'The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 3 In Harm's Way': How Much More Bleak Can Things Get For Clem? [REVIEW]
Spoilers to follow.
Well, it’s happened. While we couldn’t be sure if Telltale was going to take us down this dark path, here it is. The Walking Dead is becoming an utterly depressing game.
The end of the last episode, A House Divided, made for perhaps the tensest situation in the series yet. After the emotional reunion with Kenny at a ski lodge you realized that your new friends had killed one of his crew on the way there, accidentally or not. What’s more- the evidence of the murder is on you. Kenny seems to have settled down and the new friends he’s made seem like genuinely good people, and the whole time you’re dreading them finding out this info and the conflict that will take place. When it does indeed happen it’s even worse than you can imagine.
Most of it is thanks to the appearance of William Carver, a former acquaintance of your new friends. He’s the reason they were on the run in the first place- one of the women of your group has his unborn child growing in her - and in bringing them back to the fold things turn incredibly violent, and the body count rises dramatically no matter what your choices.
At the start of this episode you’re being hustled back to Carver’s encampment where things aren’t that bad… for what’s basically a prison. It’s safe and secure and they have absolute tons of food, although there’s reports of a herd of zombies on the way. You, as a group of abandoners, are forced to live outside the main camp and work, fixing the fences and doing other manual labor until you earn your way back to the main group. It looks like a stable life as long as you listen to rules, but no one seems content to do so- and Carver might give second chances but he certainly doesn’t give third ones. He’s already killed your friends and there’s no hesitation for you to try and escape, and of course, things don’t go well. Do they ever?
Perhaps it’s naivety in hoping for some sort of stability in Clementine’s life but now it’s obvious that that will never happen. We know that this world isn’t for the weak and in order to protect Clem we have toughened her up, but at what cost? How will it feel to sit through more hours watching this formerly innocent girl, this 11 year old child, keep learning to defend herself through violence, and kill for revenge? It’s pretty bleak to say the least, but then again, what choice does she have? This is her world now.
At the end of each episode Telltale allows us to see the decisions that every other player made, and here 90% of people made her experience into something she'll likely never recover from. We know from interviews that the designers have sought to get closer to 50% on each important decision but it's clear that perhaps they're doing to us what we're doing to Clem- getting desensitized from all of the violence and becoming cold to it.
It’s something I asked at the beginning of this season- how much more depressing can this game get before we simply don’t want to play it any more, when it just isn’t fun? There are fewer and fewer moments of levity in this episode and while it’s still a phenomenal game, it sure is rough to get through.
What new horrors will the next two episodes bring us?
The Walking Dead Season Three: Episode Three is now available for Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Mac and iOS. This review was based on a PS3 season code provided by the publisher.