Review: The Walking Dead Season 2: Episode 3 — In Harm’s Way

Telltale’s incredibly popular side story in Robert Kirkman’s award winning franchise continues further with Clementine as she overcomes various hardships and trials. The third episode in the second season, titled In Harm’s Way, moves forward with the murderous and forceful Carver adding even more members to his “safe” stronghold. While the last installment was able to surprise us with familiar faces, this episode focuses on an actual human threat that the story has desperately needed. The child protagonist is more than just an onlooker, getting her hands dirty, and doing everything in her power to survive, all of which creates an interesting plot.

In Harm’s Way tells the story of little Clementine better than ever, with far more violence and savagery coming from the living side of the world. William Carver, voiced by Michael Madsen, is a fantastic antagonist, displaying a similar tone to that of The Governor. He seems to be reasonable to those who follow the rules and do what they are told, but step out of line and you’ll be punished severely. There’s one fascinating moment when he has a sit down with Clementine, explaining why he does what he does. This is a moment that I hope our unsuspecting protagonist takes with her as, while he can be cruel and unjust, there needs to be someone like him to ensure survival and “order.” Regardless, at the end of the day, though, Carver is just another controlling psychopath that’s a threat to everyone.

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As standard, the third episode in the second season is roughly an hour and a half long. The pacing is strong, starting off meeting new faces and ending with a bang. The only real significant complaint with In Harm’s Way is that it’s difficult to grasp the new location and its tenants. Carver’s “community” seems like a large one, but Telltale confines Clementine to very specific areas, never really giving her the whole picture. Even characters, many being pulled from the outcome of 400 Days, are just thrown in at random to give quick one-liners and not necessarily establishing them as contributing individuals. It ultimately feels like a prison that you’ve been brought into and the most you get to see is the cell and the courtyard.

There are a couple new characters introduced, but only two actually make a difference. One is a badass survivalist woman who’s reminiscent of Molly, but a little more frightening, and a grumpy generic man who doesn’t have much characteristics outside of the scar on his cheek. These could be intriguing additions into the group, and considering how fast people seem to drop, it’s never a bad thing to have new faces. The ending of In Harm’s Way is quite possibly the best and most significant moment in the entire season thus far. It’s just the shocking suddenness of the event that really took us aback, throwing Clementine and her friends into a moment that’s not easily forgettable. With zombies being something in the background for so long, you forget how quick things can turn bad, and the sickening acts that need to be done in order to survive.

The core gameplay element remain the same here, with hammering on one button to struggle against a Lurker, and maneuvering around the environment while observing everything that has an icon. It’s roughly the same amount of encounters with the undead and interactions with living people, with a stronger focus on the latter. The script is somewhat predictable, although there are some real tense moments that will change depending on your choices. Unfortunately, like the last episode, it feels like a lot of the choices are inconsequential to the hour and a half long piece of content, and is setting something up rather than giving us any results. There’s really only one part that seems to have an impact from a choice made in the previous episode.

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Closing Comments:

The Walking Dead Season 2: Episode 3 – In Harm’s Way is another strong addition into an already compelling universe. While the new setting is shallow and lacks much exploration, it’s the phenomenal storytelling and new characters introduced that help compel the player to move forward. While it can be a short episode, those precious minutes are met with tense and well scripted events that will leave you with your jaw firmly planted on the floor. The story that Clementine traverses is a sick and disturbing one, but one that’s worth being told.
score4
Version Reviewed: PC