Updated: Jan 20, 2019
When it comes to the second episode of most seasons from seasoned developer Telltale Games, they are usually one of the weaker installments of the entire series. If that assumption should be applied to Suffer the Children, the second episode in what is the final leg of Clementine’s heart wrenching journey, beginning in 2012, does lay a promising finish to the season, even if this installment is both drab and lacking of both originality and cohesive storytelling. But with the recent closure of Telltale Games and the growing uncertainty of Clementine’s story ever being concluded, it ultimately places this second episode in a desperate situation as it is intended to be the finale that its developers did not make it to be. And with such a tight expectation, it ultimately falls short, highlighting what caused the progressive downfall of the narrative-driven developer and creating a bittersweet note that is neither satisfying or wanted.
In the scope of a larger story and arc, this second episode accomplishes what its writers clearly envisioned it to. It effectively is a set-up episode as it leaves and develops both characters and plot threads to presumably be used in future episodes for great effect. Following the shocking events of episode one, both Clementine and AJ find themselves in a tense situation as they are both hated and cast out by where they usually called home. After an unexpected and disastrous with a familiar face from episode one, the episode begins to swing with full force, ricocheting into a pace that carries steadily until the second half of the episode. Characters are introduced at a monstrously fast pace, an attribute that usually would benefit most game releases. However, with such a narratively-driven predecessor as the first episode of The Walking Dead: The Final Season, it feels both unnecessary and jarring. The first episode leaned into characterizing and fully fleshing out a central roster of characters. In almost the first fifteen minutes, this second episode almost completely removes that progress with a story point that is clumsily ignored. New characters, such as the mysterious character entitled “James,” never leave a lasting impact, even including a returning character from season one who strives to wreak havoc on our central protagonists.