The Walk­ing Dead : Mi­chonne Ep1: In Too

Is it fi­nally time to flake on Tell­tale’s Walk­ing Dead se­ries?

XBox: The Official Magazine - - REVIEW -

With its suf­fo­cat­ing blend of ac­tion, vi­o­lence, fear, fore­bod­ing, an­guish, pol­i­tics, be­trayal and re­pose, The Walk­ing Dead uni­verse slots as nicely into Tell­tale’s in­ter­ac­tive sto­ry­telling tem­plate as a ma­chete into a walker’s eye socket. But never un­der­es­ti­mate the role young Cle­men­tine plays in hold­ing the se­ries to­gether. A calm oa­sis of rea­son in a world of dan­ger­ously short fuses, she’s the emo­tional an­chor that teth­ers us to that world, and makes our de­ci­sions feel like they mat­ter. That’s a tough act for any hero­ine to fol­low, par­tic­u­larly one as street-tough as the ma­chetewield­ing, manky-ass-kick­ing star of this three-episode spin-off, Mi­chonne.

Hav­ing said that, as fans of the TV se­ries and comic will know, Mi­chonne suf­fers from post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der, the rea­sons for which are ad­dressed here in the form of har­row­ing flash­backs. Af­ter th­ese re­veal­ing glimpses into her psy­che, Mi­chonne’s open book slams shut and her makeshift posse spend much of the rest of the episode at­tempt­ing to wrench it open again.

Episode 1 is an ex­po­si­tion-packed slow-burner – al­most wor­ry­ingly so given that this is just a three-parter – but it’s not short of vi­o­lence. In fact, it rev­els in it in a way that Cle­men­tine’s story arc tended to shy away from, which does give it its own feel, but some­times the drama can get lost in a whirl­wind of Hol­ly­wood sword­play.

As the plot thick­ens and ten­sion rises, In Too Deep at­tempts to re­peat The Walk­ing Dead’s in­tox­i­cat­ing rhythm of emo­tional peaks and troughs, but it largely falls flat. The cast is com­prised of over­fa­mil­iar tropes (op­ti­mistic leader, mis­an­thropic loner) and the plot twist, too, is a re­hash of one al­ready sur­vived in the main se­ries. Also, nei­ther the choices you make nor the words you choose have much im­pact. Even the episode-end­ing cliffhange­r is as weak as your boat’s ra­dio sig­nal.

There’s still time for Tell­tale to turn this ves­sel around, but it’s also prob­lem­atic that we al­ready know Mi­chonne’s fate. Mi­chonne could slice Cle­men­tine to rib­bons, sure, but we’d pre­fer to have Clem in our group any day of the week. OXM

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