This article is part of a series. Starting from here may spoil the overall experience, so it is advised to start from the beginning, which can be accessed HERE!
Welcome back to the third meeting of The UC Gaming Club. Pull up a chair and get ready to discuss Episode 03 of Telltale’s The Walking Dead, “Long Road Ahead!”
Before we get going, we just want to remind everyone that we now have a Facebook Page where you can get updates on when we post new content. You can find it here : https://www.facebook.com/uponcompletion
Now, let’s get back to the game!
Again, this episode starts a few weeks after the events of Episode 02.
You are scavenging in Macon with Kenny. You return to the Drug Store, from episode 01, and find it in much worse condition than you left it; it would appear a military helicopter has crashed into it. Kenny clambers onto a nearby lorry and suggests you find an alternative as the ladder was damaged in his ascent.
Ellen : Kenny quizzed me on my opinions of the group. He was suggesting we leave them behind, but I insisted I was happy and he wanted to leave so desperately, he should go by himself. He then started whinging that everyone else liked me more than him and he wouldn’t survive long without others; funny that…
As for an alternate route, I eventually found the winch on a nearby jeep and used it to pull itself toward the lorry which Kenny had climbed on. I then tried to clambered up the vehicles onto the awning of the shop.
Before you join Kenny, a girl suddenly runs out of a shop, further down the street, screaming. She appears to have been bitten, though still unturned, but is screaming for help as zombies are attracted from all around. You aim your rifle to shoot her and put her out of her misery, but Kenny stops you and suggests leaving her as she is creating a natural diversion.
Ellen : I hated my choice, but I left her to die… It was horrible as the following scenes were filled with the sound of her screaming, in the background.
Khin : I, too, left her to die. As awful as hearing those screams in the background was, this is the reality in the apocalypse.
Ellen : I am actually very surprised at your choice. I was certain you would put her out of her misery.
Upon entering the Drug Store, you are tasked with collecting as many supplies as possible, against the clock. The duration of the clock is determined by your previous choice.
Ellen : While listening to the desperate cries of the girl in the street, I had enough time to collect all of the supplies available and finished with time to spare. I am intrigued to see if this will have any impact on later events…?
Khin : I got most, if not all of them (all the prompt said was that my backpack had many supplies), though there seems to be little impact of having so many.
Zombies eventually break into the store and there are a number of Quick Time Events to perform as you escape; the final instance being a battle with the helicopter pilot. Things get particularly tense in this scramble.
Ellen : To continue the theme of Kenny being an ass, he did nothing to help me during the tightest moments of this encounter. Lee called him out on it and his defence was “Well, there were too many for me to manage…” This would have been more convincing if he hadn’t left a long pause of awkward glances before it.
Khin : I asked Kenny why he didn’t help. His best response was that I was doing fine myself.
You escape the Drug Store and return to the Motel with your spoils in hand. As you walk into the Motel’s forecourt, it is hard not to notice the large number of arrows protruding from all of the walls of the building. Clearly, the bandits from the Dairy Farm have found a new victim to target.
You and Kenny deliver the supplies to Lily’s “office” and Kenny decides to start a conflict. He starts by casting aspersions about having Ben on guard duty and continues to argue for leaving the Motel, and heading to Savannah in the RV.
Ellen : I tried to diffuse the situation while siding with Lily, though she didn’t make that easy… Kenny defended himself by informing everyone of how we let a girl suffer, just to survive and that the Motel would never hold out through Winter. Lily and Katjaa were a little shocked by this revelation, as well as Lily’s accusation of someone stealing supplies. We all split up, bringing the argument to an end.
Khin : As usual, the argument goes from fairly civil to all out shouting match involving almost everyone in the group for no apparent reason. Neither Kenny nor Lily want to listen to reason, and Katjaa just stands there backing Kenny even when he makes ridiculous comments.
You are planted back in the forecourt, with an opportunity to catch up with everyone.
Ellen : I chatted with everyone except Kenny and his family. Clementine had received some stickers from Doug, so she had decorated her radio. It was pretty cute. Doug was working on the wall, but missing electronics. He was concerned about Lily’s state of mind and suggested that I be wary of her potential paranoia. Ben was a little tense, considering he isn’t really cut out for guard duty, but he was doing his part.
I dropped back in with Lily and asked her about the missing supplies. She showed me a broken torch she had found in the trash and asked me to investigate it, as someone was clearly hiding it from the rest of the group. I said I would help, but that she needed to calm down as the group were unsure of her.
Khin : With Carley instead of Doug, Lee climbs the stairs to the balcony to participate in some light flirting (complete with lighter music) and a brief chat about telling the group about Lee’s murderous past. I agreed that getting it out in the open was probably a good idea and left to chat to the rest of the group. Clem tells me all about leaf rubbings and I tell her about my trip to prison. She doesn’t seem fazed by it and continues with her crafts. Since I wasn’t in the mood to talk to Kenny and Katjaa, and with Ben on watch, I go to investigate the apparently missing supplies.
Ellen : This is very interesting. Without Carley, my past is pretty well concealed, though not through choice. I think Lily has some idea from spending so much time with her father, who knew. Otherwise, it is kinda left in the dark…
As you leave Lily’s room, you find that Duck had been eavesdropping on your conversation. He proposes that you work together to “uncover the mystery” and implies you could work together like Batman and Robin.
Ellen : Considering my feelings towards Duck, I declined and told him that he shouldn’t be sneaking around and listening in on things like that. He just walks off, completely disregarding what I said, looking for clues. It made me quite angry actually and completely confirmed my feelings towards him; he is a pain in the ass.
Khin : I let Duck play as detective. I warned him not to snoop on people but since he wanted to help, which was more than Kenny was doing, I let him go find some clues. Of course, I found them first, but maybe it’ll keep Kenny quiet.
After questioning members of the group, you find broken glass in the corner of the forecourt. Upon inspection, it turns out to be from the torch. Closer examination of the immediate area reveals a pink “X” on the exterior wall of the motel, drawn in pink chalk; a marking of some sort. Duck pops up to highlight the obvious and disappears to find the chalk, in question. You continue to question people about the “X” and the consensus is that Clementine is the only one with pink chalk.
Talking with Clementine, you find that she lost the pink chalk, several days ago but can give you orange or blue. You kindly decline and Duck reappears, saying he has found chalk dust by the front gate. This “Mystery” draws quickly to a close as you examine the exterior of the motel and find a bag of supplies, hidden behind a grate.
You take this evidence back to Lily and tell her where you found it, but before you get too deep into finding a solution, you suddenly hear the sounds of a bandit attack. Going to the window, you see that everyone else has been put on their knees with guns to their heads. Lily tells you to keep them distracted, as she hops out the back window with a hunting rifle.
Ellen : I walked out, questioning the bandits on their actions. I didn’t know what “deals” they were talking about, although I assumed it was the supplies. They claimed we had cut them short on our “deals” and they wanted everything caught up. Before I got to say anything else, Lily shot their leader in the head and two of the grunts. A pistol fell by Doug, who gunned down another of the bandits and then everything moved to me.
I had the opportunity to shoot the two remaining bandits. I didn’t really want to kill them, but there wasn’t a whole lot of choice. I shot the first and let the second one flee over the wall as they appeared terrified of what had just happened. Unfortunately, this fleeing bandit, signalled all of their friends who flooded the Motel.
Khin : I came out of the room placating the bandits with claims that I would double the missing supplies. Just as they were lowering their weapons Lily shot from cover and I had to quickly dispatch the remaining thieves. I shot one in the leg as he escaped over the fence, and his whistles brought more in a matter of seconds.
Ellen : I must admit, it is a little underwhelming to see ow little impact the details have. If shooting the fleeing bandit limited the number of bandits, rather than still alerting them all would make these details feel a little more significant…
With the bandit attack in full motion, the game becomes a cover-based shooter in which you need to protect your party while they get into the RV and remove all of the bandits, you can. After clearing the first side of bandits, zombies attack and you need to be a bit more precise with your shooting. To help Lily get to the RV, from her elevated position, you need to alternate sides, shooting zombie heads.
At some point during this, Katjaa and Duck get pinned by a zombie and you have to save them.
Ellen : A couple little details to note here; Doug’s alarm system continues to function during this scene and he shouts the locations of zombies, based on the sound of the bell which is ringing. It is fairly minimal in use, but a nice little touch considering the focus of the scene and the game as a whole. Also, I totally paused over saving Katjaa and Duck, kinda like Kenny would always pause to help me…
Khin : I lacked the alarm system and I’m pretty sure that it was Katjaa and Clem who needed the help. It took me a couple of goes to kill off Katjaa’s attackers, as I couldn’t pan the controller to the furthest bandit in time.
Ellen : Yes, Clem is hiding with Katjaa and Duck but she makes a run for cover. She gets to safety before Katjaa and Duck, which is why they get jumped on by a Zombie.
In the RV, things are getting pretty heated as everyone is at each other’s throats about the recent events. Kenny is in charge of driving and unsurprisingly, things are a little erratic. Lily, Ben and Doug are shouting at each other and you are in charge of managing the situation. Kenny runs over a zombie and has to pull over to deal with it. Lily uses this opportunity to dump the troublemaker of the group. As Kenny pulls the writhing corpse out from under the RV, things reach a peak.
Ellen : I tried to get everyone to calm down, while keeping on Lily’s good side. I appreciate where she is coming from, but I didn’t want to indulge the finality of her words; she seemed pretty keen on sentencing people to death. Once everyone had left the RV, I tried to keep Lily cool and balance everyone else, but Lily was set on sentencing someone to be left behind.
As Kenny approached the group, Lily pulled out a gun and went to shoot Ben. Doug pushed Ben out of the way and took the bullet to his own head. I was seriously shocked as I didn’t remember this happening. Everyone else was a shocked at me and they were ready to leave Lily by the side of the road. I wanted to talk things through with Lily, so I kept her in the RV with Ben keeping guard.
Khin : It’s interesting to see that Doug took the bullet in place of Ben. In my group, the argument is taken outside the RV when we run over the walker, but Lily is pretty determined to leave someone behind. She doesn’t seem too clear on who to blame, and is happy shooting Ben and Carley, or both. In fact, she has a bit of a vendetta against Carley. Whilst Kenny is removing brains from his radiator grill, Carley starts facing up to Lily, telling her that she’s nothing but a bitch who should get over herself. As Kenny rejoins the group, Lily pulls out her gun and shoots Carley in the face.
Needless to say, everyone is shocked, and immediately want Lily off the bus. I agree. No arguments, no discussion. It starts to dawn on Lily just what that means for her. Sorry Lily, but you weren’t even trying to work out who was the real traitor – you just wanted someone to blame and it just so happened that Carley told you a few truths. You’re too trigger happy.
Travels continue with a couple of exchanges before Katjaa calls you to the front of the RV.
Ellen : When I reached Katjaa and Kenny, it was no surprise that Kenny seemed to be in denial about his own son’s dwindling state. Quick to kill off Larry while he was ACTUALLY unturned, but there is no problem with Duck being a zombie-timebomb.
Katjaa asks you to tell Clementine about Duck’s condition and there is a little nightmare sequence. This throws everyone back into reality as the RV pulls up in front of a train which has become stuck on a railway crossing. Everyone piles out of the RV and you are tasked with getting everything operational.
Ellen : After being given “my duties” by Kenny, I decided to head into the RV and see how Lily was. I wanted to consul her and show I still wanted her in the group, which should have been evident by the fact she was still with us. Instead, I was limited in dialogue options and couldn’t really interact much; mostly sighs and “Why’d you do it Lily”s… I moved to the front of the RV and found a pencil, at which point, Lily assaulted me, pushed me out of the RV and drove off. I have to admit, it completely took me by surprise, since I thought she was tied up…
Khin : I had no Lily to drive off, so I took the pencil and left the RV sitting there.
Ellen : I explored the Train Engine and found the engine cabinets. I left them untouched since I wasn’t sure of their purpose and then found the dead engine driver in the cabin. Ben and I worked together to execute him, but found he was already dead, so we found some instructions and started up the Train.
Kenny has a sudden burst of enthusiasm as he sees the Train erupt into life. He takes charge of the cabin and sends you to sort out the damaged carriages. Moving into the boxcar, you find remnants of a makeshift home. You get the impression someone has been staying in there recently and wonder if they may still be about. Dropping off the far side of the boxcar, you find the connection pin, locking the carriages together.
Khin : Ellen, you say Kenny takes charge of the cabin as though he helps you guys figure it all out. He doesn’t, he just sits there.
Ellen : I know he just sits there, but in his mind, he is taking charge. By sitting there, he is “contributing to the cause” and if he keeps quiet, I am fine to let him do so. I like that if you talk to Ben after this, he says something to the effect of “Sure, I’m having a great time. We find a real, working train and I get to be the babysitter; how could I not be having a great time?!” Poor Ben; I like trains too!
As for the locking pin, I found this before moving the train and was told I would need a heavy tool to release it. After starting the train up, it seems to loosen the pin and you can lever it out with one of the tools from the engine cabinet. I chose to use the Pin Gripper thing, as it seemed appropriate for the task, but I wonder if it really matters which tool you choose?
Khin : I had picked up a monkey wrench earlier on, and whacked the long dead driver with it. The wrench didn’t help move the pin much, so I guess it doesn’t make much difference.
As you return back to the group, you encounter a homeless man named Chuck. He seems friendly enough and warms to the party quickly; particularly Clementine. You have an opportunity to talk with him before heading off on the train.
Khin : Whilst you mess with the train, Chuck takes time to chat with people. He’s given the kids some candy and when he says kids, he means Clem and Ben. I had stranger danger alarm bells ringing but he seemed pleasant enough. Clem though he was cool.
Ellen : Ha! I forgot about that candy-giving. I totally panicked at that too; it seemed to be okay though.
The train tears across the country and you sit in the boxcar with Clementine, Ben, Katjaa and a fading Duck. He coughs up some blood and Katjaa asks you to come and help. After tending to Duck, she asks you to let Kenny know that he is about to pass and they need to stop.
Ellen : When I went to see Kenny, he was in an obvious state of denial. I tried to break it to him gently but he got angry and confronted me for a fight. I declined and we ended up fighting anyway. I let him get one hit and then choked him against the train controls. Lee’s words were something to the effect of “I’m not going to let you jeopardise this for yourself. I am not even doing this for me; I am doing this for Katjaa and Duck, you f–king idiot. I will kill you if I have to…”
Khin : I managed to talk Kenny down after showing him the hanky with Duck’s blood on it. I told him straight up that Katjaa needed him, that it wasn’t going away. I was expecting a fight but he kept calm and stopped the train.
Ellen : It seems that the overall relationship between yourself and Kenny REALLY impacts his behaviour in these interactions. It reminds me a lot of how the relationships worked in Until Dawn, except you don’t get vague gauges to show you your relationship status.
Kenny stops the train and meets with Katjaa. He pleads with her and she finally tells him to stop deluding himself and he actually listens to her. Katjaa says she will take him off into the woods and kill him and you are given the opportunity to chime in.
Ellen : Considering my relationship with Kenny, I stayed out of their moment and let Katjaa take Duck away. I explained to Clementine what was going to happen and then a gunshot rang out. I walked with Kenny and when we found them, Katjaa had shot herself in the head. Kenny mourned and I stood quietly while noticing that Duck was still alive. When Kenny realised, I encouraged him to kill his own son, even though I really didn’t care much for Duck; it just seemed more appropriate.
Khin : I didn’t say a word through this whole section, right until you find Katjaa and Duck. This was a conversation that only two people in the world had a right to be involved in and I had no place chiming in. I was there for Kenny and I told Clem the truth. She is wise beyond her years and seemed to comprehend. When it came to finding Duck, I didn’t feel that Kenny was in the right frame of mind to shoot his son. It took him this long to process that Duck was dying, and I felt that forcing Kenny to shoot his son would break him.
Ellen : Interesting. See, I was at the point where I felt he was going to convince himself I always wanted Duck out of the picture and stepping up to shoot him would take away his last moments with his son. Maybe it is just the way this Kenny has turned out, but I didn’t see any good outcomes for shooting Duck, myself.
The story picks up with the train travelling again. You are sat with Clementine, checking up on her. She seems pretty miserable about all that has happened. She mentions that Chuck told her she would die the same way as Duck, which is sitting on her mind. You set off to sort Chuck out. He explains himself and states “you need a plan.” The rest of the journey takes the form of you establishing a plan.
Ellen : I spoke with Khinjarsi earlier and explained I was going to try and make the weakest plan possible. It actually seems that you are not allowed to, but you can choose from multiple plans, so things didn’t go quite as I hoped. I cut Clementine’s hair and taught her to shoot, but we decided we would go by ourselves, when we reached the city. Everyone else has fallen apart, but I knew I could rely on Clem, so we agreed this would be best.
During the train ride, Ben also confessed to giving supplies to the bandits. He wanted to tell Kenny, but I advised him not to do that.
Khin : Funnily enough. I chose the same plan. Clem gets taught to shoot and her hair is cut, making her safer and able to defend herself when the time comes. Going it alone with her made sense to me, although I know her parents are dead. Kenny is so fixated on a boat and hasn’t really thought about any alternative. Ben is untrustworthy and attracts trouble. At least I know Clem and I could keep each other alive.
Everything comes to a stop as you approach a bridge with a fuel truck hanging off of the edge. After disembarking the train, you hear voices on the bridge above and meet some new people; Omid and Christa. You approach cautiously and offer to act as an ambassador, so you head up the ladder, to the bridge. Clementine follows and acts as a catalyst for conversation as Omid seems enraptured by her presence.
Khin : I have two things I want to say here. Firstly, why did Kenny only see that dangling truck at the last minute? He had to bang on all the brakes to come to a stop. And secondly, why am I the ambassador? Kenny makes a point that if it starts turning sour they’ll kill the new people. How exactly will that work? We have very few weapons and you’ll have to climb that ladder one by one in line.
Ellen : I don’t know about you, but Kenny went and saw Chuck for a couple of drinks… Those were only the ones I saw. I think it would be fair to say that his senses may have been considerably dulled. Even so, it is a massive tanker and the train is travelling in a straight line, but that is the only reason I could see.
As for shooting people, he is an idiot and the high ground would nearly always win. That being said, they could back up the train and shoot the tanker which would remove any problems, in a jiffy!
From your new vantage point, you are able to see the state of the fuel truck and inform Kenny of what needs to be done. Upon returning to the ground, Omid and Christa meet the group and everyone seems to get on quickly.
Ellen : Christa seemed very unsure of me, from the get-go. Likewise, I didn’t really like her either, so I guess the feeling was mutual. She suggested going to check the station nearby, which Clementine joined me for; we are a team, after all.
Khin : I have a dislike of Christa. She doubts everything that I do and challenges all of my decisions. She’s trying to look out for Clem I guess, but she has no idea what that girl has been through and what she’s capable of.
Exploring the train station, you come across a locked door, with an open window above. Clementine offers her services, which turns out to be very useful and efficient. Entering the station brings darkness and another locked door with an opening above, though these are barred.
Ellen : Interestingly, I was able to prop open the door with the Pin Gripper tool from earlier. This held the door open and illuminated the room, almost fully. I was able to see the keys on the other side of the barred door and wrestle off the zombies which appeared behind me after boosting Clementine over the doorway. As we stood in the wake of the corpses, a zombie approached on Clementine’s side of the bars. A Quick Time Event occurred and concluded with everyone staying safe.
Christa decides to drop by to check on everyone after all the action has resolved and looks disapprovingly at you having a young girl in such a dangerous environment. You carry on with your task and find a blowtorch over by where the zombie approached. You take this back to the truck and begin to cut it free from the bridge, with Omid. The truck shifts and Omid pulls you out of danger; you repay him by hanging him off of the bridge to finish cutting the truck.
The final danger of the episode takes the form of a gigantic horde moving down the train line towards the party. Ben alerts everyone to the ensuing storm and Kenny kicks the train into gear.
Ellen : I kicked the blowtorch off of the bridge into the pool of fuel which was forming beside the track, as the train escaped. I then jumped off of the bridge onto the roof of the train and let Omid jump, by himself; pushing him seemed harsh, considering we had only just met and he could be perfectly capable of jumping on his own terms.
He leapt off the bridge and busted his leg, falling off the roof. Christa jumped out of the train to save him and I had to make a choice of who to help onto the train. I chose to help Omid, seeing as he was injured. He immediately scalded me as he felt women should always be prioritised. I kinda read this as “women are helpless and incapable of saving themselves” but maybe that was just me. Christa hopped into the train, by herself, and he quieted down.
Khin : I decided against pushing him off the bridge. Either jump, or don’t. I’m going. I landed on the train roof and Omid attempted his jump. He bounced off and broke his leg or something. I may have laughed watching him bounce.
Ellen : Me too. ^^
Khin : I helped him up first, given that he had one leg that worked and Christa seemed to be jogging alongside us perfectly fine. I also got the “why didn’t you rescue the woman first” comment, which made me laugh because Christa seems massively more competent than Omid. Plus, she jumped on the train shortly after.
(I had a quick chat with my brother and a peek on Youtube, and it seems whatever option you go with, Lee lands on the train and Omid bounces off and breaks something).
Everyone rested on the train as it carried on to it’s destination. The final scene sees you in the train cabin with Clementine sleeping on a chair. You see Savannah’s skyline in front of the sunrise and look to Clementine. You see a drawing of Kenny’s family in her backpack and look at it as Kenny returns to the cabin. You inform him of your intentions for the group before Clementine’s radio bursts into life, much to everyone’s surprise. Someone has been contacting her and you can’t be certain for how long.
Ellen : I told Kenny we were going to split from the group and that he would be safe with his boat plan. He actually didn’t argue with me, at all, for once. The radio surprised me with it’s high frequencies cutting through the atmosphere. I am very interested to see how the plan pans out, if at all.
Khin : I found this one a bit lacking either side of Katjaa and Duck’s deaths. Even the mysterious voice at the other end of the radio didn’t do much for me. Perhaps the lack of a real threat in this episode is the reason.
Ellen : If anything, it was a middling episode, particularly with it being the halfway point. It is a wheel-turning episode and it was the quickest one for me to play. I thought the train was about halfway through the episode, but it is really the last third. You spend most of the episode just talking with characters with only a couple of action scenes. This isn’t a bad thing, but if I had to wait several months for the next instalment, this would probably be the point I dropped off and forgot about the series until the end…
That concludes Episode 03 for now. The choices can be found below, with a small reflection.
We will reconvene in two weeks time, for Episode 04 : Around Every Corner.
Part 4 is now available and you can go straight to it here : “Around Every Corner”
The UC Gaming Club take all of their screenshots, themselves. The property depicted is owned by Telltale, Skybound and Image Comics. The Gaming Club claims no ownership, but really appreciates the work involved with the game.