Thursday, July 31, 2014

Zombieland review

     I really don't know how to rate Zombieland. After years of arguing with people about the social-commentary, symbolism, and philosophy behind zombies--here comes a movie which is just mindless fluff. Zombieland is a movie where zombies are allegories for zombies and the end of the world is a stand-in for the end of the world.

    It's still fun, though.

    Zombieland reminds me of the Resident Evil movies in a way. It's not a movie about anything but entertaining you and while it doesn't have Mila Jovavich, it does have Emma Stone and Woody Harrelson at his comedic best.

    The premise of Zombieland is that a batch of bad hamburger has spread a virulent Mad Cow-disease variant through the populace which turns people into zombies. These are the "Fast Zombies" of 28 Days Later and are capable of running after people. Indeed, there's a rather hilarious joke I can laugh at while I'm still overweight (working on it!) that it was the "fatties" who were the first to die.

The four actors are just delightful on screen.
     The premise of Zombieland is that "Columbus" (every character is referred to by a city name for some reason) as played by Jesse Eisenberg is one of the survivors of the Zombie Apocalypse. After fighting off his very attractive neighbor turned zombie, he joins forces with Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) who is the extremely tough zombie-hunter he is not. The two of them eventually stumble on con-women Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) before reluctantly joining forces to find shelter.

    Very reluctantly.

    There's a lot of genuinely laugh out loud moments spread throughout the film that I don't want to spoil. It would, for instance, be criminal to ruin the punchline of the mansion squatting scene. Anything I tell you would just make it less funny, so I'm going to keep my lid shut. All of the stars have chemistry and seem to be having fun, which compensates for the fact the movie is as substantial as a feather. Video game fans might also find this to be a good substitute for a Left 4 Dead movie, what with its simulation of the four player co-op experience.

The zombies aren't too scary, I'm sorry to say.
    Despite this, I can't say Zombieland is all that great of a movie. Aside from the fact the movie is mostly lacking in dramatic weight aside from one out-of-nowhere revelation, there's also the fact the female characters in the film lose all agency right at the time it's necessary for Columbus' character to show unexpected competence.

     As for the zombies themselves (or "infected" if you want to be pedantic), I can't say I'm overwhelmed by them. 28 Days Later made the running zombies terrifying by showing their unnatural movements. These zombies just, well, run. They're targets in a video game and the make-up didn't wow me either. They don't even show up that often on screen, which is probably a blessing.

    The most fun in the film is had when the characters are alone, away from the apocalypse, enjoying the general lawlessness of the world. You can take what you want, wreck what you want, and have a good time doing whatever. Being alone in a zombie apocalypse is hellish but might not be so bad if you have friends (and are sufficiently jaded to forget you've all lost your families).

    Still, I love Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, and zombies. The other actors do a decent job too. You could do worse for an afternoon's entertainment.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Exclusive interview with Thomas Wolfenden

 Hey readers,

An extra-special treat for you today! Thomas Wolfenden, author of One Man's Island, has decided to sit down for an interview with us. A devoted fan of the post-apocalyptic genre, I was very eager to get his insights into the book and his process.

One Man's Island is the story of how a massive radiation wave hits the Earth and kills almost the entirety of humanity. A seeming single survivor struggles to come to grips with this situation and what he's going to do now that everything he knows is gone. As always, though, the ugly face of humanity emerges in the aftermath of disaster and our hero finds out he's not quite as alone as he thinks he is--much to his detriment.

I hope the United Federation of Charles' readers will enjoy reading his insights as much as I have. Okay, Thomas, let's get started.

1. What separates One Man's Island from other post-apocalyptic/disaster stories?

Well, there’s no massive earth-shattering disaster, it’s almost as if humanity goes out with a whimper. No zombies, plagues, earthquakes, meteorites, but it’s definitely the end. But as with all of human history, evil will always exist. 

2. Why choose to go with a radiation wave over other methods of destroying the  world?

That one was an easy decision to make. I wanted to be a little different. To me, and this is just my personal opinion, that the zombie storyline is getting to the point of saturation. Not saying zombie stories are bad, I love them, I just didn’t want to go with what everyone else was writing. So I chose something while not totally likely, something that could very well actually happen. 

I did stretch science to almost the breaking point with literary license, but that was my prerogative. I did research the hell out of my theory when I was writing, and literary license aside, I did want to be as technically accurate as I could be, and still tell a compelling, believable story.

3. There's many references to Robinson Crusoe in your story. What do you think the similarities are there?

At the very start of Robinson Crusoe, the hero finds himself marooned on a deserted isle, totally alone. He’s able to make life more livable by scavenging what he needs in order to survive from the wreck of the ship he was sailing on, as the protagonist; Tim Flannery does with what’s left over. But, as I describe in the novel, the stuff just lying around won’t last long, because of nature taking back the planet with a vengeance. 

Tim has to survive in a rapidly decaying world, and like Robinson, his treasure trove that is the hulk of the wrecked ship, won’t last forever. Food, medicine, every-day items we all take for granted all have a use-by date, and Tim has to increasingly look elsewhere in order to survive, alone on a planet that is strewn with millions of corpses. Tim also has to deal with pure evil later on, just as Robinson did, when dealing with the tribe of cannibalistic natives from another island, but in Tim’s story, it’s human nature rising it’s ugly other side, where somewhere, someone else will covet what you’ve got, want to take it away from you, and have all the power.

4. Why do you think the apocalypse remains such a fertile ground for storytellers?

That I’m not sure of. I know in my situation, what drew me to the concept years ago, was growing up in the middle of the Cold War, and that so many stories were written about the end of the world, and in reality, we lived and breathed everyday with the very real possibility of total nuclear annihilation. It just sucked me in, and I always put myself into the situation, whereas, I’d read a story, or watch a film, and wonder to myself “what would I do in this situation?” and I think a lot of people are exactly the same. They, like me, see a horrible situation, and wonder to themselves, would I survive? Whether it was zombies, meteorites, volcanoes, a great flood or gamma ray bursts.

5. The character of Friday is a very fun one. How did you come up with her?

Robyn Fritag was fun to write. In my first draft, she was a boy, and I thought that was just a tad bit too vanilla, so on writing the second draft, I changed him to a girl and threw a huge monkey wrench into my protagonists life, as if things couldn’t get worse. Here’s a mid-40’s US Army reserve Sergeant Major, big city police officer, who’s never had kids of his own, thrust into a situation where now he’s got to take care of a precocious 13 year old girl. He’s completely clueless, and the dynamic of both of them is quite entertaining. A boy would be a much simpler character for him to deal with, and girl, well, he’s completely dumbfounded, and I think that makes a more enjoyable read.

6.  What would you say is the theme of One Man's Island?

Theme? I’m not sure… At the very base, it’s a story of good and evil, and how no matter what will happen, some humans will only want to take what others have got to gain power. Just a brief skimming of human history shows that. Wars have been fought, and millions of innocent people have died over whose god is better, or theft, Writ Large in land grabs, and megalomaniacs wanting to rule the world. 

Its human nature, and I believe even an Apocalypse won’t change that. The few remaining survivors of any Apocalypse won’t be sitting around in the debris of a destroyed civilization, holding hands and singing Kumbaya. They’ll still be at each others' throats fighting over what scraps that are left over.

7. What was the hardest part writing One Man's Island?

That’s a good question, and you’ll probably laugh. I’m terrible with not only remembering people’s names in real life, but coming up with fresh names and keeping track of them was the hardest part. I had to have a notebook by my side, listing all of the characters, and even then I lost track. It took my wonderful editor, Felicia Sullivan, to point out I had three minor characters with the same name! So I had to scramble to come up with different names for these minor characters at the last minute. It was, and still is a struggle for me.

8. Who is your favorite character in One Man's Island after the lead?

After Tim, I think my favorite character is Petty Officer Harry Suplee. He’s a lot like “Chef” in Apocalypse Now, head screwed on just a little too tightly, and always just a hair away from completely losing his mind. He’s thrust into a nightmare situation, with no possible escape, and he’s surrounded by pure evil, and he still holds it together.

9. What's the most interesting reaction you've gotten to your story so far?

Three things I’m told constantly, that even now, I’m extremely blown away by, humbled and elated. The first thing is that most people who’ve read my novel can’t believe it’s my first. I even had one fan email me, begging to know who I really was. He thought I was someone really famous, and I just put the novel out there under a pseudonym, like Stephen King did with the Bachmann Books. 

The second was that I was told by several people I was the best dialog writer some have ever read. That my characters don’t talk like some made-up person, they talk like they’re real, and speak like real people would speak. And lastly, almost to a man, all that have read it ask me when it was going to be made into a movie. And what author doesn’t want that? 

Who wouldn’t want some Hollywood producer tossing them bucket loads of cash? But, that being said, I also live in abject terror that if that actually does come to fruition, they’ll cast Ben Affleck as Tim Flannery, and if that happens, by head would spontaneously implode.

10. What can we expect to see from you in the future?

There is a sequel to One Man’s Island written. It’s titled One Man’s War, and has a tentative release date of mid-January, 2015, so keep an eye out for that. It picks up right where the first novel leaves off, and brings back most, if not all of the old characters, as well as some new ones. It’s also a lot darker than the first book, more dystopian. 

Right now I’ve got a lot going on, but I am working on a black/gallows humor police story for Permuted Press’ sister publishing house, Post Hill Press, and a straight Action/Military Adventure for Permuted. I also have some ideas from a few more stories, a horror story, and another police humor story, but I’m keeping them on the back burner until I finish the projects I have got going right now.

Thanks, Thomas! We appreciate you showing up!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Tentyrian Legacy review

    I've been a preoccupied with putting the finishing touches on my fourth manuscript, Cthulhu Apocalypse: With Strange Aeons, to update my site. So, now that I have some free time, I've decided to review something I really liked. Tentyrian Legacy is one of the more enjoyable books I've read in months and is a stand-out for 2014's supernatural reading list along with Time of Death and the latest Blackthorn novel. It's a book I'm going to go on forums to recommend and talk about with my fellow posters.

    That's how much I like it. Indeed, it's interesting, I usually plow through books in a single day but I had to mull through the Tentyrian Legacy over the course of a few weeks because I wanted to savor the book. It's not J.R.R Tolkien or even Interview with a Vampire but it's in the general vicinity of the latter and that's pretty high praise coming from me.

    Tentyrian Legacy is a novel about two distinct time periods colliding. The first is the lifespan of schizophrenic teenager Arianna Parker and the second is the vampire covens ruling the ancient Egyptian city of Tentyris. How these two groups coincide does not become apparent for nearly half the book but when they do, the plot becomes a tale of revenge and redemption spanning two thousand years.

    I don't want to gush over the book for the entire review but since I spend a lot of time tearing other books down, I should take the time to say what a book does right when it happens. Arianna is an incredibly likable character. Not since Sookie Stackhouse have I managed to bond with a character so completely. I sympathized with her isolation, her distance from other people, and her helplessness in the face of a loveless family. Watching her grow out of this was entertaining even before the introduction of the vampirism element.

    The Tentyrians are also a great bunch of "new" vampires. They have some small similarity to Anne Rice's Akasha but are distinctly their own. Elise Walters doesn't ape Stoker's or Rice's undead but creates her own rules. There are born vampires, turned vampires, human servants,  those with special powers, and families all forming a complex hierarchy based on the Greek Zodiac. Watching how their society functions and disintegrates is a fascinating read.

    One of the things I hate about recent vampire fiction is the derivative nature of most stories. Everyone needs to add something to their fiction. It doesn't need to be much, but you have to at least try. Elise Walters creates vampires I haven't seen before. That, alone, is deserving of kudos. The world-building is something she's put a lot of effort into and I found the societal structure of the undead to be believable. There's even an artistic genealogical map at the beginning of the book.

    There's some elements which hardcore vampire fans might question. The Tentyrians begin as a collection of almost too-good-to-be-true immortals. They only feed from their willing worshipers, maintain a strict moral code, have technology higher than regular mortals, and are seemingly perfect. Elise Walters nicely subverts this first impression and illustrates the dark side of their society. While I tend to prefer my vampires as evil monsters, tragic at best, this is one of those rare occasions I make an exception. There's more than enough evil later on, anyway.

    The supporting cast in Tentyrian Legacy is excellent. We get to meet a wide variety of characters, good and evil, who all have expansive backstories as well as memorable personalities. I especially liked the characters of Raad and Laura. Sadly, I wasn't too fond of love-interest Maximos. Millionaire vampire playboy with a heart of gold is something I've seen many times before. Given the originality of heroine Arianna, I felt Else Walters could have done better. Eventually, I bought the romance but not until after cheering her attempts to resist his controlling personality.

     The villains of Tentyrian Legacy are an eccentric cast of evil-doers with grandiose plans a little too similar to the aforementioned Akasha but which they go about in a far more subtle manner. I don't think their genocidal plans for humanity were necessary, really, because they're delightfully wicked without such a over-the-top goal. I love it when vampires play puppeteer and have big screwed up family dynamics.

     In conclusion, if you hadn't picked it up from my thoroughly gushing review, I recommend anyone who enjoys vampire fiction to purchase this. How much do I like this book? I got a free copy from a friend but I chose to buy the Kindle version anyway and after finishing it, am purchasing the hardcover copy.


Friday, July 18, 2014

What Zombies Fear: The Maxists

    What Zombies Fear is a five-book series by Kirk Allmond which reverses much of the usual drama of a zombie-apocalypse. Instead of being books about scared, desperate, and lonely survivors--it's a book about low-leveled superpowered humans kicking undead ass while rebuilding society. The zombies have many members who are intelligent and it co-ops many alien invasion motifs, providing a central antagonist as well as motivation behind the attack.

    For some, this may distract from the zombie narrative. Unintelligent zombies make the resulting apocalypse seem more like a natural disaster while this is very much a case of evil beings doing evil things. However, part of what I enjoy about this series is it's different from other bog-standard zombie novels and that is something which deserves to be noticed.

    The science fiction elements are also something I appreciated. We learn the origin of the alien invasion this book and while I object to the manner its conveyed (see below), I'm glad Kirk Allmond explained his zombie's origin.

    The premise of The Maxists is that Victor Tookes, the titular being which zombies fear, has just defeated a massive herd of zombies. One the size of a small city. This has caused the remnants of the United States military as well as the intelligent zombies to sit up and take notice of his village.

    Victor has no love for the United States government, blaming them for failing to protect the world (which is cruel given the majority of its soldiers DIED fighting the zombie menace), and finds the attempts by Colonel Fryes to bring his group back under its purview to be offensive. Given Victor and the rest of his secessionist state have superpowers, it's not something the US remnant can pressure them on.

    I was intrigued by this plotline and am saddened the United States remnant comes off as the duplicitous bunch of scumbags it does in this book. I was hoping there would be room for moral ambiguity in The Maxists but, by the end, any of it is dissolved. Victor Tookes and his settlement are not only in disagreement with them but the moral right. The United States remnant has reasons for acting the way they do but, bluntly, I find it difficult to imagine any readers sympathizing with them.

    A major subplot of the book also deals with Victor's precocious son, Max, who has developed possibly the most useful power in the world--the ability to control zombies. As one might guess, this makes him the most important three-year-old in the world. The chapters from his perspective are the most enjoyable part of the book, in my opinion.

    I loved watching him and his 'pet' zombies move through the world with an almost complete innocence of what is really going on. The terrifying potential of his abilities is also explored in interesting ways that reminded me of how a young Charles Xavier must have been.

    As before, much of the book is about action and acquiring supplies to rebuild human civilization--or, at least, Victor Tooke's small part of it. Zombies are rarely a threat to Victor and his group, which, after thousands of movies have portrayed them as invincible in great numbers--is cathartic. While Victor Tookes isn't up there with Ashley Williams of the Evil Dead franchise yet, he's still a good candidate for the zombie slayer.

    My only problem with the book is the introduction, really, where Victor Tookes explains how the zombie/alien invasion began as well as what the source of his superpowers is. While a great piece of exposition and world-building, there's never an explanation how the hell Victor Tookes knows any of this. I think the book would have been improved if we'd been given an explanation how he knew this or just had it given to us by an omniscient narrator.

    I think the What Zombies Fear remains a fun little series about a guy who has a great deal of luck kicking zombie butt. It's an independence fantasy, showing the post-apocalyptic world as a place where a person might be able to build a new life as well as a more equitable world.

    I don't believe an actual apocalypse would be anything like this as I'm quite fond of my creature comforts and the benefits of civilization but I can understand the appeal of the daydream. I will, however, continue reading the books and expect them to remain about the same level of quality, which is excellent light-reading.


The People vs. George Lucas

    I love zombies, don't get me wrong, but aside from finishing What Zombies Fear I'm a little zombied out. So, instead, I decided to watch a movie about a bunch of people shambling along and moaning--about Star Wars.

    Okay, that's unfair.

    The People vs. George Lucas is going to be one of my rare negative reviews, sadly. I applaud the filmmaker's skill, the fact they made a film about a subject which was near to my heart, and the obvious love of the franchise built into the work. Unfortunately, the movie's relentless negativity really dampened my mood.

    The People vs. George Lucas is more or less an hour and a half about why Star Wars fans really-really hated the Special Editions and prequels. It shows the infectious raw enthusiasm of countless fans enjoying the movies from their release in theaters to the long drought until the prequels being released. The rest of the documentary has an almost message-board-like quality of everyone in the film explaining why the movies sucked and/or ruined their childhood.

    They specifically say, "raped" their childhood. A comparison which they utilize several hundred times and even make a couple of musical cues regarding--which I found to be both tasteless and problematic for a work about Star Wars. The People vs. George Lucas includes the footage from the South Park episode where Indiana Jones is sexually assaulted by Stephen Spielberg and George Lucas too--which, again, I didn't particularly like either.

    Nor did my wife.

    Listen, I've been a Star Wars fan since I was three-years-old and until the New Jedi Order followed by the Legacy of the Force novels, I was as obsessed with it as anyone else. I know something about fandom rage. I was there when the backlash against the Star Wars Prequels began, continued, and I'd say ended but that would imply there's still not people talking about the subject.

    The Star Wars Prequels were disappointing to me as well. They were empty spectacles with bad writing, bad acting, and a lot of exposition which got in the way of any sort of character development. George Lucas really needed a script editor or someone to write the script for him.

    George should stuck to using his vast knowledge of visual film-making to make the prequels the eye-candy they needed to be (and were--if nothing else). He  could have hired anyone in the world for the writing, Neil Gaiman showed up on this documentary for crying out loud, which makes it a double missed opportunity.

    However, I got over the prequels being a disappointment.

    Years ago.

    The really annoying thing about this movie is there's so much interesting stuff inside it. They talk about fandom films (showing scenes from some truly epic ones), people's personal memorabilia collections, and a few stories about what Star Wars meant to people. Star Wars helped develop my moral sensibility as well. All this gets ignored to focus on the immense sense of 'betrayal' fans have from George Lucas making movies they didn't like.

    They also do a few segments about what sort of responsibility filmmakers have to preserving their original work versus tinkering with it. Any of these would make a better subject for this documentary than people's sense of betrayal about the fact George Lucas made some mediocre movies. There's some really cute segments in this film too, including someone remaking Misery with George Lucas and a particularly obsessive fan. I actually want to check that one out because I really liked the girl's acting.

    But seriously, the movie's point seems to be about displaying the obsessive nerd rage of a large number of my people. I got to live it the first time and it wasn't that much fun in the first place. Its one-sided too with no real attempt to present the opinions of those who thought the prequels had merit (albeit one small merits). The documentary barely touched on the Star Wars Expanded Universe too, which annoyed me since it was pretty huge even if followed by only a fraction of the total fandom.

    In the end, my advice regarding this movie is this--if you want to watch a movie about people complaining about Star Wars for two hours then this is it.

    I don't.


What Zombies Fear: A Father's Quest review

    I am a firm believer there's no need for the Zombie Renaissance to ever end. However, for this to be the case, every author must bring something new to the pot. People talk about wanting to have George Romero shamblers indefinitely as if they are the only way you can do them. I've stated why I find this to be ridiculous (here).

    Kirk Allmond is a guy who manages to impress me not necessarily because I agree with all of his choices but I appreciate the fact he bothers to do things differently. It's not so differently as Braineater Jones (reviewed here) but he doesn't just stick with the bog-standard formula either. There's zombies, there's an apocalypse, and a father is desperately trying to save his young son from dying.

    Ho-hum, seen this before.

    Some humans are immune to zombie infection, though.

    Hmm. Better.

    Which gives them low-level superpowers.

    *blink* Okay, color me intrigued.

    Oh and some of the zombies are intelligent and capable of passing for human, effectively serving as a Fifth Column for whatever force is behind the rise of the zombies.

    Okay, now you have a story.

    The premise of What Zombies Fear is Victor Tookes is a father of a toddler named Max when the zombie apocalypse happens. Max is bitten early-on but Victor and his family have an inherent immunity to the bug which allows them to survive it as well as develop superpowers.

    Victor suffers several tragedies over the course of the novel and decides to use his newfound abilities as well as those of other immune humans to build a refuge against the zombie hordes. Likewise, he's going to try and kill as many of them as possible.

    Hence the title.

    A Father's Quest is a pretty good bit of heroic fiction. Victor Tookes suffers some setbacks but the story follows him on a largely successful quest to carve out his own little fiefdom in the post-apocalyptic world.

    Kirk Allmond spends a good amount of page-time describing the specifications of the fortress, what sort of weapons they have, and paying cursory attention to how they begin setting up their town. Much of the rest of the book is devoted to well-written action scenes where our heroes take the fight against the bands of zombies roaming the Earth.

    If I have a problem with the book it's that the emotion of the events is somewhat muted. Our hero doesn't take much time to reflect on the personal losses he suffers and more or less just chugs along indefinitely. This isn't bad for the style of book this is but it did leave me a bit surprised.

    In conclusion, I think What Zombies Fear: A Father's Quest is a nice little novel which I give points for originality as well as being of a different sort of feeling than many others. It's pretty upbeat and I think zombie novels which are other genres than horror are a great idea, personally. If we can have action movies with vampires, why not zombies?


The Walking Dead Season 2: Episode 3: In Harm's Way

    Note: Due to the nature of serialized storytelling, this will contain spoilers for the episodes prior to the one I'm reviewing.

    In Harm’s Way is the third installment of Season Two of The Walking Dead video game franchise. I have to admit, I’m genuinely surprised as much happened in this episode as it did. I would have thought a few of the events would have been saved for the climax. Then again, Season One threw everything but the kitchen sink at players in Episode Three so I shouldn’t be surprised.

    The premise is Clementine, Kenny, Sarita, and the Cabin Survivors have all been captured by the mysterious Carver. Carver is, apparently, the father of Rebecca’s unborn child and has captured the group in order to return them to his settlement. Telltale Games chooses a hilarious location to place Carver’s erstwhile kingdom and I can think of no better place to build an empire.

    The role of Walkers is reduced in this episode and they assume a different sort of threat to the lone stalkers from previous episodes. Instead, the Walkers take on the role of a coming natural disaster like a storm or earthquake which humans may or may not be prepared to deal with. The focus, instead, is on humans and how they react when penned in together like animals. Carver claims all of his harsh draconian methods are necessary for the greater good but are they?

The threat this time is from your fellow humans and it's a much more severe one than the St. John brothers.
    It’s interesting how roleplaying was such a major concern of mine during my playthrough. Despite this episode lacking choices to support Carver, my Clementine was torn between her burgeoning loyalty to the Cabin Survivors (who had treated her like garbage until realizing she was useful) and the desire to be part of a kingdom which is seemingly safe against Walker attacks.

Like the Governor in the television series, we get a sense as to why people would want to follow Carver while also understanding why he’s not the man they think he is. He’s an extremely well-realized character and if he’s not as terrifying or memorable as the Governor then he’s at least the best villain they’ve created for this franchise.

    The addition of Kenny to the group livens up things considerably and I found the Cabin survivors much more likable this time around than in previous episodes. It’s really a shame so many defining events happen this episode because I would have liked to have seen more of the dynamic they start to show before the climax. Unfortunately, the character of Nick is marginalized given he could die in Episode Two. I fully expect him to not play much role in future episodes or die. This is a shame since I like Nick significantly more than the character of Luke.

Carver remains the best villain of he video games thus far.
    The new survivors added to the group are interesting and offer some intriguing reflections into Clementine’s own developing character. The character of June, in particular, may represent the hardened survivor Clementine may become in the future—at the cost of nearly the entirety of her humanity. Is this the Clementine that chooses not to be a part of a group? The character of Sarah, however, shows the dangers of relying too much on others as she is almost completely helpless without her adults to look after her.

     This episode is a tight mix of action, puzzle-solving, role-playing, and everything else which makes a good Telltale episode. Clementine's character developed more in this episode than any other one save, perhaps, Episode Five of Season One. That's pretty high praise and watching poor Clem try to claim her independence from a group determined to protect her (but unable to protect themselves) is a story arc which reaches its climax here.

    The explosion action-filled final part of this chapter is something I give Telltale a lot of credit for too. Just when you think the emotional beats of this episode have reached their conclusion, the Episode throws three or four more at you. If the Cabin Survivors had been as likable and interesting as they were during this chapter, tI wouldn’t have been nearly so critical of the first two chapters. In any case, I consider this to be the best of the Season Two episodes thus far and am anxiously looking forward to Episode Four.