Life Is Strange's Last Episode Turns It Into A Horrible Nightmare

Life Is Strange's Last Episode Turns It Into a Horrible Nightmare

Things get pretty messed up the closing chapter of the Life is Strange saga. At times, Polarised can even feel like a straight-up horror game -- which is new!

Some episode 5 spoilers follow.

From the get-go, things get disturbing in episode 5. Max is captured by Mr. Jefferson, she's drugged, she needs to find a way out. So Max does what she always does: she rewinds time. Over and over again, she redoes choices she's made in the past, all in the hopes of getting out alive and fixing things. And for a second, it almost seems like she succeeds in saving Chloe and Arcadia Bay. That's when everything starts to break down.

Max finds that, even though she makes the "right" choices, she can't escape a time-loop where everything, down to the smallest detail, is completely messed up. Here's a random poster she can look at during this sequence, for example:

Life Is Strange's Last Episode Turns It Into a Horrible Nightmare

Even the dialogue becomes distorted. At one point, Max goes up to Mr. Jefferson after class, just like she did in the first episode -- but these are the only things she can say to him:

Life Is Strange's Last Episode Turns It Into a Horrible Nightmare

And if you happen to check your texts during this segment of the game, you'll find all sorts of bizarre messages. Yes, this is Max getting a text from a friggin' dog:

Life Is Strange's Last Episode Turns It Into a Horrible Nightmare

This hilarity is followed-up by a bit where Max becomes trapped in her own dorm room. Nearly every door she tries leads back to the start of the hallway. It's a segment that seems to take a page from P.T....only there are no foetus babies in a sink here, I'm sad to report.

Life Is Strange's Last Episode Turns It Into a Horrible Nightmare

I don't even know what to say about THIS part of the episode:

Life Is Strange's Last Episode Turns It Into a Horrible Nightmare

In a later segment, Max has to make her way through a hellscape without getting caught. The dream-like sequence is populated by men she knows in real life, and they all have fucked-up things to say. Here's Mr. Jefferson, for example:

Life Is Strange's Last Episode Turns It Into a Horrible Nightmare

[Source: frostedsmoothie]

Life Is Strange's Last Episode Turns It Into a Horrible Nightmare

[Source: frostedsmoothie]

Yeeeeeah. Like I said: the entire thing is completely off the rails. Everything isn't executed perfectly -- the sneaking section is a real chore to play through -- but the nightmare sections of episode 5 are still a potent exploration of Max's insecurities and fears. It's all going down as one of the most memorable sections of Life is Strange thus far, at least for me.

And for those of you that are chomping at the bit, hoping to talk in detail about the episode as a whole: we'll have a more in-depth exploration of the ending later this week, when more people have had a chance to play it. I have a feeling this episode will be...very divisive.


    Really can't wait for this to show up in some PSN sale at some point. Really itching to play this.

    Max was always a frustrating character to play because the game only allowed you to make choices that such an anxious person would actually make. it was fantastic writing and structure by making it this way however i ope the last episode shows some character growth; Max is probably the least assertive person on the planet (or game character on the vurtual map.) I cant wait to ply the latest episode, thanks for keeping this article relatively spoiler free.

    Yeah the last episode was extremely satisfying and enjoyable. I liked the fact that it went to dark places. A few minutes in to the game and Jefferson said the C word. I was like woah... I'm glad it didn't go fully dark (like show someone being raped or tortured) but it danced around it in a respectful way that is rarely seen in video games these days. I also agree that the most disappointing thing about Life is Strange is Max's character. Considering she has power of time and space you think she could be a bit more assertive or tough sounding when talking to characters. Even when you threaten characters in this episode she just sounds like a blank canvas when the voice actor reads out her lines. Maybe this was done intentionally since "all max's" are supposed to be different but it still irked me how calm her voice sounded at parts where she's either in extreme danger or the world is literally being torn apart around her.

    Out of the two endings, it's obvious which one is supposed to be canon considering it goes for a lot longer and has a lot more detail put into it.

      I kind of agree with you (the presence of a certain colour and a certain animal in the longer ending kind of gives it away) but the shorter ending (which I chose) felt more 'real' to me. I thought, Max has gone through time over and over and over again for one reason. It can't all be for nothing. I took it as a reflection upon the human condition.

        I think the sacrificing Chloe ending is the real ending because Chloe was meant to die in that bathroom. The only reason Max was able to prevent it was through time travel and through doing so she started a chain of events that lead to her constantly messing up the time stream over and over again to set things right. Like the ending, when you remove Chloe living from the picture everything else just falls into place. Nathan gets arrested, dobs in Jefferson and Kate gets closure and doesn't kill herself + The town lives. The Arcadia bay option just felt way too selfish. I'm pretty sure everyone else dies (Warren, Joyce etc) so you're literally choosing Chloe over thousands of lives... No way Max or Chloe could live with that decision.

          I thought it an interesting dilemma about how we recognise 'destiny' and 'inevitability' as well as being responsible for our actions. The power of love can make people do things that others would deem reckless, selfish or downright evil. My personal view was that Max had had enough of being told she was responsible for wrecking time and reality, and decided that whatever happened, she was not going to let her partner die. It was quite a relatable feeling for me. I sometimes feel that, as a father, I would crush and destroy any number of innocent people's lives without a thought if by doing so I could save my children from dying. Does that make me evil? Quite probably. But I'd still do it.

          As players, we could rationalise the situation by balancing Chloe's life against the lives of the residents of Arcadia Bay, but I'm not so sure that Max, as a character, would be quite so sanguine about it. Perhaps it says something about the power of video games that we can both step into the protagonists shoes and invest her with our personal values with little difficulty. Giving us the choice forces us to either rationalise the decision as a player, or to roleplay Max and respond as we imagine she would. I think it is the true beauty of the medium revealed, as opposed to something like film.

            I think the problem with Max as a character is that she has no real character. Whether or not this is deliberate since the player is in control of her choice making decisions, I found it really hard to be empathetic with her when in most situation she sounds disinterested or how she never sounds like she's actually in distress. Her reaction to when Chloe found Rachels body - OMG I AM SO SORRY - felt forced and so fake.

            Would've been a nice touch (if not impossible) to have Max's attitude and way she deals with problems evolve through the players choices. Rather than have her as a blank slate that sounds disinterested to the things that are going on around her. I also didn't like how both Warren and Chloe are presented as subtle romance options but you Max always dances around the option rather than ever saying something or committing to it. This is especially true towards trying to get her to romance Warren. It actually felt wrong because no matter how hard you try, Max genuinely treats/talks to Warren like he's a lamppost and not someone she has romantic feelings for.

    Man this episode was a real tug to my heartstrings I ended up getting Victoria killed as well by warning her about Nathan(of course that was fixed through time travel to) But the dream sequence was different from the game at one point I went through a door and came out the other side as Victoria. I definitely liked the interactive story elements and by the end the last decision was the most hardest to make.

    No mention of the hundreds of birds splattering themselves on the classroom window? Because that's going to give me nightmares for days.

      That was disturbing.

      But the Ministry of Silly Walks made up for it :-)

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