“Hell Hath No Fury”
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Format: iOS, Android, PC, Mac, PS3, PS4 (reviewed), Xbox 360, Xbox One
Released: April 26, 2016
In the final moments of Give No Shelter, I was confronted with a difficult and emotionally charged choice: to end a life or spare it. I made the decision I believed was right at the time, and in doing so, was well aware of the potential, longterm repercussions that could emerge from it. What We Deserve, the third and final episode of Telltale’s Michonne focused miniseries is all about the repercussions from the pivotal choice where we last left off. To say Telltale’s latest efforts with The Walking Dead license have been rocky, would be an understatement. Both prior episodes, In Too Deep and Give No Shelter, have suffered their fair share of underwhelming elements, and the finale is no different. Rather than turing the miniseries around in the final hours, What We Deserve wraps up things with a resounding sigh. The ambition behind some of the more complex and mature themes at play come crashing down, and while some palpable moments of well-orchestrated tension act as a series’ high, they aren’t enough to pull the finale out of the rut the entire season has been stuck in since the premiere. Once again, the episode leans heavily on Michonne to carry it through thick and thin, a responsibility that has been placed on her shoulders many times during the course of the miniseries. Thanks to another strong vocal performance delivered by actress Samira Wiley, Michonne’s portrayal is well executed, coming across as both calm and deeply conflicted. However, the scripting behind each performance is somewhat lackluster. Significantly shorter than its predecessors, What We Deserve is an ultimately underwhelming conclusion to a passable and somewhat forgettable narrative endeavor within The Walking Dead universe. Coming across as significantly rushed at times, the finale gears its focus towards the emotional state of Michonne and the difficult situation she’s landed all parties involved in. Over the span of the last two episodes, Telltale has dedicated significant amount of time to Michonne battling with her past psychologically, and What We Deserve sees quite possibly the most in-depth sequences. The pieces to make a great tale of motherhood are all here, and while some began to come together over the last couple episodes, What We Deserve fails to complete the picture.
With everything coming to a tension-packed head, What We Deserve showcases the best confrontation between characters the entire season has offered. There was a level of depth and bubbling emotion that drove the interaction, and considering the difficult nature of who’s morally in the right, it played out in a grey area. Reminiscent of the first two strong seasons of Telltale’s take on The Walking Dead, this elusive interaction brought out a moment of honesty invoked by fear–something I wish we would’ve seen more with the previous episodes. Eventually, regardless of the decisions made during the intended trade-off, gunfire and bloodshed breakout. A gruesome action sequence plays out, leading into an emotional breakdown of sorts for Michonne. What should’ve been a heartbreaking final insight into her psychoses, was a heavy-handed and obnoxiously executed set of hallucinations that only detracted from the reality based plot going on around her. And while this very well could be the point of the whole miniseries, I felt it was concluded and built up far too disjointedly to glean much impact from.Conclusion: At its core, The Walking Dead: Michonne has been about confronting your inner demons. At its best, the miniseries isn’t afraid to bring up mature concepts of guilt and loss, yet in its lesser moments, each episode has struggled to narratively keep things together. The nature and motives of the plot are extremely inconsistent, trying to balance the current state of the apocalypse, alongside the events leading up to, and shortly after, when everything began to hit the fan. This jumbled combination of timelines, coupled with repeated attempts to shed light on a cast of side characters that simply aren’t given enough material to be compelling, create a disconnect from the intended emotional punch behind some of the title’s more prominent themes. What furthers this disengagement from the story would be the miniseries’ over-reliance on explaining certain plot threads, particularly with Michonne’s guilt as a mother. It becomes too much over the span of the short season, crossing the line into trite territory. Slices of great dialogue, quality acting, and character development that were staples of both season one and two are brief silver linings here. It’s all rather unfortunate considering the excellent work that’s come out of Telltale’s past ventures with the license. Here’s hoping Michonne’s more recognizable shortcomings stay far away from the studio’s future enterprises with The Walking Dead.