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The Walking Dead: Michonne Miniseries comes to a close with chapter three, What We Deserve. After two very contrasting episodes, one being a thrilling affair and the other not quite so; how will this side project end? What We Deserve siphons the strengths from both of the previous installments, creating a well-paced, sobering story albeit with a mildly disappointing conclusion.
Oddly, after the impending confrontation that episode two alluded too, we begin with a flashback showing Michonne once again on Pete’s ship. The crew is bonding over a game whilst a distant Michonne stands alone, gazing out to the sea. Oak, a member of the company, tries in vain to lure Michonne into the proceedings and the scene ends. A huge complaint I had from the first episode was the poor development of this band of survivors, to the extent where I could not recall their names (and still cannot). The inclusion of them here felt unjust and instead, felt included to simply reintroduce me to these characters. I assumed their presence would be integral to episode three’s plot, which incidentally, it was.
The second scene assumed the expected starting point of the episode with Norma and her companions embarking upon the house for revenge. What We Deserve is a story of two divergent halves. The first behaves as the calm before the storm, allowing for time to explore the property and meet the family residing there. One of the core themes throughout this miniseries has focused on Michonne’s grief and regret alluding to the demise of her children. This maternal instinct is further explored as Michonne adopts the parental figure to these recently orphaned kids. She is burdened with consoling three, very different children and must alter her methods accordingly, be it embracing the imagination of a child or assisting with a burial. Unsurprisingly, these interactions evoke Michonne’s demons and we edge closer to finding out the truth behind her anguish. I do find it odd that Pete spends no time caring for these children, however. As an inherently caring character that is aware of Michonne’s troubling past, I found it bizarre that he secluded himself away from everyone in a back room.
The entire miniseries has acted as a post-epidemic counseling session for our heroine. Michonne wholeheartedly feels she failed her children and we see multiple examples of other characters in similar predicaments, sharing the same emotions. In a world where the definition of right and wrong is not definitive, judgment calls can become negligent. Sam’s mother committed suicide, fearing she would become a walker and that was her way of protecting her children. Sam’s father took the approach of barricading his family away from this new world whereas Paige, has decided to bail and run away, thinking that is the best form of action. Ultimately, in this brutal environment, their efforts were all in vain. Michonne witnesses these acts and slowly understands that her shortcomings may not have been as criminal as she once thought.
As you inspect the house, accompanied by a beautiful, somber piano score; you discover diaries, farewell notes and even growth markers in the infant bedroom. You build an emotional bond with not only the family but the house. Although this segment felt slightly elongated, it was needed for Michonne to gain some perspective before the inevitable, action-packed finale.
The standout success of this spin-off series has been the action scenes and episode three continues with this winning formula. As Norma and her group reach the house, a tense standoff ensues. Michonne is in possession of Randall, Norma’s brother, whereas the other members of the ship’s crew have been captured and offered as a trade. Randall is very much the key element of this negotiation and this empowers Michonne’s choices. Sadly, due to the lack of affection I had towards the members of Pete’s crew, the trade seemed slightly less paramount. The real triumph of this encounter is the apparent freedom at Michonne’s disposal. I genuinely felt as though anything could happen and with Paige, who from a distance covered the confrontation with a rifle, I always had a backup when proceedings turned sour.
Once the negotiations are concluded, we are treated to the satisfyingly gory climax we’ve craved. It is very rare to feel like a winner in the Walking Dead but this segment is as close as we can get with a despised character getting justice. Having the option of ending their despair and choosing not to may have been contrived as a cold move, however, once I saw the statistics at the end, 91% of players mirrored my actions. Having antagonists that appear over the course of the three episodes has had the desired effect on the audience and I hope this narrative tool is embraced in the future.
Michonne’s world literally erupts in flames and through beautiful, seamless transitions between present day and her past; we reach the crux of the story. Seeing the last conversation between Michonne and her children has been the driving force behind this brutal adventure. The three installments have built to this reveal and it feels like the opportunity for Michonne to finally move on and accept her shortcomings.
Sadly, although it had seemed that Michonne had taken a huge stride forward in dealing with her internal pain, I was disappointed to see that the resolution I had hoped for may not have been achieved. I could not help but feel that, although the journey was an emotionally gripping tale, was it the story I wanted for Michonne? Did she leave this adventure in a better place?
My biggest complaint and I feel as though I have repeated this throughout the miniseries is the unstable engine. During the opening recap, highlighting moments from the earlier episodes, it suffered from glitches, frame rate drops, and audio stutters. It is unacceptable that a game should perform this way on a current generation console. Telltale Games need to revise the game engine which tarnishes these wonderful stories and optimize it for each platform.
What We Deserve is the brutally satisfying ending we wanted. Embracing the strengths from the previous outings, episode three is delicately balanced with intense action and a poignant narrative. Over the course of the three episodes, I’ve developed a strong bond with our heroine and have new found respect for her strong, fearless persona. The miniseries has explored themes and mechanics that the core entry would have struggled to include and as such, The Walking Dead: Michonne is a compelling diversion whilst we wait for season three.
- Gameplay: Decision Making and Brutal, Quick Time Events
- Graphics: Beautiful Comic Book Aesthetic, Gory
- Sound: Compelling Voice Work, Zombies
- Presentation: Bad Frame Rate At Times, Integrated Quick Time Events
- Well Balanced
- Action Scenes
- Satisfying Conclusion
- Technical Issues
- Lackluster Conclusion