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

It seems that Telltale Games always hits its stride and greatest excellence in The Walking Dead whenever a season’s third episode comes around. This was true last year with the incredibly depressing Long Road Ahead, and it makes sense, as these are the middle of each season’s overarching plot. And while In Harm’s Way doesn’t hit the emotional lows of last season’s third chapter, there are still plenty of other emotions amped up to 11 that make it yet another high watermark for the series.

If episodes one and two were meant to show Clementine’s gradual evolution from protected child to self-reliant girl forced to grow up way too fast, episode three is the full-on breaking of that dam. Clem is forced to deal not only with some of the grittiest, ugliest facets of life in a zombie apocalypse, but with the harsh realities of what people can turn into and how to deal with them. It’s made me realize how not just she, but myself as the player, have become hardened to this bleak and lawless world now that most remnants of the old one are gone.

This is represented perfectly in the form of Carver, whose cold and ruthless take on survival makes him a villain that rivals both The Governor and Negan in the comics. If anything, he fits perfectly in-between Negan’s method of ultra-violent intimidation and The Governor’s messiah complex. I spent a long time thinking of any other villain in any medium where I understood an antagonist’s reasons, yet so wholeheartedly disagreed and loathed him for the actions he took as a result. I came up empty. It’s hard to outperform the likes of Clementine and Kenny in any episode of The Walking Dead, but Carver absolutely stole the show.

Anger wasn’t all I felt on the roller coaster of emotion that is In Harm’s Way. There were moments of warmth, caution, satisfaction, and even sadness. This is The Walking Dead after all, so of course there are going to be deaths. However, I’m somehow starting to become numb to it all. Or at least they aren’t hitting me as hard as they did in season one. The funny thing is I believe Telltale is making it that way on purpose. To teach me that the longer you dwell down in the rabbit hole, the more desensitized you’re going to become as a result.

Bonnie_Integral_CharacterAlong with the deaths, though, come new survivors. We get to meet Mike, a seemingly nice guy who saved the life of one of your group’s old friends; and Jane, a wild card that feels like a combination of Michonne from the comics and last season’s Molly. Finally, we get to see Bonnie from 400 Days take on a more significant role that makes the DLC’s bridge between seasons feel more significant.

Unfortunately, the rest of the 400 Days characters who made it to the colony are limited to short cameos. It’s a shame since I had grown attached to many of them and found them to be quite likable. There’s the still the possibility that they could play larger roles in the coming episodes – given the fallout at the end of In Harm’s Way – but for now I’m a tad disappointed.

It’s hard to truly penalize this episode based on one small issue that was likely the result of technological limits, though, when we have been given such a dense and heavy message through its narrative. This excellent installment in The Walking Dead series shows us just how far gone this world and, depending on how you play, Clementine, have become. It also makes me personally both worried and scared by how much I like that.


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Author: Mike Murphy View all posts by
Mike has been playing games for over two decades. His earliest memories are of shooting ducks and stomping goombas on NES, and over the years, the hobby became one of his biggest passions. Mike has worked with GamerNode as a writer and editor since 2009, giving you news, reviews, previews, a voice on the VS Node Podcast, and much more.

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