Telltale’s The Walking Dead, Episode 3: Carver’s a Dick

clementineeye1croppedUPDATE: I am aliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive. It seemed fitting to say that in this post. Sorry for the delay, I just picked up a full-time job (woo!) and after my computer recovered from DEFCON 1, Photoshop stopped working. But it’s back and I’m back and we’ve got some interesting stuff coming down the pipeline.

So the plan is 1 post per week, given the new job/time it takes to make the pictures. Let’s get cracking!

Telltale’s The Walking Dead, Episode 3: Carver’s a Dick

One of my more vulgar titles, but it seems fitting. God, what an asshole. I’d say the guy needs to take some Ambien, but he probably needs Novocain and the grace of God now, considering the epic beat-down Kenny gave him. I’m not pleased about that or anything.

Ok. This game is destroying my internal moral code.

THOUGHTFUL REFLECTION: WHO LIVES, WHO DIES

Clementine

TWDClem

In this episode my little sunshine saw a man get his eye popped out like a golf ball on the green. Arya Stark is strong with this one.

The funny thing about this game is we have ‘choices’ about Clem’s personality – she can be trusting, standoffish, rebellious or meek depending on which answer options we select. And yet, in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t change anything. Sure, certain characters are pissed at you, we know or don’t know certain things depending on how we ask, but if a character snuffs it in one scenario, he’s snuffing it in all scenarios. It’s just a matter of time. We don’t have Carly or Doug hanging around, or even – God help us all – the bumbling Ben who was totally useless even when he kicked it.

If Clem’s arc continues to mirror Lee’s, there will be specific ‘allegations’ made about her regardless of how the player plays her. Lee is labelled irresponsible and dangerous even if the player plays him as a model citizen. So what are they going to call Clem?

A theme of this episode was ‘the strong’ versus ‘the weak.’ Carver claimed my dear Reggie was “weak of character” and used this as reason to shove him OFF A BUILDING.

“But he was weak. And I don’t mean just ’cause he was maimed, that wasn’t his problem. He was weak of will. Weak of character. And we can’t have that around here… not anymore.” – Carver

Clem too has a ‘disability’ in the Walking Dead universe: her size, her age. But Carver doesn’t see her as weak. She may be small, but Clem’s certainly not weak of character – regardless of how you play her – and Carver quickly sniffs this out.

“They are weak and we are strong,” he tells her in his office. “The next generation has to be stronger than the last to… lead us out of this. Kids like you, raised the right way. The way my child’ll be raised.”

So Clem is Carver’s ideal for his brave new world, which makes you re-evaluate what’s going on with Clem. Yes, you need some grit to survive the Walking Dead universe, but on the other side of fortitude is callousness. As a player we are given the option of staying to watch Carver die. While Crazy Carver applauds this, saying that “she ain’t afraid to look it in the eye,” the moment is not well-received by the other, saner characters. This might point to future conflicts revolving around Clementine’s exposure to violence and her desensitization toward it.

Survival chance: High. If Clem’s kicking it, it will be in the last episode, like Lee.

Kenny

Omg guys, he almost killed Kenny!

And then Kenny took a crowbar to Carver’s face. Gordon Freeman approves.

It’s safe to say Kenny’s worse for the wear after this episode, though it was pretty obvious he was going to pull through after he survived the initial beat down (please, Telltale, we know that if Kenny’s going out he’s going out like a boss.)

It’s great that we continue to see not only Kenny’s badassery, but his inability to actually see Clem as a kid. Throughout the episode Kenny asks Clem to do extremely dangerous things – from sneaking into Carver’s office to steal a walkie-talkie to going out to give that walkie-talkie to Luke. Sure, when push comes to shove Kenny takes the smack-down for Clem, but you know it’s bad when Mike, the random guy no one knows, is the only one questioning if a little girl should be scaling walls. It’s a nice little tip to show that in some ways Kenny ascribes to a similar ideology to Carver’s or Chuck’s – people are no longer children, men or women. They are simply alive or dead.

Survival chance: Low. Don’t get me wrong, I love this knuckleheaded, nautical trucker but he’s one eye down and he’s been around since Episode 1 of Season 1. A recurring (and deeply painful) theme in TWD is that everyone dies sooner or later – usually sooner. Carly, Lee, my REGGIE – the people we love aren’t miraculously saved by the powers of fan service. Kenny’s had one hell of a shot, surviving the desecration of his family and friends, somehow out-running a zombie horde. It seems like his time’s run out.

Luke

Exhaustion, food and water deprivation – I get it man, but really? You know Carver is ten kinds of crazy and you stumble into his territory, delirious, in hopes of freeing your friends. And then you promptly get caught.

You make me face-palm so hard.

Luke’s an inherently likeable guy – mostly because he’s still got some common decency which makes you trust the guy. It’s going to get him killed, but hey, we really needed someone who would believe and protect a kid simply because they’re a kid. Luke did that.

We saw yet again another squabble between Luke and Kenny. As surely as Clem’s “character” is going to be a talking point, these two are going to have a showdown, leading to a split screen that we will quietly agonize over. I just wish these two would realize not to play emotional Ping-Pong with an eleven-year old. Not cool. I expect that they will disagree on where to go next – or that Luke will somewhat unsubtly suggest leaving poor, handless Sarita behind because she’s a drag.

Maybe Kenny will shoot him in the face.

Survival chance: Moderate. Luke can go both ways – on one hand he seems to be a poor man’s substitute for Lee: he’s primarily got Clem’s back and creates tension with Kenny over life choices and the ‘who-will-be-the-unneeded-surrogate-father?’ subliminal battle. On the other hand, that’s probably going to get him eaten.

Bonnie

I know she isn’t a complete jerk and does regret her part in the bloodbath that was last episode, but still: fuck you, Bonnie. We couldn’t have this come-to-Jesus moment before they killed Walter? Or Alvin? Fuck you, Bonnie.

Survival chance: Moderately High. Telltale likes to make us care about people before they eat dirt. Bonnie reads like Season 1 Kenny or Chuck – they start off as an asshole/creep and then display an amount of loyalty/competency/common sense that makes you love them and then they are brutally taken from you. Either to be eaten, or apparently eaten as in Kenny’s case.

Mike

 

TWDMike

Leeeeeeee. Lee is that you? A reincarnation? A brother? A cousin? A twice-removed once reallocated cousin?!

Is it weird that I looked at both him and Jane and thought: Oh, good, competent people. That’s not to say that our group doesn’t have some competent people…. It’s just that they are competent people who don’t deal well with a zombie apocalypse.

In only one episode Magic Mike has demonstrated some of the finer qualities of our dearly-departed protagonist: he’s hardworking, cautious and he cares about a little girl getting hoisted up to rooftops and danger. Plus, he’s already started bro-fighting with Kenny.

I don’t think he’s going to be Lee 2.0 – he doesn’t have that same kind of warmth – but I think he will be the rational voice in the showdown between Luke and Kenny. You know, the one person who looks at Clem and says: do what you gotta do to survive.

Besides, judging by the facial scars, this guy has been through some shit. We can definitely use people like that.

Sometimes I wonder at how this game makes me think.

Survival chances: Decent. Look at those scars, dude.

Jane

TWDJane

Okay, so she’s fuckin’ weird. They found her sneaking around outside of the camp covered in guts and just, like, the grossest shit.” – Reggie

I knew from the moment she walked into Clem’s life, “fuckin’ weird” and freshly scrubbed of zombie guts, I was going to like this girl. Resourceful, clever and knows how to keep things on the ‘down low’ – she’s the quiet type who has the ability to survive long after loveable loudmouths bite it. C’mon, you BAMF! Show them how it’s done.

Her take-down of tedious Troy was Orphan Black-levels of fun. (If you enjoy bad guys biting it in brutally fitting ways, take a look.) It was pretty vicious, but I cackled when she shot him. Hey fine, be a bad guy and take me captive, but if you’re going to be a grumpy grunt about it you’re getting a blast of gunpowder to the crotch.

Please, Telltale: you took my Reggie, don’t take Jane!

Survival chances: High. There’s a chance they might ‘Carly’ her, otherwise this chick will survive another episode.

Rebecca

TWDRebecca

She’s a lot to deal with, but at least she’s taken a liking to Clem. It’s probably because we risk our neck for everyone all the time.

Survival chances: High. If she’s in labor during the next chapter she’s not going to be eaten. I’m not saying that pregnancy makes Rebecca magically immune to being zombie chow – if this was the ‘real world’* there’s a very high chance she would be zombie chow. I’m saying that we are not in the real world and for all the brutality and ‘grimdark’ that goes on in the Walking Dead universe – spanning the games to the TV show** – I don’t know that the game will go there.

Yes, in the Walking Dead universe we have children being murdered, babies being shot and people performing gruesome C-sections (bleurgh) but there is a significant difference between how this darkness is treated and how darkness against adults is treated. Children die, but they do so off-screen, and while the pregnant mother dies in the unsanitary operation the baby survives.

My point is there is tragedy – disturbing, bleak tragedy – and then there is a nihilism that is repugnant and hopeless. That line is thin and extremely subjective, but looking at how TWD universe treats this, I don’t see Rebecca and the baby dying. Rebecca dying – yes. The baby dying – possibly. But not at once and not like that.

*aka, logistics over emotions. That said, fact has been known to be much weirder than fiction on occasion.
**I omitted the comics because I’ve only personally read a few issues, so I have no idea if they show in graphic detail an elementary school kid being torn apart by zombies. I sincerely and truly hope not.

Sarah

Does anyone actually know what is wrong with this girl? Is she developmentally slow? Overly sheltered? Both?

When Carlos (RIP, Doc) first mentions Sarah’s delicate nature I got the impression that he meant there is something mentally wrong with Sarah – that she suffers from a mental illness or is emotionally disturbed/stunted and as a result she can’t process the zombie apocalypse.

As of yet though, while it is apparent that Sarah acts younger than her age, it’s hard to tell if that’s a result of coddling or genuine developmental issues. Mental illness is something that can be unapparent in a variety of situations, but shows itself when the person experiences a different kind of stress or a trigger. Granted Sarah makes it out of the zombie horde intact and not bitten, it will be interesting to see how she 1) reacts to Carlos’ death and 2) acts now that she is out of his protective hold.

But what I am really dying to know from this episode is what Carver told her on the roof. Carver didn’t seem the sort to tolerate fools or understand the intricacies of mental illness. And given that he previously commanded Carlos to hit her I can’t see him being particularly kind to Sarah, but it appeared that he was consoling her when we left.

Well, consoling in the Carver-verse.

Survival chances: Low to moderate. I put moderate because the poor girl may be so incompetent that she’s a Ben, who out-lasted worthier comrades such as Chuck or Carly.

Sarita

TWDSarita

Kindly Sarita is missing a hand thanks to Clem. I’m sure at least Kenny will understand why Clem did it, but if this game follows logic all that blood is going to be a massive problem. It’s going to attract zombies, plus the blood loss is going to make Sarita woozy and weak.

I mentioned it in the Luke section, but my hunch is that there will be a “survival of the fittest?” scenario coming that centers on Sarita and her handless-ness. Even if they manage to get her away from the horde, the group is now doctor-less and, left untreated, I wouldn’t be surprised if the wound becomes infected. Still, she might survive yet: snarky Reggie made it for a few weeks with only one arm.

Then again, he was in a heavily guarded community.

Survival chances: Low. She’s no Lee, and I think this game gets perverse enjoyment out of making Kenny suffer.

WHO SHOULD HAVE LIVED

TWDS2Ep3Reggie-ism

TWDS2Ep3Reggie2

TWDS2Ep3Reggie

 Reggie – RIP

You were too sassy for the world

 

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