The Walking Dead EP24: Bursting with Flavor!

By Shamus Posted Sunday Jan 27, 2013

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 183 comments

Link (YouTube)

Reason the Crawford people are dumb #582:The doctor broke off the deal with Molly because The Authority was keeping close tabs on the medicine supply. So apparently they were keeping careful inventory of insulin? Why? You don’t allow diabetics in the group, remember? By design, your group should never ever need insulin. This is like a nunnery keeping and tracking a supply of condoms. If you’re not going to use the meds yourselves, why not trade it with others? Oh. You don’t trade with outsiders, either. I guess that would be reason #583.

I am kind of frustrated that we can’t get a clear picture of what rules Crawford is operating on. Vernon’s group seem to indicate that Crawford would hunt them all down and kill these otherwise healthy humans because they might die of cancer later. But then Anna’s second conversation with the doctor indicates that she’s free to leave Crawford. Later Molly said they, “Came and took my sister away.” Okaaay. Did they take and kill her, or did they just boot her out of Crawford? Which is it? Is Crawford a bunch of predatory murderers, or are they just elitist and isolationist? This distinction is really important when evaluating their society, and the game doesn’t give us a clear answer.

Having said all that, I think Crawford is plausible enough. They’re a stretch, but historically we’ve seen much worse. If the writers are going to toy with the “Humans are the real monsters” theme, I find it a lot more palatable when they keep the “monsters” outside the party. The stupidity of Crawford was less infuriating to me than the stupidity of teaming up with Lily and Larry and letting them run things.

Also, note how the choices made by players kind of refute the whole “Humans are the real monsters” theme. Looking at the various end-of-episode scores, we see that players overwhelmingly chose the path of mercy whenever it was available to them, even when the game incentivized the path of callous pragmatism. Yes, this took place within the context of a videogame where players didn’t have to personally experience the hunger, pain, sickness, and hardship of Doing The Right Thing, but I think it shows there is enough idealism out there to make Crawford the exception and not the rule in the wasteland.


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183 thoughts on “The Walking Dead EP24: Bursting with Flavor!

  1. Deadpool says:

    Far be it for me to try and defend Crawford but I think the IDEA was that they don’t allow people who can’t pull their weight NOW. They are trying to get this Zombie thing under control. Clear their down, build a permanently safe area and THEN start having kids and having medicine to deal with them, etc.

    So they are stockpiling supplies for another day. Of course, I have no idea if insulin goes “bad” or anything like it.

    1. Ryan says:

      Insulin needs to be refrigerated.

      1. Deadpool says:

        And how long does it last when refrigerated? A month? A year?

        Either way, if it goes bad, then Molly’s idea to keep using it on the low is about as stupid and Crawford stockpiling it or even taking inventory (it’ll go bad anyways, who cares?).

        1. newdarkcloud says:

          Molly’s only keeping it on the down-low because of Crawford’s stupid nonsensical policies. It’s not her fault the only shelter in the area was owned by power-hungry dicks.

          1. Deadpool says:

            Right, but if insulin goes bad, what is her plan when all the insulin goes bad?

            1. newdarkcloud says:

              I don’t think she could have a plan. Where could you ever find refrigerated insulin in a powerless zombie apocalypse?

        2. Nidokoenig says:

          According to this and some other first page Google results, once it’s opened, insulin should last thirty days, and that’s at room temperature, provided it’s below 30 degrees C. However, that’s just the guideline for the modern world where getting more isn’t exceedingly difficult. Refrigerated it should last for years, whereas at room temperature it will lose about 1% of its potency per month, which would create problems judging dosages, especially considering how hot it can get in Georgia. But you can’t be too picky during the zombie apocalypse, so you just have to do an extra step of maths. But technically speaking, it seems like scavenged insulin could last a couple of years and still be viable in life-or-death situations if you do the maths carefully.

          1. SgtRalph says:

            Having a dad who’s a diabetic, I can say that opened insulin past the 30 day point does loss a fair bit of potency and the dosage needed to maintain a healthy blood-sugar level goes up by a few units. Still, the insulin is generally packaged in small bottles with enough to last for slightly more then 30 days of use. So if your incredibly lucky and found a whole shipment of refrigerated unopened insulin then the insulin might last you a few years, but that not the only supplies needed for a diabetic.
            Needles would be an issue and while you could probably get by reusing needles a few time, its likely going to increase your chance of catching an infection. Then there’s the testing supplies; the pen needles for drawing blood, test strips to collect the blood, both of which we’ll have to be used at least 2 to 3 times a day and they are not reusable nor commonly carried in pharmacies. You also have to worry about battery power for the measuring device, although if your refrigerating your insulin then power probably isn’t an issue you have. Finally there’s food, because when your low you’ll need sugar fast and post apocalypse that could be a real problem.

            Basically, if the apocalypses comes, diabetes is pretty much a death sentence. Still, I’m unaware of any other medical uses for insulin so I’m not sure why Crawford would bother with it nor what the issue would be using it to prolonging her life a little other then Crawford is evil. I mean who are they saving it for, the next diabetic who comes by?

            1. Deadpool says:

              Well, a generator could be used to keep a fridge running fairly well. Would buy some serious time.

              Also, and this is crazy talk here, but I’ve yet to see a single one of these post apocalyptic societies take a trip to the library. There’s knowledge there!

              Sure, it would take us a while to get there, but the method of creating insulin isn’t lost to use forever. All we need to do is have a working fridge and enough supply until we figure out how to make more. So diabetes certainly makes life difficult but no impossible post Zombies…

              Btw, more than chemistry (Napalm would come in HANDY against Zombies) but there’s all sorts of specialized fields that would become REAL useful for every member of an anti zombie society to learn. Agriculture, masonry, metallurgy…

              Seriously, forge up a katana and some chain mail? Boom, anti Zombie force. Always surprised no one raids a museum for equipment in zombie scenarios…

              1. SgtRalph says:

                I could see people having generators up to run some basic appliances for a while in the apocalypse, but without more fuel being shipped to I imagine they’ll eventually run dry. Still, maybe you do have the capacity to keep insulin properly stored for a few years making it is a whole other story. You’d either need a lab set up to mutate and then grow the insulin producing E. Coli and the proper chemicals to collect it or you’d need to be running a large pig slaughterhouse to collect their pancreases, neither of which seem like a likely set up for early post zombie societies. Then of course the test strips themselves require quite a bit of industry to manufacture. They need both gold and someone to code them to read to the specific glucose meter. Not one of those specializations I’d imagine that would be in high demand come zombies.
                Maybe if there wasn’t complete societal collapse and there were large areas and counties that managed to keep the zombies so there’d be enough infrastructure left, but if all that’s left are small settlements like Crawford then I’d say a diabetics time is measured in weeks and months at best.

                1. Deadpool says:

                  I don’t know, I get the feeling we’d be setting up farms within a year or two of everything falling apart…

                2. Abnaxis says:

                  Alrighty, a few issues.

                  First off, I am diabetic. Speaking from firsthand info here.

                  The way I do things, I pretty much contradict everything you just said. I don’t refrigerate my insulin (and it’s well past its date at that–the bottle I just pulled from my pocket “expired” July of 2012), I re-use needles 10-12 times before throwing them away (without cleaning with alcohol at that) and I rarely use the glucometer (I have a developed sense for where my blood sugar is, generally good to within 20-30 mg/dL). Despite this, my A1c numbers are always good..

                  Now, diabetics are funny animals. Many things work for some people and not for others. Because of this, doctors and pharmaceutical companies tend to be VERY conservative in what they tell people to do. Someone less cynical than me might think that they want everyone as healthy as possible, but my experience tells me that it’s 99.9% CYA maneuvers to shift liability to the patient when something goes awry.

                  The biggest problem for diabetics are: first, supplies–yes, insuling stays good for a few years, but I use a good deal of it, and there’s just no way to produce it without an industry to support it, even extracting from animals would just not be practical.

                  Second, and more importantly, planning–I know from experience that living on day at a time just does not work as a diabetic. Keeping blood sugars under control requires planning for a general activity level and carbohydrate intake. Any deviation from plan results in extra food consumption or extra insulin consumption at minimum. More likely it will result in either incapacitation at a critical moment (because blood sugar will drop when you are the most active) or dehydration (because the body dumps water when blood sugar is high).

                  In a world where healthy people these shortcomings are easily enough to kill.

                  1. SgtRalph says:

                    Well I’ll concede to your firsthand knowledge of diabetes. Mine is only observed from family members and actually your usage of needles is more accurate to how my dad does it, I’m not sure why I suggested a needle change would be needed for each injection.

            2. silver Harloe says:


              None of those sound very post-apocalyptically useful.

              If I had to guess: Herr Dictator/Mayor Uber-Survivalist is, himself, a a diabetic and wants the stuff for himself.

              1. Mormegil says:

                There’s a problem with any plan that involves generators.


                And that’s only relevant if you can keep scavenging it. And then that assumes that wherever you were scavenging it from was keeping it under optimal conditions.

              2. SgtRalph says:

                Possibly, or Crawford just decided that hey, insulin is medicine therefor well hoard a whole bunch of it for all the healthy people in our hardcore survivalist society that kicks out any sick and weak…

    2. newdarkcloud says:

      That’s not any smarter. As Shamus said, you’re eventually going to want some young bucks to handle the hard lifting once your bones grow old and cricket-y.

      Also, let’s say you raise these children to only allow people who can pull their own weigh. Once YOU get old, say goodbye. After all, the elderly need too much to take care of.

      1. Deadpool says:

        You misunderstand me. I think the plan was to get things settled and THEN start having kids and allowing whoever to stay under any circumstances. The whole “only people who are useful” rule would be a temporary one just while the Zombies are everywhere and running wild.

        It’s not exactly a BAD idea per se, just short sighted. I mean, diabetics CAN pull their weight for an example. And if you’re trying to defend an area, sometimes numbers counts for more than quality.

        Still, minimizing pregnancies, for example, SHOULD be a priority for at least the first few years. A small society like this, surrounded by enemies on all sides needs every available hand working as opposed to tending to their children.

        Of course without the pill, and with condoms growing more and more useless by the minute, forced abortions are pretty much the only way to go. Which would probably alienate a lot of people and cause them to leave ANYWAYS, which costs you the manpower you were trying to keep in the first place.

      2. Zerotime says:

        The more I think about it, the more Crawford sounds like a commentary on libertarianism.

        1. newdarkcloud says:

          I’m curious how you reach that conclusion. Isn’t the primary principle of libertarian-ism just let people do their thing and all will be well? Seems like the opposite of the dictatorship to me.

          1. Zerotime says:

            Not, you know, textbook libertarianism, but real-world, fuck-you-got-mine “libertarianism” where long-term consequences are ignored for short-term gains.

            1. Nick Pitino says:

              Nice strawman you got there.

              1. Zerotime says:

                Got any examples to the contrary?

                (serious question, I can’t think of any)

                1. Shamus says:

                  This doesn’t follow.

                  You can argue that Libertarianism would lead to some sort of cutthroat Darwinian dystopia. However, this society wasn’t run by or devised by anyone who espoused individual freedom. The people rallied around a supreme leader right from the start, and it’s never hinted that they ever considered anything else.

                  It’s like if a bunch of religious nuts began killing people and I argued that, “See, this shows the atheism is bad because atheists always kill people the way these religious nuts killed people.” It’s not even a strawman. It’s an own-goal reverse strawman.

                  This is not to say that there isn’t room to criticize LT ideas, but if that’s what they were aiming for in this story they missed so bad they ended up making the opposite point.

                  A proper critique of LT ideas would be something like:

                  Larry the asshole leaves Crawford to go scavving. He shoots off his firearms and ends up attracting a lot of zeds. Then he retreats back behind the wall and leaves the guards to deal with the mob. He doesn’t share the supplies he gets, but he leaves a bunch of danger for everyone else to deal with. When confronted, he argues that, “You can’t tell me what to do! I’m free to come and go as I please!”

                  Add a few people like that together and NOW you’ve got a proper thought experiment on what might happen when individual liberty runs against the common good.

                  1. Nidokoenig says:

                    The problem you have there is people like, say, Ron Paul saying they oppose the Civil Rights Act, and in particular the ban on refusing service based on a person’s race, purely because it’s an affront to the business owner’s liberty, just like not allowing the leader of the Crawford settlement to make rules about mandatory abortions would technically be abridging his right to govern as he sees fit.
                    We can argue past each over about what Libertarianism is supposed to be in the ideal versus the truly horrifying shit Libertarians actually say they stand for on specific issues, but I think the decisions people who identify as Libertarian make are more important than their rhetoric.

                    1. Nick says:

                      … I’m sorry, what? How on earth are people going to know what you mean by ‘libertarian’ (other than people you dislike, apparently) unless you use the commonly accepted definition of what that is?

                      Freedom is an interesting concept, and I do like the treatment Pratchett gives it in the discworld novels – freedom is yours, but you have to accept the consequences of the actions that you are free to take.

                    2. Nidokoenig says:

                      I judge Libertarian by what people who call themselves Libertarian actively promote through their actions, because the idea that Libertarianism can be isolated and examined separately from the behaviour of Libertarians just results in No True Scotsman rubbish.

                    3. Epopisces says:

                      But. . .it CAN be isolated and examined separately. There is no ideal under the sun that hasn’t been abused by it’s adherents, and attacking an idea solely (note I said SOLELY) on that premise is insufficient to condemn it as an ideal. Perhaps it’s merely an ideal that is poorly represented or implemented at a given point in history.

                      Or it may be one that is fundamentally flawed (for example ignoring human nature), in which case it should be attacked and dismantled by presenting arguments from that direction.

              2. StashAugustine says:

                It could be a strawman shared by the writers.

            2. LunaticFringe says:

              Yep, cause people who hold individual liberty as their most important value just love a society run by a single authoritarian leader who imposes strict behavioural rules.

        2. Shamus says:

          Crawford is the very picture of “powerful leader dictates the sacrifices that everyone must make for the common good.” The idea of a forced abortion in a libertarian society is ludicrous. Libertarianism is usually criticized as “Do whatever you like, as long as you don’t infringe on the lives or property of others”. This is the OPPOSITE of that.

          If you wanted to critique Libertarianism, then you’d probably go for themes of “tragedy of the commons” or selfishness.

          1. Nidokoenig says:

            I have no problem with the idea of a Libertarian saying that a condition of living in “his” settlement is mandatory abortions and leaving is perfectly in-keeping with Libertarianism, since the common response to question about how we’ll ensure decent working and living conditions in a Libertarian society is that we’ll just “go elsewhere” if it’s rough and that “the market will provide”. I’m just glad most Libertarians are an ocean away from me and my loved ones.

            This is getting dangerously political.

            One thing that I’ve just thought of: This abortion would be being carried out in a Nurse’s Office. That’s barely a step away from a backy alley abortion, so the fatality rate is going to be pretty high. Not to mention (spoilered for creepy as fuck) the issue of whether the dead foetus turns, though I suppose an induced labour followed by smashing it’s head in would work if it’s late enough to barely survive, but I’m freaked just thinking about that so the idea that someone would actually think that was a good idea to inflict on a pregnant woman is mind-numbing.

            1. Shamus says:

              “I have no problem with the idea of a Libertarian saying that a condition of living in “his” settlement is mandatory abortions and leaving is perfectly in-keeping with Libertarianism, ”

              Such a thing would be an anathema to a Libertarian. That’s fine. I don’t care what you believe about the set of ideas, but this is isn’t just a misconception, this is an inversion of the ideas they espouse and cherish.

              1. Nidokoenig says:

                The problem there is that you have Libertarians saying precisely that people should be allowed to make such decisions on behalf of those they have power over, such as Ron Paul saying Roe v Wade should be repealed and abortion should be regulated or banned, and Bob Barr, 2008 Libertarian Presidential candidate, calling abortion murder and supporting its criminalisation.
                So saying Libertarians don’t support societies being able to make truly odious rules that restrict individual liberties is simply counter-factual when the people they choose as their pick to run America support just that. If it was anathema to them, they’d have drummed these people out, not picked them to run the show.
                The ideas can be whatever the Libertarians want them to be, their actions and their choices are unambiguous and frightening and I see no evidence that Libertarianism isn’t exactly as bad as I’ve been lead to believe by the words coming out of their mouths.

                1. silver Harloe says:

                  I don’t mean to make a straw man of your argument, but doesn’t it boil down to:

                  1) libertarian means X
                  2) game has society with rules Opposite-of-X
                  3) game does not mention libertarian ideology
                  4) some libertarians are hypocrites

                  therefore, game is a commentary on libertarianism


                  It would be one thing if we reversed proposition #3: if the leader actively espoused libertarian rhetoric, there might be a way to reach the conclusion. But… unless I’ve made a hash of your argument, I’m not seeing it.

                  (I would also like to note: Crawford has communal (state controlled, in this case) property, which is so anathema to libertarians that I don’t expect you can find even political hypocrites espousing it – so even if you can conclude the rules on dealing with sick people are compatible with libertarianism as practiced (though certainly not as defined) – you still have a long way to go to Crawford = Galt’s Gulch)

                  1. Nidokoenig says:

                    That was Zerotime’s argument. My argument is simply that a Libertarian society, based on the shit Libertarians say, would enable and support people wanting to make those kinds of rules, contrary to the idea that Libertarians are somehow viscerally opposed to such restrictions on individual liberty when they seem so happy to cast their votes in favour of just such restrictions on a persons bodily autonomy and put forward candidates espousing it.

                2. Shamus says:

                  Then this episode isn’t a deconstruction of Libertarianism, it’s simply revealing your own ignorance and prejudice against people who hold certain ideas.

                  Ron Paul is a Rebublican, famous for being the “most libertarian” of the Republicans. Check the various Libertarian think-tanks. (I know there are a bunch, but Reason Online is the only one I know off the top of my head. Maybe Cato?) In my reading, I’ve found them to be: Pro-choice, anti-war, open-borders, anti-drug prohibition, generally not very religious, perhaps trending slightly towards atheism. Ron Paul isn’t a Libertarian, and his stance on abortion is one of the very key issues where he differs from Libertarians. It would be like me saying that I dislike Democrats because Roosevelt enacted internment camps, ignoring how much actual Democrats hate the policy.

                  This is why I let this conversation roll as long as it has. This is something that breaks my heart: “Other people are all evil.”

                  I read Libertarians, and they say “communists all want to take our freedoms and rule over us and turn this country into Soviet Russia!”

                  I read Communists and they say, “Libertarians just want the old and poor to starve!”

                  I know Libertarins. I know Communists. I know Democrats and Republicans. Furthermore, I read blogs written by all of the above. Without exception, they are all decent people who genuinely don’t wish harm on others and who believe that their views and policies would make for the best possible society.

                  I don’t care what you believe or how you vote, but I beg you: Realize the “other guy” isn’t a monster or a villain. He’s YOU, working with with a different set of information.

                  1. Shamus says:

                    Actually Shamus, THIS IS EXACTLY WHY YOU BAN POLITICS ON THIS SITE.

                    You get too upset, it doesn’t change anyone’s mind, and it doesn’t have anything to do with why people visit the site.

                    1. Shamus says:

                      Damnit, you’re right again.

                    2. silver Harloe says:

                      Shamus, you should probably listen to this Shamus dude more often. He seems pretty bright.

                    3. newdarkcloud says:

                      Yeah. As much as I love talking about politics, I dislike mixing them with my Happy Fun Times.

                      I tell you this Shamus dude is a smart guy for not mixing politics with gaming.

                  2. anaphysik says:

                    Unless of course you yourself are a monster. In which case, take solidarity in all of us being monsters together ^_^

                  3. LunaticFringe says:

                    So I’m starting to think you should run for office Shamus…

                  4. Nidokoenig says:

                    Yes, it’s good to remember that other people aren’t intrinsically evil. I’m a bisexual and an atheist, and I’ve had to deal with plenty of shit because of both of those things, as have people close to me, and I also have experience of people with poor opinions of people like me being turned around by just being generally excellent to them.

                    I’ve been getting a little mad and I’m not really coherent enough at this point to make any further comments so I’m gonna call it a night.

              2. Nytzschy says:

                “I have no problem with the idea of a Libertarian saying that a condition of living in “his” settlement is mandatory abortions and leaving is perfectly in-keeping with Libertarianism, “

                Such a thing would be an anathema to a Libertarian. That's fine. I don't care what you believe about the set of ideas, but this is isn't just a misconception, this is an inversion of the ideas they espouse and cherish.

                Having been a pretty active participant in the circles one would generally describe as Libertarian, I feel pretty confident saying you’re wrong in this. It doesn’t violate the “Non-Agression Principle” to threaten to turn someone out to a near-certain death on a certain condition. Sure, not all of them would agree, but there would be those who would make such a case.

              3. LunaticFringe says:

                This is to say nothing of the fact that Crawford regularly engages in the looting of other people’s property. Not to mention that they apparently abduct people from said property as well (some of the numbers on the door symbols indicates healthy/non-healthy people). Most libertarians aren’t exactly fans of theft and drafting.

                1. Nytzschy says:

                  I don’t know where you’re getting the thing about “drafting” from. Crawford doesn’t seem like the kind of place to try literally taking slaves””in the middle of the apocalypse, and with the rules about each citizen having to earn their keep? The diagrams with numbers I thought were supposed to communicate each citizen’s contribution to Crawford (ineligible people found (and killed?), eligible citizens brought to Crawford, and Walkers killed). As for the looting: the vast majority of it is dead people’s property, and is therefore nobody’s. So there’s plenty about Crawford that fits within libertarian ideology, broadly speaking.

                  Impaling the “unfit” on spikes at the barricade as a warning is a definite no-no, though.

                  There is a case to be made that Crawford is a critique of Libertarian and/or Right-wing ideologies by the authors. For instance, when you meet Molly she refers to its policy as “survival of the fittest,” a phrase associated both with evolution and, more intimately, with the idea of Social Darwinism. Later, in her videotaped conversation with the doctor, the doctor says

                  “I’m sorry, Molly, I’ve done all I can. But I have to look out for myself, here.”

                  To which Molly replies:

                  “Yeah … that’s the Crawford way, isn’t it.”

                  Again, it’s not explicit Libertarianism, and most Libertarians wouldn’t agree with Crawford, but I think the game is putting forth the argument that certain values will lead to this kind of behavior in such extreme situations.

                  Edit: This was partly a response to silver Harloe below. I should have split this in two.

                  1. LunaticFringe says:

                    It’s the wording on the note that makes me think it was abduction. It reads “number of people brought back to Crawford” rather then something like “number of people who choose Crawford” or anything that indicates choice in the matter.

                    The fact that there is no one who seems to be living outside of Crawford (besides the cancer survivors) seems to also indicate force. I’m sure there would be plenty of people unwilling to go to their town after hearing about it or seeing their zombie wall, especially if they had ineligible family members or friends.

                    Crawford is not a political commentary on anything, and it’s so broad you could honestly use its positions to justify criticism of any belief. A libertarian, for example, might see it as a commentary on the effect of statism on individual morality, as Oberson has installed a despotic regime that enforces strict laws that directly influence individual morality and shift it away from non-aggression. This is an argument that libertarians regularly use in regards to how the American government has normalized atrocities in their foreign policy through propaganda. Nitpicking little bits of quasi-political remarks is purely interpretative.

            2. silver Harloe says:

              “I have no problem with the idea of a Libertarian saying that a condition of living in “his” settlement is mandatory abortions…”

              Nevertheless, you can’t approach a game which includes one society and conclude the society is libertarian BECAUSE it’s a dictatorship with communal property and a big list of things you don’t have a right to do or be — everything about Crawford is exactly opposite of libertarian.
              IF the game had specifically brought it up as something said dictator espouses (if those posters with the rules said: “there are no rules. do what you want. but if you want to stay in MY house, you better not be too young, too old, sick, etc”) — then you might conclude it’s a commentary on libertarianism (though I’d still argue that’s a stretch since we aren’t shown the parts where people had those freedoms and didn’t choose the asshat extra rules) — but as it is, the only evidence here suggests the commentary is on short-sighted survivalists with a fetish for total control (themselves probably straw men of real survivalists).

        3. HiEv says:

          If this is a commentary on libertarianism then the ringing of the church bells by Molly was a commentary on religion.

          It’s an absurd argument that ignores the fundamentals of what those words actually mean.

          1. newdarkcloud says:

            Oh, let me try.

            Lilly is a commentary on Nazis and how they were bad. Larry was a commentary on how Bioware seems to write every character with some form of daddy issues.

      3. James says:

        “”Also, let's say you raise these children to only allow people who can pull their own weigh. Once YOU get old, say goodbye. After all, the elderly need too much to take care of.””

        then you get Little Lamplight, and cuftburt will have to kill every living thing in it, ‘cus seriously Little Lamplight is worse then The Fade, at least The Fade had deamons

        1. newdarkcloud says:

          Now Crawford is being truly evil. In the end, his goal was to create Little Lamplight.

      4. Daemian Lucifer says:

        “Also, let's say you raise these children to only allow people who can pull their own weigh. Once YOU get old, say goodbye. After all, the elderly need too much to take care of.”

        Well,a true altruist would embrace such a life.”Once I get too old son,shoot me in the head and burn my corpse.”Such a society would actually do very well in a post-apocalyptic world.The problem is,very few people in our world would think like that.

    3. ClearWater says:

      build a permanently safe area

      How do you do that, when anyone living is a potential future zombie?

      Oh, I know! By killing everyone who’s still alive, or throwing them out before they turn. Looks like Crawford were on the right path.

  2. Deadpool says:

    Btw, on the subject of player morality, I hate sounding like a broken record, but I think this is another result of not having consequences to your actions.

    All things being the same, people will generally pick the “good” choice. But if things WEREN’T the same, if players genuinely thought their well being, or the well being of Clem, were on the line, I think their choices might have been a bit more varied.

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      I think so too. Odds are most people had their illusion of choice shattered after Episode 3. Once that happened, the choices no longer had any weight to them.

      1. Deadpool says:


        Also killing Ben doesn’t work very well as a “hardcore survivalist” choice because it doesn’t actually help you survive in any way…

        1. newdarkcloud says:

          Nothing helps you survive in any way nor does it help anyone survive. If the game wants to kill off a cast member, it will do it no matter how needless or stupid.

        2. Zerotime says:

          If Ben came back as a zombie, would that mean that he could make the stupidest possible choices for them instead? Seems like that would be a pretty huge net gain.

          1. Dave B. says:

            “Ben, this is hard for me to ask of you, but it’s for the good of the group. We need you to help the zombies now.”

            signed, Everyone

        3. StashAugustine says:

          This. I might have let Ben fall if saving him would have a negative effect, but I know that the zombies aren’t going to catch me if I save him because there’s still one more episode.

        4. Zukhramm says:

          It does because it takes less time than pulling him up, and we’re being rushed by zombies.

      2. Isy says:

        A lot of people didn’t kill Larry or both St. Johns, though, even though a lot of people still believed in the choices then – and those choices were further along the “monster” spectrum (with the exception of killing Ben).

        That being said, I think a few videos of the monstrosities committed in history argue – not so much that humans are monsters – but that the ones who aren’t will be murdered very quickly.

        1. Deadpool says:

          But that’s the point. Not killing Larry doesn’t hurt you, killing Larry doesn’t help you. There is no difference. It doesn’t affect the player in any way.

          So people make a decision based on right and wrong as opposed to survival instinct.

          Most people killed the first Saint Johns Brother out of anger and let the second live because Clem ninja’ed in. I wonder, if players had a reason to genuinely believe that either of the brothers may come back to haunt them, or endanger Clementine if they would be so quick to appease her morality.

          1. Isy says:

            Why wouldn’t they? Back in episode two the illusion hadn’t been broken for most people – the St. Johns certainly had the potential to come back and bite you.

            1. Deadpool says:

              I dunno… I was pretty certain that the brothers were never coming back to the game at that point. But I guess it’s possible some people didn’t.

              To be fair, I was playing without the UI, which might help dispel their illusion…

              1. anaphysik says:

                Do you mean that the UI helps preserve the illusion, or helps dispel it?

                (Mainly the UI notifications are there to just fuck with you :/ )

                1. Deadpool says:

                  Yes, I do believe the UI helps keep up the illusion. I had them off, so I may have had an easier time dispelling it than most because of it.

          2. anaphysik says:

            FWIW, I knew about the illusion from the beginning, and knew that /of course/ no one was in any actual danger, but in Episode 2 I still killed Larry because the scene was excellent enough to present the *perception* of danger. Even though I knew Clem wasn’t in danger via the game’s story, I thought that she was via /the presented situation/. A sort of application of doublethink, perhaps, but I have no problem with that – it’s how I view immersion.

    2. Tzeneth says:

      Except when it comes to the first choice of Episode 3. Most people left the woman to be eaten so they could have more time. Using the percentages shown in the image on episode 18 of SW has it at 59% those leaving her to be eaten alive.

      1. Deadpool says:

        The one choice in the game that you a given a clear benefit for being “evil,” early enough for players not to be certain it won’t matter, and people picked “evil.” I feel it proves my point more than hurts it.

        1. Shamus says:

          This is an excellent point.

          And as you said in another comment: The morality would be even more interesting if it mattered more.

          I killed both St. Johns. When I killed the second brother, my main thought was, “If I let this guy live he might try to hunt us down later.” Of course, my other thought was, “It wouldn’t be right for me to leave this guy to eat OTHER innocent people.” So the message is kind of muddled here.

          Then there’s taking the supplies at the end of Ep 2. I didn’t touch them, because I felt like we were stealing. (If we waited a bit and nobody came back, then we would have just been “looting”.) This is another spot where “evil” has benefit, but the “evil” is kind of ambiguous, and so is the benefit.

          Still, it would be interesting to see how the numbers would work out if they offered the player, “Would you harm or steal from a non-threatening third party to help Clementine?”

          1. Isy says:

            The game-makers are faced with an interesting problem. They have no way to program in all the multitude of variables and ideas people have (the car choice at the end of episode 2 is the biggest most jarring example). They have no way of knowing the player’s logic when making a decision. If the player is forced to make a decision they don’t want and is punished, they get angry. If the player sees a smarter way out that isn’t evil, but can’t take it, and is punished, they get angry. If the player thinks their choice ought to work, but it doesn’t for some arbitrary reason, thy get angry.

            If the ruthless but practical choice always resulted in the better outcome, then throwing on “but AT WHAT COST” feels stupid and hollow, because you clearly did the right thing! There’s few ways to have the evil side turn out better without inadvertently advocating evil. On the flip side, if being evil only sometimes turned out better, it feels just as arbitrary as it not mattering at all.

            Not to say there’s no way to do it – but I have the feeling the Walking Dead creators intended the illusion of choice to be a part of what they were saying. Lee even straight up says it in the first episode: “You think you have a choice. But when you look back at it, you really didn’t.”

            1. Nidokoenig says:

              I think the main problem with punishing evil while making it plausibly rewarding is that you need some kind of reputation system to make it work. For example, if you’re perfectly happy to rob people, leave strangers to die so you can get away, then you get to keep everything you loot or steal but you’ll never be able to trade with anyone or get medical help or basically get any advantage that depends on people trusting you not to slit their throats for a tin of beans. You might be forced to go around fortified areas, or try to sneak past hostile patrols that rightly view as a threat.
              But it’s difficult to have a truly universal reputation system that doesn’t devolve into either people complaining there’s an unrealistic omniscience judging them, people complaining that everybody seems to have a hive mind(could be interesting if you could try to start over/fall from grace and have your rep catch up with you), or people noting that the morality system doesn’t have a lot of teeth when it doesn’t track what you do alone in the dark.

              1. Deadpool says:

                In THIS game? You guys are thinking too hard.

                Bad thing about picking the good choice? Clem suffers.

                Bad thing about picking the bad choice? Clem hates you.

                NOW you can test someone’s moral fiber.

                Doesn’t have to be EVERY choice, but have a few with varying levels of suffering and hatred and I’ll bet those split would be a LOT more even.

                1. Thomas says:

                  ^ Above are the words of a very smart person

                  Seriously there would have been no message more interesting if you’d done all these hard horrible things to help Clem survive and then you turn around at the end of the game unhappy with what you’ve had to do, but glad that you did for Clem – and then you see that she’s been completely destroyed mentally.

                  Although a problem with this whole line of conversation is we’re dividing choices up into good and evil, when actually I believe almost 100% of people were choosing the ‘good’ choice in this game and just disagreed on what that was. The women was already dead, by sacrificing a few minutes of pain before death you have the opportunity of feeding your friends and family for a few more days. You exposing Clem to evil, but if she’s going to survive in this world, then her innocence can’t.

                  The ultimate proof that there is good in people, is almost everyone playing this game had empathy for Clem and were willing to do everything possible, including possibly getting blood on their hand to help another person and give that person a chance to live

                  1. Alex says:

                    The indy game Iji does something like this. You can play it like any other side-scroller and win, but by the end Iji’s a bitter survivor who hasn’t really come to terms with what she’s lost. Or you can take the more difficult approach by not going out of your way to kill every enemy in your path, and getting a less Pyrrhic victory.

                    “The ultimate proof that there is good in people, is almost everyone playing this game had empathy for Clem”

                    Not really. Having empathy for people within your inner circle is easy – what defines you is how you treat outsiders.

                    1. Thomas says:

                      I heard good things about Iji, tried to play it but I couldn’t quite stick through.

                      As far as your last things goes, then we all fail miserably. I don’t actually believe humans are good people, if aliens were to visit our planet I could imagine a scenario where they thworple with disgust at the fact we continually priortise things like nice looking carpets, shoes, pictures, games over people dying miserably of starvation. You can practically count the number of people on one hand who’ve had genuine empathy for other people.

                      But we’re not all bad either, Clem is helpless, unrelated and non-useful and we’re willing to prioritise her over even ourselves.

                      A bit of hell a touch of heaven. Overall the balance probably falls the wrong way but we’ve got something to try and improve and work on at least and our minds wouldn’t be able to handle dealing with the negative

          2. anaphysik says:

            I hardly considered sparing the St Johns to be a “good” or “merciful” choice :/

            Their mum got Mark’s-Revenge’d, the first was crippled in a bear trap, the second beaten to a pulp, and it was pretty clear that storm + zombies were coming to wreck their shit even more. They were already effectively dealt with. ‘Sparing’ them was really just walking away because I didn’t want to waste any more thought on them, letting them be killed on the walker’s time, not Lee’s :/

            And I very definitely told Clem afterwards that they likely got walker’d, which is worse than death.

            1. Deadpool says:

              Clem is kind of the game’s moral barometer and she sees killing them as “bad.”

            2. Thomas says:

              I really dislike that they did that. Why would you get someone choose not to kill someone and then reward them with a shot of those people getting zombied?

              I was trying to be nice and I ended up being the most hilariously sadistic person possible. First I attacked the one brother, let him get scythed in the shoulder and then left him to be eaten by zombies, then I killed their mother. Then I went outside, bit the crud out of the third brother, lied to him that his whole family was dead so he could spend his last few minutes in mental agony as well as physical agony and then refused to give him the respect or end he craved as I walked away, calmly ignoring his screams as the zombies came to eat his sobbing form.

              I couldn’t have been more evil if I was actively trying to hurt them

              1. anaphysik says:

                Bwahaha. See, I liked it zooming out.

                [Insert ‘newdarkcloud calling me #YOUMONSTER’ here.]

                1. newdarkcloud says:

                  I don’t think it needs to be said. XD

        2. Isy says:

          No one knew before they made the decision which ones would give a benefit and which ones wouldn’t. Saying people picked the evil choice that gives a benefit doesn’t mean anything – they didn’t know it would matter any more than they knew Larry or the St. Johns would matter.

          1. Deadpool says:

            Actually, the shoot the girl thing is the one choice where the consequence is telegraphed: Kenny flat out tells you, if we leave her out screaming she will keep them off our backs.

            Consider, the St. John brothers killed someone you know, tried to kill you and Clem and everyone in the group. Their bear trap killed two other people and got you stuck with Ben and their trap caused Larry’s heart attack. They are evil, a nuisance, and the most antagonistic characters in the game. And the grand majority of people spared one of them!

            Meanwhile we have this lone, innocent woman being slowly tortured to death. And the same people who spared Andy decided to leave her to one of the most painful deaths imaginable (slowly eaten alive).

            In any more compass, Andy deserves death more than she deserves to be tortured. And yet, most people spared one and not the other. Think about that for a second…

            1. Shamus says:

              To be fair, I spared the girl because I didn’t think it was my place to go around saying “Whelp, you’re bit, I guess I’ll just shoot you.” I admit that’s not the way the game framed it, but I just didn’t feel right about making that kind of decision.

              And later, after I thought about it, I think I feel okay with this call, even if it did result in a bad outcome in this situation. Maybe she was in the middle of saving her own “Clem”, and I’m ending her quest before her charge is safe? It’s reasonable to assume she’s with a group, and that group might show up at any time, and that group might not see me shooting her as a humanitarian thing to do. Maybe she was on her way to deliver some crucial message that would help others. Maybe there are people who would like to say goodbye to her. She deserved her chance to get away from the zombies and finish up with her life.

              It would be one thing if she was screaming to be mercy-killed. THEN it would be a tough call for me. But I wouldn’t feel right about deciding to end a stranger’s life because I presume to know when they should live or die.

              Having said all that – it was a VERY interesting choice, and I’m thinking you’re onto something here. Unlike the choice to help the suicidal girl in Episode 1, this is a decision where you have a stake in the outcome, which makes it more potent.

              1. Deadpool says:

                You do have a tendency to make non game decisions in games. You look at the situation outside of the game and come up with a gajillion scenarios. This isn’t how most people look at these things.

                And, well, to be fair. Looking at your conversations on the suicide girl, I’m gonna go off on a limb and say that euthanasia isn’t a concept you are super comfortable doing. So probably not easy to see it as the “right” choice when possible to look at it another way.

                In the game’s defense though, it DOES frame the situation as clearly as it can without completely dispelling immersion. None of the characters ever even mention the idea that maybe, just maybe, she could be saved (btw, we’ve fought more Zombies than were there. We were armed. No one even THOUGHT about it?!?) and the game does make you hear her scream in pain as you rummage through things to drive the point home.

                So while I can accept that some of that percentage didn’t TAKE it as the “evil” choice, I think most people did.

                And this is one of those things where the game almost gets it. I would truly love a game that would make players genuinely question their morals and have no true right answers.

                Imagine if being completely “hardcore survivalist” keeps Clem super safe, but she hates your guts, so she doesn’t listen to your advice which causes her to be put in danger later since she defies you and refuses to touch a gun? But if you are super good Clem is put in danger and suffers NOW, even if she listens and is ready for the dangerous stuff later.

                Now we have a situation where players aren’t simply stacking the good options for good endings then replaying with bad choices for bad endings, but genuinely weighing their options. This gets extra interesting when all the consequences AREN’T clearly known and understood.

                And the fun part about consequences is that you don’t NEED every choice to have a serious, important, major consequence. But if you even have SOME, now the player simply doesn’t know. Especially if one or two have long reaching consequences (have a seemingly meaningless choice in chapter 1 have a consequence in 2) and now the player is ALWAYS wondering which choices matter and which don’t and seriously considering each one, even when they DON’T matter.

                I do have some things to say on this choice/consequence thing, but I’ve been holding back (yes, this is my holding back. Sue me =P) for the final chapter because I don’t feel like striking every god damned line on the post. But I do think it’s the largest, most glaring flaw in this game and I don’t believe it deserves all the game of the year awards it got because of it. I fear the sequel will be the same damned thing because I’ve yet to see a critic complain about it in any major way.

            2. Isy says:

              I am, but your argument keeps contradicting itself. You say that the tortured girl is indicative of people’s morality, because it was beneficial. But Larry and the St. Johns aren’t (even when those two were earlier in the game, and thus more likely to have the illusion of choice intact), because it’s not beneficial. Except you don’t know which will be beneficial until after you make the choice. That argument only works if you assumed everyone looked on Gamefaqs and knew ahead of time which decisions would matter – or that they were “obvious” to everyone because they were obvious to you.

              1. Deadpool says:

                It’s how the situation is framed. Larry and the brother’s it’s framed as a morality choice: What do you think is right?

                With the girl, the game flat out tells you what happens. Lee mentions how much she will suffer and Kenny points out her screams will keep the Zombies away from you. The game gives you a clear cut good/evil choice (well, their definitions of good and evil) and then gives you a reward/punishment for said choice (if you’re good, you get less supplies).

                Note that all three situations are completely choiceless. Larry always dies, the brothers are never seen again, the amount of supplies are irrelevant. But with the girl, the game flat out tells you that you will gain something for letting her suffer. And this is the one choice where the “evil” side outweighs the “good” side.

                I don’t see this as coincidence.

                1. Isy says:

                  I cannot agree that Larry was a morality choice. One option is clearly bad – even Kenny is shocked by it – and almost everyone who said they killed him did so because it provided the illusion of benefit (the removal of a threat).

                  Consider the tortured woman:
                  -I shot her because I was aiming for the zombies on her and the game killed her instead.
                  -Shamus didn’t kill her because he didn’t think it was his place.
                  -Josh on SW didn’t shoot her because they hesitated too long and the game defaulted to “don’t shoot”.
                  -Some people didn’t fire because you’re not just endangering yourself, you’re endangering Kenny, who was shot and clearly had trouble walking a few minutes earlier – he can’t run, so that’s just as cruel a move as letting the girl suffer.
                  -Some people didn’t fire because they agreed with Kenny.
                  -Some people didn’t fire because they felt the situation was contrived and were pissed off.

                  If you want to argue people are evil, we have scientific studies for it, but I think your arguing the game shows it requires everyone to see the choices the way you did and think the same things you did.

                  1. Deadpool says:

                    But the game doesn’t frame it as a cost benefit, it frames it as a Lily versus Kenny thing. Kenny argues it is hopeless, Lily argues it isn’t, the player chooses who to believe. If Kenny is right then his course of action is right and Lily’s course of action will harm you, if Lily is right then HER course of action is right and Kenny’s course of action will harm you.

                    It isn’t “what helps me more?” it is “Who do I believe?” People sided with Kenny because they thought there was no way to revive Larry, people sided with Lily because they thought they COULD revive Larry. In both scenarios the player never believes he is in danger. Both sides here knee jerked into the “good” choice for different reasons.

                    The girl is different. The game gives you very clear instructions. Do a bad thing for gain, or do a good thing at a cost. And most people took the gain, knowing the was the “evil” choice. Not overwhelmingly so, but more than any other choice in the game.

                    And my argument isn’t that people are evil. It’s that it’s easy to be good when it doesn’t hurt you. When it DOES, people think twice about it…

                    1. Isy says:

                      But in order for that argument to work, you have to argue that everyone saw the framing exactly as you did, everyone saw the cost/benefit of the choices exactly as you did, and everyone saw right and wrong exactly as you did.

                      You shot the girl because you thought it was the more moral course. Shamus didn’t shoot the girl because he felt that was the more moral course. Arguing that the majority took the evil route is putting words in the mouth of everyone who played – or worse, doing so off a misleading statistic. Recall how many players “sided” with Larry without meaning to, or somehow lied to Hershal despite their best efforts.

                    2. Deadpool says:

                      Sure, there are ambiguities in these choices, but wouldn’t that happen in ALL of them? You could reason (and some people have) that killing St John brothers was a mercy and leaving them alive was the worst. And yet most people left them alive (what the game considers the “good” choice).

                      We aren’t talking about individuals here, we are talking about the aggregate. Not EVERY SINGLE PERSON who made these choices made them for the reasons the developer wanted.

                      But it is interesting that despite all the myriad of ways you can look at it, every choice in the game had more people leaning towards “good” than “bad” except the ONE choice where they are given something in return for being “bad”…

                    3. Isy says:

                      What about Lily? Most people didn’t leave her, and they were punished for it (she stole the RV). The RV doesn’t matter, but neither do the supplies.

                      You keep arguing based on the outcome of the decisions, which were obvious to you, but not everyone else.

                    4. Deadpool says:

                      But the game doesn’t telegraph that keeping Lily would punish you nor that helping Lily would help you.

                      None of the straight “moral” choices telegraph any advantageous or disadvantageous outcome for you EXCEPT the girl. And that’s the ONE choice that people picked the “immoral” choice the most.

                    5. Isy says:

                      First off, you’re wrong, because most people stole from the car.

                      Second off, you keep arguing off a telegraphed choice that, post facto, turns out to actually give a game mechanic benefit. But people made other decisions based off something they thought would give a benefit, it just turns out they didn’t. You immediately say they didn’t count because you think they weren’t telegraphed. Other people thought they were, they just turned out to be wrong.

                      I think you are overfocusing on a single decision, because only that decision had any proof positive consequence after it was made. But that means nothing. Your argument boils down to “only this decision fits my criteria, so its the only one that counts.” I could name any other decision in the game, and it won’t matter because no other decision actually gave any benefit whatsoever.

                      You’re arguing off a self-picked sample size of one.

                    6. Deadpool says:

                      You know I had this whole long post about it but… I’m looking at the stats they released and 60% of people SHOT the girl. Players DID take the choice that hurts them because it was “good.”

                  2. anaphysik says:

                    “-Josh on SW didn't shoot her because they hesitated too long and the game defaulted to “don't shoot”.”

                    That’s what happened to me too. (Though less ‘hesitated’ and more ‘I’m trying to aim at you, quit running around’ because I had no idea if aiming mattered :/ (Apparently it doesn’t.))

            3. NBSRDan says:

              I spared the screaming woman in episode 3 because I thought “what if I miss?” She’s gotta be at least 20 yards away. This isn’t like Halo where you have a reticle in the scope and the bullets travel in a perfect straight line ignoring gun pull, wind, and human instability. Headshots are not easy to make. The woman is clearly in a bad spot- surrounded, maybe bitten already- but maybe she’s clean and will find an opening to escape. If I shoot her in the hip, she will DEFINITELY be eaten to death by zombies.

    3. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      This could go the other direction, too. There are no consequences, so why not be evil.

      You know, the Cuftburt approach.

      On the larger point, Spock always had the best answer to how people will respond in stressful situations: “Each according to his own abilities.” Most people can be evil, most people can be good -some people are personally so driven to one side or the other, but not many -and it depends on the circumstances and surroundings.

      1. Deadpool says:

        But Cuftburt wasn’t their first playthrough.

        People forget that Josh actively plays chaotic stupid for the sake of entertaining us.

        Most players will see the “good” ending first, and “evil” ending second. It’s just one of those things, if all things are the same, people will stay “moral.” You can thank Saturday morning cartoons for that.

        You want to test someone’s morality you gotta give them an incentive. How much will you suffer to be good? How much of your morality will you give up for your safety? For your family’s safety? Is your honor more important than your daughter’s life?

        It’s easy to be moral when the choice is simply “do you want to be good or bad?” It’s harder when it’s “will you kill an innocent to save someone you love? Two? Three? Where do you stop? DO you stop?”

  3. Ryan says:

    Day Z is a pretty good counterexample in terms of the “Humans are the real monsters” argument, I’d say, though it suffers from the ” it’s a video game, there are no consequences” syndrome the other way round.

    1. Jakey says:

      How exactly is it a counterexample? Helping or meeting other people has no actual gameplay benefits and only exposes you to the possibility of getting killed because the other guy might want your stuff, prompting everybody to preemptively shoot on sight assuming they’re not just bored and griefing others already.

      I like the idea of DayZ and I’m sure someday someone will make a really good game using similar mechanics, but DayZ itself is essentially a really slow, boring game of ARMA Free-For-All with some crappy survival mechanics tacked onto it. I’ll go as far as to say, there isn’t even that much to purely like about DayZ, people just never tried ARMA2 and its mods then collectively went ‘HEY I REALLY LIKE HOW HARSH AND UNFORGIVING THOSE MECHANICS ARE!’.

  4. newdarkcloud says:

    Blunder Boy Ben is at it again. If he’s not sabotaging your chances by removing conspicuously placed hatchets, he’s doing it by confessing to Kenny at the absolute worst possible time.

    I really wish Ben wasn’t such a liability. I get that’s 18 and inexperienced and likely I’d be the same way, but come on can they make him at least do something right.

    “Huge Fuck Up” isn’t a particularly endearing personality trait in a zombie apocalypse.

    1. Isy says:

      The trouble is everyone in your group has been a liability and done really stupid things – from sabotaging the electric fence keeping your own group safe (which accomplished nothing, because Lee did nothing about what he found), only having one guard up when we know there are bandits trying to kill us (its the only way Ben could have sold us out without anyone knowing), from Kenny and Lily having no plan and fighting over it constantly, Duck running over and killing someone else’s kid, and yes, even Clementine (who could have easily run after Ben, because they were both in the same cloud of zombies, and that whole “Oh yeah a guy has been stalking us for a week and I didn’t tell you.”)

      This could all have been averted by Lee putting a hand over Ben’s mouth or punching him.

      But aside from Duck, none of these have consequences except in the most nebulous fashion. And both the teleporting bandits and the axe are so contrived that, at this moment, you realize that Ben is no more incompetent than anyone else – he’s just unlucky and the writers are hamhandedly out to get him. Which is a shame, because right up until this point he was a great character for what they were trying to accomplish. His screw ups were grey and partially caused by our antagonistic group dynamic. Now it’s just stupid. A great big black hole of stupid that is pretty much the worst part of the entire game.

      Unless you don’t save him, really, at which point you get to see Kennny die over a walky-talky you didn’t need.

      1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

        This makes me a lot more sympathetic to Ben. Seriously, everyone else walks past that door, and it’s blatently obvious that there are zombies on the other side.

        Ben walks by, the zombies take a powder just long enough for him to take the hatchet and talk to Lee.

        And then the zombies break through just as he realizes his mistake.

        God hates him (well, the writers).

      2. kanodin says:

        Yeah no, I get relating to and sympathizing with Ben but that should not lead to pretending he’s better than he is. Ben consistently makes poor decisions and in critical situations either does nothing or makes them even worse. Other group members make mistakes, but generally even Kenny and Lilly are trying to help in the really life or death situations.

        You compare him to Clementine and Duck, but they’re half his age. Of course as has been discussed here whether you find Ben sympathetic or not depends on whether you view him as an adult or a child. In my view adolescence and teenager’s being useless are modern inventions of a society that can afford to treat teenagers with kid gloves. A zombie apocalypse can’t afford that same leniency. Further if you want to compare him to Clementine then Clementine comes out clearly ahead, as she always tries to help when she can and when forced to grow up by the apocalypse does learn to shoot and to help out the group, why can’t Ben?

        What I found disappointing about Ben was not his mistakes, but how he didn’t seem to try and stop making them. Just listen to his dialogue in this episode for an example, where you tell him not to tell kenny right now, effectively telling him to behave with maturity and put survival ahead of his own emotions, his response is just “fuck you man.” That’s Ben’s response to everything, he rationalizes and justifies and wallows in his own immaturity. You have a point that the authors conspire against him in some ways, but his reactions as a character are still his own failings.

        I didn’t hate him though, and I would still have saved him despite all that, but then he told me to let go and I respected his decision, and frankly agreed with him that it was the most good he could do, which is admittedly a horrible thing to think. So maybe I’m the real monster.

        1. Deadpool says:

          Consistently? He made a deal with bandits which more than likely bought the group enough time to fix the RV and may very well have saved all of their lives. He left Clem behind so Chuck had to sacrifice himself and he took the machete off the seemingly clear door (which, btw, none of us bothered to lock the FIRST time we went through. Because there were no Zombies banging on it THEN either).

          Out of those 3 mistakes I only attribute one to Ben specifically (leaving Clem behind) and that’s just a kid panicking.

          Kenny left Shawn behind and will leave Lee behind in two or three other occasions if he doesn’t like you…

          1. kanodin says:

            I agree making a deal with the bandits is the right call, not telling anyone isn’t, though let’s not restart that argument. removing a machete is pretty silly visible zombies or no, and you’re forgetting his letting Clementine leave without even seeming to notice and his insisting the group stop and talk about his deal with the bandits with zombies just outside banging on the door. I was mostly on Kenny’s good side but I’ll take your word for what he does, Kenny being a bad person doesn’t vindicate Ben in any way though.

            1. Deadpool says:

              It’s hard to blame Ben for removing the machete with no visible Zombies around when WE got into the place without locking the door EITHER. WE operate under the “well, if the Zombies aren’t ACTIVELY trying to get in, there’s no reason to close the door” stupidity, but we crucify the kid for applying the same reasoning (remember, we are the ones who went into the garage and LEFT THE DOOR OPEN behind us, despite there being Zombies there. That’s twice in one episode we do the SAME THING Ben does). It’s stupid, but it is as stupid as everyone else in this group.

              And Clem is a ninja. She gets away from everyone, magically. Hell, even Lee… Remember when she just snuck into the house without permission?

              I use Kenny as an example because he is the biggest pusher for the “kill Ben” side and Ben’s one true mistake (panicking and leaving Clem behind, which caused someone’s death) is identical to Kenny’s one mistake (and if he hates you, multiple mistakes).

              1. Alex says:

                “It's hard to blame Ben for removing the machete with no visible Zombies around when WE got into the place without locking the door EITHER.”

                I’d be surprised if you could lock the door without a key. It’s a school – you’re going to have a ton of kids around, not all of whom can be trusted not to screw around like that.

                1. Deadpool says:

                  We used the machete right? Imagine if we spent that first half hour of our time in the school, when nothing was attacking us, finding some OTHER material to put in the handle to close it. Maybe just break the leg off a chair?

                  Hell put the machete there. At least then when Ben takes it off we can actually blame him for undoing something smart we did, as opposed to making the same dumb mistake we all did.

                  1. Alex says:

                    But he didn’t make the same mistake. The group found an unbarred door, and left it unbarred. Ben found a barred door, and unbarred it. And considering that Kenny and Brie needed to come back through that door, it wasn’t completely unreasonable to keep it unbarred rather than leaving an unreliable piece of zombie bait in front of the glass doors to open it when they got back. Barring it when they expected it to be unbarred, or unbarring it when people expected it to be barred, could have and did get people killed.

                    1. ? says:

                      Ben taking the hatchet was only possible because zombies act freaking weird in this episode. Where did that group near nurse room came from? Why did they walk directly where Christa and Vernon were, instead of walking aimlessly around the corridor? Why zombies near the garage were suddenly smart enough to crawl under that door? For the same reasons they stopped pounding on that door long enough for Ben to pick up this hatchet, because plot said so. It was stupid of Lee to leave behind his weapon like that, it was stupid for Kenny not to take a weapon and having to borrow it from Lee, it was stupid for Lee not to pick up his spike remover immediately after fight with Molly (they are all extremely careless when it comes to keeping survival equipment), and it was stupid for all of them to fail to warn everyone else where the zombies are. Everybody acts stupid here, but plot decides to cash in it’s stupid chips only when Ben does something.

        2. Isy says:

          I think you had a very different version of Kenny than I did…

          That being said, that’s the point. Right up until now, all his mistakes (by which I mean “two”) were grey and nuanced, and are most certainly comparable to other things that characters have done. Ben ran from Clementine? So what? Kenny is a man twice Ben’s age, and he leaves Lee to die constantly, drops Lee every time Lee needs a hand up, belligerently picks fights with Molly, Andrew St. John, and Larry (not to mention loses every single one, which gets him shot). Lilly screams at Carley for even daring to go outside to save our lives, and screams some more for not leaving Ben to die.

          Ben screwed up with the bandits and got people killed? Because our single guard on night watch would stop them? And he clearly should have told us, so Lily could shoot him in the head!

          Ben took the hatchet off the door? Oh, like that time Lee broke open the pharmacy security! Or maybe that time intentionally sabotaged the electric fence keeping his own group safe, so he could look in a warehouse and see something he did nothing about!

          But those were different? Yes, they were. Ben’s actions had consequences, no one else did. That’s the difference. It’s not so much “Ben is vindicated” so much as “why is Ben the only one being picked on?”

          1. SougoXIII says:

            Yeah I get that you don’t like people picking on Ben but you’re arguments are a bit off. Yes the other characters were a liability at some point but they also contribute to the group: Kenny’s an ass if you don’t agree with him but at least he fix the RV and go out scavenging with Lee. Lilly is a paranoid nutcase but she have to make hard choices as leader when no one wanted to, she also make sure that the group have target practice to get them familiar with the gun. The problem with Ben is that he’s not only mess up but he have done nothing to help the group.

            Ben made the deal with the bandit to buy the group time right? Why didn’t he talk it over with the group BEFORE making the deal then? Its not like the bandits told him to keep it to himself, in fact they were surprise that the group didn’t knew. And removing the hatchet was to help Kenny break the door right? So you’re telling in that entire building, Ben just have to take to hatchet that’s barring the bloody door? Couldn’t he look around a bit more since they have to wait for Lee and Molly to get back anyway?

            1. Isy says:

              I agree that this is contrived and stupid, which is why I said “up until this point”. But its also when it becomes apparent that the writers are yelling at you to hate him in the most hamhanded manner possible, because only his actions have any consequences. He “only ever hurts the group” because everyone else gets a free pass. If Kenny had gotten Clem or Lee killed in any number of the multiple occasions he put them in danger, would people really be arguing “but he fixed the RV that one time!” What if Lee had gotten people killed with the electric fence? “But I just wanted to help! I’m useful! Look, I cut that man’s leg off and killed him and got Katjaa attacked by a zombie! And I fixed the swing!”

              I shouldn’t have included the examples of people doing the same as Ben with the hatchet, because I think the hatchet is so stupid it breaks suspension of disbelief. But I do feel like yes, Lee did exactly the same thing – he broke the pharmacy gate so he could get out of the pharmacy (with an axe he’d gotten outside of the pharmacy), and then set off the alarm and directly got someone killed because the gate was broken. Really? You had all the time in the world, you could leave the pharmacy, you had cars, you couldn’t think of anything better? You didn’t think to brace the door after you broke the gate? You didn’t even tell anyone? But no one cares because the game made you do it.

              The bits with the bandits were good because he acted under a logic that was understandable but went bad. The bit with the axe is terrible and gamebreaking because its so stupid it breaks faith in the writers, and relies on a utter contrivance (the zombies went away and just calmly waited until Ben takes the axe, then break in without any noise to prompt them). We forgive stupid contrivances like zombies teleporting into the hall or being smart enough to climb ladders because they have no consequences. Okay, exciting chase scene, obligatory sewer, whatever. Nothing changed. But if a stupid contrivance happens and people die and we have people yelling to kill some kid, you better believe I’m going to look back and start scrutinizing all the other contrivances and stupidity in this game. And the more you look at it, the more you realize everyone else should be like Ben, Ben’s just Ben because the writers hate him.

  5. Axion says:

    Clearly the next episode should be titled; ‘Still not pregnant.’ :)

    1. IFS says:

      Nah, clearly that should be Rutskarn’s title in the credits for the next episode.

  6. newdarkcloud says:

    From what I gathered from this picture located in the classroom, Crawford’s policies were to take anyone who fit Crawford’s standards from their squats and kill the ones who did not. I may be reading it wrong, but it looks like there was at least a squad dedicated to these types of raids.

    1. Deadpool says:

      How did they find ONE eligible citizen and yet bring TWO to Crawford?

      1. Nidokoenig says:

        That’s the just the legend to show the layout, 1, 2, 3, left to right, so you know which matches up with what.

        1. Deadpool says:

          Nah, it was one INELIGIBLE person and 2 accepted. I noticed after I posted but my post was awaiting moderation so no editing…

  7. Zoe M. says:

    My problem with “Humans are the real monsters” aesops is that the “real monsters” are almost always the author’s caricature of whatever social group he/she’s not a fan of, with the good guys being “the people I agree with.” Most often, it’s written to imply that southerners/rural types/flyover country denizens – you know, the unwashed rubes who might be enlightened by the moral – are two steps away from pure evil. If that.

    Thankfully, Walking Dead (the game) mostly stays clear of that nonsense. With the notable exception of Cannibal Tom, Dick, and Mary. Crawford isn’t really an indictment of any given group – or if anything, it’s of educated, we-know-what’s-best elites. Much easier to stomach.

    1. Deadpool says:

      Devil’s Advocate: So it’s okay when it’s about a group of people YOU don’t like being idiots?

      1. Zoe M. says:

        To me personally, sure. In a general sense, no.

        But again, Crawford’s indeterminate – it could just as easily be evil conservatives or Randians as liberals, and as such it’s easy to draw one’s own satisfactory conclusions.

    2. Isy says:

      You sort of have that Aesop from this game, but I feel like it was overshadowed by “The Dead Always Win.” The fact that everyone’s dead when you get to Crawford kind of sunk that in for me.

    3. СТАЛКЕР of ЗОНА says:

      “Humans are the real monsters” is less of a philosophical idea or a thought experiment and more of a “I HAVE EMOTIONS, WHO NEEDS FACTS” kind of statement. It’s melodramatic, and not realistic.

      Ultimately humans, to paraphrase Commander Shepard, survive or die, and survival depends on practical real-world solutions. Beyond that, people have limited knowledge and aren’t actually infallible. And beyond THAT, it doesn’t take much (in relative terms) for a single individual to ruin it for everyone, and “I was just following orders” actually seems to be a valid defense, as research indicates that the hardwired functions in social animals such as humans actually make disobeying orders from people you see as your superiors a very difficult mental challenge.

      Moreover, the worse the situation, the more necessary practicality becomes.
      Imagine a total societal collapse like a zombie apocalypse or other such obviously fictional nonsense. Now imagine some time passing and THEN encountering a sufficiently (in terms of that situation) well-off society based on Nazi values. What does this say about nationalsocialism? Nothing. All it says that at least one key individual in that group knows what they are doing, because otherwise that society wouldn’t be there in any mentionable capacity. They might be flying Nazi flags and sieging their heils all day long, but they are – by necessity – practical first and Nazis second.
      There might’ve been numerous Nazi groups before, possibly more ideologically pure, but they died or gave up their ideals under the pressure of reality.

      Mad Max, etc. style bandits might make for good film, but caricature villains cannot survive in reality unless they can afford it due to leeway built by real-world solutions.
      Considering that, in practice Crawford is less “humans are the real monsters” and more “these idiots didn’t know what they were doing and the results are as obvious as they were predictable”. It’s hard to call something a monster when it’s angrily biting its own tail.

      Even with the wars of the 20th century the majority of it can be explained (thought not really excused) by circumstance and human fallibility. Even all the cruelty adjacent to WW2.
      And while this is just my view, I find that the most unconscionable behavior related to these wars comes from, as a group, “intellectuals” who never participated in or experienced these wars, and are, with all the advantages of hindsight, passing extreme and emotional judgment based on entirely emotional, modern ideals that have already been dismissed by the majority of people as childish nonsense. They seem to be wearing some sort of rose-colored goggles in relation to some intangible, purely hypothetical modern utopia, and seem to assume that the current conditions in the western world are indicative of the situation in 1914, or 1939, or Korea in 1950, or Vietnam in 1955, etc.

      And beyond all that, who are they to call anyone a monster (aside from sheer melodramatic exaggeration)? And when calling someone a monster, aren’t they kind of implying that they themselves are NOT “monsters”? At the very least in the “I’m a lesser monster because I realized/acknowledge it” way.

      tl;dr “Humans are the real monsters” is emotions, melodrama, and hypocrisy.

      1. Abnaxis says:

        You had me up to “intellectuals as a group.”

        What the heck do you mean by that?

      2. Wedge says:

        I really must be misreading this, because it sounds like you’re saying that “intellectuals” condemning Hitler for murdering 10,000,000 people in death camps is more “unconscionable” than Hitler murdering 10,000,000 people in death camps.

        That can’t possibly be what you meant to say, can it?

  8. Hitchmeister says:

    It didn’t look to me like Josh ever considered the (in my opinion) correct response when Kenny was going after Ben. Namely, “Kick his ass later.”

    That might defuse the situation long enough to get Ben to someplace semi-safe before telling him, “You’ve built up a track record of too many dumb-ass choices. Maybe you’d be better off finding a fresh group.”

  9. Zukhramm says:

    I’ve been waiting for this episode to say the exact same thing about the insulin. Other, more general medical supplies I can understand, but what are they going to hoard with a bunch of insulin for other than treat their diabetics? Maybe it has other uses, I don’t know, but it does seem like an odd thing to ration so strictly.

    1. Sleeping Dragon says:

      Yeah, I think Shamus’ idea about trading things like insulin and similar supplies that have little use outside of a specific situation that disqualifies you from living in Crawford anyway.

      See, if I was organizing a community along the lines of Crawford, and were a bit of a dick, I’d keep a small subcommunity, probably outside Crawford proper, of people who require stuff like insulin, stuff I don’t really have a need or use for myself but that these people desperately need. Heck, I’d even offer them some protection against the zeds as long as they were useful, would beat giving them guns that they could turn against me when push came to shove. This would still work in showing Crawford as a bunch of dicks (keeping a dependent and underarmed community for stuff like high-risk looting with the implication that once they’ve outlived their usefulness you’re at best going to cut them off, at worst finish them off to make sure they don’t figure out some way to get back at you or increase the general populace of zeds in your area), would give Lee’s group some natural allies against Crawford and I think would make more sense in the bigger scheme of things.

  10. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I am so glad that this game chose this art style instead of going for photorealism.If they went the photorealistic route,having heads smashed that easy with boots and heavy objects would irk me so much.

  11. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I abstained there because we were in the middle of zombies attacking us,and instead of running we are voting on who is going to be left back?Seriously guys,you pick the best times to argue.

    And this idiocy from ben was the last straw for me.Not only did he get an axe that was clearly jammed in there to keep zombies out,but he also picked the perfect moment to rile everyone up.I didnt want to leave him on his own though,because terminal stupidity is still not as bad as what lilly did,but this is where I decided that I wont be helping him out of shitty situations anymore.I tried,I gave him advice,I gave him chances to show his usefulness,but he just failed at everything.

  12. Isy says:

    There were gunshots after the woman ran off tape, so it’s more implied she went on a shooting rampage, not just the doctor.

  13. Daemian Lucifer says:

    That doctor is a moron.He is so clearly doing a bunch of shady deals(I think his suggestion to the mother to leave was something that the community as a whole wouldnt allow),and yet he is video taping every single one of those.If he filmed the actual act he did with molly,that Id understand:He is a pervert and likes to watch his rape acts.But no,he specifically left that one out,and started filming just after sex,so that everyone would know both that he is into shady deals that go against the group,and that he is a despicable human being.

    1. ehlijen says:

      Maybe he thought the red light meant the camera was stopped, like red on a traffic light means ‘stop’?

      1. Supahewok says:

        So… “That doctor is a moron?”

        1. ehlijen says:

          In a universe where battery poles are apparently indistinguishable from each other, it only takes slight dumbness for that, not full on moronity.

    2. silver Harloe says:

      I have no evidence for it, but I think he WAS taping the sex act, and that’s why the tape begins right after it – because he’s watched it at least once since and hit “stop” right after the part he wanted to see.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        If that were the case,why would he:
        1)Continue taping after the act
        2)Zip his fly right in front of the camera,like he was about to start/stop recording while getting dressed

        1. Nick says:

          Actually, I thought he was deliberately showing that he HAD been using his position to get sex, but now that they were cracking down he was stopping, kind of a way out if any of the people he was using accused him and tried to get his kicked out of Crawford.

          That was the only reason I could think of to tape the conversation, anyway

          1. Nytzschy says:

            “I wasn’t being corrupt! See, I have proof here on this videotape that I stopped being corrupt, eventually!”

            1. silver Harloe says:

              it could be a ploy for Mutually Assured Destruction – if Molly points out the doctor’s corruption, he can burn her back with a tape of her admitting to her sister’s diabetes

        2. Mormegil says:

          He keeps taping after he’s done because he doesn’t want Molly to know he was taping them. The tape is at that position because that’s when he “finished” with it the last time he watched it.

  14. Nidokoenig says:

    About Molly’s sister and the “took her away” thing, didn’t Molly mention when we first met her that zombies-on-a-stick were the old and disabled, or something? Maybe it’s worth looking at them more closely, see if any of them have clothing that match her sister. So maybe “Leave Crawford” is a euphemism, considering the doc did emphasise it was certain death, even though that’s only the mildest of mild hyperbole in this situation. Or maybe people who’re ill and don’t leave willingly get murdered.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      My take was that the doctor was offering her to leave instead of being killed,because he is “such a nice guy”.

  15. Steve C says:

    Why did Ben feel guilty over Duck and Katyaa but not Carley/Doug? He isn’t responsible any of them but Carley/Doug really did die for Ben. There’s should be a much stronger guilt trip for the latter.

    Maybe that’s just Ben screwing up again. He can’t even get feeling guilty right.

    1. ehlijen says:

      It’s to remind the player why Kenny will flip out in just a second. Because the connection between Ben’s acts and Duck’s death wasn’t as strong back in the previous episode (which the player might have played months ago, and was overshadowed then by doug’s death and lily’s exile), it needs to be reinforced here now.

      I don’t mean Duck’s death was overshadowed, just its connection to ben’s part in it.

  16. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    Regarding Southern Accents, the most likely reason is that the VA is from Los Angeles (or at least has been there since 1990, according to IMDB). However, Lee was a professor of history at UGA, which suggests at some point he went away to school for at least 8 years if not 10 or 12. That’s plenty of time to lose the accent.

  17. Vipermagi says:

    0:48 – Wait, climb Shell Casings? Lee, you have strange thoughts.

  18. Nytzschy says:

    This episode is a good example of what this game does overall: it presents a situation in which other people make a decision about other whether someone else will die, and then asks the player to make basically the same decision. It happens on the St. John’s Dairy farm, when (I believe) the mother presents her rationalization about killing people in order to eat them, and shortly thereafter the game requires Lee to decide whether to (directly) kill the brothers. Then there’s Larry, the supplies in the station wagon, whether to leave Lilly behind, and this decision with Ben. The game invites you to understand all of these decisions, even ones which are easy to regard as evil, from the inside out and from the outside in, and in my experience that’s unique for a game to do.

  19. LunaticFringe says:

    I had an interesting thought in regards to Crawford…I’m assuming that the writers’ plan from square one was to have the entire community zombified when Lee’s group showed up. In that case, if the community did have kids, how would they have handled it? The “Humans are the Real Monsters” argument doesn’t really go that far when you factor in dead/zombie children. They could’ve hand-waved it and just said there were no kids, but you’ve still got the demographic problem Shamus mentions (at least you could reproduce gradually however). I’m just theorizing here, but I’m wondering if the writers worked in the ‘no kids’ part just to make the zombified town a much more black and white scenario (that, and to obviously make Crawford even more despicable). I’m just trying to find some way that the ‘no kids’ rule makes any sense, and writer intervention seems the best bet.

    1. Thomas says:

      As in, if there are no kids we feel less guilty about Crawford being all zombied up and enjoy the revenge more?

      I guess that makes some sense, but we probably just wouldn’t have thought about it, they only need to show us what they want to, so they wouldn’t show us children and we’d be too caught up in the story

  20. X2-Eliah says:

    And again,I am baffled why people seem to think that having wailing starved infants is a *good* idea at the peak of the zombie shuffle.
    Wait a year or two, cull the zombie numbers, *then* get pregnant and all. But now, when zombies are attracted to loud noises and are behind every corner, YOU DO NOT WANT A GOD DAMNED WAILING INFANT WITH YOU.

    How hard is that to understand? There IS logic behind that rule, and it is NOT just because “crawford is teh monsterz”. It’s not like everyone in crawford was in their late 40s and on the brink of nonfertility. Now, granted – the doc is an asshole, and that ‘no insulin’ rule is rubbish too. But no pregnancies, in the first year of zedpocalypse? Sorry, no, IT DOES MAKE SENSE.

    1. Shamus says:

      The “no kids” rule went all the way up to age 14, way beyond the point of “wailing infant”.

      For the forced-abortion thing: I can understand the moratorium on births, although that’s assuming it’s temporary. We don’t know for sure. They never SAY it’s temporary, and their “badass only” policy would seem to preclude children forever.

      I still can’t tell if the rule was, “Get an abortion or we’ll murder you” or “get an abortion or we’ll hug you goodbye and send you on your way with your share of the gear and food.” Again, one is pure evil and the other is cold-hearted but understandable.

      Since the game keeps telling us how evil and bad the Crawford people are, I think a lot of us just assume the worst.

      1. X2-Eliah says:

        True. I can’t argue in favour of the ‘no reasonably aged children’. But the no-pregnancies angle, well, I just see it bashed way too much in the last few episodes’ comments.

        1. anaphysik says:

          Pretty much. I think the whole problem is that the game *constantly* goes ‘Crawford’s stupid & evil, you should think they’re stupid & evil.’

          As for babies, how I would probably handle them in a zombie-apoc settlement: allow just *one* at first, & get a significant amount of the community involved in its care (particularly the older members of it, since they could take care of the baby instead of doing more physical labour). 1) Reduces the extra workload on any one person (particularly because everyone can keep their normal sleep schedules, since when they asleep others are in charge of the baby), 2) induces solidarity in the settlement, since the baby is a shared responsibility, 3) the baby acts as a *symbol*, which everyone can see & attach to, 4) the baby grows up more with the community than with their parents, which makes *it* more attached to them. Basically, I’d want as much as possible to shift the paradigm from parent-child to community-child. One important repercussion of that paradigm shift (assuming it’s successful) is that allowing one baby doesn’t lead to tons of people also wanting to pop out a baby (which *would* put undue load on the community) – instead, the baby is ‘the community’s,’ so you’d get less of the ‘why’d you allow them to have a baby & not us?’ complaint.

          (And shit, I just realized that I must have subconsciously used the same reasoning when designing one of the major communities my players met in my sort-of-post-apoc tabletop game o_O)

      2. anaphysik says:

        At 14:08, he doc does tell her ‘Maybe one day, when things are different, you can try again. But for now, today, we have to do this.’ You can interpret that as pacifying rhetoric or sincere plans, but it certainly seems that the people of Crawford would have had to consider when to allow babies.

        (The doctor also frequently mentions ‘those are the rules’ in the ‘I don’t like them, but that’s what they are.’ Whether that’s just an excuse (hiding behind the rules) or an actual point (that Crawford’s rules may not be so strict forever; frex, perhaps the current ruler will be overthrown, or perhaps this *is* meant to be just the first iteration of the rules) is unclear, of course.)

      3. silver Harloe says:

        “The “no kids” rule went all the way up to age 14”

        on what do you base that? as long as they thought she wasn’t diabetic, they seemed fine with keeping the 14 year old sister of Molly around

        1. anaphysik says:

          The poster of rules lists ‘no one under 14 (unless given express permission).’

          EDIT: Verbatim it says: “Children under _14_ NOT admitted without authorization.”

          1. X2-Eliah says:

            Waaait. “without authorization”. That’s a pretty important caveat, implying that there are cases when children are allowed, i.e. they get authorization. Otherwise, why bother stating it? Just have the rule be “no children under 14, full stop”.

            1. newdarkcloud says:

              It could be genuine or pacifying rhetoric, we don’t know for sure. All we know is that all of the characters we’ve met thus far who know of Crawford hate the place and everyone in it.

              1. Isy says:

                Yes, but they’ve all been personally wronged by Crawford.

            2. anaphysik says:

              The rules also state that all illnesses/medical conditions must be disclosed to the council, not that people with such will be booted out (as is so oftenly stated).

              My best guess is that some group of /moderately/ reasonable people created the rules (note: it says *council*, not leader), but then this one crazy Oberson fellow took over & amped up the rules to stupid levels (although I do think that everyone we meet overstates Crawford’s supposed evilness).

              (They could only have been moderately reasonable because of things like: 14 is still *way* too high (I dunno, maybe 6 or 7 would be good? With authorization for any below that? (Want something a bit past post-toddler as your baseline, basically, so that number could go as low as ~5 I guess.)). Also, including a ‘if you leave, you can never come back’ rule is pretty weird, and is usually only there to make people choose between leaving with others leaving or ever being able to return (e.g. Vernon should not have been kicked out, because HE’S A GRAVDAMN DOCTOR YOU STUPID FUCKS; rather, Vernon would have had to choose to leave (to stay with his cancer buddies) at the price of never being allowed back in).)

              (& Oberson is *definitely* crazy. His response to ‘should have been containable walker threat’ is to hang himself in the belltower, above the armory. Really, if you’ve got to go out, at least make sure you do it in a less ‘prone to causing massive pain if you fuck it up’ way <_<)

  21. anaphysik says:

    On Molly & the doctor, I think “Sexual extortion” is the wrong term.

    Sexual extortion would be the doctor saying “Get horizontal with me or I’ll tell them that your sister is diabetic.”

    ‘Sex-for-favours’ is what we’re rally talking about here. That’s Molly saying “I’ll do you if you give me packages of insulin in return.”

    Consider: who’s angry about the deal being off? MOLLY.

    (Also, if the doctor was that into sexual extortion, he would have done it with the pregnant lady too (whereas instead he cuts her off before she gets far into the ‘you don’t have to tell anyone!’ line of thought).)

    (One point is that the doc probably could have taken material goods instead of sex in exchange for the insulin, but it’s unclear to me WHAT would have been useful to trade – I presume that all material goods would have been going to Crawford Central anyway. (Also, perhaps a more clever setup would have been to use the insulin stores /officially/, as a ‘we’ll give you this insulin for your sis, Ms. Non-Crawford-Resident-Molly, in exchange for useful things you’ve collected for us around town.’))

    Anyway, I consider the whole thing pretty dumb. Just everything. Dumb.

    1. StashAugustine says:

      Even if he’d wanted something from the pregnant lady, there’s no way to hide it.

      1. anaphysik says:


        1. anaphysik says:

          Accursed edit button, how dare you defy me!

          What I meant to say was: “My first thought in response to that is: Nonsense, just say ‘one got fat.'” (Because thanks to One Got Fat, that goofy phrase is stuck in my head.)

    2. Isy says:

      It’s walking a thin line. Molly’s sister would drop dead, no question, without the insulin. The doctor can pretty much name his price, and if Molly doesn’t take it, her sister dies just the same as if the doctor had snitched her out. We never really learn the details of who started the deal and who did what.

      He could have extorted the pregnant lady, true, but consider he cuts Molly off the second he doesn’t think he can hide it anymore (and then tapes it, but, we’ll ignore that for a second and pretend it was blackmail insurance against Molly). He can’t hide a pregnant lady for very long, so any predatory desires are quashed by his practicality.

      1. silver Harloe says:

        Depends on how far along she is. Some women don’t show for months, and it still takes a bit after their first showing when unclothed to be obviously pregnant when clothed… if he were a predator, he’d probably not turn down 2-3 months extra months of ewwww and string her along for a bit.

        1. Isy says:

          Not disagreeing with you, but just because he’s a predator doesn’t mean he’d go after every woman he could… that and Christa isn’t showing and everyone knew she was pregnant anyway.

    3. Isy says:

      Also, Molly is angry the deal is off because they had sex and then the doctor says “Oh, the insulin I was going to give for that? You can’t have it. Deal’s off.”

      1. anaphysik says:

        The doctor *clearly* gets something out of the medical cabinet and gives it to Molly during the ‘we *HAD* a deal’ routine. AND says ‘this is the last that I can give you.’ Watch more closely?

        1. Isy says:

          Oh, you’re right. I somehow forgot that. Man, he just leaves that door wide open, too. I’m surprised Molly didn’t assault him and take the damn insulin.

          Man, I wonder what it would have been like if Molly had caused the apocalypse at Crawford?

          1. newdarkcloud says:

            There’d be no zombies, only corpses.

  22. lethal_guitar says:

    Will there be a fourth entry in the “Coding style” series? I really loved those!!

  23. Talby says:

    Lee: “She saved your life, didn’t she?”

    Kenny: “Yeah, but what has she done for me lately?”

    Pretty much sums up Kenny’s entire character.

  24. Chauzuvoy says:

    So am I the only one that’s kind of disturbed by the way that the zombies always seem to go for the arm-neck-intestines? Because it feels like they always take people down in more or less the same way, and it’s getting kind of freaky at this point.

  25. Looking at the various end-of-episode scores, we see that players overwhelmingly chose the path of mercy whenever it was available to them, even when the game incentivized the path of callous pragmatism. Yes, this took place within the context of a videogame where players didn't have to personally experience the hunger, pain, sickness, and hardship of Doing The Right Thing, but I think it shows there is enough idealism out there to make Crawford the exception and not the rule in the wasteland.

    Not if you’ve seen the Episode 5 stats. The “idealistic, merciful” people who play this game suddenly turned into selfish jerks at the last minute, apparently. I’m surprised that many people made Clem do some pretty awful things, just for Lee’s immediate convenience. Even in ways that Lee probably knows in any playthrough would hurt her in the long-run.

    Which I guess is fitting, since the people who MADE this game lost all sense of direction at about the same time.

  26. NotACat says:

    The voice-actor for the Doctor also does Chuck and The Stranger.

    According to Wikipedia he was also the voice of Ghostface in the Scream movies, and a shed-load of other voice roles in films and video games.

    I don’t see Half Life there…is this an inside joke or something, seeing as Gordon Freeman apparently doesn’t have a voice?

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