The Wolf Among Us: Final Twist Explained

bigbyending copyWow.

Wow.

Let’s get started.

The woman we meet at the end is the real Nerissa. She glamoured herself as Faith and instigated the showdown with the Woodsman in Episode One in order make sure Bigby would recognize Faith’s head. Bigby never met Faith. I repeat: Bigby never met Faith.

When we hear Nerissa repeat “Faith’s” last words the initial “Keyser Soze” supposition is that it’s Faith who has been glamoured as Nerissa the whole time. But that doesn’t add up.

First problem: the head, which would actually be Nerissa’s, would have its glamor wear off sooner or later, just as Lily’s did. Dr. Swineheart would probably mention that.

Second: Georgie would know that he killed Nerissa not Faith, unless Nerissa and Faith were glamoured as one another at the time… but why would they do that? Georgie could not be in on it either. You heard Vivian – Georgie did everything the Crooked Man asked him to because the only two things Georgie ever cared about are himself and Vivian.

He killed two women because his neck was on the line and he doesn’t show any remorse for it. Why would he save one of the girls the Crooked Man wants dead and kill Nerissa instead? He would be sticking his neck out for Faith in a serious way, because if that glamour washed off, if anyone had any suspicions about her, his head would be on the block. Unless it was Vivian, the risk wouldn’t be worth it to him.

Also, why wouldn’t he tell Bigby about Faith? He was dying and he wanted to ‘get’ the Crooked Man – how better to stack the odds in your favor than to give Bigby as much ammunition as possible? He clearly doesn’t think highly of Bigby’s deductive skills – if he was in on it and wanted the Crooked Man to pay, Georgie would spell that one out for Bigby just to be certain.

Third: we get subtle hints from the Tweedles in Episode 2 and the photo board in Episode 5 that Faith is not the girl we met.

TWAUtweedlefaith“Sweet?” Tweedle Dee scoffs when Bigby talks about Faith. “You think that girl was sweet? She was a fucking thief. Fuckin’ sweet. Faith was plenty of things, but that ain’t one of them.”

This directly contradicts the girl we meet in Episode One – one that, granted, would lodge an ax in someone’s head if they were threatening her, but one who kissed Bigby on the cheek and said: “You aren’t as bad as they all say.” A woman who knows that the Fabletown government is actively helping the Crooked Man exploit her and other citizens might not be so kind to law enforcement, even when it’s trying to help her.

But it makes perfect sense if it’s Nerissa acting as Faith. She too knows the business office is culpable, but the whole objective of this, from the beat down to the helping hand, is to make Bigby notice and care about Faith.

In Episode 5, we pass a board as we walk through the Sheppard Metalworks. This board is filled with photos of the ‘suspects’ – Nerissa, Faith and Lily:

TWAUcrookedmanmurderboard copy

See that bottom right photo? That’s Faith and Nerissa, before one of them was killed. Based on that body language, Faith doesn’t appear to be a sweet girl either.

Whoever this woman is, we know very well what she is capable of. She admits she put Faith’s head on the steps, she admits she lied about the Crooked Man’s involvement, she placed Faith’s coat in the Woodsman’s apartment in hopes that Bigby would find it.

All of the initial clues point toward discovering who Faith is – and through that, discovering the Crooked Man. The people like Nerissa, the ones who are destitute, forgotten and left behind, must use other means to get the help they need. We often see large lines waiting outside of the business office, we hear Holly ask Bigby about the “strays.” Nerissa can’t afford the same “back way” Bluebeard took, so she made her own.

The point of the twist, the point of that final line from Nerissa isn’t that Faith is alive. It’s a reminder that people like her are reduced to things that others don’t want to do and then are forced to suffer through it in silence.

It’s a reflection on the powers of authority – including Bigby, Snow and Crane – that she had to go this far just to be heard.

 

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11 thoughts on “The Wolf Among Us: Final Twist Explained

  1. It was a good finale to a great game. I probably should have waited to play the whole thing in one go though. It’s been so long since episode 1 that I couldn’t remember the line they were referencing.

    • azimodo says:

      I know — it’s been so long since the first episode I had to go back and watch a youtube clip of that Faith-Bigby interaction to make sure I got it. It’ll be interesting to replay the game and see if there are any other hints hidden in there.

  2. Gestahl says:

    Problem #1 is incorrect, Lily’s glamor doesn’t wear off on its own, Bigby ends it by popping open the glamor tube.

    Problem #3 doesn’t contain any real evidence, without the other two “problems” it really doesn’t mean anything.

    Problem #2 can be solved by answering your question “unless Nerissa and Faith were glamoured as one another at the time… but why would they do that?”

    Well, two possible reasons. First, Nerissa could have switched places to sacrifice herself and save Faith’s life.. Just like Vivian sacrifices herself to save “Nerissa” at the end.

    Or, secondly, Nerissa could have actually trusted Georgie to smooth things over and simply switched with Faith so that Faith would stop freaking out.

    That photo in the steelworks is probably a picture of an argument that ensues with Nerissa tells Faith that she showed Georgie the photos. Faith is obviously furious in the picture because she knows damn well Georgie is going to kill her. Nerissa has either of the above reasons to switch places with Faith in the wake of that argument.

    Furthermore, at the very end when Bigby is figuring this out, if Faith was dead the whole time, why bother flashing back to Buffkin’s line about Faith “hiding her beauty so she could escape his kingdom”? That line, and also the line about Swineheart needing to run some more tests on Faith’s body would be completely irrelevant if Faith were actually dead.

    • Also, why would Bigby even have flashbacks at the end and have a choice to go after her? “Nerissa” already explained everything about the photo and what she did with “Faith’s” head to Bigby. It’s not like he suddenly figured it out in the end, he was explicitly told. Only after that did he have the flashbacks and the revelation.

      If that was the complete truth, he would have no reason to go after her, because there was nothing left to say. And the choice itself to go after her doesn’t say “go after Nerissa”, it says “go after the girl”, which indicates that we don’t know who the girl really is.

      It also doesn’t make sense to go strictly off of what Dee says, because other than the fact that he’s a lying piece of crap and an attempted murderer, all he accuses Faith of doing is stealing. And Dee doesn’t actually know what she stole, just that it was a photo. But as we know, it was a photo that was going to be used to blackmail Crane and bring down The Crooked Man, so that the girls could escape. Even Jack is a more opportunistic burglar than that, and even he isn’t a bad guy. Dee just said that because he was trying to save his skin and because all he knows is that The Crooked Man didn’t like her.

      Bigby also never found Faith’s body, so there is no way of knowing if it was glamoured or not. And as Snow said during the investigation of Lilly’s body, cheap glamours don’t just fail, they go completely or they don’t go at all.

      And it doesn’t make sense for Nerissa to be glamoured as Faith simply in order to make Bigby recognize her head later, because Bigby didn’t know who she was to begin with. Plus, she already had the ribbon and the ring in her mouth as a clue to her identity, which didn’t require Bigby recognizing her from before. It was the murder of a woman in Fabletown, with her head left on their doorstep. The authorities were going to care about it whether they knew her or not.

      • azimodo says:

        Thanks for the comments, guys! You’ve made some really good points – I think you might be right. (Ok, you’re probably right.)

        @Gestahl, Re: #1 ah, you are right about that, the glamor only ended because they opened the tube. I’ve got a question though (any maybe you will know, or someone else will) are glamors permanent so long as no one opens the tube? The reason I’m not too sure about it is that the unaffordability of the glamors is a big theme in the game – Toad complains about it, Auntie Greenleaf exploits it. If it’s a one-payment deal (granted no one breaks their tube) then glamors should pose less of a continual financial problem. The initial cost would be steep, but it’s not the same as requiring a disguise that needs to be constantly purchased. It would also mean less money to be made for the witches (a one-time payment per person versus a continual influx of cash per person.)

        A lot of proving either way depends on if the glamors are ‘permanent’ or if they wear off – and how long until they do so. If it’s permanent/a long lasting item, then it’s definitely more likely the body is Nerissa glamored as Faith.

        #2 I see what you mean here. Assuming Nerissa is dead, we’ve never met her and actually don’t know what she was like. We can assume, I think, that Faith stays close to Nerissa’s personality near Georgie, but we don’t know what she was like with the other two women. It’s definitely possible that the real Nerissa felt she had to self-sacrifice because it was her fault Georgie found out. It would fit with the ending of her fairy tale too – the idea of self-sacrifice for loved ones.

        #3 It might not stand entirely on its own as hard evidence, but I think the point speaks to Faith’s character, which should factor in to how we determine who is alive. There’s definitely a disconnect between the “Faith” we meet (whether it’s truly her or if it’s Nerissa) and the Faith of which others such as Tweedle talk about. Looking back after a few months, I agree that this can be hedged into the Faith-is-Nerissa theory too, but I wonder – assuming Faith is the real Faith in Episode 1 – why she reacted to Bigby the way she did. Is there any way she knew he wasn’t crooked? I would think she would treat him with more suspicion.

        @bastien – I took the choice to go after Nerissa as an inability to let her duplicity go unanswered. Whichever survives at the end of the game has tricked Fabletown, including Bigby. Going after them is pursuing the truth, even when it’s not strictly ‘necessary.’ (Are we a Stannis character, or a Tywin character?) In the Nerissa-is-Nerissa theory, I took the line “You’re not as bad as they say you are” (which triggers the flashbacks) to mean that Nerissa had been glamored as Faith in Episode 1 – so we never actually meet Faith at all in the game (hence also why I bring up point #3, that real!Faith seems a lot different than the Faith we meet.)
        I think the choice option is also phrased that way (“go after the girl”) because it’s supposed to be ambiguous who that woman is. They could have just as easily had “go after Faith” if they wanted to be clear about it. The ambiguity provides us an opportunity to do more sleuth work. 🙂

        True about Tweedle. I didn’t get the impression that he was saying that about Faith to cover his own skin, but rather to make fun of Bigby’s ineptness at judging character and undermine his sense of assuredness. That said, maybe he’s a better liar than we know. I think the photo we find in Sheppard points to the fact that the girl’s got some grit though. I could see how, for her enemies, she wouldn’t look like such a sweet creature.

        Interesting point about Faith’s body – I had assumed though, that a glamor would cover the head and body – which is why the glamor on Lily’s head wears off too when the bottle is broken. Wait, can you glamor dead bodies? We know the glamor stays on them (for however long) but what about people who are already dead? I wish we knew more about the rules of glamors – that would really help with determining the truth.

        Re: Nerissa-was-Faith-in-Ch 1, it wasn’t just about him recognizing her, it was about making her memorable and likeable. If Nerissa was Faith in Chapter 1, she did it because she wanted Bigby to care about Faith more than he would if she was a random prostitute. She wanted him to be emotionally involved – think about the Fables’ perception of him: he’s big, scary and used to eat people with a brutal indifference. Putting Faith in his path, saying things like “You’re not as bad as they say” and helping him take down the Woodsman makes Bigby take note but it also makes him have affection for Faith. So when her head turns up on his doorstep, it’s not just “Oh, shit, dead Fable.” it’s: “I know this girl. She helped me. She was tough but she was kind. Who would want to hurt her?” Its emotional manipulation to ensure (or at least try to ensure) that Bigby is on their side and won’t just drop the case when the Crooked Man puts pressure on him to drop it.

        (The meeting also, if we make the quick assumption that Faith is already dead at this point, ensures that Bigby feels a higher degree of responsibility: Faith’s head showed up on his doorstep directly after she promised to meet him in his office. The proximity of the events suggest that Faith might have been killed because Bigby asked her to meet him.)

  3. SW says:

    There’s also the Magic Mirror. If you ask it to show you Faith’s father, it shows you his remains. But ask about Faith after her death or Lily before her spell wears off, and it shows nothing and says something cryptic about lips being sealed.

    • azimodo says:

      @SW – Good point. I think my only rebuttal would be that Faith’s body (at least the majority of it) could also be in a protected location – such as the Crooked Man’s house, etc. which are protected by magic and thus why the Mirror cannot reveal them. But that hinges on the idea that the Mirror looks for the majority of the body in these cases, or that the Mirror would either have to show you both the head and the body or neither. I agree that it more likely means that Faith is alive, but I think the writers left the situation vague enough that they could talk themselves out of that corner if they want it to be Nerissa instead.

      • Iknow says:

        But this “lipa are sealed” spell come from Vivian, not Crooked man and mirror cleary admit which spell protect ” the Faith body”

  4. ardwahid says:

    Okay, i want to add a theory here, i got an itch…

    – the money, the glamour and the way of life: money comes the big part of this story. Everyone involved with Crooked Man are desperate for money, not to account he whole Fabletown itself. Okay, so i took the Nerissa as herself during the ending scene with Bigby. Why? There is a huge gap there.
    1#, Nerissa never been glamoured, before Faith’s death. She was a little mermaid, the story told that she can trade her fin to get a man’s leg, so Nerissa will appear human. That was the end of her story in Fable, and she said it when Bigby shows at the Pudding and Pie.
    Then, Faith already dead during the whole game, and it affects Nerissa. She watched Faith die, and soon or later Nerissa would be next. With money or not, she took a chance replace Faith during 1st Episode, took glamour from blackmarket, get smashed by Woody, and made Bigby involved for the investigation against the murder and the Crooked Man by placing the head (ending confession from her, episode 5). Agreed with this blog.
    2#, Glamour will wear off. Lily scene provide an actual dispel of glamour. So, if the body been discovered, the head will change. Nerissa would not take chance of that. Doesnt make sense if Faith Glamoured as Nerissa during the whole game, too much risk. Even if the body was secured, and there was a mirror too and Dr Swinerheart.
    3#, It doesnt matter again when the whole thing collapsed. Bigby could be dead during the first episode, killed by Woody’s Axe. If Nerissa plan to do that, she account not just one, but two or more candidates. If Woody killed Bigby, the whole plan would be ended, so she needs to save Wolf by put an axe into Woody’s head. If not, only Snow accounted for the investigation. But, she already desperate, and it just made sense to “scheme” a war between Fabletown govt. versus Crooked man.
    4#, Damsel in distress. Bigby being praised by his act at the first episode (you are not as bad as people say), and that was just a reminder from dead girl. What would that give to a man, worked as a law enforcer. So, it made more sense, since Faith “figure” would be give such impact to Bigby, the famous Big Bad Wolf with enourmous power and the chance to redeem himself.
    Yep, its not about the detail or clue, but the scheme itself, thank you.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I’m really not sure what about I will say…

    I think I remember a paper the first time we go in the strip club. On it jt was write something like: Thank you to cover me Nerissa. With Faith signature or the inverse….

    Lol… I will gave to do it again now that you make me hesitate…

    Anywone remember such a paper?

    • azimodo says:

      That definitely rings a bell… I’ll have to go back in the game and check. If that’s the case, then that could point to Nerissa glamouring herself as Faith prior to the game to “cover” for her, so there would be a precedent.

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