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[Friday Five] Defining Moments from The Walking Dead

In Friday Five by Stew Chyou

Warning: The following contains spoilers and is only meant to be read by those who have beaten all five episodes.

With the recent announcement of Season 2 scheduled for Fall 2013, we look back on some defining moments from Season 1 of Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead.

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What should I sa–WOOOAAAHHH!!!

Episode 2 starts off with a bang where you are introduced to Ben, his classmate, and their teacher with his foot caught in a bear trap in the midst of oncoming Walkers. Returning to the crew’s makeshift motor inn camp, you eventually engage in some serious chatter with Kajaa. As you gloss over the provided response options out of nowhere Kajaa gets jumped from behind immediately forcing you to drop the previous mindset of choice making and scrambling to act quickly.

This may not seem like a true defining moment, but the design choice to shake you up from the expected calm rudimentaries of communicating has never been done before with point-and-clicks. Hopefully, other graphic adventure developers can take example from this when figuring out how to keep their titles from putting people to sleep.

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Oh hai there Mark!

Before sitting down at the dinner table of odd dairy farmers, Mark from the group had gone missing ever since he was taken in to be treated for an arrow through the shoulder. Feigning a need to wash his hands, Lee sneaks into the upstairs’ bathroom discovering that the entire time Mark had been held prisoner – his missing legs giving away the secret ingredient to the main course downstairs.

Rushing back to the group, Lee’s testimonial findings of being in the presence of crazed cannibals is met with doubt until Mark somehow manages to drag what’s left of himself to the dining room, begging for help with his last breath. Amongst the audience are horrified children, Duck having already consumed generous helpings. It’s all so outrageous, you’re almost unsure if you want to laugh. Outside of Red Dead Redemption and the Fallout series, there aren’t many titles that come to mind with the balls to dish out the same brand of in-your-face macabre spectacle.

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Don’t call me a “bitch”!

If you had chosen to rescue Carley in episode 1, she only makes it as far as the midpoint of episode 3. As Kenny tries to loosen a Walker caught under the wheels of the RV, Lilly, the equally aggravating daughter of the late Larry, starts up on argument with Ben and Carley as the group waits on the side of the road. Things get heated until Carley calls Lilly the B word and before anyone realizes what happened, Lilly pulls out her piece and treats Carley to a headshot.

In its brief showing, the scene reminds the player that the world as well as humanity has gone to all hell, as there are no longer any outside fail safes in place to nullify the darkest temptations of human nature. Following this event, players certainly wish swift justice on Lilly, but this isn’t delivered in full as your only choices are to either leave her behind (leaving Lilly’s fate unknown) or to continue having her in the group resulting in her stealing the RV and leaving everyone pissed and helpless.

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The boy in the attic

The presence of Walkers is usually a cause for alarm, but only one does the complete opposite. Scoping out an abandoned mansion in Savannah, the group scours the place for Walkers but only one is found up in the attic. The Walker is that of a little boy, its body frail, weak, and stripped down to its underwear. In trying to get at Lee and Kenny, its nimble legs snap collapsing the creature as it gives off pathetic wheezes and reaches out for just one meal.

The entire situation speaks in volumes of what had transpired for the misfortunate child – having locked himself in the attic in fear and eventually dying from heat exhaustion and starvation before turning. It isn’t until later that the group discovers the corpses of its parents, dead from joint suicide. The zombie genre has always been known for survival horror, portraying the terrifying lengths people would go for relief whether it’d be through violence or deceit. But perhaps the cruelest thing anyone could do is give up and leave a loved one to suffer a fate worse than death. This is certainly a tear jerking contrast to the family photo found downstairs, a portrait of smiles that belies the story of a household who’ve taken so much for granted.

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Lee vs. The Stranger

The final climax is the showdown between a near-death Lee, and The Stranger – an unnamed individual who kidnapped Clementine after many secret conversations held between the two via walkie-talkie over the course of the five episodes.

The Stranger was indirectly encountered at the end of episode 2, the group finds his seemingly abandoned station wagon in the woods with the engine still running and the back compartment filled to the brim with supplies. Justifying survival, the station wagon was raided clean. Well after the group’s departure, The Stranger returns with his wife and the devastating loss led to his family abandoning him only to fall prey to the Walkers.

The Stranger blames Lee and after keeping tabs on his actions throughout the episodes, he deems Lee unfit of being Clementine’s guardian and plans to start a new family with her after removing Lee from the equation. As they sit unmoving across from one another, both gentlemen reveal the skeletons stowed in their closets and mince words of absolution for their actions to a soundtrack of pure silence. It’s here that the player comes to realize that this isn’t going to be a fight for the fate of a little girl, but a duel between two individuals, anguished, pained, strength measured by the degree of how little one has to lose likened to the other. This is where The Walking Dead throws down everything it’s got in its resolve to illustrate the realistic means of how there’s more than one way to obtain a state of living death.

The Walking Dead has not only proven itself to be a great adaptation of the original graphic novels, but it’s taken on a life of its own with riveting characters and an engaging story. With Season 2 coming soon, we can only wait to see what moments will continue to surprise us, scare us, or evoke sympathy from us. Stay tuned for Season 2 of The Walking Dead this fall and be sure keep up with us on our Facebook as we keep you up to date with its developments.

Stew Chyou[Friday Five] Defining Moments from The Walking Dead