The Walking Dead Season 2: Episode 3 – In Harm’s Way Review
At the outset of The Walking Dead Season 2: Episode 3 – In Harm’s Way, Clementine and her new group are prisoners being transported to Carver’s fortress, terrified of what awaits them. Even before their arrival, Kenny is making a ruckus and hatching an escape plan in the transport truck. The group tries to calm him down, and upon their arrival, members of Carver’s group try to convince themselves that it’s not so bad there if you just keep your head down and follow orders; that Bill Carver may be harsh but he does what is necessary to help the group survive.
Soon enough, however, it becomes very clear that he’s a complete madman – beating, maiming and killing anyone that gets on his bad side or steps out of line. In fact, things spiral out of control so fast in this episode that practically the entire compound is planning an escape within a day of Clementine’s group’s arrival. Even if Bill Carver wasn’t a raving, homicidal lunatic, a herd of zombies, possibly numbering in the thousands, are about to make their presence known.
Questions are raised early on – who can be trusted, and is it worth putting everyone’s life at risk for a hastily thrown-together escape plan? In some ways, “In Harm’s Way” plays like a heist film – Clementine is forced to use her small stature to sneak through the enemy compound, retrieving supplies, delivering messages, providing distractions, and scoping out escape routes throughout the pulse-pounding episode. All the while, your progress is impeded by survivors who think that Carver’s place isn’t so bad – there’s plenty of food and supplies to go around after all, and the compound is well-fortified. You’ll have to use your instincts to choose who to trust with important information, lest you be ratted out to Carver by someone looking to save their own skin.
By the end of Episode 3, you’ll absolutely despise Carver, and his fate will be partially left in Clementine’s hands. In fact, Carver is so comically over-the-top evil that it’s hard to believe that one of his own goons wouldn’t have killed him off long ago. Anyone with half a heart with recoil in repulsion at the heinous acts committed by this dictatorial leader – including forcing Carlos to beat his daughter Sarah after she speaks out of turn, ruthlessly murdering a handicapped man, and nearly beating Kenny to death. Players will also be left with a choice between self-preservation and helping others multiple times throughout “In Harm’s Way”; will you throw your fellow survivors to the wolves (or zombies) to save yourself?
There’s not a lot of action in Episode 3, but there are plenty of interesting narrative choices that provide strong characterization. While there are no puzzles and only a few brief moments of zombie-slaying goodness, the dramatic tension is very high throughout. As with previous episodes, Telltale continues to allow the player to create their own version of Clementine. Will she be cold and hardened by past tragedies, or warm and open to others? Will she stick her neck out to help someone in need, or keep her head down and focus on her own survival? For instance, once Carlos is separated from his sheltered daughter Sarah, she’s pretty much completely helpless and distraught. But will offering to help her come back to bite Clem the same way it did when she offered a can of food to a hungry dog?
Telltale’s The Walking Dead continues to impress with “In Harm’s Way”, elevating itself above the AMC show and doing justice to Robert Kirkman’s comic series. With plenty of intense drama and moral dilemmas to deal with, Episode 3 does a great job of moving the story forward while keeping the player on their toes, questioning every pulse-pounding, split-second decision.