The Walking Dead Season 2 Ep. 3 Review: Show of Strength

Warning: Light spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 2 Episodes 1 and 2 herein.


In the best scene of Episode 3 of Telltale Game’s The Walking Dead: Season 2, Clementine and Bill Carver, the story’s antagonist, talk about what kind of person Clementine is.

Carver sees Clem like himself: a leader willing to make hard choices, unafraid and unflinching, required to lead her people even though it’s exhausting. Regardless of how players choose to work through the scene — there are various dialogue options available to Clem, as always — it’s an incredibly revealing moment about Clementine’s view of her friends, of the world, and of her place within it.

As always, the episode gives away just a little more of the bright intelligence and principles at work within Clementine, and as her group continually looks to her to take on the role of the swing vote, or to perform dangerous tasks, one wonders whether Carver is right about weaker people being anchors around Clem’s neck.

It’s a legitimate question as Episode 3, titled “In Harm’s Way,” continues to expand on the themes of The Walking Dead, beyond just fighting for survival, to creating a life at the end of the world. And like the episodes before it, “In Harm’s Way” continues to build a strikingly intense story about the person Clementine will become and what is important to her when death is constantly lurking in all its forms.

The Walking Dead Season 2: Episode 3: In Harm’s Way
Platform: PC (Reviewed), Playstation 3, Xbox 360
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Release Date: May 13, 2014
MSRP: $24.99 (all episodes)

Clementine and her group have been captured by Carver, the man hunting the small band Clementine first stumbled upon in Episode 1 of this season. There’s an unborn child involved, and Carver’s speechifying on the situation is almost evangelical — those who have strayed from the path can redeem themselves, and rejoin his totalitarian, heavily armed community, but only through hard work.

What follows is something like being in a prison full of patio furniture. Clementine and her friends are alive, they’re fed, and they’re put to work, but it’s clear that Carver and the various other characters in the community are on a hair trigger. It’s a deadly place to be, no matter what the big man says.

Still, it’s not all bad, as a few members of the community suggest. This is the place characters from the episode “400 Days” wound up, and it has its upsides. It’s mostly secure, very well stocked, and run intelligently, even if Carver’s not a very forgiving leader. In the case of Reggie, a man who helped the escapees leave the community and who was punished for it, that redemption is still possible. In just a few lines of dialogue, we realize quickly that Reggie has capitulated; he wants to be safely back in the group, and he thinks he’s nearly earned his place.

There are other characters to be found in the prison area of the community as well, and while the situation seems immediately awful, one can’t help but be impressed that there’s a prison at all. Each of the people held is there for a different reason, but despite Carver’s actions in Episode 2, it’s noteworthy that he hasn’t summarily executed anyone who pisses him off or threatens his people.

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1 Comment on The Walking Dead Season 2 Ep. 3 Review: Show of Strength

GazH

On May 15, 2014 at 12:18 am

That was my favourite episode of Season 2 so far. It made Clementine a completely believeable character, it gave me the reasons why people look to her, and how she views the world around her. I shaped her to be as tough as Lee was in the first Season, taking inspiration from him – yes, she took a smack in the face a couple of times because of it, but it really built on the character, especially the way I had her act during the conversation with Carver.

Yes, I had her stay for the revenge too. Clementine is toughening up, just as I wanted her to, and now I’m looking forward to the next episodes more than ever.