The Walking Dead: Season 2 Episode 2: A House Divided
First posted on 04 April 2014. Last updated on 15 September 2014.
The Walking Dead: Season 2
The season is comprised of 5 episodes:
- Episode 1: All That Remains
- Episode 2: A House Divided
- Episode 3: In Harm's Way
- Episode 4: Amid the Ruins
- Episode 5: No Going Back
At the end of the first episode of the second season of The Walking Dead, the young Clementine is seen to be on her own and searching for Christa from whom she has been separated. During her travels she stumbles upon a group of survivors in hiding, and her reception by them is mixed at best. Not surprisingly, Clementine is quick to witness a growing division among the ranks in this new group of survivors, all of whom seem to have their own hidden interests and agendas to survive this zombie apocalypse.
With the second episode, Episode 2: A House Divided, Telltale Games utilizes a brewing storm as a metaphor for the current established group of survivors with whom Clementine is seeking refuge. Tensions abound as the group debates how to handle a growing situation regarding a newly introduced season villain named Carver. Moreover, Clementine soon finds herself an unwitting decisive vote. With the winter chill settling in quickly, Clementine and company make their way to a seemingly abandoned ski lodge in hopes of food and shelter. They also need to find their place among yet another group of survivors—as well as a strange running joke about Clementine resembling the mascot of a canned peach company.
Fans of the series may recall the events in 400 Days that tells the stories of a number of new characters during the events and aftermath of the first season. According to Telltale Games, the resulting playthrough of this DLC episode is supposed to have an effect on the second season. While individual choices do not seem to play a factor as of yet, this second episode indeed partially follows through this promise partially by reintroducing Bonnie, one of the characters in 400 Days. Bonnie is a troubled woman who is last seen venturing to a survival camp or safe haven somewhere north of Atlanta. She has now fallen in with a different crowd, as she is among Carver and his ilk, though she displays a distinct disinterest in causing death and destruction. I must praise Telltale Games for this attempt at raising the importance of the choice mechanics as well as all of the minor dialog changes in this episode based on player decisions from the first season. This reintroduction of past characters brings an extra layer to the game's metaphor of division among ranks and among Clementine herself. She is still searching for Christa, representative of the old Clementine from the first season; yet, she is also now forming connections and loyalties within this new group, representative of the new Clementine that is fast emerging from the second season.
As with previous episodes of the series, the choices mechanics in this episode are not particularly influential to the overall progress of the game. Rather, the mechanics are a matter of tweaking the gaming experience rather than directing the game entirely. While avoiding spoilers, I will say that Telltale Games seems to have put more of an emphasis on varied results. In my experiments with several decisions in this episode, I have found several outcomes of whether various characters live or die by the end of the episode. Time will only tell as to the overall significance of the presence or absence of these ancillary characters, but it is my hope that there will be a noteworthy fallout in the episodes to come.
In general, the production values for this episode are comparable to those of previous episodes. However, there is a sort of marathon Quick Time Event (QTE) battle between the humans and a group of walkers that is particularly glitched. (In my playthrough, the game froze once and effectively gave up during my second or third try and automatically advanced me to the next checkpoint.) The action is a nice (but more importantly, natural) change of pace from the totality of exposition that composes both this episode and the previous episode of the season. Despite this problematic stretch of the episode, the game tends to run smoothly on the PC.
I have previously questioned over Clementine's suitability as a compelling protagonist. This episode ironically manages to do wonders marrying my concern with my enjoyment of the story. Perhaps it is the fleshing out of the slew of new characters from the first episode, providing Clementine with foils against which to react, placing her back in her character's comfort zone where she can shine. In the first season, Clementine has been portrayed as very much a reactionary character, responding to situations presented to her while her companion Lee takes on the active role. To suddenly thrust Clementine into an active role in the first episode of this second season is certainly a jarring transition. However, with The Walking Dead: Season 2 Episode 2: A House Divided, Clementine and company are back in good form and appear ready to face whatever threat that may arise from their next encounter.