haste.

Sometimes, even thoughtful decision making isn't enough. In the last episode, I thought I'd made the best decisions I could given the circumstances. I went with Pete when he got bit, tried everything I could to save him, but it just wasn't to be. When I convinced Walter not to kill Nick, I had hope that maybe there could be some reconciliation down the road. Then along came Carver to put the kibosh on any such thoughts. When I convinced Kenny not to shoot Carver while he had a gun to Alvin's head, I'd just hoped to spare Alvin a pointless death. Little did I know what was in store for him after the group arrived at Carver's compound. Sometimes even the best choices just belay the inevitable.

Sometimes that sense of inevitability can be an issue in this series. As much as these games want to make their choices meaningful, it's hard to completely shake the notion that you're just dancing around eventual fated tragedies you'll have no control over. It's a credit to the writing and direction in "In Harm's Way" that I never really felt that way throughout my playtime. All throughout, "In Harm's Way" takes its sweet time to build to its almost ludicrously tense conclusion, constantly teasing the many ways everything could go horribly wrong for what feels like an eternity, before finally throwing everyone into a meat grinder. This is a terrific episode, and a dense one, packed with intense character moments, strong action, and a great deal of plotting. Not in the sense of the actual story plot, but rather in regards to the many different plans these survivors consider as they try to find a way out of this place.

Initially, you might start to wonder why they'd be so desperate to escape, given the relative comfort and security Carver's repurposed home improvement store affords them. Carver's crew is well stocked with food and other supplies, and they've built a decently formidable fortress out of it. The problem, of course, lies in Carver himself. All those hushed tones and terrified faces any time Carver's name would come up in previous episodes are well justified here. Initially, he tries to play things cool, sending the new arrivals to the outdoor area where "problem" survivors are required to live until they can prove themselves "worthy" of joining the main group. There, they meet Reggie, an affable, one-armed survivor (voiced by comedian Kumail Nanjiani). Reggie was instrumental in helping the now recaptured survivors escape in the first place, but he's apparently had a change of heart since then. He's desperately trying to work his way back into the main group any way he can, and in this case, he's been tasked with watching over these new arrivals and making sure they do what they're told. Reggie becomes your supervisor of sorts, though your group isn't the only one out there. You're joined by Mike, a gruff, largely mysterious man who we're told chopped off Reggie's arm following a walker attack, and Jane, a mostly silent presence who doesn't seem terribly happy to be there.

At the outset, the survivors are put to work in various areas of the camp, reenforcing walls, fixing up an addition to the settlement, and the like. Clem initially finds herself working with Bonnie to load empty gun magazines, and here we're afforded a chance to get to know her character a little bit. Given that I chose to be kind to her in the last episode and offer her supplies, she approaches Clem with similar kindness--and a tinge of guilt--in this encounter. I choose to be up-front with her about Carver killing Walter in the last episode, but she seemed incapable of grasping the true cruelty of Carver's character. It doesn't take long to change her mind.

The first real choice of note you're given in "In Harm's Way" sees Clem, alongside Sarah, tasked with picking berries off plants in a rooftop greenhouse, while under Reggie's supervision. Sarah's still a mess, of course, and even more so by this point in the story. Earlier that morning, during Carver's vaguely threatening "pep talk" to the newcomers, Sarah won't stop chatting with Clem, and Carver flips out over it. He forces Carlos to punish her for her transgression, but a simple apology won't do. He's forced to hit her, hard, and no matter how many ways you try to take the blame yourself, it does no good. The hit Carlos puts on Sarah puts her into a near catatonic state, so when she's sent up to work, all she can do is stare at the pruning shears. You can choose to just focus on your own work and leave her to her own devices, but in trying to maintain some sense of empathy for her, I chose to help her. This resulted in my own allotment of plants going unpicked, and Carver's arrival signaled that some kind of doom was right around the corner. Once again, I tried to take the full blame, but Carver wouldn't hear it. Instead, he blamed Reggie, and that blame resulted in Reggie taking a header off the roof.

This should have been no surprise. Carver's distaste for "weakness" in those under his charge has been readily apparent, and it's not as if we haven't seen him kill indiscriminately before. Still, the moment is shocking, if only for how much of the early goings is dedicated to Reggie. As weak-willed and bought-in as he is, he's still as friendly a face as this series has had in ages. Then you think about it and yes, of course, how else could things have possibly ended up for such a character? If there's one constant in this series, it's that the nicest people are usually the quickest to die.

If there's another constant, it's that Clementine has a strange way of inspiring confidence in others. "In Harm's Way" is a title that certainly applies to all of the survivors here, but it's especially true of Clem this time around, as she finds herself almost solely responsible for any hope of escape. Some might find the kind of confidence her fellow survivors put in her unrealistic, but ever since Clem and Lee parted in the most painful of ways, Clem's been forced to survive on her own, and the simple fact that she has survived this long is reason enough to trust her abilities.

That ability is something even Carver recognizes in her. After Reggie's death, he calls Clem into his office (where Clem finds an unconscious and badly beaten Alvin, who had been segregated from the main group after their arrival). As angry and defiant as Clem is to Carver, he never lashes out at her. Instead, he tries to reason with her, telling her how when he first met her back at the cabin, he could tell she was scared, but was impressed by how she stood her ground. He sees something of himself in Clem. He sees in her what he'd want to see in his own child, a comment that understandably horrifies her. But he's not exactly wrong. Strength is what it takes to survive in a world like this. Clem has demonstrated it throughout the series, and Carver, for all the terrible things he's done, is certainly not lacking in conviction. The difference, of course, is one of empathy. Clem isn't a murderer, but Carver thinks the line that separates them is thinner than she realizes. As weird as it is to have a grizzled old sociopath relate honestly to a preteen girl, this is easily one of the strongest, most thoughtful interactions between two characters anywhere in the series. A good villain always finds a way to relate to the hero, and Carver proves himself in "In Harm's Way" to be the most effective villain the Walking Dead games have yet had.

By this point in the story, everyone's ready to escape, but there are wildly differing opinions on how that should take place. Luke reappears not long after Reggie's death to pitch Clem on his plan, which involves a couple of stolen walkie-talkies and Luke monitoring the guards while looking for an opening. Meanwhile, Kenny has his own plans, as he is wont to do. He wants to use the store's speaker system to alert a herd of nearby walkers, then escape in the ensuing chaos. An okay plan, except that the herd in question isn't just a small grouping. It's a massive number of zombies, the likes of which could easily overwhelm the defenses of the settlement. All throughout the episode, Carver and his cronies speak of this herd as a looming threat, while silently praying that they'll wander past them entirely. Kenny wants to bring them straight here, while others would rather play it safe with Luke's plan. I had Clem pipe up with the proposition of combining those plans. Have Luke keep an eye on the coming herd, then having him signal with the walkie talkie when it was time to use the loudspeaker. As for getting past the giant herd, the previously silent Jane tosses out the idea of using zombie guts to mask everyone's scent. If you've played the first season of The Walking Dead, you'll remember that this is a surprisingly effective strategy.

From here on out, Clem is repeatedly tasked with tough jobs that could easily get her killed. She has to clamber up to the roof, avoid guards, and steal the walkie-talkies while Tavia (who you may remember from The 400 Days) is distracted. She does so, but less than a day goes by before all those plans are destroyed. Luke is caught, Carver is livid, and you're forced to decide what to do with the one undiscovered walkie-talkie you still have. I tried to own up to it, given that Carver has shown reluctance to attack Clem in the past. But before I can do it, Kenny interrupts and takes the blame for himself. Carver responds by laying a tremendous beating on him, the likes of which I don't think I've ever seen in this series--yet isn't even the worst one in this episode. I made the foolish mistake of trying to help Kenny as he was attacked, and took the butt of a guard's gun to the face for my trouble.

This assault lends some immediacy to the group's need to escape. Fortunately, after telling Bonnie about what happened with Reggie, and her witnessing Carver's assault on Kenny, she makes the decision to help the survivors that very night. This sends Clem on yet another dangerous assignment, heading back up to that rooftop to flip on those loudspeakers and send the herd our way. Both of these sequences--the stealing of the walkie talkies, and the stealthy incursion into Carver's office--are done exceptionally well. Again, had the first two episodes not gone to the lengths they did to show Clem's capability in the most dire of circumstances, it'd be hard to fathom the group trusting her with all these tough tasks. But with that build-up, it's immensely satisfying to put Clem through those paces and come out successful. That satisfaction is only negated somewhat by the eventual death of Alvin, who wakes up just long enough to say goodbye and put a bullet through one of Carver's guards as Clem is escaping his office. We didn't get to know Alvin very well, and it was obvious his body was broken beyond repair. But it was nonetheless sad to watch him go.

Less sad is the following sequence, in which you are allowed to (finally!) get the best of Carver. He's alone, pointing a gun at your friends after the loudspeakers have gone off, and you get to pounce on the bastard, allowing your friends to grab his gun. One of the darkest choices the series has ever offered comes next. Kenny, who may be suffering from lingering head trauma (and is definitely suffering from permanent eye damage), grabs a crowbar and asks everyone to leave the room. You can choose to stay, and watch what Kenny does, or you can leave immediately. Initially, I chose to stay, but after hearing Carver bark at Clem about how she should see this, because that sort of violence shouldn't bother people like them, I took the last minute option to walk away. I'm told the scene that unfolds if you stay is as grotesque and horrifying as anything the series has done to date, but no matter how strong I might believe Clem to be, I couldn't bring myself to just let her watch it unfold. I don't regret that choice, and I'm glad I thought it through.

For how satisfied I felt at my decision making in that moment, I felt equally as dispirited at the choice I was forced to make next. In the chaos of the swarming zombie attack, gunfire erupts from Carver's remaining guards, which keeps most of the zombies distracted and away from the group. The few stragglers that do come toward the group are quickly dispatched and used for their guts. Sarah is, again, panicked, but manages to keep it together just long enough to allow Carlos and Clem to slather her in zombie entrails. Initially, the plan looks like it'll work just fine, but then all hell breaks loose as Carlos takes a stray bullet to the head. Sarah flips, screaming bloody murder and alerting all the nearby zombies to their presence. Clem tries to calm her, but it's too late. Sarah bolts off into the woods, and the walkers start bearing down. In the chaos, Sarita is bitten, and Clem has to quickly decide to kill the zombie attacking her, or cut her arm off. Without thinking things through, I killed the zombie.

I don't know why I picked the zombie. It's not like the evidence to support cutting Sarita's arm off wasn't staring me right in the face for the first half of the episode. Reggie lost his arm mid-zombie attack and survived. There was ample reason to assume the same would happen to Sarita. Or maybe she would have just ended up bleeding to death five minutes into the next episode. Regardless, the end of "In Harm's Way" felt like a lesson very much not learned for me as the player. I didn't think my action through. I instinctively went for the creature biting Sarita, instead of for her arm, and I may have doomed her in the process. Carlos' voice telling me about the grave consequences of rash decisions kept echoing through my head. I had listened to him. I had observed Reggie. I knew what I had to do. I still reacted without consideration, and I have no idea what the fallout from that choice will be.

It's a fantastic and brutal ending to one of the absolute best episodes in this series. "In Harm's Way" manages to deliver one of the most engrossing stories in the series to date, and also manages to make preceding episodes seem a bit better, mostly by virtue of how well it pays off all that character building for Clem in in those early episodes. Some might take issue with how far into the background many of the other survivors get pushed in "In Harm's Way," but truthfully this season has never really been about them. This season isn't about how Clem is affected by a new group of fellow survivors, but rather how other survivors are affected by Clem. Everyone--except Carver, interestingly enough--underestimates her, but finds that harder and harder to do as she takes on tough task after tough task. By this point, Clem is practically this group's leader, a dynamic that would sound ridiculous if not for all that's taken place over these first few episodes. With two more episodes left to go, I'm equally excited and terrified to see what comes next.

Random Notes:

  • Let's pour one out for Carver. Yes, he initially came off like an also-ran of the Governor from the comic book, but Michael Madsen did a lot to give this character some distinctive personality, and he was a perfect piece of shit to work against in this episode. I'm not going to say I'm sad he's gone, but I wouldn't have minded if we'd gotten one more episode with him before finally turning his face into a bloody pulp.

  • Not a ton of action in this episode, outside of that excellent end sequence. The only other stray zombie encounter featured Clem running away from some walkers that broke into the settlement extension, and getting a few ludicrous zombie kills in the process. Again, action is not generally this series' strong suit, so I'm really just happy that the end bit was so good, versus wishing there was more zombie killin' early on.

  • Apparently the only other character that went with Tavia at the end of my 400 Days playthrough was Vince. He shows up during a couple of sequences in the episode, but doesn't really do anything of note. Given that we don't see any of Carver's other soldiers die, I expect there's a good chance they'll pop up again. Still wondering if we'll ever see the other characters from that episode that didn't abscond to Carver's settlement.

  • Bonnie has some good bits in this episode, and we learn that she was originally supposed to escape with the other survivors, but chickened out. I don't get the impression she's long for this world, but I liked the bits she had with Clem in this episode.

  • Poor Sarita. She's got so little to do in this episode, save but to freak out when Carver is beating Kenny up, and then to just get bitten like that. It's not like Nick or Rebecca have much to do either, but at least they come out mostly unscathed.

  • I was one of the less than 30% of players who killed the zombie instead of chopping Sarita's arm. Interestingly, I was also in the minority of players when it came to watching Carver get fustigated, though that was closer to a 50/50 split.

  • No idea whether or not Mike will turn out to be a worthwhile character or just another body to eventually get eaten. I get the feeling Jane will stick around, though. She seems like exactly the type to take Clem under her wing and show her a few new survival tricks. Plus, she gets one particularly rough moment at the end with one of Carver's guards, who she apparently had some previous not-so-great interactions with. He shows up and tries to stop them, and she comes at him all gentle-like, telling him he can come with them, that it'll be like they had previously planned. Then she shoots him in the groin and leaves him to be mauled by walkers. Ouch.

  • Given that the survivors all come together on a meet-up spot if everyone becomes separated, there's reason to believe Sarah may come out of this okay. That said, "okay" may still be "traumatized beyond repair." I have been as good a friend to her as I could up to this point, but if she comes back, I may have finally run out of patience for her inability to handle her shit. Yes, I know, her dad just died right in front of her, and that's super horrible. But I think my version of Clem's friendliness tank has about run dry.

  • If this season is all just a big build-up to Sarah being the protagonist in season three, I'm quitting The Walking Dead forever.
Alex Navarro on Google+
77 Comments
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Edited by Crono11

I really wish I could put my finger on why I didn't really like this episode, but nice write up. It's interesting reading the things that were different for you. For instance, Alvin was dead in my game and when it was time to confront Carver I had a gun and shot the fool.

Edited by Fobwashed

Weird. I went straight for the arm.

I think it's super cool how I roleplay Clem now compared to how I roleplayed her at the beginning of this season. As the game puts her through more and more shit, I feel like MY Clem is becoming a badass super grizzled, "The arm has to go" type character.

Posted by MostInfamous

@crono11: For me it's easy enough, it was too short. Now we have to wait another 2 months for the next episode.

Posted by ZedsDeadBaby

I think this was my favorite episode of the series, season 1 included. The stakes seemed incredibly high at every single moment. Michael Madsen did an amazing job.

Edited by SodiumEyes

It feels like Sarita's only real role in this season is someone for Kenny to lose. They had done so little to build her up by this point that when she got bitten my first concern was for Kenny, not her.

Posted by SeanFoster

Weird. I went straight for the arm.

I think it's super cool how I roleplay Clem now compared to how I roleplayed her at the beginning of this season. As the game puts her through more and more shit, I feel like MY Clem is becoming a badass super grizzled, "The arm has to go" type character.

Yeah, me too. I click the most confrontational response or option almost every time without even thinking. I've basically turned the game into an Arya Stark (also a young female badass featured on Game of Thrones) simulator.

Posted by MachoFantastico

Loving season two so far. I personally like the length and gaps between episodes, it feels suitable with the combination of The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead. I get why it frustrates people, but I don't think I'd enjoy them as much if I payed a full season as an whole. The gap gives me time to stew things over and get excited for the next episode.

On a side note, I love what they're doing with Clementine in season 2, giving you some dark options for her and the writing in general is top notch. Though Michael Madsen's performance as Bill is the show stealer, so good.

Posted by ManlyPup

@fobwashed: That's exactly how I feel, and why I chose to stay when Kenny gave Carter what he deserved. I could feel the scowl on my face, much like the one Clem had on hers during that sequence. Similarly I looked away a couple of times, because goddamn, that was one hell of a beating.

Edited by Fobwashed

@manlypup said:

@fobwashed: That's exactly how I feel, and why I chose to stay when Kenny gave Carter what he deserved. I could feel the scowl on my face, much like the one Clem had on hers during that sequence. Similarly I looked away a couple of times, because goddamn, that was one hell of a beating.

Yup. Seriously gruesome.... I wonder if these types of choices have any effect later on and what kind.

Edited by StarvingGamer

The very last thing you see at the end of the episode is super intense if you chop off her arm. What happens if you just attack the zombie?

Posted by Herk

I cheated. I went for the zombie first but realized my mistake and rewinded.

Damn this game is good. With how much I liked these lastest episodes both from this and Wolf Among Us I wouldn't be surprised if I liked their upcoming Game of Thrones game more than the series.

Online
Edited by Petiew

I was dissapointed with Carver as a character. I had hoped they would play him a little more morally grey, but he was just an irredeemable, insane asshole. The whole thing could have played out more interestingly if Carver's way was shown to be effective, but instead he's just slapping little girls, torturing people he doesn't like and chucking people off the roof because he can.

I've started to lean towards playing Clem as a badass throughout this series. Telling Carver that you wish Kenny had killed him, and that Alvin is the dad were highlights of this episode. However it illustrates a problem wherein I find Clem always taking the blame, or back talking a psycopath because there's little risk for her as the player controlled character. I'm not saying I want Clem to get beaten down like Kenny or Alvin, but some more consequences for her actions could be interesting.

Edited by MeAuntieNora

Having never been a huge fan of Kenny I really relished his return in the last episode and this one.

He's somehow a bigger dickbag than before, but to be honest I vastly prefer him to all the other freaks. In a way I feel like he's the only one I can REALLY trust... we been through some shit me and him. It's crazy because he's definitely as self-destructive and caustic as ever, dead-set on dream-like plans with fuzzy details if any. But I forgive him for that terrible character trait, because I'm finding it less terrible than all the other asshats Clem's witih. Let's say when he parted ways and went AWOL/died at the end of Season 1 I was giddy. But they generally do a pretty good job of making that reunion meaningful. A familiar face goes a long way. I hugged him every chance I got.

Edited by Dan_CiTi

I had everyone alive from my 400 Days playthru (I think) all it meant was for some extras in this episode. Anyway, this was a pretty rad episode overall. Rad in that it was totally fucked. It moved really well and the writing hit it's mark. I probably should have walked away from that Carver scene too Alex, seeing as how I myself actually looked away from the screen hah.

As for the arm, Reggie's arm kind of set a precedent for me in that situation so I went for it...and sorry Reggie, E3 will be tough this year without you.

P.S. I love Jane

Posted by CallumCee

I did enjoy this episode but I feel I did miss the 'free roam' style sequences that are more common in other episodes. They let you get a better feel for your surroundings and give deeper insights into the arc of the other characters in the game. Probably because there was nothing really to the environment but I felt they could have made a bigger deal of having side conversations with the new characters after they 'come around' to the group or following up more with Nicks reaction to the return of Luke.

Also I've only just realized after reading this that all the weird one-liners from 'random' characters were the people that traveled from 400 days. I must not have connected with any of those stories at all, haha.

Edited by benguin

Interesting to hear that Alvin could survive through the last ep. I wish I was able to see some more interaction with him even though it seems like in the end he doesn't make it.

Agreed that this episode was really great. I really liked this season so far but not as much as the first one. This episode may have changed that, or at least evened it out a bit. I mean damn I lost sleep after trying to go to bed right after playing this episode because I wasn't happy with all the decisions I made (mostly because I made Clem watch Carver get beaten to death =/ ).

Posted by Draugen

I stayed to watch what happened with Carver. I wanted to see him pay, but that scene really is quite horrifically gruesome. I love a game that can make me deeply regret a decision I made, without there being any real ingame repercussions to it. Just a horrible, lingering feeling that I've gone too far.

Edited by Ravelle

@fobwashed said:

Weird. I went straight for the arm.

I think it's super cool how I roleplay Clem now compared to how I roleplayed her at the beginning of this season. As the game puts her through more and more shit, I feel like MY Clem is becoming a badass super grizzled, "The arm has to go" type character.

Same here, I also went straight for the arm, even before I saw the arm hit-box. I also watched Kenny going berserk on Carver and am molding my clem in to a harsh but just leader when it's time to take on that role.

Posted by AndrewB

I do sort of resent the parallels between Season 1 Clem and Season 2 Sarah. I hope her character doesn't just remain that naive little girl you want to help. Well, Clementine was never really *that* naive. She was a survivalist who was holding out a little too much hope that her parents were still around. Still, it started to feel like a similar vibe in this episode.

Also kind of interested to see that the sticking around to watch Carver decision has swung the other way overall. When I finished it (very early into the statistical pool) I was surprised it was easily the most picked choice. Unfortunately, I don't think my reasoning for sticking around will be covered by the writers when it inevitably comes back up with the group - I didn't want to watch a man be brutally murdered, but I did want to stick around and make sure there was no way for the guy to weasel out with an offscreen escape. Clem gets the job done. Also, the group's grand plan was to meet up at the exact same spot where Carver had tracked them the last time? If the guy hadn't been killed, he would have just done the same damn thing, only this time he might get even more murder-y about it.

Edited by Jesus_Phish

I don't see much of season 1 Clem in Sarah at all. Clem, even in season 1 wasn't that useless. Sarah is just a fuck up of a person. Clem only wanted to find her parents and held hope they might still be alive. She was also younger. Sarah knows where her parents are and has it pretty easy by comparison, but she's constantly screwing up. Like with the berries and talking when Carver was. Come on. Shut up, do you job already.

Also, screw you Carlos, you coward. I'm glad you got yours. And Luke, why cant you do anything right?

Posted by I_Stay_Puft

Besides Tavia and Bonnie I didn't recognize anyone else from 400 days. I believe Vince went with Tavia during my playthrough of 400 days but don't remember seeing him in the game.

Edited by Pfhorlol

Good writeup, also this series isn't known for its comic relief but I laughed pretty hard when Reggie awkwardly pets Clem and she just stares right back at him.

I'm assuming the next episode's antagonists are going to be the people of the Carver's colony who are pissed about these people selfishly ruining their home. Might see some more 400 days folks.

Posted by AlisterCat

Funny, since Kotaku said it's a so-so episode. Always love people using objective words for subjective opinions.

Posted by AV_Gamer

I like the character development they're doing with Clem this season. How the stuff Lee taught her in Season One has paid off. It'd be interesting to see if she'll dies at the end of Season Two , or if she'll survive and Season Three has her as an young adult leading her own camp of survivors.

If this becomes the case, then the player might get to choose if Clem becomes like Carver with the negative options in the game.

And I also wonder if we'll see the reminding characters of 400 days that didn't choose to go to the settlement, which we now know was a trap.

Posted by Jesus_Phish

@i_stay_puft: Back in the first episode one of the guys dead by the river is Roman from 400 days.

Posted by turboskerv

Well done! I loved loved loved this episode!

Posted by I_Stay_Puft

@i_stay_puft:

Back in the first episode one of the guys dead by the river is Roman from 400 days.

Really now? I seriously thought the 400 days crew would have some significance to season 2 kinda sad that all for maybe Bonnie that hasn't really happened.

Posted by Jesus_Phish

@i_stay_puft: Yeah, he was there. I agree with what you're saying. It seems so far that the 400 days characters and the choices you made with them didn't really matter. I don't get how introducing Bonnie in season 2 and what she's done so far has had any impact other than when she initially showed up. And with only two episodes left I dunno what, if anything they're going to do with all those guys.

Posted by Kadayi

@i_stay_puft:

I brought all of the 400 days survivors to the camp, and all of them appeared this episode albeit some in small cameos. I wouldn't be surprised to see a few of them re-appear later on though. It would be easy enough for them to work around whether they were in the camp or not with regard to the dialogue choices I suspect.

Jane seems pretty capable as does Mike, and I've warmed to Rebecca somewhat after the first two episodes.

Posted by Gildermershina

I was also about to stay and watch Carver's death, I think because I kind of wanted to make sure he was dead, rather than because I wanted to see it; but when he was all like "haha, I knew it!" I said FUCK YOU and walked away. I win, Carver.

Posted by GermanBomber

#whataseason

I didn't love episode 3 but it was still a good episode (I was hoping for more action scenes) and I'm really enjoying the season so far. The cover art for episode 4 looks bad ass so I can't wait. Playing as Clementine is awesome, and she's basically the only person I care about. I feel a little bad for getting Nick killed in episode 2 (although I hated this fool) because now there's probably a lot of scenes missing for me...but that's okay, I'm really glad he's dead.

Edited by Alorithin

Luke is going to heel turn in 4 or 5.

Spending way too much time building him as a nice guy.

Posted by Robsamuel

Sarita seemed pretty horrified when I chopped off her arm.

Edited by natto

I liked that one moment when Jane tells the crew about the zombie guts strategy, and you can have Clem mention that Lee did the same thing. The look of sadness on Kenny's face was unforgettable. For a brief second, he was transported to a different time when things were slightly less crazy than they were.

Edited by Heycalvero

Hell Alex, I went for the zombie instead of the arm too, not because I didn't intend to chop the hand ASAP, but dealing with a live zombie eating a friend was priority 1. It was a huge bummer when it just cut to the credits, because now, despite what I (maybe naively) expected, I don't believe the game will let me cut the hand soon enough to save her. Goddamn.

I'm guessing the conflict for the rest of the season will be around Sarah, but I highly doubt they're building up to have her replace Clem on the next season. If they keep up this writing level, I would be very happy to stay with Clementine as the main character.

Posted by golguin

I'm a bit surprised that Alex didn't have Clem watch Kenny turn Carver's face into mush. That is literally the hypest moment in the entire series. You can see Clem wince at first, but she steadies herself and watches it all like a BEAST.

My Clem is raw as hell.

Posted by MrNood1e

I don't believe the game will let me cut the hand soon enough to save her. Goddamn.

You can chop her arm off, but it just shows her horrified face at what just happened, then it cuts to the credits.

Edited by Capshot

While Lee was a pretty calm, pacifistic person, Clem hasn't exactly followed suit. I've made her a bit more rash, a bit more violent, and a bit less nice (I haven't exactly been mean to Sarah, but I wouldn't say I've done all that much to be a close friend). I remained calm when talking with Carver, but I wasn't necessarily being kind, just was trying to not provoke him. That scene (along with the scene where you meet him in Episode 2) was one of the best character interactions of the series, like Alex said, and it really allowed me to showcase Clem's personality. While I would always opt for the choice where the least people die, I actually had a tough choice with deciding what to do with Carver and, while it ultimately may not have mattered what I chose, I told Luke to shoot him, and there's no way my Lee would have done the same.

It's a shame that Alvin had to die in this episode, although I feel it was done well. The fact that Nick barely had any role this episode makes me think he can't be integral to anything down the line, and he's probably going to be one of the next to die. As for my other interactions in this episode, I was pretty passive with the arguments. I often just remained silent (with the exception of yelling that we were not going to leave Kenny)

I went for Sarita's arm, but I felt awful about it. It's probably the only time in any of the TellTale games where I feel like I made the objectively worse choice. While you probably won't have enough time to amputate it at the beginning of the next episode, I can't see her making it that far with that... stump, if you could call it that. She'd either be paralyzed with pain, fear, disbelief, or blood loss, and would be a sitting Duck (pun intended). Also, I didn't see Sarita (or hear anyone mention her) in the preview for the next episode, and that doesn't make me feel all that confident about my decision.

Posted by golguin

Funny, since Kotaku said it's a so-so episode. Always love people using objective words for subjective opinions.

Well, Kotaku has a right to their opinion even if it's a poor one.

Edited by LackingSaint

As somebody who was disappointed in this episode due to the extreme lack of meaningful interaction with the plot (with about half of the choices have literally no bearing on anything, including "Do you almost admit to doing something?" despite immediately being interrupted no matter what, and "Did you do your own work or help with someone else's?", which leads to no actual change in any interaction), i'm not quite sure i'm seeing where this "constantly ratcheting up the tension" thing is coming from. Did we ignore the part where Carver straight-up kills a dude in the first part, then the big zombie attack in the second part, then the beating the shit out of Kenny in the third part and then you escape? I didn't feel like I was at all left with a sense of 'oooh what's gonna happen', especially since Carver never actually develops into more than a "By any means" Survivalist, which is what we knew he was from the start.

I thought this episode was a marked step-down from the previous episode, which left me conflicted with a lot of my decisions and, when it came to things like the lives of Alvin and Nick, a strong sense that I was impacting the story in some way. The reveals were interesting (and non-existent this time around) and I actually built some bonds with characters. Here, I dunno, Kenny's still cool. I hope Jane becomes more than a slight variation on Molly's character.

This is also a nitpick, but god they should've picked something else to play on the speaker system. Kentucky Route Zero Act 3 had an amazing musical section that really set an incredible mood. Considering the set-up of "Loud music playing in an intense scene in which the horde is pulled in", I was pumped for anything other than quiet little elevator tunes.

Edited by LikeaSsur

I wouldn't call it the best episode, Alex, but hey, whatever you wanna think. Personally, episode 2 was much more impactful to me. Probably because the (actual) tension of Carver walking through the house without knowing who he was, made worse when everyone reacted the way they did, and then the feeling of pure joy when I saw Kenny and finally having a moment of peace with everyone while dinner was being made. It's those moments that make The Walking Dead amazing to me.

Also, just as a minor suggestion, but do you need to recap the entire episode for each of these articles? I read these to find out what you think, Alex, not a moment-by-moment retelling.

Edited by Voxus

Clem has seen some loud shit. I'd like to think if Lee showed her anything, is that sometimes you have make the hard decisions, but temper those raw moments with compassion.

Clem takes zero shit in my game, but is always willing to shoulder some of the responsibility even if she has no reason to care. All this on the back of she's just a kid.

And I can't help but feel, that because I know shes the main character and she is nigh invulnerable for two more episodes, that this mentality will come back and bite me in the ass.

Posted by Alex

@likeassur: If I was really doing a moment-by-moment retelling of each episode, this would have been like three times as long. I'm trying to cover the relevant plot points so people know what I'm talking about, but still trying to find a right balance for that, I guess.

Staff
Posted by strings19

This episode was my least favorite since Season 1 ep 1. I think that is because I was sick of the cast, except Luke and Sarita. Those people locked Clem up in a death trap and I have been looking for a way to get rid of those idiots ever since. I wanted her to make a reluctant peace with Carver instead of running off with a crew who makes a little girl to every bit of their dirty work.

The new characters do seem cool so hopefully they stick around.

Edited by eskimo

Why was Luke being so twitchy in this episode? Was he just tired and the writers wanted his decision making process to seem less reliable, or has he taken up meth or something?

Posted by Xaviersx

Being tired of the Governor on the tv show doesn't put me in a ready to take on another calm whackjob in the video game. I like watching friends and/or podcasters play the series for their emotional reactions, but I've decided to stay away from playing the game after my run through broke on the 3rd episode first season and I didn't care for riding the rails. I understand they don't have the time and such for truly divergent branching, but sometimes, you just want to see a game say you killed the protagonist 5 minutes in, game over, try again . . or you choose saved someone fated to die for real.

Enjoy though.

Edited by Jackist

I really felt bad for Troy. He helped them escape, he saved Clem's life, and he get betrayed right at the end. I kept thinking of Reggie's line about Mike "He saved my life, so I put up with that shit." He saved Clem's fucking life and she doesn't even say thank you, you don't even have the option.

Troy sure gives you a lot of shit, but I felt they really gave his character development the shaft .

The biggest fact he broke the garage door on purpose to let Mollie 2.0 escape, and wanted to leave with her. Sure he didn't expect her plan to be as crazy, he though she just wanted out of the pen, but HE WAS HELPING THEM ALL ALONG by breaking the garage door where they escape. And he fucking gets his balls eaten off the ground, they just needed one scene where you could give his character some development. Troy's interactions with Reggie show he also has some decent friendly relationships when it's not a bunch of new people who just killed his friend at the lodge a few hours before hand.

Edited by Landon

@eskimo said:

Why was Luke being so twitchy in this episode? Was he just tired and the writers wanted his decision making process to seem less reliable, or has he taken up meth or something?

He said he hadn't slept or ate since coming after the group, then he got caught trying to steal food. I doubt they fed him after that.

Posted by Heycalvero

@jackist: I think his character development was more implied instead of showed. Troy was another scared guy with power issues, feeling like the most important soldier of his great group where morals are somewhat fucked up, he's gonna play the game by their rules. Also, the way the girl talks to him and the fact that she doesn't kill him but straight up shoots him in the balls implies to me that he did some very nasty shit to her in the past.

Posted by KillerFly

Am I crazy, or wasn't Bonnie one of the survivors from 400 Days?

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