The final chapter of Season Two might as well have been named ‘the one where Kenny reaches breaking point and everyone else turns out to be traitors and manipulators‘. In the previous chapter, it was painfully clear that this group was fracturing to the point of no return. I predicted that Clementine would once again be on her own and I was right, though that was partly due to my own choices. Actually, now I think about it, it might all be my own fault.
Episode 5 picked up immediately after the previous chapter ended, with an exchange of gunfire between my group and another. Amazingly no one from the group was killed, however in my attempt to cover Luke, I took too long to fire and as a result he was shot in the leg. I don’t know if I could have somehow avoided his injury – you really never can in the moment – but I felt guilty about it every time he struggled to stand or walk with the rest of the group. I really liked Luke and wanted him to make it to the end, but those foreboding feelings began to creep in. It’s never a good sign when the characters are sitting around a campfire, have a nice, relaxed chat with one another. That usually means that bad things are about to happen and the game is trying to get you relaxed so that they come as a shock.
Well, they did come as a shock, especially when I saw Luke floating under the frozen lake.
Again, was it my fault? Could I have done something else. I chose to shoot the walkers while Bonnie moved closer to the broken ice to help him. But should I have gone instead? Would Clementine’s lighter frame have allowed Luke to get to safety? This is a game about choices, and I feel like I made some pretty lousy choices in this chapter. The results of my choices were a group whose tension was now at boiling point and Bonnie blaming me for Luke’s death.
And then there’s Kenny. I did see a more human side of him in this chapter. He acknowledges his issues, he knows he gets too angry too quickly. But he also wants to do right by Rebecca’s baby, seeing it as a second chance to be a father after his own son died in Season One. But all that was for nothing every time he actually did lose his temper and try to do something stupid. I felt like I spent the entire chapter trying to talk Kenny down from doing something stupid, mainly trying to kill Arvo, the Russian boy who caused the shootout seen at the beginning of the chapter. Kenny’s hot headedness and inability to control his anger was probably just as much to blame for everything that goes wrong in this chapter as my bad choices. In the end, his rage overcame him and I had to make a choice. It was not a difficult one in the moment, because Kenny, in a fight with Jane, was seconds away from killing her, but once I made the choice and shot him, I was filled with regret that there couldn’t have been a better way to resolve it. Maybe Kenny’s fate was sealed from the beginning, I don’t know, but I wished he could have found some kind of peace in life.
Yes, Jane came back, she saved us during the opening gunfight by killing one of the shooters. The fallout of that was actually quite interesting as Jane was forced into killing another person, and she acknowledged that it wasn’t like killing a zombie. It weighed heavily on her and when she regretted coming back I told her I was glad she did. I was genuine about that, she was an interesting character, I wanted to know more about her. But in the previous chapter, I also felt that there was something not quite right about her, though I couldn’t quite put a finger on it. Now I can: she’s manipulative. She came into the rest area that Kenny and I were taking shelter in and said she lost the baby, sending Kenny into a murderous rage. I killed Kenny. Then I heard the baby cry. Jane had safely hidden it in a car. She did this to cause Kenny to get as angry as he did, in order for Clementine to see what he truly was, as she put it. Then I realised: she had been doing this throughout the entire chapter, saying things to wind him up and get him angry. I was so angered by this, I couldn’t stay with her. I made the choice to go off on my own. In the previous chapter I was trying to argue in favour of the group while she claimed she felt safer alone. Now she was telling me she couldn’t do this alone as I was walking away from her.
A brief coda showed Clementine and the baby nine days later, preparing to pass through a herd of zombies. She was still on her own. It’ll be interesting to see if that is still the case going into Season 3.
And that’s it for season 2. I was warned when I started episode one that the game went into silly territory but I didn’t find that at all. Pretty much all of the characters evoked strong reactions in me, whether that was love or hate. Even characters who weren’t around that long got some kind of reaction out of me. Alvin, for example, was the first of the group to show Clementine some kindness by giving her a carton of juice, and I immediately started liking him for that. And people are complicated. Kenny was a dick but I still sympathised with him. I wanted to like Jane but also felt manipulated by her. Mick seemed like such a decent guy but tried to sneak off in the night with our supplies. This game constantly provoked reactions out of me, and although I thought it was a bit manipulative in the first chapter, it soon fell back into what we expect from The Walking Dead – I get to know and like these characters before everything goes to hell. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed playing Season 2 and am looking forward to the release of Season 3.