The Walking Dead: Michonne: Episode 3 - What We Deserve
The first two episodes of Telltale’s Michonne miniseries wasted time on dull side characters and superfluous combat sequences. In contrast, What We Deserve is a pleasant surprise, striking a great balance of worthwhile character development and action-packed segments. I’m disappointed this post-apocalyptic tale took so long to find its footing, but the third installment serves as an entertaining and moving finale.
What We Deserve works well because it’s the first episode to spend a satisfying amount of time focusing on Michonne, often delving into her memories of the traumatic event that helped shape the grizzled ronin. In these moments Telltale gets dark and experimental, with bizarre dream sequences and effective jump scares that show how our heroine can’t escape the demons of her past. Not all of them work (for example, an emotional scene had me chuckling due to awkward animations) but the majority are genuinely interesting and left me wishing that earlier episodes were as boldly strange as this one.
The problems from the first two episodes are largely the same here, but they’re diminished. Every other character except for Michonne is mind-numbingly boring, and I resented the (thankfully) few sequences I spent listening to them talk about how rotten the world is. Dialogue is dull and predictable, which is par for the course at this point. However, the majority of storytelling is done visually and often silently as we get to see Michonne’s efforts to reconcile the past and the future and forgive herself for her perceived failures. Shots of her staring in horror or making pained expressions at the thought of distant memories sell the story in this episode.
I came away impressed with the finale in spite of the narrative weaknesses spread across all three episodes. Playing as Michonne while she cuts zombies and bandits to ribbons is enjoyable, but it’s when we get to roam inside her mind that the miniseries goes beyond the conventions of Telltale’s formula and becomes something special. What We Deserve is interesting and exciting enough that it’s worth playing through the first two dull episodes to see how everything comes together. It’s a great conclusion, and hopefully a sign that Telltale still has some surprises when it comes to interactive storytelling.
What We Deserve is a surprisingly great conclusion to an otherwise disappointing series.