The Walking Dead : Michonne Ep1: In Too
Is it finally time to flake on Telltale’s Walking Dead series?
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