Please Note: Our The Walking Dead: The Final Season Episode 3 review contains spoilers for The Walking Dead: The Final Season Episode 2.
Unfortunately, there are some cases where a series cherished by fans can sometimes fall short of finding a conclusive end to their journey. While this is a more common occurrence in television, books or movies, there can somewhat be a deeper dismay in not seeing the full tale play out when it comes to actual interactive storytelling. For years after the Shenmue series got canned, I would occasionally find myself still searching for news of an official ending to Ryo’s pledge for revenge. Amazingly, we may actually see that conclusion come to fruition nearly 20 years after the cherished Dreamcast classic first saw store shelves. A similar casualty nearly bestowed young Clementine in 2018 as Telltale abruptly closed its doors while jeopardizing the future development of this very final season. Yet thanks to Robert Kirkman’s own Skybound Games, not only will we be the ones to close the lid on Clementine’s story, but we also get to see her fate unfold far sooner than expected.
Following the devastating attack on the Ericson school led by Lilly and her gang, we find our last remaining kids succumb to the reality of war. Whether that be by conscription of the Raiders set out to grow their developing army, or to fight and uphold their own freedom against them. Either way, the harsh truth that there will be little choice outside a future of inevitable blood-shed gravely burdens them all. It goes without saying that the responsibility Clementine now presents herself with is vital for the small team’s survival.
The narrative is heavy in this penultimate episode, with very little zombie killing or minigame-style chores that are usually shoehorned into the mix. At this point, there really isn’t much more that The Walking Dead universe as a whole hasn’t touched upon. While our crew sets out on yet another series rescue mission like clockwork, the overarching plot to push the story towards its final hours stands second fiddle to what really matters. After all, we are mainly here first and foremost for Clementine wellbeing and her responsibility and mentorship towards her adopted son.
Since the first episode of this final season, I’ve felt that the relationship between Clementine and AJ stands as a high point in the Walking Dead franchise. AJ’s search for atonement is not only hanging by a thread but barely clinging via Clementine’s possible choices. AJ is now at a point where his questions deepen as a human with emotional risk – as opposed to being a primal natural born survivor. His thoughts and question begin to fall down the rabbit hole even further when he’s presented with a different perspective of a walkers existence.
As for Clementine, she channels her uncertainty for leadership within the fabrication of an old familiar responsible for her survival instinct. A comforting voice locked securely inside her memory that works as a touching and interesting set piece before the curtains finally drop. However, it’s not only from within her soul where council lies but within ex whisper, James who challenges her moral path of thought to see things from his side of the fence. Yet despite James having such liberal beliefs for the dead, it doesn’t take long to steer his tranquil opinion in helping Clementine to betray his moral compass a bit too quickly.
Back at camp, we get to delve a bit more into the background our troubled teens. Depending on whom you decided to save in the last episode will see their own history unfold. There’s a lesson to be learned from adolescent mistakes as our juvenile delinquents are forced to focus on a high chance of a short adulthood. The supporting cast was always destined to be cannon fodder to the strengths of the main characters, but despite the effort to give each a personality of their own, I still found it quite difficult to actually care about them.
In consideration of all the controversy surrounding Telltale, knowing that the staff from the original team are still willing to see Clementine’s tale reach the finish line is admirable, to say the least. This episode isn’t without its battle scars though, as there is an obvious hit to the visual quality and polish in comparison to the first two episodic slices. There’s a lot of visual blur and technical stutters plaguing the screen rather frequently, as well as times where character models and shadows just struggle to fit in with their surrounding environment. These aren’t game-breaking moments in any way, but they are very noticeable. However, it’s a small price to pay if it means that the fans can actually see a genuine conclusion to a saga that has spanned for over half a decade.
The Walking Dead: The Final Season Episode 3 – Broken Toys may stumble upon an all too familiar plotline, but the chemistry between the two most important roles helps to iron out the creases thanks to a believable and important companionship. My decisions standing in Clementine’s shoes conjures certain anticipation within me in how it may affect the final strokes of the series. Whether there will be alternative conclusions or a single ending set in stone is yet to be made clear. In any case, I am very much looking forward to witnessing and being a part of an actual finale to this The Walking Dead tale.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch