Editor’s Note about Spoilers:

Jose reviewed the three previous episodes in the series very much in the traditional game review style. However, I approached this episode similar to how a TV show is reviewed. This means that I discuss the contents of the episode, and previous episodes, in great detail. Spoilers are talked about frequently. If you haven’t played the game and you care a lot about going into the experience fresh, then this might not be the review for you. 


 

Bloody Mary stalks toward Bigby slowly, menacingly. She’s holding the Woodsman’s fabled axe in hand. He’s down, defenseless. She gets up to him, takes a swing and Bigby wakes up to a new nightmare: the current state of both Fabletown and himself. Dr. Swineheart is yanking bullet shards out of him, with Snow and his friend Colin watching. They’re horrified, but he says he’s sustained worse. It’s a lie. The silver bullet Mary shot him with is inhibiting his healing factor. Eventually he gets sick of his broken arm flopping around, and snaps it back into place himself, instead of waiting for the Doctor.

He’s not doing so well.

His condition is comparable to the overall quality of episode 4. It has been an incredibly strong series thus far, with no giant missteps ever really taking place. Episode 4: In Sheep’s Clothing is a lull comparatively, though it still manages to showcase some character growth with how Bigby is treated. Bigby is left in bad shape at the end of episode 3. This episode shows that it’s not just Bigby who is having it rough. Fabletown’s dirty secrets are revealed to be worse than previously thought, and everyone seems to be under the influence of the infamous Crooked Man.

While I’ve praised earlier episodes for having great pacing, the penultimate episode turns things down quite a bit. Scenes move so much faster and with greater purpose in previous episodes, whereas in this one Bigby and gang all seem to all have different opinions on what to do and how to do it. There’s no tension or excitement left in the story at this point, especially compared to previously things like the countdown to find Crane providing a sense of urgency.

Instead, scenes change aimlessly and only ever provide background info that isn’t very important at this point. Yeah, it’s interesting that the ribbons the female fables wear around their necks prevent the wearer from talking about certain things, and that removing it kills them. But this is little more than a callback to the first episode, when a ribbon is discovered in Faith’s mouth.

wolf4-bns

Having Bigby visit the butcher shop to discover what Beast has been delivering ended in a very similar way. The setup for this is so good: there’s a butcher shop, mysterious packages and a meat locker so stocked that Rocky could train for several years. Everything is pointing to a bizarre or gruesome discovery, but learning that the Crooked Man is enslaving people to create glamors is incredibly disappointing. This would have had much more impact early on in the story, but at this point I already know things are horrible in Fabletown. And Bigby just got the biggest beatdown of his life at the end of last episode. It’s personal now, it’s about getting back at bloody Mary and the Crooked Man. The climactic high-point from Episode 3 is essentially fumbled leading into this one. It’s as if the writers decided to wrap up a bunch of semi-loose ends — as far as very specific information goes — by just listing it off one after another during this episode.

Snow accompanies Bigby a lot the last two episodes, and her presence works much like a moral compass. My actions are always toned down and less brutal than when left by myself. Episode 4 has Bigby going solo most of the time, and after the beating he took at the end of last episode, going at things passively no longer seems like the appropriate option.

“Going at things passively no longer seems like the appropriate option.”

Because of this I found myself acting more aggressive and doing things just to create more dramatic scenes. For instance, when Beauty and Beast are asking Bigby to kill the Crooked Man so they won’t have to worry about ratting him out, I decided to just turn around and silently stare at them instead of respond. Leaving them wondering is empowering. It is almost as if I was saying “I’m doing this for me; I don’t really care about what happens to you.” Without Snow’s gaze I’m also free to explore some of the more violent options available to Bigby. After he and the Woodsman finish fighting the Jersey Devil, I decided to stomp on the injured creature to get him to shut up. I also wanted to send the message that I wasn’t messing around with these people anymore; that there’s no more holding back.

“I’m doing this for me; I don’t really care about what happens to you.”

Right after this happened is another instance in where a character in The Wolf Among Us has shown great character development. The Woodsman is introduced originally as a drunk and a hot headed person overall. His cowardly side makes an appearance later in the first episode, and even more recently we see him in Episode 3 as a defeated person who feels guilty about having a semi-romantic relationship with Holly’s sister. Woody and Bigby have a total bro-moment after they fight the Jersey Devil, even if statements about Woody not being sure who to swing his axe at are made. I decided to give him a cigarette and ask him what’s next for him, as he walked off. I like to believe that the animosity between the two has diminished, even if they haven’t entirely buried the hatchet. I also can’t help but think Woody will play a role in Episode 5; things seem unfinished with him.

Snow’s character also went through some changes, but I didn’t appreciate them as much as Woody’s. She’s been relatively cool-headed and calculated so far in the series. Sadly, that is not the case in episode 4. She becomes angered seemingly out of nowhere and snaps at Bigby randomly. Her plans and thoughts are rash, and at times she doesn’t appear to be thinking at all. Even still, there is one cool development with her, which is seeing her as jealous for the first time. She’s clearly a little anxious about Bigby talking to Nerissa, as well as how secretive he is about their conversation. Bigby’s feelings and intentions when it comes to Snow are very obvious, but this is the biggest hint, so far, that Snow shares some of those feelings.

Wrap Up

Episode 4 focuses mainly on expanding Bigby knowledge on what the Crooked Man has been up to, and his influence in Fabletown runs deeper than previously thought. But who really cares at this point? He’s already been set up as an antagonist, and Bigby already has malice toward him. The ending still carries the same gravitas that has been achieved each episode without fail. When Bigby walks into the room with the Crooked Man, it is nice seeing the Jersey Devil, Dee, Dum and Georgie all back off in fear — even with their very powerful boss around. It is the first time I really appreciated the fact that I had that reputation of the Big Bad Wolf. The final seconds give another chance to be dramatic as Bigby, with the Crooked man asking him to take a seat. I look straight at him and light my cigarette instead.

The Wolf Among Us Episode 4: In Sheep's Clothing: Review

Pros

  • I got to be dramatic

  • Bigby and Woody bro-moment

  • Jersey Devil's addition to the cast

Cons

  • Boring comparatively

  • Overly expositional in nature

  • Climactic Fumble

6Overall Score
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