Warning: There may be some mild spoilers for the previous 2 episodes of this season. Even though I tried to avoid any major spoilers, take caution.
After completing ‘In Harm’s Way’ I felt a sense of hopelessness creep over me — reliving every decision I’ve made and the many deaths that I directly or indirectly caused because of them. Never have I encountered a game that made me replay the game as soon as the credits finished rolling. This is Telltale’s darkest venture into the video game adaption for the comic book series, and anything else they have ever done before it.
It’s time to say goodbye to the doe eyed Clementine we met in a tree house in season one as Lee Everett — she’s long gone. This episode serves as a departure of any innocence that remained from Clementine’s childhood, if you can call it that. Clementine faces many decisions that will leave even the toughest person in the world scarred for life; for example, deciding whether or not to cut off a limb of one of her companions to save their life from a walker bite. There are many parallels that run between this episode and season one of the series, such as: putting on walker guts to stealthily maneuver around a herd, or cutting off someone’s limb in the heat of the moment. The decisions that I’ve made as Clementine, went against everything that Lee was trying to protect her from in the previous season. Since Lee is no longer around to make all of the hard decisions and protect Clementine from all the horrors that lie within this walker stricken world, every single problem that presents itself now rests on her dainty shoulders.
Even though this proves to be Telltale’s darkest episode in the series, it is also the lightest. That light comes in the form of Kumail Nanjiani’s (The Indoor Kids) one armed funny man, Reggie. Reggie serves as the episode’s much needed comedic relief — his quirky jokes and remarks, and overall awkwardness makes for a funny time. Even amidst the group’s dire situation, Reggie pokes fun at his missing arm. Sadly, the episode’s light gets snuffed out swiftly — just like anything else that brings a sliver of hope within The Walking Dead universe.
Carver (voiced by Michael Madsen), the villain of the season, absolutely steals the show with his menacing presence. The second episode only alluded to how bad this cretin can be, while this episode displays what evil he is fully capable of. He’s the most malicious character you have yet to encounter in the series. Yes, even more depraved than the season one’s cannibal owners of St. John’s Dairy Farm. Carver serves as the video game’s equivalent of the comic and TV show’s character, The Governor. Some of the most grimace inducing moments in the entire series, is a product of Carver’s various actions — forcing a loving father to slap his feeble daughter for speaking aloud during one of the villain’s power exerting speeches, being one of them. Carver commands for the player’s attention every time he appears on screen, because of his unpredictable nature. It’s going to be hard for Telltale to one up themselves in future episodes, when it comes to introducing any new villain to oppose Clementine’s group of survivors.
The big pay off for playing season one’s 400 Days is finally here. ‘In Harm’s Way’ brings back the various characters that were first introduced in the season one DLC episode. The characters Clementine encounters this episode, depends on who decided to join Tavia when she came recruiting for members to be a part of Carver’s group, at the end of 400 Days. Although how the characters affect the story is minimal; knowing the characters’ back stories, what motivates them, and how they ended up with Carver, adds an underlying layer to it. I highly recommend playing though 400 Days before starting; if not, you won’t enjoy ‘In Harm’s Way’ to its fullest potential.
My only dominant gripe with this and other episodes in the series is the frame rate’s inconsistency. The screen briefly freezes when choosing a response for the dialogue, or when the camera transitions, and completing actions. Having the screen constantly freezing or loading, disrupts the game’s pacing, and is the only thing that keeps me from being completely engrossed in the episode’s story.
Ultimately, this episode is Telltale’s most optimal piece of work they have delivered to their fans. The replay value of the game is exceedingly high — with the many choices they provide comes a variety of consequences; all of which I want, no, need to see play out. This episode is not for the faint of heart, almost nothing is out of bounds for Telltale. No character leaves this episode unscathed. Telltale are masters at telling a story that is deprived of all hope. The next episode, ‘Amid The Ruins’ cannot come soon enough.
- Big 400 Days pay off
- Comic relief
- The villain
- Frame rate issues