In my review of the previous episode, I discussed the disconnect I experienced between myself, and stepping into the shoes of Clementine. Initially, this was a concern, but in time, I slowly started to embrace a new understanding; which seemed to fluctuate back and forth between the somewhat vulnerable perspective of Clementine, and her previous protector, Lee. It was a bi-polar experience which impeded my ability to become emerged in the fiction, however, by the time the final credits rolled, I was feeling confident that this episode was deliberately designed with the intent of transitioning players to an entirely different perspective. As a result, there were a few duller moments, but I also walked away feeling confident that episode two would be an entirely different experience.
Fortunately, my hunch about the transitional direction was spot on. Episode two was an entirely different experience to its predecessor, and arguably, delivered one of the best episodes of the entire series. Going in, this time, I immediately felt as if I was playing from the perspective of Clementine, and as if any sense of displacement had been completely removed. Early on in the episode, there was a scenario where an unknown person entered the safe house while all of the adults are away; leaving Clementine alone to handle the situation. It was at this moment that I realised I had fully stepped into Clementine’s shoes as the circumstances made me nervous; in fact, anxious in a way that I had never experienced with any of the earlier episodes. This was a big win for the writers!
Another concern I had with the first episode was the new cast of characters. Initially, I felt as if I couldn’t relate to them very well, especially as they were so needlessly mean to Clementine. Arguably, this was the point, but I was still surprised at how comfortable I started to feel around them this time round. All of the characters consistently behaved in a believable manner, and I didn’t have any problems empathising with those characters I didn’t particularly like, either. Of course, there were several messed up situations for the new group to deal with, including the introduction of a new foe, as well as an unfortunate accident. The writers never failed to challenge the players emotions, and turn the entire experience on its head; which in turn, lead to the biggest surprise of all.
For the sake of spoilers, I can’t reveal too much information, but you will see the return of an old character in this episode. The genius in the way this is done, however, is that it happens just after you have finally finished going through the aforementioned transition, and are only just feeling comfortable with your new companions. Upon seeing this character, I immediately felt a sense of relief, joy, and anxiety on what I should do next. Immediately, my loyalties were questioned, and I struggled with my decisions thereafter, as a result. With a new social paradigm introduced, the episode proceeds to tackle a few more difficult situations, before permanently turning the entire plot on its head, and thus, establishing the overall direction of where the main story will be going. It was expertly written, and in turn, addresses nearly all of my previous concerns. I am confident that fans will enjoy the direction.
Transitioning to a new lead protagonist, in any narrative, is never an easy task; especially when, in this case, the two roles are not only related, but in stark contrast to one another. I admit that I had my doubts if it could work, at first. However, I also stated that such a transition, if done successfully, would be the type of bold writing that would continue to make this series great. I am relieved to report that the writers have done an excellent job with episode two, and in turn, delivered some of the best writing of the entire series. I didn’t feel as if I was stuck in limbo between Clementine and my previous role as her protector. Each of the scenarios were perfectly suited to her character. I could see the world from her eyes properly for the first time, and it was an entirely different experience. That is an outstanding achievement. There are so many great twists, and it’s good to see the new cast find their feet. If you were sitting on the fence, this episode will drag you back into the world of The Walking Dead.