Quoting my good friend V, who inspired this series of posts and whose style I’m totally ripping off here (but hey, if it works, why fix it?):
This is a play-by-play, walk-through of my own game. I wrote about my choices, the process behind making them, along with how I felt at various stages and a glimpse into my inner monologue throughout. It is a recap of my personal Walking Dead journey. If you ever plan on playing this game yourself please do not read it, as I would hate to be held responsible for ruining what could be a memorable zombie caper for you. So, SPOILERS AHEAD.
When I first launched The Walking Dead Season 2, I couldn’t help but remember Lee and all we’d been through last season, the choices we’d made, and whom we’d trusted and who Lee was under my guidance. Of course, I also remembered how it had all ended, with the last choice we made, a choice that to this day I defend: staying behind and telling Clem to run and find Omid and Christa, leaving Lee to die and become a walker instead of shooting him. It wasn’t a choice made to conserve her innocence, to keep her a child for a little longer, but instead because, even if their time together had been relatively short, Lee was in many ways Clementine’s father, and no child should ever have to kill their parents.
But even if I’d forgotten all that happened before, the game had a quick and violent reminder in store for me. The moment it found a savegame from the 1st seasons and DLC, it showed me how things had gone down and how we’d come to where we were now. Thanks a lot…
Starting out Bad
We open up to Clem, Omid and a very pregnant Christa coming up to an abandoned gas station, like there’s any other kind in this infested world. Omid and Christa go into the little boys’ room for a cleanup and to continue their nice chat about possible names for their unborn son, whom Omid already calls Omid Jr., and I have to agree with Christa, it’s a terrible name. Clem goes the Ladies’ Bathroom alone for a quick wash. After setting down her things, we check the stalls nervously, and even now, I was dreading something jumping, but nothing does, at least nothing worse than a toilet left unflushed for god knows how much. Confident everything’s ok, she sets down the gun and takes out the water bottle and cleans her face, but accidentally knocks the bottle down and it rolls into one of the stalls.
The moment Clem walks into the 3rd stall to pick up the bottle, suddenly we heard the door opening and Clem hugged the stall wall and I was right there with her, nervous about our lack of weaponry, the gun still next to the sink. From the way it moves, I realize it’s not a walker, so I calm down a bit; after all, if it’s human I can reason with them, right? Well, first mistake of the season.
It turns out to be a young girl, maybe just a few years older than Clementine. She desperately rifles through Clem’s stuff and grabs the gun. Clem makes a bit of noise and the young mugger notices it, and she orders Clem to come out.
Here’s when the choices come in, we ask who she is, trying to gauge what her attitude is. She replies “None of your damn business!” So bad attitude it is. Clem comes out and faces her, not before asking if the girl will hurt her, to which she replies “Only if you do something stupid”, so really bad attitude here. She keeps asking, sorry, “aksing” about our supplies and no matter how much we insist, she doesn’t believe it, eventually asking for the Clementine’s “D “ cap, but we refuse to give it to her. No way in hell was she taking Clem’s dad’s cap.
With negotiations going from bad to worse, I’m almost relieved to see Omid come in silently, Assassin’s Creed-style; but sadly for him, the door hadn’t played the game and it closed noisily, making the girl jump, turn around and shoot, killing our cool friend Omid, before being viciously shotgunned herself by the grieving Christa.
As she cradles his body, Christa looks at the girl, then the gun and finally Clementine, connecting the dots, and then she gives us the look, the “this is all your fault” look. As Clementine turned her gaze away, I couldn’t help but do the same.
Psycho-Hippie, Qu’est-ce que c’est?
We jump 16 months in the future with Clem and Christa trying to make a fire in the woods on a rainy night, and the first thing I notice is Christa’s no longer pregnant, a single “Oh” escaping my lips as I wondered what might happened, and all the options running through my head ranging from grim to unspeakable.
When the first thing Clem says is “Christa, talk to me…” I wonder for a second if this is how their relationship has been since Omid died, silence and detachment and I can’t help but feel sorry for Clementine, even if I sympathise with Christa, having lost the most important person to her. She doesn’t reply, at least doesn’t talk directly to Clementine, not at first. Instead, she focuses on the campfire and how the wet wood is keeping the flames dim. We ask her what else we can do and she says to find something to burn, before insisting Clem should be the one to do it. We tell her we need a group, people we can trust, because it worked for a long time last time. Sure, there were issues and in the end, it all went to hell, but we survived because we had people to back us up.
According to Christa, the plan is to make it to Wellington, where it’s colder and because of that, it’s apparently safer, but it’ll take months to get there under some pretty bad conditions. We’re given the choice of pressing the point, or saying we miss Lee or Omid. Above all, I missed Lee, and I knew Clem missed him too. We could’ve mentioned Omid, but I didn’t want her to give Clementine the look again, once was enough.
When Christa leaves to find something to burn, we go through the campsite and Clem’s backpack, an in there I found a photo of Lee and one of Ducky’s drawings. I checked the fire and using the lighter in Clem’s backpack I set fire to Ducky’s drawing, the clear loser in the choice between Lee and everyone else. With the paper’s help and a few shoves, the fire comes to life, cooking the not very appetizingly looking spit roasted possum.
Then we hear a noise, people shouting angrily, and as we move closer we see they have Christa and are asking about her group, threatening her. I could’ve told Clem to run, leave her be, but I couldn’t do that to her, not when I felt I’d failed her before with Omid, so I had Clementine pick up a rock and we threw it at one of them, giving Christa time to run, or so I hoped. One of the three men chased after us and I heard a shot and Christa groaning and I thought the worst, but I couldn’t take the time to contemplate it, even less go back and check, not with the psycho hippie running after me, and walkers coming out the woodwork. After a long struggle, we manage to push off Psycho-Chong into a walker, but while trying to escape from the rest of them Clem slips and falls into the river, going violently downstream.
Clementine wakes up the next morning and without wasting time, we go look for Christa, as unlikely as it is to find her, but then we find a dog who seems to be looking for something, or someone. We try to pet him but it’s clear he’s not our biggest fan, and besides, no one likes strangers touching you for no reason. Before the dog can show us just how displeased he is with our petting, something catches his attention and walks away and we follow, and he doesn’t seem to mind. We come up to an abandoned camp, all the tents slashed to ribbons. A discarded photo tells us this is where the dog lived with his family. After playing a round of Frisbee with the dog, to get him on our side, we find, thanks to his growling, there’s a walker tied to a tree with a switchblade stuck in his right arm. Clem comments he might’ve tried to cut the bite out, but “it never works” and I remember my good pal Lee.
Despite being tied up and cut up, the damn walker just won’t let us get the knife, so we take care of him…by smashing him over the head with a thick branch, repeatedly, until he stops moving. We’re given the choice of going through his pocket, but I felt it wasn’t worth the risk, not even if he had a Mars bar in it, a cure for our current rumbling tummy; but we do pull out the knife.
Looking around the remaining hotspots, we manage to find a can of beans, and using the knife, we open it and eat a bit of them and share a bit with the hungry looking dog, and that’s where the dog poo hits the fan. In his eagerness the dog makes the can fall out of your hands and goes at it, trying to eat it all, so we push him aside, telling him to share, but then he goes batshit crazy, hunger and desperation in his eyes and he jumps Clementine, clamping down on her arm and worrying. Clem screams and punches him. He lets go but tries to jump Clem again, so she pushes him, sending him flying over a log and landing with a thud and some desperate whines. Standing up, and in pain, we check what’s happened to him, and when we pushed him, he landed and was impaled on two camping spikes the family set up around one of the tents.
The dog is in terrible pain, and despite what he did to Clem, I know he’s not evil, he was hungry and desperate, and we just couldn’t let him die a slow and excruciating death, so we did the only thing we could and ended it for him, as quickly as possible, my hands trembling as much as Clem’s did, both of us hurt and sad.
But this isn’t a world where you can sit down and reflect on your choices, especially when the dog’s whining and the freshly spilled blood act as beacons for the moving corpses. So, before they could come after us, Clem runs out of the camp and into the woods, but because of the shock from the dog’s bite, she collapses near a rock, getting some well-deserved shut-eye, waking up maybe a few minutes later when said corpses come waltzing from all around to get at her. She painfully and groggily picks herself up and shuffles away, but she’s not fast enough, too dazed to run. When one of them is about to get her, she’s saved by two men using crossbows, Luke and Pete.
Luke lifts Clem in his hands and carries her as we walk towards their camp, asking her a few questions, and Luke mentions the name “Carver”, but doesn’t elaborate. The moment he notices the bite, he drops her like she’s radioactive, freaking the hell out. Pete calms him down and, after taking a look at the bite, asks Clem to tell him the truth and we did. The best way to get out of this situation, alive, is to be as honest as possible. Pete asks us to tell him it was a dog bite while looking him in the eye, so he can tell if we’re lying, and we do, passing his built-in Bullshit Detector’s test. Luke isn’t convinced, but we go on our way to their camp, but Clem’s too weak to make it there and collapses.
This isn’t Camelot
When she wakes up she’s surrounded by the Dickhead Round Table, I mean, Pete and Luke’s group, and they’re arguing what to do about her, with most of them very willing to put a bullet through clementine, the pregnant one being particularly vicious about it. Then the doctor, Carlos, comes out of the house and takes a look at Clem’s arm, announcing he didn’t know if it was a human or dog bite, making me seriously question his medical degree. The others vote to put Clem down, but Luke and Pete intervene and in the end, they decide to put her in the shed. If she managed to survive the night without “the fever setting in”, they’d patch her up, and I knew right then that Carlos was setting us up, because without proper treatment, that deep wound was going to get infected and Clem would develop a fever.
Clem must’ve had the same thought because she decided we must escape the barn and look for supplies to patch her up, and I was right behind her, probably more scare than she was about being caught by the Round Table. There are many ways inside the house, but from the stairs leading to the porch I knew the house would have a crawl space so we went that way, prying loose a board covering a hole. I worried a walker might come in that way, but between Clem’s health and their safety, well…fuck’em. We came up in a small closet and made our way upstairs, and by chance, I chose the first door on the right, where Sarah, Carlos’ extremely innocent daughter (who’d shown up during her dad’s “examination” but was told to go inside) is reading her book. It doesn’t take much begging, but a few promises of friendship, to get her on our side so she’ll give us the Peroxide. She seems like a sweet kid and one I wouldn’t mind Clem being friends with, to be honest.
Next room up is the bathroom, where we find a needle. Before we can leave, the pregnant one nosily climbs the stairs, and we hide in the closet while she comes in and washes her face, commenting to herself that she hopes the baby “is his”, and an evil “the plot thickens” grin crossed my face, knowing I had some ammunition to use against her when the time came.
After she leaves, we go to the last room, a bedroom where we find some cloth to use as bandages.
The way back is tense, fearing discovery on the way out of the room and down the stairs and even on the way to the shed, but nothing happens and I sigh relieved for Clem, but the serious look on her face lets me know she’s not planning to relax.
The minutes after we returned, while Clementine painfully sutured her wound, screaming in pain as the needle goes through skin and flesh to close the gash, were the most excruciating of the entire episode. By the end, she’s exhausted and I am proud of her and audibly voiced my nomination for Clementine as the most badass female character of 2013, possible 2014 as well with the season going well into the year, but let’s go back to the story.
Clem doesn’t have much chance of relaxing, as usual, because as soon as she’s done, a walker comes in, crawling through the hole we made in the shed on our hunt for supplies. We fight it desperately, throwing bricks and whatever we have on hand, but it’s useless and he jumps us, trying to get that bite in. We struggle with it until we push him into a large metal thing on the wall, possible an anchor or something similar, but it’s not dead yet, so Clem picks up a hammer and bashes the damn thing’s head in, and is usual in the genre, “the authorities” only show up when all is done, but at least they recognize how tough my girl Clem is. And when they accuse us of stealing from them, we look them straight in their pathetic eyes and tell them “Yes, because you weren’t helping!”
There wasn’t much objection after that.
Once inside, “doctor” Carlos patches Clem up, which here means putting some proper bandage on her, since she’d already done the suturing, the only comment Carlos makes on it, when they find her in the shed with the walker, is her “technique needs some work”…asshat. Before leaving, however, he explains how “special” his daughter is, how she wouldn’t take the world if she knew just how bad it is, and says that the one thing he knows for certain is Clem “is not to be trusted”, and right then I wanted to jump in side and bash his head against the kitchen sink.
But it’s not all bad because our new friend Luke gives us some food, and one of the Round Table members, Nick, the one who almost shot us when we first got there (forgot to mention that little fun tidbit), comes up and asks for Clem’s forgiveness and we find out more about him. We tell him it’s all good, that we understand, and we do; he was just scared and trying to protect his people, we can forgive assholery for such reasons.
Before he leaves, Luke invites us to stay for as long as we like and as much as I like Pete and Him, and even apologetic Nick, I want us out of these ASAP. I don’t trust these people, and when “the bitch” comes in and gives Clem an earful and says she’s outstayed her welcome, I wanted to ask, “Who’s the baby’s dad?”, to let her know we knew, but I decided it wasn’t time…yet. When she left, I was ready to whisper “let’s GTFO as soon as the sun rises, Clem.”
Things don’t go that way.
The next day, Clem joins Pete and Nick as they go hunting for food down by the river, witnessing some of their family drama and we tried to lower the tension by telling Pete that Nick apologised and we were ok, but they still fight and Nick goes ahead, calling after us a minute later, just as soon as Pete is finished telling us their story, how he’s Nick’s uncle but because his dad was a prick, Pete had to be the parent and couldn’t be “Fun Uncle Pete”.
Instead of some delicious seafood, we find vulture chow. There are about ten people there, shot in the head. Nick doesn’t like it and wants to go back but Pete insists we look over them and we agree. If they’d been shot in the head, it meant whoever killed them didn’t want them to rise, and were probably a dangerous group of people, so looking through the corpses might give us some precious information; and besides, there could be survivors. The name Carver gets dropped once more, and this time I hoped it was a real name and not a title, maybe for something he enjoys doing.
In fact, looking around we find one such survivor, but right next to him we find Clem’s backpack, which she’d left in the camp before the fun river ride, and that meant this guys was one of those who attacked Clem and Christa.
He’s weak and asks for water and I didn’t even need time to think. We pulled out the bottle and let him have some water, because no matter how evil they were, we’d never stoop to that level, always being the bigger and better people.
We ask about Christa, but before we can get a reply, Pete yells out. A walker’s hanging on his leg, but he pulls back, but even from where we are, we can see something’s wrong with his leg, and it looks like a bite. Then we turn around and see Nick’s in a similar predicament, and then we get the last choice in the episode: whom do you go to, Nick or Pete? I’m ashamed to say I reacted just as their group had when they saw the bite…I went to Nick and the three of us stood there watching while the walkers tore Pete to pieces.
As the episode closed and I saw what was coming next, I could only hope things turn out for the best for sweet Clementine in the future. But I’m not holding my breath. Episode 2’s preview tells me someone we thought was dead is actually alive, and I’m hoping it’s my pal Kenny (even if I’m 99.99% sure he’s dead)…if it’s Lily, this time I’m making sure she’s dead before I leave her ditched on the road…I probably won’t, I don’t want that on Clem’s conscience.