dolescence is defined as the period in life where a young person transitions physically and psychologically from a child into an adult. All parents and adults as a whole know that this is a delicate time in a young person’s life. This is the time where this person is influenced the most by their surroundings and the people they surround themselves with. In season 2 of TellTale’s The Walking Dead
, our protagonist, Clementine, is an 11 year old girl who is growing up in a time of terror, turmoil, and death. A time where nothing and no one is safe. A time where enemies are both living and dead. A zombie apocalypse. In episode 3, In Harm’s Way
, we dive right into Clementine’s psyche and find out just who she is and what she is becoming. So, lets dive right in.
WARNING! – Unintentional spoilers may be in this review if you are not up to this point in the game!
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
First things first. In previous reviews, we made mention of TellTale’s engine issues which caused severe lag in the gameplay and cutscenes. I experienced no lag at all. REJOICE!
Ok. Moving on.
In Harm’s Way kicks off with Clementine and her new group of survivors in their worst situation yet. They find themselves inside a well stocked Lowe’s, uh, Howe’s home improvement store. The store has an abundance of food, supplies, and even manges to have electricity. Doesn’t sound too bad right?? Hang on… The store also has a lethal combo of automatic weapons and a dictatorial nutcase at the helm, who as we saw in the previous episode, thinks nothing of killing anyone who disagrees with him. Now apart from a few short-lived antagonists, most of TellTale’s first season of The Walking Dead did not have a singular villain. The “villain” of this world was much more insidious – it was the hordes of the undead and the desperation that can push humans to do some pretty awful stuff. There was no easy face for players to point their expertly toyed-with emotions toward. Enter Bill Carver. Voiced menacingly as all get out by Michael Madsen, Bill Carver is a guy who has remained somewhat in the shadows of previous episodes of season 2. However, his true colors take center stage in episode 3.
Bill Carver. Don’t you dare cross him.
Back to our familiar faces. Within our band of survivors, tensions are running high after being captured and imprisoned inside of Bill’s little community. The group, especially Kenny, wants to take no part in Bill’s idea of a new way of life for them. As the 11-year old voice of reason in the group, Clem tries to balance between rage and a desire for a peaceful solution all while trying to search for an escape. Escape will prove to be difficult since our new villain actually has brainwaves and cannot be so easily outsmarted unlike previous adversaries. Bill and his crew maintain a watchful eye over the group and ensure that they have no down time to plot anything. This means that Clem, Kenny, and the rest, are put to work.
Inside the compund we meet other characters who have spent some significant, unspecified amount of time under Bill’s uhhh, employment. They offer Clem a bit of insight on who Bill is and just what he is capable of. However, verbal warnings can only present a certain degree of caution. We have to see it to believe it… And boy do we. Bill is a tyrant. The most intense moments of this episode come when Bill is involved. He has no issues raising a heavy hand towards man, woman, or even child that show even the slightest signs of insubordination or incompetence. And when it happens, it is brutal.
Throughout the episode, Bill asks to “speak” to a few members of our group in private. As that person reluctantly walks off, we wonder what kind of shape they will return in. Or, if they will return at all… Some don’t.
Then the moment finally came that I was dreading the most… Bill wants to speak to Clementine… Alone… Ohhhh crap.
Bill and Clementine sit down for a chat.
You know those people who say that they can “judge a book by its cover”? Bill is one of those guys. As Bill went on with his speech to Clementine, he spoke of how he and Clementine were not very different. How he and her both don’t have time for weakness in the world with the way it currently is. How people are expendable… (I won’t go too much further into what was said because, to me, it is the most thought provoking scene in the entire episode) Now please remember my description of Bill’s nature when I say this… I actually found myself agreeing with him as he was talking. UGH! What have I done to our sweet Clementine? What have I turned her into? I couldn’t let her turn into what Bill is. Don’t go down that road, Clem. I won’t let it happen.
Ahem… With that being said, towards the conclusion of the episode was hands-down, the most gruesome scene in the whole series. Intense violence is a commonplace in games, but it is rare that I am left genuinely feeling bad for having witnessed it, as I was here. And the game made it blatantly clear that every second I was seeing that horrific occurence, was clearly my own choice. It was a powerful and disturbing realization.
However… With all of that said, there were a few minor things that did bug me with episode 3. It had a bit of a slow start. Coming off of the dramatic conclusion of episode 2, the energy didn’t seem to transfer into the early onset of episode 3. We got little action and alot of exposition. Which is fine as long as the writing is good. And it sure is. Then, towards the conclusion of the episode, we really see In Harm’s Way hit it’s stride with truly a jaw-dropping finale.
The Walking Dead Season 2: In Harm's Way - 9
Summary : "In Harm's Way" presents us with the opportunities to mold Clementine into who and what we want her to become. With little action and a bit of a slow start, we forget about it with a strong script and an ending that will take your breath away.