The Walking Dead Season 2, Ep. 4: Amid the Ruins: You Just Can't Save Everyone
Warning Minor Spoilers for Episode 4
Everyone dies someday and in a zombie apocalypse, someday might come sooner than you'd think. Telltale's The Walking Dead has never been afraid to show us the reality of the situation these characters are living in. This has never been truer than in Episode Four: Amid the Ruins when Clementine and the player are forced to realize that they can't save everyone. The episode starts out right away with the player’s decision from the last episode and it doesn’t slow down from there.
Your decision whether or not to chop off Sarita’s arm off doesn’t matter because as soon as we saw the bite, we knew she was dead one way or another. The rest of the episodes continues with this sort of tone leaving you wondering whether or not you did the right thing depending on your decisions.
The action in this episode is far more spaced out than in the previous entry but it does leave quite a lot of room for character development. We were able to get to know the character Jane who we met in the previous episode who does get a lot of one on one moments with Clementine.
This episode does have a lot of quiet moments, but this time the main conflict is the fact that Rebecca’s baby might be coming sooner than we think. The majority of the episode was spent on looking for safe places for Rebecca to have her baby and the conflicts that come with that. The gameplay this time focuses on less sneaking around and more on investigating certain things. Other than the quicktime events most of the episode is based on dialogue between members of your group. Conversations that don't always go well because of the tenseness of the situation. Party members argue, things get heated and not everyone makes it out alive, but that can be said about any episode of this series.
What makes this episode different is that the moments the deaths happen seem a little less shocking a little more disappointing for the player. It really hammers in the fact that not everyone is fit enough to survive in a zombie apocalypse.
The adults in this start to act more like children and more often than not turn to Clementine for the solution to their problems. While degradation of the psyche under these circumstances is normal, they are relying on a kid for things that they should be doing and this was the only thing that took me out of this episode. Clementine is just a little girl and while she’s the most resourceful, competent person in this entire game, she’s still just a kid. A kid that, no matter how hard she or the player tries can’t save everyone.
"Everyone's luck runs out sometime."
A good way to describe this episode is with a feeling of inevitability. Despite her best attempts Clementine makes at trying to make a situation better, it just gets progressively worse as time goes on. People do their own thing and react shocked when the other members of the party call them out on it.
Not every choice that’s made will turn out well and not everything you do will be the “right” thing. It’s something that I’ve noticed certain fans don’t understand, that while our choices didn’t “matter” as much because certain things happened no matter what, that was the inherent theme in this episode. You will not be able to save everyone, everything won’t be okay. This is the end of the world as we know it and these characters you love may not survive it. It’s a harsh reality of the situation these characters are living in.
There is a looming feeling of dread on the horizon constantly during this episode. The future seems murky for the members of Clementine’s group but as for Clementine, she learned a lot of hard but necessary lessons in this episode that will no doubt affect her in the thrilling conclusion of the Walking Dead Season 2.