It’s been a very long, painful journey for Lee (AKA myself), Clementine, and Kenny thus far. Kenny is still in an angry shock over the abrupt loss of his family just two days prior. Our group has a few new members–Omid and Christa–who seem to be fitting in well, even if Christa can be pretty demanding and hard to deal with at times. We’ve arrived in Savannah in hopes of finding a boat to get us out of this miserable place–somewhere safer.
With the array of different possibilities there are between mine and your story in The Walking Dead at this point, it’s hard to articulate my enjoyment of the episode to everybody, because things could be very different for you. Unlike past episodes, I decided not to play through this episode twice–I just don’t want to go through painful moments again.
To put my adventure thus far briefly; Carly was my girl, I helped kill Larry when he had his heart attack, I skewered one of the St. Clair brothers, Clementine and I are as tight as can be, I left Lilly to die when she murdered Carly, and I shot Duck for Kenny. I’m not proud of those decisions, and many others, but my irrational and in-the-moment actions blinded my reason. When the going got tough, I made decisions that seemed right at the time, but not always what was right in the long-term.
Around Every Corner is a departure from the pattern of this series thus far. Where Long Road Ahead spent a majority of its time delving deep into its existing characters–and slapping you in the face by killing off almost all of them–Around Every Corner feels much more like Episode 1 in many respects. Rather than introducing tense and deadly situations at every turn, a lot of time was spent providing context to Savannah and the new characters found in it. Some, if not most, of the new characters introduced in this episode feel shamelessly tacked on and unnecessary, and feel like they’re there purely for the sake of telling another sad back-story for no real reason.
Even though Around Every Corner doesn’t kick you in the tear ducts every time you take a breath, it still does an impeccable job of setting up the final chapter for Lee and Clementine. I say that because the game makes very clear all of the variation in who can still be with you up to this point–whether it’s because they’re dead or for other reasons.
I feel like a broken record at this point having to acknowledge The Walking Dead’s blaring technical issues running on PS3. As can be said subsequently for every episode, Around Every Corner features the most obvious and most intrusive bugs yet. Every episode has had freezing in between scenes, but Episode 4 has had the worst freezes yet. Apart from the normal freezing and frame rate problems, the post-episode display showing your decisions compared to the rest of the community was completely blank–it literally said “Choice 1″ and “Choice 1 Decision” in place of the actual statistic or title. A patch has since been released, so hopefully these issues have been resolved.
Around Every Corner is not the season’s greatest stand-alone episode (that honor still belongs to Long Road Ahead) but it does a fantastic job setting up a finale with complicated situations that are sure to be worthy of a title like No Time Left. Around Every Corner puts context and setting before action, which is necessary for thoroughly building the city of Savannah in its current state. Don’t get me wrong, the action, tense situations, and reflex-summoning decisions you expect are definitely here, but are not the strongest we’ve seen in the past and are few-and-far-between. Around Every Corner is a solid two-hour long emotional ride. There’s only so much I can say without spoiling anything, but I will say there was more than one moment in this episode worthy of light tears. If you’ve invested as much as I have in this story so far, whether it is emotionally or physically, there’s no reason not to enjoy this episode; especially after the gut-wrenching ending that is sure to make for an excellent finale to this amazing series.
The Walking Dead Episode 4: Around Every Corner gets an 8/10