The first episode of The Walking Dead: Michonne left our titular character in quite a predicament, having just killed Greg as he turned and facing a gun being pointed at her. Episode 2, “Give No Shelter”, picks up right where we left off. Michonne and Sam make their escape, along with Pete, only to get stopped before completely getting clear of Monroe. At this point you get tasked with making your first real decision of the game- Do you take Pete with you, or leave him behind to stall for time as the pair of you get away? It’s just one of the moral choices Michonne needs to face in this at times tense but still too brief episode.
The escape from Monroe is a fast paced, exciting affair which then becomes a tense encounter on shore with a herd of walkers. Michonne’s solution to this dilemma will be familiar to anyone who’s watched the show or read the comics, but even so it provides for some suspenseful moments. A climb up the wreckage of a metal electrical tower provides for some more thrilling moments, with things being turned up a notch as Sam gets shot. It then becomes a race to get Sam back home, leading to a predictable encounter at the gate, followed by the predictable triage scene, then followed by what feels like an unearned emotional moment, since we’re not really invested in Sam’s family. But it’s at this point the episode veers into slightly more interesting territory, and, as in the first episode, this territory all centers around Michonne.
It’s a good thing that Michonne is the most interesting thing in the miniseries bearing her name, though the fact that it outshines other characters holds the series back from being up to par with Telltale’s other Walking Dead seasons. The delving into Michonne’s psyche as she continues to come to grips with the loss of her two girls is strong stuff, and her flashbacks give us some great insight on what currently drives her forward. All her choices seem to go back to the memory of her girls who haunt her every step, seeing their toy dinosaur everywhere to trigger the flashbacks to what happened as the world fell into the zombie apocalypse.
Her past allows her to offer advice to Sam’s family, particularly her father, John, who doesn’t react well to the news of Pete’s death. And just when it seems like Michonne may be able to settle in, an act of stupidity leads to tragedy and a tense stand off. A big moral decision looms over you as the episode ends, where you know that no matter what your choice is danger will soon be coming.
It’s this danger that kind of gives the episode’s title, “Give No Shelter”, a little different meaning, highlighting the big moral choice that affects all survivors, that of just how much aid to you give others during the zombie apocalypse. Do you grant shelter for all who need it, thus possibly imperiling your loved ones, or do you turn them away and simply hope they make it? As Michonne finds letting others in can prove to be a dangerous affair, whether that means literally allowing them into a physical shelter or letting them come inside your own emotional shell where you attempt to relate to others.
It’s interesting stuff, and that combined with some tense moments helps raise this episode in the right direction, though its brevity works against it (it clocks in at under 90 minutes). It seems just as soon as you get going the episode is over. This second was a bit better than the first, so hopefully the finale will really go out in the way of the previous Telltale games set in Kirkman’s universe, with a powerful impact that will leave us wanting more.
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