It’s the simple, subtle human moments in The Walking Dead’s newest episode, A House Divided, that struck home the hardest. A young girl caught in between warring adults slams her hands over her ears, forces her eyes shut and hunches forward to escape the expectation that she should have to pick a side between two adults whose care she depends on. A man stands down from everything you would expect of him when someone he loves is put at risk. A woman wonders about the past of the man she trusts most. These are the kind of moments that The Walking Dead excels at, and Season Two Episode Two knows how to deliver them in just the right way. There are moments of quiet and peace that allow characters to loosen up, there are tense moments of stressful split second decision making and there’s the kind of relief that for a while made me so happy that I forgot to expect the worst of a series that is known for pulling the rug from under my feet.

If Episode One was about surviving the dead and the untrusting living, Episode 2 is about learning how to trust others, and the inherent risks of coming to rely on anyone no matter how much you trust them.

One of my biggest complaints about Episode One of The Walking Dead’s second series was it’s lack of discernible direction. There were hints to our villain for the series, a man ominously named Carver, but we never really got a sense of what he was after, what he was capable of, or why we should fear him. Thankfully, Episode Two introduces us to Carver in a scene that serves to simultaneously show how much Clementine has grown as a character and how incredibly vulnerable she still is. She’s smart enough to stand her ground in ways that avoid antagonizing Carver, but she’s constantly at the whim of his manipulative nature and intimidating size. She may be smart, but she’s still a child trying to deal with evil twisted adults who have a lot more experience than her at getting what they want.

This episode however was not without it’s issues, particularly when finding gameplay for Clementine to take part in. While it made sense for Lee in Series One to enter buildings first and tackle any enemies he found or to be the one to risk himself in dangerous situations, it’s rather jarring to watch a group of adults expect Clementine to take those kind of risks rather than doing so for themselves. It’s done to give the player things to do in the episode, but it’s a slightly worrying sign for the rest of the series that they’re already stretching the believably of their narrative in order to give you things to do. Clementine in this episode feels most interesting as a character when making choices like whether or not to hug someone or whether to stay silent when demanded to pick sides, being placed in risky situations felt a little more at odds with playing the role of this young girl.

This newest episode thankfully does a good job of humanizing it’s new cast members better than the first episode did, fleshing them out into a cast that’s much more understandable in its motivations. This is interestingly handled when they meet a separate group of survivors, as I was finally starting to build a bond with the current group and the tensions involved in meeting this other group made for quite a difficult set of emotions to deal with.

This episode of The Walking Dead ends on an amazing set piece scene that lines the series up for quite a substantial change in setting and tone, one that has me incredibly interested in the strained social dynamics set to play out in the next episode. The preceding section of very literal calm before the storm really does a good job at controlling pace so that things ramp up in just the perfect way.

All together, The Walking Dead – Season Two Episode Two is incredibly well handled as a continuation of Clementine’s story, but it has a few moments where she is expected to do things that drew me out of the experience briefly and make me worry a little for where the gameplay of future episodes might be heading. It’s a fantastic story, one of the best the series has done, but It’s causing me to go into Episode Three with some caution.

Review: The Walking Dead – Season Two Episode Two "A House Divided"
While The Walking Dead's latest episode is a great story and an important step forward for the series, some of the gameplay expected of Clementine doesn't fit her position in the narrative.
Pros
  • Great Introduction of Series Villain
  • Clementine Can React Like a Child
  • Incredibly Tense Set Piece
Cons
  • Some of Clementine's Gameplay Seems Unfitting
9Overall Score
Reader Rating: (3 Votes)
9.6

About The Author

Founding Member

Laura’s gaming journey began in the 90′s when she was given a SNES by her older brother with Mario paint. From that day video games were all she thought about day or night, be it playing them, designing them, discussing them or writing about them. Why does she want to write about indie games? Because indie devs are awesome and she wants to be their new best friend by telling them how terrible their games are. That’s how it works right? Twitter: @LauraKBuzz Email: Laurak@indiehaven.com

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