The Walking Dead: The Final Season Episode 3
After witnessing the fall of Telltale and the resurrection for The Final Season to pursue the game’s full conclusion, Episode Three exceeds expectations of the previous and sets a good path leading to the last part of Clementine’s story.
Developer – Skybound Games
Release Date – January 15, 2019
Platforms – Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, Nintendo Switch
Freshen up on our review for the previous episode ‘Suffer The Children’, if you are not caught up already.
Back in my Episode Two review I said that the story seemed to be deficient as the direction it took only brought the game to a lackluster cliffhanger compared to the first episode’s conclusion: now playing through the third episode of The Walking Dead: The Final Season ‘Broken Toys’, I can confirm that the final journey for Clementine’s story has put on all cylinders leading to the next and concluding episode for the series’ last season.
[Story Spoilers Ahead]
The plot for Episode Three picks up with the remaining children of Ericson’s Boarding School for Troubled Youth left hopeless and many felt defeated from the devastating raid from the outside raiders. With a majority of the kids taken or some even killed, the adolescents grieve on how south their lives have gone. Despite the grim atmosphere resulting from their defeat the group did manage to capture one of the leading raiders, Abel, and manage to dig out the location for where your friends are being held prisoner.
Planning to break out the captured kids, Clementine and the others scope out a fortified boat not too far from the school. When returning to the school, the group runs into one of the raiders who is later identified as Tenn’s older sister Minerva, which Marlon traded to the raiders for protection prior to Episode One. Where she only asks for Tenn not to be involved for the forthcoming attack to rescue their captive friends.
With the information gather for how to strike the boat, Clementine looks to James to lead a herd of walkers to the boat and sneak their way on. As he is a former Whisperer who can blend with the walkers, he is a necessity towards rescuing the kids from the raiders. But before he gives his help, James makes Clementine see the walkers more than just monsters. Giving her the mask and walking within a crowd condensed in a nearby barn, where she needs to distract them to see James’ point of view. Witnessing the walkers and how they respond to the peal of the wind chime gave a different insight on what these beings actually are. To think twice before killing them as like you would for the living: which also holds as a motif to teach AJ right from wrong that James explains to Clem.
Acts like this is what truly grabbed me for this episode. Unlike the previous episode, the characters have a real interaction without there being a forthcoming conflict to force in a clichéd situation of friendship or even love. A true motion of experiencing the medium and being given a different view point to how the game could be interpreted. Similar emotionally grabbing scenes come into the picture following with a dream sequence before the big mission.
Clementine up to this point have been content with the current events that came her way to give AJ the idea that everything will work out. But when it came for her to sleep, you discover that she dreams of the train ride to Savannah from the first season of the franchise. Looking for one more ounce of guidance from Lee, she projects how scared and unsure she is for the upcoming act. And nostalgia hits you hard if you played the series up to this point chronologically as Lee gives reassuring advice to Clementine. Seeing how grown and matured she has become since their departure at the end of Season One, Lee is proud of how Clementine took on the new world that is set ahead for her.
On top of more touching moments, the remaining act of ‘Broken Toys’ earns the place as one of the most intense conclusions in the franchise. When they effectively siege the guarded boat and climb aboard undetected, the kids plant a bomb to activate shortly after the ship fires up the engine. With the sufficient amount of time given, Clem and the others find the kids with Minerva on guard. Who later turns on the group and locks them up to be dealt with from all the trouble caused. Leader Lilly comes and dictates that the kids will serve for the Delta where they raiders home base is. With not much of a choice or liberty, the Clementine saw this as slavery and effectively breaks out after Lilly takes AJ to the top deck.
The entire altercation in the ship’s brig alone left a heavy blanket of anticipation and intensity from making fast decisions with the implication that this is must be executed wisely. Despite the scene only being about 15 minutes, each minute had my attention and felt to prolong more than it actually is. Though I knew that I can mess up and just reload to the last checkpoint, the urge to do this without any mistakes overtook me from how powerful the situation became.
Sneaking up to the confrontation on the upper deck, Lilly’s raiders also found Tenn during the initial attack and plans to kill AJ in front of him. Tennessee in an attempt to be the hero steals one of the raider’s handguns to intimidate Lilly, but ends up submitting to her after offering to let him kill her. That’s when Clementine jumps in and fights off Lilly. Alvin Jr soon breaks up the altercation with a gun in hand; and the options to shoot Lilly or don’t appear.
This reintroduces James’ statement before that letting him kill will make AJ a monster that he won’t be able to atone from. Choosing to stand down, James takes the gun and this decision results with his life being taken by Lilly as his back is turned. Before they can react the bomb sets off and ends the episode.
For what Episode Three currently stands at, this entire four-hour experience took a toll me towards my expectations for what ‘Take Us Back’ will hold to conclude The Final Season. As I already said, Episode Two is worth the play regardless of it lacking story progression. But ‘Broken Toys’ really have turned my opinion on what the franchise will be left as.
Since the unfortunate closure of the Telltale studio last year and the countless reassuring updates that we will meet the ending of the already started season, Skybound Games with the majority of the former developer are putting all burners on high as they bring the season to an end.