Telltale Games: The Walking Dead “A New Frontier” Episode 4 "Thicker Than Water" Review

I recently published my review for episode three of Telltales latest series of The Walking Dead. Remember how I mentioned the fact that you just know with this game that no matter what you do things always feel like they are going to go bad? Well thank you Telltale for Thicker Than Water as you have left me feeling pretty emotional and empty after that one. I have never paused an episode so many times just to try and get a grip of myself and make sure I was making the correct decision for me. You know that feeling you get when you stand up too quickly and you just go “I just need a minute”, that was pretty much every choice towards the end of that episode. I am going to try my best here to explain to you why this was such a good but emotional episode without giving anything away.

I am sure that if you are as a big a fan of this as myself then you have already completed the episode and are currently in the fetal position trying to figure out why everything you do just ends in tragedy. We should have seen it coming though, there has been a big build up over this series and with only one episode left the it all had to hit the fan soon. I feel there is something about the way Telltale makes you believe that you have control over their stories that really makes the hits that much harder when they come. You quickly get reminded that the control is lost, relationships that are built and plans that are set just quickly fall apart and we just can’t handle that. I struggle to think of any other games that I’ve played previously that can do that to you but Telltale just does it so well.

This episode sees Javi trying to mount a rescue to save David. I hate to admit it but I am growing to like David, even more through this episode. It really does look like the guy was just trying to do right by the community. The problem is Joan, and my god how did someone who seemed like your sweet grandmother turn out to be so evil?! As soon as you start to see that sly smile from her it all starts to unfold. After everything that got uncovered in the previous episode, the whole crazy of Joan appears in full force, she has caused a lot of shouting at my TV in this installment and I mean a lot. Gabe seems to come out of his shell a lot more in this episode, I can’t decide if he has grown a pair due to his old man or his obvious crush on Clem but he has certainly got a lot more to say here and is trying his best to get more involved in the group. Up to this point, he has seemed a bit of a backstage character but I was impressed with the change and it was good to see him stepping up in the face of things. There is a part of me that would really like to see him and Clem get a bit closer together for both of their sakes but it just feels a bit too happy for this story. There was a scene in this episode that genuinely had me laughing between Clem and Javi where she is obviously growing into a young woman and is starting to deal with the problems that come with it. Javi then tries to explain and reassure her but does it in such a male way by fumbling his words heavily and just seeming really uncomfortable. It’s one of the sweeter and lighter moments of the episode and was a great little addition.

The flashbacks are also here again and take us back to a time between Javi and David trying to enjoy some time together in the batting cages. I really enjoy the way these are integrated. It’s a clever way to keep feeding you information that shows you other sides of the characters that make you question what you thought you knew. David does seem to be a decent guy who is just more settled in the military lifestyle. There is obviously still love between him and Javi even though it seems very complicated. At the start I had no time for David, he just seemed like an ass. He still is but is an ass with a heart. The second Flashback focuses on some more of Clementine’s adventures between the series.  With my choice, the Flashback was with Jane which just brought back a lot of sadness on her downfall and how it affected Clem. We then see her speaking with Ava after the fallout with the Goofball (AJ), Ava speaks with Clem about the way she is always a shining light amongst the hell that is going on and to be honest I don’t know how the hell she does it. The poor kid has lost so much but always pushes on through it all and finds a way. Again it’s parts of the narrative like this that show you more of who each character is and allows you to build with them.

Overall it was a great episode, even though it was another emotional rollercoaster that we should all be used to by now. I have no idea where it is going to go from here but I am as eager as ever to find out. With only one more episode to go, I am praying for once that there is some kind of a positive ending where any of the characters we have followed just might find some peace. If there is anything to be learned from The Walking Dead, it is that when you find a community in the apocalypse, just don’t bloody trust them. It is never going to end well and you might as well just stick to wandering with a small group. You will probably survive longer! If you haven’t played this then I will urge you to get on with it and prepare yourself. If you have already been through it then I would love to hear your views on this one.

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