"You will want to watch parts of In Harm’s Way through your fingers."
Since inheriting the lead character role from the previous season of Telltale’s episodic misery simulators, Clementine has been put through the emotional and physical wringer. Periodically, the games have let slip little slivers of joy as to further our suffering when the obligatory shit hits the fan. Thing is, you keep falling for it because you’re already invested in the cast, and the harm you know is coming their way is something you desperately want to avoid. Sometimes, you can. Sometimes, you can make the best of an awful situation, and slightly cushion the horrors that befall you. You can pick yourself up by thinking that you have some measure of control. That things could have been so much worse if you had not been able to steer the outcome a slightly different way. Maybe you could survive on those pinpricks of light amidst the gloom. Those days are gone.
Episode 3: In Harm’s Way imprisons your cast under the watchful eye of a madman then impresses upon you the drastic need to escape. You find most of the experience undertaken beneath armed guard, under heavy suspicion and with nowhere to go. Dialogue options you would normal feel free to enjoy are dissuaded by that angry guy over there with the assault rifle. Basic exploration is limited by ten feet steel fences and sentries on the roof. Options you started your adventure with in the very first episode to try and undercut foreign brutality by looking meek and acting like a scared little girl are exhausted -- they will no longer fly. Bill Carver thinks he has you sussed.
Carver, voiced by Michael Madsen with a mild case of Batman Voice™, stole the show last episode with the most nerve-racking scene Telltale have yet to come up with, and continues to shine on here. There’s more than a little of the main franchise’s dual takes on “The Governor” about him, in that when he talks about keeping the people under his care safe, he honestly sounds like he means it. Then he starts talking about Darwinism, and thinning out the weak from the herd for the sake of the many; then he insists on moments of flash violence carried out by the unwilling at gunpoint. But he’s never turned into the complete monster; he shows moments of almost sympathetic understanding, or lurking regret behind some of his actions. By my choice, after he told my Clem that she was more like him than anyone else, I told him I wished he had died while trying to take the group by force and steeled myself for unhinged retribution. He genuinely smiled, used the braveness of admitting such a blunt bubble of honestly to prove his point, then sent me away with a lot more to think about than I had bargained for.
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