It's only the first episode of the new season to Telltale's horrifically wonderful The Walking Dead episodic series and I'm already all torn up. I gave you my non-spoilery impressions of the episode already. Now let's have a thorough, completely spoilery discussion of the events that transpired in the recent All That Remains episode.
Right off the bat we're reminded of that tough decision we had to make at the end of the last season. Have Clementine kill Lee, or tell her to walk away?
To rewind back to that moment for a second...I told her to walk away. But I had a tough time making that decision. On the one hand, I wanted Clementine to get used to having to make her own tough calls. I suspected she'd be the lead character in the next season and I've played The Walking Dead. I know how this goes down. She'd be in for some really heartbreaking situations, and I wanted to toughen her up. I wanted her to know what it would feel like to force yourself to do the right thing even when it feels so wrong.
But in the end my desire for her to preserve her bullets won out because this is, after all, a game about survival, too. I think this moment sets Season Two up perfectly.
Next we see Clementine and, happily, she's with a few familiar faces. I'm so glad that Christa and Omid are with her. I trust them to care for her like their own. And, what do you know, it looks like they've actually got one of their own on the way, too. They'd understand how to take care of her like real parents.
Just as soon as that sigh of relief is let out, it's sucked back in again. One of those jerks I talked a lot about in my impressions of this episode shows up. She's got greed on her mind and fear in her bones. Her greed makes it easy to point a gun up at me, a little girl who she found trembling in a bathroom stall. Vulnerable. Scared. Her fear makes her stupid. She swings around and shoots Omid dead. In one fear-filled second she decides the life or death of a man she barely even caught the face of. This is a cruel world filled with selfish people. A dangerous combination.
As if that wasn't enough, three shots made one thing clear: Christa blames Clementine for all of this.
The zoom on the gun...
The look of horror on Christa's face where you can see her thoughts running a mile a minute, making deductions about what just happened and discerning who to hate for it...
And the third shot. The shot of Clementine's face. It's a mixture of being sad at Omid's death...
Of shock as she registers Christa's look of accusation...
Of confusion. Of resignation and guilt...
It broke my heart to see her that way. Because Christa doesn't, in the moment of her grief, understand the weight she's putting on Clementine here. Sure, she probably could have been more careful with her own gun. If you ever find yourself in the zombie apocalypse, seriously, don't let your gun out of your sight. But Christa and Omid could've scoped out the bathroom for her. Or they could have decided to not split up for whatever sexy times they were having in the bathroom. Tossing blame around is like an angry monkey tossing its poop around: if you're gonna do it, be prepared for the shit to get everywhere, on everyone.
This is Worst Moment Number One.
The Surprise Attack
16 months later and it's pretty obvious Christa is checked out. She's telling me I need to learn things on my own. I need to prepare. Need to prepare for what? For separating? Seems that way.
Before we can even find out what their exact plans are, everything is upended again. This is The Walking Dead. Nothing gold can stay.
Not even our brand new dog friend.
Once you see Sam you just know...you just know they're gonna kill him off.
But you have to have an opportunity to bond with the dog first, of course. Just to get you all warm and fuzzy before it happens.
I guess I just didn't expect it to happen so soon. And I definitely didn't expect it to go down the way that it did.
I can understand it, though. Have you ever met an abused dog? Even months, maybe even years after rehabilitation in a good home, and some of them are still afraid of newspapers. Of shoes. Of whatever it was their cruel owners used to beat them.
Whatever this poor dog experienced since his family died, we don't know. But whatever it was, it was sure to be awful. His camping site is torn to shreds.
His family is nowhere to be seen.
Except for the one that's been tied up, knifed and zombified. Cause that's better.
And he certainly hasn't eaten in a while. It's why he gets overexcited and knocks the can out of my hands.
That animal instinct can be completely overpowering. And Sam doesn't know Clementine too well. For all he knows, she could be just as ravenous as the scavengers he probably met were. It still sucks that I've lost my best friend a mere five minutes after meeting him, though.
He's turned on me, like everyone else in this friggin' place has. In this cruel world of survival and selfishness, even man's best friend can't be trusted.
Sam's attack is a savage one. It's a breach of trust. And as much as I don't want to fight him, I have to fight back. I am now punching a dog in the face and hating myself for it.
This is Worst Moment Number Two.
The gut-wrenching moment with my friend-turned-enemy doesn't just stop there, though. No, that bond I was so desperate to make with another living being cut down so soon? There's more hurt to bring out of that than just this grizzly fight.
Despite what happened, it still hurts like hell to hear the poor thing whimpering. I know he doesn't know better. I know he's let his instincts override our short-lasting friendship. I know that his trust in people, as much as mine, has probably waned considerably. I can't bear to see Sam like this.
Sam's forced my hand to do something I know is right but feels so wrong. Maybe I should have let Lee teach her that lesson after all.
Can you imagine being that young and living with this memory for the rest of your life? I knew what I had to do. I had to put him out of his misery. Doesn't mean I won't still always feel bad about it.
This is Worst Moment Number Three.
After meeting up with a group of somewhat reasonably, but mostly unreasonably paranoid survivors, Clem gets locked in a shed, open wound and all. They won't even spare any stitches. So, in a panic for her life, she takes matters in her own hands and bravely sneaks into the house to look for the supplies she'd need to stitch herself up.
Let me repeat: to stitch herself up. Can you imagine doing this? As a kid?
In terrible pain and inflicting even more pain on yourself.
Stabbing yourself with a needle four times over while making a plea with yourself to hold out against losing consciousness as your vision blurs and all you want to do is throw up and curl into a ball.
I really don't know that I'd be able to do that. I could stitch someone else up and I could let someone stitch me up. But slicing a needle through my own skin? Multiple times over? If I gathered up the courage to convince my brain to do it, I'm not sure my body would even let me go through with it. I might just let myself pass out.
This is Worst Moment Number Four.
The Final Decision
Oh, Pete. One of the few people who stood by me from the start. He seems honorable, wise, down to earth. He's the kind of survivor I want to stick around with. Plus, he knows how to shoot guns and he's pretty tough and smart.
I hate that this happened to you.
Was he really bit, though? I thought I heard a crunch of some sort...Did he fall or was it the zombie that was trailing him?
I can't tell for sure, but his expression sort of tells me everything I need to know.
Dammit. Not you, Pete. Dammit.
And then of course it comes to this. I have to make a decision.
Do I go left?
To help the guy who still has a few bullets left? The guy who was a jerk to me, even if he did apologise about it? He seems like the kind of guy with bad luck, who makes all the wrong decisions and backs all the wrong people. He seems hotheaded and rash, like he listens to his emotions more than logic. I don't want to go with him, but...
What's my other option? Go right?
With the guy who I feel like I can trust, but who seems to have gotten bitten? How much longer could he possibly have? He also has no bullets...
Playing as Clementine, I'm conflicted.
The survivor in me is telling me to run to Nick because he's not weighed down by a walker bite and lack of ammunition. But the core of me is screaming that I'll always regret leaving Pete, because he's the good guy. He's worth trying to protect. And everything he stands for is worth trying to preserve, even if it is all futile in the end. Even if I know that. It's a decision where, as most decisions in The Walking Dead end up, you're going to lose either way.
This is Worst Moment Number Five.
Feel free to discuss all sorts of spoilers in the comments below. And here's to the next episode, and even more stress and despair.