I was uttering curse word after curse word as I played the latest episode from Telltale’s The Walking Dead series. In Harm’s Way indeed, as this was easily one of the most brutal episodes to date, and I loved every second of it. I can safely say that In Harm’s Way is my favorite episode this season, and maybe the entire series.

In my previous reviews of episode one and two, I kept claiming the episodes were setting up for the future. The first episode was almost all setup and the second one was mostly setup until the very end. Episode three is not setup. There may be some new characters introduced, but this episode is all story and action from the first second to the last. But before we get into the nitty-gritty, because it is gloriously gritty, let’s get usual stuff out of the way first.

the walking dead season 2 episode 3 in harms way Carver

The animation style and gameplay are still the same. In Harm’s Way is a point-and-click adventure that relies heavily on the intense conversational choices. The graphics are still cel-shaded to represent the game as if a graphic novel or cartoon. Sadly, there are still some technical issues: trouble with frame-rate, tearing, pop-in textures and other small hiccups. They distract from the game, albeit not too much, but seeing these issues occur repeatedly in the series is starting try my patience.

In Harm’s Way starts almost immediately after the second episode ended. Giving slight spoilers from last episode, the group now finds themselves in the compound of Carver and his people. Carver – voiced by Michael Madsen – is still a superb villain. It won’t take long for you to spite him even more than last episode. He had some crazy moments, but when he explained his actions you could see a string of logic there which held them together. I felt some of them were a little too cliché for my taste, but at the very least, it is a better explanation for what he does besides the ever flimsy, “oh he’s just crazy.”

Carver certainly causes a majority of the tension in this episode, but there are plenty of other factors that will make you tense up with worry. I was hit with tough decisions almost immediately. People were already asking me to trust them and I wasn’t sure if I should. I was stuck in a compound, so do I play nice and wait for my chance? Or do I resist the entire time and fight them every step of the way? Do I cover for someone when they messed up, or should I throw them under the bus to keep Clementine safe? There were many tough decisions that had immediate repercussions to what I chose.

the walking dead season two episode 3 in harms way

Some episodes you are given decisions that make you nervous, but you aren’t even sure if they matter. For instance, in the last episode you had to choose who to sit and eat food with. Does that really matter in the long run, or is that just supposed to give you social anxiety? In Harm’s Way your decisions could cause quite a few scenarios, but almost always someone will be getting hurt…really hurt.

In Harm’s Way is brutal in its delivery and it evokes a lot of emotion out of you. The second you think the episode will lighten up it only darkens. There were times where I wish I could stop what was happening, but I couldn’t, and that was the point. I had to watch the cruelty unfold on screen and feel helpless along with Clementine. Then there were other times where you were on the vicious side of things. Are you happy watching people suffer, or do you hide from it? And there’s always the question of whether it was it right or wrong? This isn’t the format for that moral and ethical debate that every episode (TV series and video game) raise, but deciding to go along with the suffering or resisting against it will steer Clementine in a new direction.

This is one of those episodes that you can clearly see the branching directions that you can steer the protagonist towards. In Harm’s Way presents two apparent paths: one is the sweet, innocent Clementine that I believe most players view her as. The second is a young girl being twisted by the Darwinist world she now lives in. There are options that paint this picture clearly, but there are also subtle answers which can be more striking to you in the long run. You can tell someone “thank you” in a sweet voice, or shrug it off with a nonchalant “it was nothing.” That may not seem like a big deal, but the tone and inflection means everything. Clementine is starting to change. In Harm’s Way is brutal in very open ways, but the subtext of Clementine slowly building a façade struck me equally as hard.

the walking dead season 2 episode 3 in harms way clementine

There was one main problem that annoyed me. It didn’t have to do with the particular episode, but the series on a whole, and how it connects the episode. In the end of A House Divided you had to make quick but tough decisions that would cause someone to live or die. I was excited to see what these characters would do in this episode, and inversely, I was looking forward to seeing how other characters would react with certain individuals missing. I have multiple playthroughs for this exact reason, and calling it a letdown is an understatement.

I admit I didn’t expect a character that I let live to suddenly take on a demanding role, but I at least expected them to make an appearance. I made sure to keep two characters alive in episode two only so they could be put off-screen for a majority of this episode? It was like they were dead anyways, and even when they were dead, no one really cared. There might have been one extra line, but the impact of decisions I made in the last episode didn’t really carry through in episode three. That’s a letdown for me, especially when Telltale always proclaims your decisions matter, and they might for a minute or two, but in the long run your decisions are washed away in the plot that has been predetermined. So far at least, I could be wrong, but we’ll have to wait and see.

the walking dead season 2 episode 3 in harms way

In Harm’s Way is brutal in every way imaginable. There was never a hopeful smile passed between two characters. There were only glares, disagreements, and woeful weeping. One of the first decisions I made got Clementine slapped across the face. That opened my eyes instantly and I took this chapter very serious from there on. In Harm’s Way may be so brutal you don’t even wish to play it a second time, or maybe you will, to try and see if you can prevent a character from experiencing such turmoil. Telltale has done it again, and made each episode better than the last. If they can keep that pattern up, I can not imagine what they have in store for us next episode.

This review is based off a review copy of the PC version of The Walking Dead: Season 2 Episode 3 In Harm’s Way Developed and distributed by Telltale Games. 

Superbly Brutal | The Walking Dead: Season 2 Episode 3 - In Harm's Way Review
Overall Score9
  • Brutally Entertaining
  • Intense Action
  • Nerveracking Moments
  • Technical Issues Still Persist
  • Some Cliche Moments
  • Past Decisions Didn't Matter In a Meaningful Way
9Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)

About The Author

Neil has had a passion for video games ever since the Atari entered his life so many years ago. He's been writing about them for over two years and sees no end in sight. Reach out to him on twitter @nconnors13