Grab your machetes, your silencers, and your bootleg Los Angeles Dodgers cap…because Clem-Clem has returned.
Tuesday, the third season of Telltale’s The Walking Dead — or, as it’s being called The New Frontier — released with two half episodes simply titled ‘Ties That Bind.’
Years after Clementine watched the cabin group meet its end, the former Georgia girl has now become a hardened zombie apocalypse survivor who has to team up with Javier Garcia, an ex-baseball player watching out for the remnants of his family.
And, in typical The Walking Dead tradition, there were plenty of easter eggs and hidden references that fans may not have noticed on their first playthrough. Today, we’re here to guide you through not only the episode’s references to the first two seasons, but from everything to the television show and comic.
Major, major spoiler warnings follow for part one of ‘Ties That Bind.’ If you’re alright with that, then let’s proceed.
Adiós, abuelo. ¡Adios, el viejo mundo!
Javier and his family are the second Hispanic family we’ve seen in The Walking Dead game. Carlos and Sarah from Season Two were the first.
The Garcia family is made up of Javier, David, Kate (David’s wife), Hector, Gabriel, Mariana, Ya-ya, and Rafael. Javier, David, Hector, and Gabriel all share their names with characters in either the TV show or comic. So much for the ‘one Steve limit,’ eh?
Javier mentions that traffic was backed up for miles, meaning that the outbreak has begun. Yet, no one makes mention of it and are genuinely surprised to see Rafael Ya-ya reanimate. Could the traffic have been backed up for a similar reason to the Fear The Walking Dead pilot where roads are closed off as cops deal with an infected man?
The reveal of ‘Grandpa is a zombie’ is similar to that in the prison arc from Season Four of the television show, when a virus infected many of the ex-Woodbury survivors, plus Glenn and Sasha.
Mari’s innocence about how ‘grandpa is awake’ may remind some fans of the “thou shan’t kill Walkers” attitude that fellow children Ben (in the comics) and Lizzie (in the show) had about how walkers aren’t much different from people.
Both Hector and Ms. Garcia are bitten by Rafael, but their fates aren’t shown on screen.
Kate and (potentially) Javi smoking pot in the car is a reference to Eddie and Wyatt attempting to do the same in the 400 Days DLC.
Kate makes note in a specific dialogue choice at the Junkyard that it’s been four years since the outbreak began. This means that not only does this game take place in either late 2007 or early 2008 (the original comic book began in 2003), but that we are indeed on pace with the comic book, which is also four years after everything went to hell in a hand basket.
Kate also comments that “people have been hoarding things in all types of places.” Glenn said something similar in Season 5 of the TV show, telling Maggie and Tara:
“Rule number one of scavenging – there’s nothing left in this world that isn’t hidden.”
The Junkyard features an RV that seems to have the same exact design as the one used by the Motel group in season one.
Javier seems to call the infected ‘Muertos.’ Kind of a nice change from the usual slang.
Pudding, Bandits,and Clem-Clem — oh my!
Gabe expresses joy over finding pudding. Carl, way back in season four of the TV show, also had a weird obsession with pudding and ate 112 ounces after the prison fell. Is Gabe the new Carl?
These bandits seem reminiscent of not only the ones from season one who attacked the motel, but the Washington D.C. based-group in the comic book who tried to take over Alexandria.
The decision to let an opposing bandit who took you hostage run away or killing him in cold blood is a nice call-back to season one and the St. John Family. Specifically, Lee could have killed Danny/Andy or let them live.
Clementine’s also back, and still rocking that bootleg Los Angeles Dodgers cap! Obviously, Clementine remains the only character to appear in all episodes of the series (aside from 400 Days) so far.
Clementine is still using the ‘Jane trick’, which involves kicking a walker’s knee and stabbing them in the head. Regardless of your ending in Season Two, the fact she’s still using what she learned from Jane is a tearjerker.
Rest For The Weary
Prescott is the fourth established community that we’ve seen in the game series (Crawford, Howe’s, and Wellington being the other three). Like Alexandria in the current comics, Prescott seems to have everything figured out in an attempt to bring back things lost in the apocalypse. Most notably, a bar! Prescott is also built on an air strip, which is almost a reverse of Oceanside — a community built on docks and near the sea.
We not only learn Javier’s last name, but his pre-apocalypse career: a baseball player banned for life due to gambling. Nice.
Conrad and Francine’s card game and the choice between bluffing or not bluffing was also done in the 400 Days DLC, but with Shel and Becca.
Clementine mentions trading batteries for bullets. And what was Clementine always looking for in Season One? Batteries for her walkie-talkie…
At times, Javier can say that he and Clementine are a team. That one really, really hurts, and it does make Clementine crack a smile as she remembers her telling Lee that.
All That Remains
NOTE: This section contains spoilers about the endings for season two. If you wish to avoid these spoilers, simply CTRL+F the ending you chose (Jane, Kenny, Wellington, or alone).
Of the various ‘endings’ from Season Two, this is the one that was the most recent from the Jane-Kenny fight. Clementine still looks young enough and A.J. is still looking new-born.
Clementine’s ‘scar’ here is just ‘AJ’ branded on her right hand.
The fate of Randy, Patricia, and Gil — the family who showed up to Howe’s at the end of Season Two — is confirmed: they tried to steal supplies from Jane and Clementine and succeeded. What happened afterwards is unknown.
Clementine is given the option of giving A.J. a middle name — Luke, Lee, Rebecca, or Kenny. This is not only a reference to Clementine, Omid, and Christa discussing Christa’s baby’s name way back at the start of Season Two, but also represents some of Clementine’s main moral compasses.
Those four also represent the end of the world bringing the best out in people (Lee), loyalty (Kenny), compassion and humanity (Luke), and not letting tragic events make you want to take your life (Rebecca).
Jane suggesting Jamie’s name also foreshadows her impending suicide, as Jamie was someone who couldn’t adjust to the apocalypse and wanted to take the easy way out.
Jane joins Irene, Katjaa, and the couple in the Crawford mansion as video game characters who committed suicide.
Jane succeeds where Maggie Greene failed in the comic: suicide by hanging. Curiously, there’s no option to let Jane remain a walker.
Kenny has traded his bloody bandage for an eye patch that, with his beard, makes him look like the season four version of The Governor from the TV show.
Kenny teaching Clementine to drive feels a lot like Lee teaching Clementine how to shoot.
Apparently, Florida is Kenny’s destination and he wants to make Clementine a sailor. So, Kenny’s back to thinking that a boat is the best option. Great. If anyone can send in fan mail of Clementine on a boat wearing a sailor’s hat, you’ll be my new favorite person.
Also, Kenny wanting to back down to Florida is interesting because one of his first few lines in the series’ first episode was about “getting back to [Fort] Lauderdale” and how the National Guard would do its thing. Callback, much?
Kenny mentions Duck and seems to be emotionally stable after — unlike in Season Two when his deceased son came up in conversation.
There’s also some symbolism to Clementine driving a stick shift and not an automatic. (If anyone can figure out what it is, Tweet me @JakeElman and I’ll tell you if you’re right. HINT: it ties back to something Kenny said in Season Two.)
The car accident that throws Kenny out of the car may remind some fans of Lori’s car accident during Season Two of the TV show. Clementine is still a better driver, though.
Kenny’s death is awfully close to a recent death from the comic book where a character suffers a major leg injury and is eaten alive without any way to stop it.
Clementine has a scar above her right eyebrow from the accident.
Wellington did indeed turn out to be a safe haven, as Clementine and A.J. have their own tent/cabin. Hooray!
At no point do we ever learn who the real leader of Wellington is (I was disappointed to see no Lilly), but we do know that Edith has stepped into somewhat of a role in Clementine’s life.
No sign of Kenny is present, aside from his hat.
The raid on Wellington is extremely similar to the Scavengers’ attack on Alexandria in the comics, though this is far more successful for the invading team.
Edith getting shot while carrying A.J. is a near shot-for-shot replica of Lori getting shot while carrying Judith by the comic version of Lilly during the final attack on the prison. The one difference? A.J. survives, Judith doesn’t.
Clementine gets a scar on her right cheek as a result of a bullet wound.
Unlike The Last of Us, this bunny is not shot.
This is the first time we’ve seen Clementine really get mad at A.J., which may be a hint at her mental state deteriorating as a result of being alone.
Clementine loses part of her finger as a result of it getting stuck in a door.
Clementine losing her finger trying to protect and rescue A.J. may be a callback to Lee (potentially) losing his arm trying to rescue Clementine. The difference was that Lee was bit, but Clementine just had to amputate because there was no fixing that finger.
Because so much promotional art depicts Clem-Clem without that finger, is this supposed to be the canon end to Season Two?
Most likely, Mariana escaped the walkers by listening to Javi’s advice from earlier and hiding in a car.
Mariana’s death, to the best of my knowledge, is the first time on screen/panel we’ve seen an alive adolescent be immediately killed by a shot to the head in the entire franchise. Carl Grimes was shot in the face and lost his eye, but he lived.
Mariana joins Duck and Sarah as the only children in The Walking Dead game to be seen dying.
Kate running after Mariana and getting shot is eerily similar to Hershel’s comic book death, where he’s shot by The Governor as he’s hugging his son’s Billy’s dead body. The difference is Hershel was executed and Kate was just shot in the chest.
Later this week, we’ll have things you may have missed from part two of ‘Ties that Bind’ — but in the meantime, make sure to let us know if you found anything that we may have missed!