The latest episode in Telltale’s The Walking Dead seemingly came out of left field, and it boasts an ending that really makes you second guess the decisions you made up to this point.
Light spoilers from the first episode of the season follow, so if you haven’t at least played the first episode of A New Frontier, you’ve been warned.
What Is It?
Thicker Than Water delves deeper into the relationship between Javi and his brother David, whom players found to be alive at the end of first episode.
Episode 4 begins with the brothers at the batting cages before the zombie plague. You can choose to have the former baseball player in Javi crush every ball that comes his way, which leads him to cockily react, causing his brother to have more resentment. Or you can choose to miss, which causes Javi to eat some humble pie. It’s through this scene where you find out David is at a crossroads where he’s clearly unhappy at home as he feels more useful out in the frontlines as a leading platoons as a war hero.
Fast forward to the present day where David has all but lost his power in the community you’re in, and Javi finds himself with the dilemma of helping his brother out, or leaving with his (or rather, David’s) family.
Why Should I Care?
The conflicts the player deals with this season are definitely more provocative than in seasons past, and it really helps separate this particular episode.
As Javi, you’ve spent months taking care of David’s family with him out of the picture, and it’s obvious that you’ve developed quite the connection with David’s wife, Kate. David being around basically ensures that this won’t end well, and it’s the longing for a real relationship with your brother that’ll really influence your decisions in the game. Should you throw away whatever brotherhood you had with David to be with Kate and probably get hurt in the process? Or should you try to start anew with Kate knowing that all sorts of drama will ensue with David knowing about it?
At the same time, you have Gabriel (Kate and David’s son) who no doubt is happy to have his father back in the picture, and it’s tough to tell where his allegiances lie. Making this somewhat easier is Clementine, who Gabriel has more than grown accustomed to having around.
Speaking of Clementine, her story gets more interesting as well. You learn more about her past with the New Frontier, and you also find out that she’s developed quite the rapport with someone you don’t know all that well–David’s right hand soldier. To make things even more awkward, though appropriate, is that the game finally addresses the fact that Clementine is maturing, and we’re not talking about the way she acts.
All of this culminates into quite the ending not uncommon of Telltale’s penultimate episodes, and it makes you wonder whether we’re in for an actual ending, or another open-ended cliffhanger.
What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?
If you’re looking for an action-packed zombie-killing episode, you’ll be upset here. This episode, more than any other one in the series, is more about the decisions you’ll be making, and if you didn’t have a hard time making them before, it’ll be even more difficult now.
It’s also the shortest episode in the season, so we’re hoping the season finale is at least a tad longer.