"Berry picking is serious business."
The Walking Dead Season 2 is moving right along. Last episode let us get to know the supporting cast a bit better, brought some surprising twists, and ended with Clem and the Gang in serious trouble. This month, we'll learn just what Rebecca, Luke, and the rest were trying so hard to get away from.
As always, this review will spoil the first two episodes of the season. If you're behind, you might be better served by the review for episode one or two.
Episode 3: In Harm's Way begins with our group trapped in the back of Carver's van. He has successfully captured the escaped citizens of his utopia, including his baby mama, Rebecca, as well as a few new faces in Clementine, Kenny, and Sarita.
Once they arrive at Carver's community, they learn that they're to be enslaved and forced to work on various projects throughout the community before maybe, someday, being allowed inside to live as proper citizens. Of course, nobody has time for that, and they immediately begin plotting their escape.
Carver is a great villain. Every scene in which he appears is tense. He has already shown that he is a sadist who has no qualms about maiming or killing anyone who doesn't fall into line. He's like a version of the Governor who doesn't even try to hide what a monster he is, because he does a good enough job of keeping people safe to get his group to turn the other cheek. Some of the things he does are clearly unforgivable, but nobody seems to mind.
In Harm's Way is the episode that finally uses your 400 Days save data from Season 1 and it's an interesting subversion of expectations. Any characters you managed to convince to join Tavia at the end of 400 Days will have brief cameos in Episode 3. Aside from Bonnie (who is a major player in this episode), none of them will appear for very long. Most of them only have one line and only appear briefly as Clementine is rushing from one place to another. The interesting thing is that they're all clearly the same people that you got to know in 400 Days. They don't seem to have gone through any major changes since then. You remember these people as the protagonists of their stories. Russel wasn't prepared to stand by as Nate murdered that elderly couple. Wyatt felt like he had no choice but to leave his stupid friend behind when they were under attack from the mysterious villain in the pickup truck. You know they're not monsters, but here they are, working with Carver. They may be relegated to the peanut gallery, but 400 Days provides important context for these characters and prevents them from being seen as random complacent jerks like one specific new character named Troy.
Well, except Tavia. It turns out she was a butthole the whole time and that's hilarious.
Unlike last episode, which had two characters that could be alive or dead (and not at the expense of anyone else, like Doug and Carley) depending on your actions, this episode feels exceptionally linear in a lot of ways, with only two choices really feeling like they might have important consequences. One choice may be an important factor in determining what kind of person Clementine is becoming during all of this hardship. Another one deals with the brutal reality of the setting. Both of these may make your jaw drop, depending on what you choose to do. Brutality seems to be the big theme of this episode. I generally try to be as nice a person as I can in Telltale's games. I always did what I felt was right when faced with the “abandoned” car full of food, or Ben's dangerous incompetence. This is the first time I've ever done something I felt was wrong, just because I wanted to. I feel like I'm going through a bit of character development myself.
The first two episodes of the season moved at a brisk pace, and Episode 3 doesn't break stride. A surprising amount of progress is made in the story, to the point where it's not really clear what the group's next goal is. I don't know where they're supposed to go from here, and I have a feeling that will be an important talking point in Episode 4. Who knows what will happen next? I want to find out, but Episode 3 has given me enough to think about for a while.
Staff review by Rhody Tobin (May 18, 2014)
Rhody likes to press the keys on his keyboard. Sometimes the resulting letters form strings of words that kind of make sense when you think about them for a moment. Most times they're just random gibberish that should be ignored. Ball-peen wobble glurk.
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