The Walking Dead: Season 2: Episode 3 – review

One, two, three Walking Dead Season Two episodes have now been and gone by. It’s a slow drip feed of episodes and it’s always a surprise when another episode arrives. They are always welcomed with open arms but the passage of time seems to make us almost completely forget that there are more episodes to come. Anyway…

Spoilers, Spoilers, Spoilers! Yes, this time we aren’t shying away from spoilers for the first two episodes – and a little from this one and passing mentions to events in season one; if you haven’t played the first two yet then go away, get them and play them all the way through. We’ve also been playing two concurrent playthroughs with differing choices, so we can cover as many plot changes as we can.

Practically speaking, the decisions made in the second episode are the only ones that seem to have any real impact on this episode. Nick and Alvin were the two that you might have seen knocked off in the last episode, or maybe they both lived for you. Either way, Alvin is the one who gets a little more screen time and it’s a little more involved than what passes for screen time for Nick.

Alvin’s part in the story – should he appear at least – is fairly sizable and impactful, something that most people have seen coming due to Carver’s dislike of him. Nick on the other hand, might as well be an inanimate object considering his almost non-existent part in the story. The only opportunity to actually talk to him, he brushes you off immediately and outside of that he has a sparse few lines of dialogue.

This episode also sees Clementine acting far more unfeeling. She leans towards being angry most of the time which is fair seeing as her current situation isn’t exactly the high life; the contempt on her face is present almost all the way through the episode – even in particularly benign situations. It’s a little disturbing that she’s becoming this way but it might just be a sign that she is growing up.

She’s also becoming eerily aware that she seems to be that one really making all the difficult decisions and carrying them out. There are numerous occasions where you get the opportunity to say things along the lines of “why is it always me”, not to mention when newly introduced characters are taken aback by how much responsibility is thrust upon her. It is an odd situation at any rate, as the other characters almost seem to have no other reason at times other than because she is the main character.

Whereas Clem is the epitome of strong child characters, there is also the troublesome burden that is Sarah. Even with the four extra years in a Zombie-less world, she lacks any of the emotional or situational maturity that has made Clem such an interesting and well written character. It’s not crystal clear whether it’s because she has a learning disability – Carlos briefly alludes to it in the previous episodes – or if her father has coddled and sheltered her too much. Her actions tend to be oblivious to everything that’s going on around her; she acts self-centred and – unfortunately – you never get the opportunity to really set her straight about how she should act. It feels a little cheap the way that she is used to set up situations, as you’d think Clementine would be able to nudge things in the right direction.

This episode – at times, and by no means without merit – is by far the most violent to date. That’s not to say that there is more killing; this goes further with human v human, as by now zombie killing is something that we are all surely desensitised to. Looking back to season one’s caving in of the zombie babysitter’s skull or the possible amputation of a hand, these acts of violence are coming from a point of necessity, whereas two of the most violent outbursts here are there out of the characters’ will.

While one is shown via a more “tasteful” way by virtue of not showing violence in its most full on angle. The other is full on – almost sociopathic – in its depiction; but entirely necessary and uncompromising in showing the darker side of the characters involved. This more graphic event can be bypassed by Clem, but the choice given resonates particularly well with both the changes in Clem’s personality and the hardships that the group has endured.

While there are a sizable amount of memorable moments in this episode, the narrowness and linear nature that it brings make it feel a little less lengthy as there is less exploration and off-topic exposition. It also brings in members of the 400 Days DlC, with what – disappointingly – is little more than a cameo, aside from Bonnie who has more screen time.

critical score 8

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Written by Sean P

I enjoy playing games and I enjoy writing things, so I decided to combine the two. I do bits here and there and have a twitter that mainly just announces things I've done as my life revolves around very little that is truly interesting.

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