The Walking Dead EP26: Disarmament

By Shamus Posted Thursday Feb 7, 2013

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 112 comments

Link (YouTube)

Notice in a lot of games where you are directly piloting your character, players will balk at the limitations the game presents. Why can’t I jump this gap? Why can’t I climb over this chest-high wall? Why can’t I scale this fence? Why do I die from a simple three-meter drop? This is true even if you’re at 2% health and supposedly clinging to life. We don’t complain when Corvo or Garret slings a grown man over one shoulder and glides silently across the room at a light jog. We don’t complain when our character soaks up bullets, much less object to them being able to engage in strenuous exercise for hours without ever showing signs of fatigue, overheating, hunger, thirst, or loss of focus. We resent it whenever the game tries to convey these things by shaking the camera or fading the edges of the view to red.

I’m not saying these complaints are wrong or bad. I’m just saying that there’s something about inhabiting or piloting a character directly that creates the expectation that our avatar should operate at peak performance forever without experiencing pain, confusion, or faltering morale. It’s not always the case, but we historically have a hard time getting us to accept things that stand between us and the controls.

Now we have the Walking Dead, and suddenly we’re making the opposite complaints. By removing direct control of Lee and placing us in the position of a guide and not a pilot, we’re suddenly able to accept and even insist on Lee’s physical limitations. He shouldn’t be able to do this after losing so much blood. Where is he carrying this stuff? No way should Lee be able to break through that thing! How come Kenny isn’t dead from that gunshot? No way could he make that catch!

It’s very interesting how moving to a TV presentation creates TV expectations with regards to character ability.


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112 thoughts on “The Walking Dead EP26: Disarmament

  1. Thomas says:

    Climbing the ladder with one arm is one of the funniest scenes in the game
    (Tone is nicely melancholy before you go to the belltower though)
    According to the playing dead stuff, I think they did playtest to see what players would choose, but the playtester stats tended to be a lot closer to 50/50 than the eventual stats turned out (maybe they’re the stats you see without an internet connection? Because those hardly had any variance at all)

    1. StashAugustine says:

      As someone who has a crippling fear of heights, that ladder scene was gorram terrifying.

      1. LunaticFringe says:

        As someone who has done that (fixing barns is apparently hard and my dad is kind of insane) I can assure you that scene brought some terrifying memories back.

        1. Thomas says:

          You’ve climbed a ladder one-armed? Okay I’m impressed, I just figured it’d be almost too ludicrous for someone to actually achieve

          1. LunaticFringe says:

            I was referring to the ladder across to the tower actually, can’t say I’ve done a lot of one-armed laddering.

          2. Adam says:

            It’s not actually all that hard. I’ve done it before, helping my dad with construction. (I wasn’t missing an arm, but said unused arm was carrying a toolbox, so it amounts to the same thing. As long as you make sure that some combination of hand, foot, and other foot are on the ladder at all times, you’re actually pretty safe. Granted, I had not just lost several pints of blood…

      2. newdarkcloud says:

        I also have a fear of heights and cut Lee’s arm off.

        That scene was gut-wrenching. Watching him jump for every single rung.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      I think that that bell tower scene is the funniest one when you have just one arm and a full group.Not only are they all letting the cripple do everything while they just stand and watch,but you also have to do this really difficult jump.The episode does get better and more suspenseful later,but this opening was really a mix of shocking and ridiculously funny.

      1. Aldowyn says:

        They definitely lampshaded it but I forgot how…

        1. newdarkcloud says:

          Kenny asks if you need help with that, and when Lee says no he asks if he was sure.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            That just makes it extra hilarious.If the situation was reverse,and you had options to either let kenny do it himself,or do it yourself IRregardless of what he said,I bet that majority of the players would still do it themselves.

            Plus,it would be a very nice exercise for later on if you got to talk someone through this scene instead of doing it yourself.

  2. Mormegil says:

    The cutting off arm thing bugged me – surely that’s going to do nothing to stop an infection unless you manage to do it before your next heart beat (assuming it’s a bloodborne infection and I have trouble imagining what else it’s supposed to be – this may be one of those “zombie magic” deals that you aren’t supposed to question).

    Even more irritating is that they did it in the tv series and it worked. I liked that it doesn’t save Lee in the game.

    1. ACman says:

      Most likely it would be spread via the lymphatic system not the blood vessels which would be a llt slower. This iswhy compression bandages work for venomous bites.

      1. Mormegil says:

        Fair point about the lymphatic system. I remember being told about a cane farmer who got bitten by a taipan and cut the hand off immediately so the poison wouldn’t spread. My reaction to the story was to think he was a twit since
        1. the poison is in his lymph system and he has plenty of time to get to a hospital if he uses a compression bandage
        2. the snake hit a major blood vessel straight up (unlikely but technically possible) and the poison is already out of his hand and heading towards his heart
        3. a lot of the time snakes don’t inject poison on the first bite, they do multiple strikes on their prey. So you never panic after being bitten – you may not have any poison in your system at all and if you do you either have plenty of time to deal with it or you are already dead.

        So cutting off the arm might buy you some time. But probably not as much as just keeping it and using a compression bandage instead.

        I kept it since the game was about rescuing Clementine at that point and doing something that would slow Lee down and probably wouldn’t save him anyway seemed silly.

    2. Isy says:

      Well, here’s an interesting question: why are we assuming this is a disease at all? Sure, zombie bites are lethal, but consider it for a minute. This is a disease with a 100% percent lethality rate, a 100% “return as zombie” rate, and once you die you instantly putrefy (the St. John’s confirmed it) but you don’t putrefy enough to stop being a threat after three months. It also instantly sprung into life and killed everyone over the course of about 48 hours.

      Once Ben told about how everyone rose from the grave after they died, I actually felt it made more sense if this was some kind of bizarre magic curse. In which case… I dunno. Maybe cutting the arm off would work? Lee never argued for survival when making the decision, just trying to die slower.

      1. Paul Spooner says:

        Yeah, it really makes no sense at all except as some kind of magic. And, in the case of magic, making sacrifices, especially of body parts, is a classic way to counter a curse. But probably the best solution is to just not look too close at the details. TWD isn’t meant to hold together under scrutiny.

      2. Dreadjaws says:

        What bugged me was that Ben’s words were precisely: “It’s not the bite that does it”. OK, Ben is a dumbass, and he might have worded things not properly, but I assumed he was implying that biting doesn’t do anything and only death triggers the trasnformation.

        Yet in the very next episode, Duck is bitten and starts dying. I assumed it was because he was a child and had suffered a major wound, and the group didn’t have the materials to cure him. But apparently, a bite still poisons you with zombie venom or whatever.

        I guess you could argue that bites become infected because zombies are rotting and not because zombies give you any sort of venom, but I always found this very stupid about zombies stories. Why would the bite infect you? It’s not like they’re snakes, with hollow fangs which inject venom. In any case, a splat of their blood or something like that should infect you.

        1. Adam says:

          I think it’s supposed to work by George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead rules: anyone who dies comes back as a zombie, and the bite of a zombie is inevitably fatal. WHY that is the case is left as an exercise for the viewer.

    3. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      It depends on how the condition works. If it’s a disease and it kills you by spreading through the entire body quickly and overwhelming it -sure, the amputation does nothing. But if it works more like gangrene, killing the limb and then spreading, then amputation would work. Remember, Duck was bit on the body -he could have been killed quickly by either method.

      What bugged me about it is that you do not amputate a limb straight with a saw. A well done amputation can be done in a matter of seconds by a skilled surgeon, and it involves more than just hacking the limb off.

      I wonder if there is some deeper symbolism going back to the professor in the bear trap.

    4. Turgid Bolk says:

      By the way, they tried this in the original comics (series 3 or 4, I don’t remember exactly). It was even right after someone got bitten. It did not save them.

      I’m surprised to learn they had it work in the tv show, as it seems to contradict the theme of the setting (zombies being unavoidable/a force of nature). Any kind of treatment makes them less of a threat and thus less scary IMO.

  3. Deadyawn says:

    Yeah, cutting Lee’s arm off seemed really stupid to me. I mean, aside from the whole blood loss thing, there’s no reason that it would’ve halted an infection that is very clearly affecting your entire body by this point.

    Plus, it made a lot of sense from a roleplaying standpoint to just let it be. For me it seemed Lee didn’t really care too much about his own survival anymore and only having one arm would make it a lot more difficult to save Clem. Still, good opportunity for characterization. More than anything else it can demonstrate how the player feels in this situation, what they’re thinking and what they want to achieve and how that reflects in Lee. One of my favorite choices because it is quite powerful from a story perspective despite it not technically having much of an effect.

    1. anaphysik says:

      Plus if you keep it zombified, you get to awesomely use its zombie powers later during THE GAUNTLET :D

    2. newdarkcloud says:

      I believe the way they frame it is that while I may not stop the infection, it may delay how long it takes for it to spread.

      It’s still dumb upon reflection (I’m kicking myself right now.), but I can see how someone may choose to do it.

  4. anaphysik says:

    I’m so confused. The TS homepage lists this post as having 2 (nearly 3!) comments, but the actual post page has none o_O???

    Some sort of moderation thing, maybe?

    Also: I have a question – who comes up with the Spoiler Warning episode titles? (I’m pretty sure it’s Josh, since I’m pretty sure it’s also him that does the commentator titles. If so, the pun-powers be within Josh as well.)

    I guess this is a relevant comparison to the new ‘Disclosure Alert’ series by Aldowyn, newdarkcloud, & myself ( Aldowyn does the editing, but we all have at least some hand in crafting titles & episode names (I’d say so far I’m coming up with most of them, which is a lot of fun for my pun-powers :D ).

    Oh, and, um, yeah, people should check Disclosure Alert out!

    1. Shamus says:

      If Josh has an idea for an ep title, he titles it. Otherwise he names it “Somegame EP5:” and leaves it to me. This one was my title.

      But really, most of the titles come from me watching the episode and typing in the first thing that Rutskarn says that makes me laugh.

      1. anaphysik says:

        “But really, most of the titles come from me watching the episode and typing in the first thing that Rutskarn says that makes me laugh.”


    2. StashAugustine says:

      Yay Alpha Protocol! Been waiting for this.

      1. Aldowyn says:

        You’re welcome ;) Sorry it took so long…

      2. anaphysik says:

        Again, our youtube channel can be found here:

        Also, you can follow the show (if you twitter) here:

        The idea for Disclosure Alert started as a Spoiler-Warning-fan-based spinoff of Spoiler Warning. Sort of a for-fans-by-fans thing for a game that SW couldn’t cover (Alpha Protocol). Who knows, maybe we’ll expand in the future from there. We’re definitely interested in hearing what TwentySiders think of it, not least because we’re all TwentySiders ourselves – and along with that we’re keen on other TS’ers who want to guest star on the show.

        1. Aldowyn says:

          you already linked it you don’t need to do it again >.>

          1. anaphysik says:

            Again, just in case Aldowyn missed it, our youtube channel can be found h- OW. HEY, THAT HURT!

            1. Thomas says:

              I asked before, but I’ve forgotten the answer, is it worth me holding off from watching until some vague point in the future where I can actually play the game or should I just enjoy seeing the LP?

              1. anaphysik says:

                I’d recommend just enjoying the LP. Alpha Protocol is definitely the kind of game you can enjoy going through on your own even after having seen a full playthrough of it.
                (Plus you’d be missing out on our commentary, horrible jokes, and excellently-produced sound effects!)

                1. Thomas says:

                  Excellently produced sound-effects! Okay I’m convinced, I’ll tune in and just put the game higher on my list

            2. newdarkcloud says:

              And I’m involved in this project too.

    3. Deadyawn says:

      Yeah okay, I was gonna hold off on this but I kind of feel like it might be helpful.
      Shamus, you now how you had the whole problem with the comments taking a long time to register? If anything, at least for me, it’s gotten a lot worse than before and I don’t think its anything on my end. It’s got to the point where the page will just set there trying to load for 10 minutes without anything happening. Thing is, if I refresh then, everything is fine and my comment is there (also I can’t edit it for some reason). So I don’t know what’s going on but it isn’t fixed, whatever it is.

      Which prolly has something to do with why anaphysik didn’t see the comment when the site was telling him there was one, I guess(not a very good segue but oh well).

      1. Deadyawn says:

        And then this comment goes way quicker and actually loads properly. That’s about right.
        Still didn’t let me edit though.

      2. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Ill mirror the thing about comments.Sometimes the loading will just go on forever.But if I open a new tab while the loading is still going on,that one will have my comment there and will be fine,while the old tab is still stuck in loading mode.Its not often,but it happens from time to time.

        But on times where it works properly,it still takes about 10+ seconds to refresh the page.

        1. Aldowyn says:

          me too. No idea what it is, Shamus, but there’s an issue somewhere :/

          1. Paul Spooner says:

            I, for one, welcome our new lag overlords!

            EDIT: about 50 seconds to post, from click to the auto-refresh.

            EDIT: about the same to edit.

            1. newdarkcloud says:

              I’ll add to this. It can sometimes take me up a minute to post something.

  5. Talby says:

    I cut the arm because I held out a vain hope of Lee avoiding zombification, but I knew from past zombie experiences that it was all over for him.

  6. X2-Eliah says:

    Yikes. I am so calling nonsense on this: At the very start of the episode, Lee passes out at a minor strain. Then he passes out again. Then, he proceeds to do a full circus routine on the roof and doesn’t even blink. THAT’S NOT HOW INFECTIONS WORK. He should be getting gradually weaker, not stronger! And the passing-out at the start, imo that was a big mistake, because there is no way to escalate from there without completely breaking the episode’s flow.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Weeeeelllll,there actually is a way to escalate it.Ok,since we are in the ending stretch,I wont do the spoiler tags,but the next sentence is still a major spoiler.By the end of the game,you can barely walk.You cant even sit up straight in the final scene.And the ending is you giving your protagonist powers to clementine before you die.Its a really,really tough scene,and extremely well done.

      1. Aldowyn says:

        ‘Clementine will remember what you said’

        1. James says:

          Oh god i remember that ending section, that was horrible (in the good way)

          i cant wait to see Shamus’s reaction to it being the only father in the cast. considering what happens. ill say no more ‘cus spoilers

          1. newdarkcloud says:

            The final scene in the game hit we even more than the scene with Duck in EP3 did. Especially since (SPOILERS) I told Clementine to shoot Lee before he succumbs.

    2. MrGuy says:

      In general, yes.

      I give this scene a bit of a pass because of “last gasp” effect – Lee knows he’s finished, but he’s desperate to find and save Clementine before he goes. He’s hopped up on adrenaline, willing to use up the last of his strength for one…last…mission! Which is what (in theory) is countering the biological weakening effect.

      It’s almost certainly counter to established medical science, but it’s a common enough TV/movie/game trope to not feel “wrong” to me.

      Note: I could go search TV tropes for the “proper” name for this effect, and link to it. But I didn’t. Here’s 90 minutes of your life back. You’re welcome.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        “Note: I could go search TV tropes for the “proper” name for this effect, and link to it. But I didn't. Here's 90 minutes of your life back. You're welcome.”

        What kind of troll are you?Its like you are new to this place.

        1. anaphysik says:

          Or maybe it’s the best troll of all. The fact that there wasn’t a TvTropes link there mildly irks the trolls who expected one, so much so that they’re forced to go out & find it themselves, thereby actually wasting MORE time than the actual link would have wasted.

          A troll to troll trolls.

          (You can trust me on this, we over at @DisclosureAlert know lots about trolling and griefing; after all, we learned from the best.)

  7. Jace911 says:

    Regarding your comment on how you saw cutting your arm off or not as a precursor to a “save Clementine/save yourself” choice, I was actually following the same line of thinking but in a much less meta-gamey fashion. To me it wasn’t “if I cut my arm off Lee will live but there will be a situation where I can only save Clem with both arms intact”, it was “infection or not, if I’m going to save Clementine then I need to be in the best possible shape and passing out from shock and blood loss is not going to help with that”. At that point I was roleplaying Lee as a man who had decided “screw it, all I care about is finding Clem and making sure she’s set up with the group before I die, because now that’s inevitable”.

    1. MrGuy says:

      Yeah. I kept the arm for similar reasons.

      To me, this was a callback to a moment at the beginning of Episode 2, where you find the teacher in the bear trap (and where we first meet Ben).

      You’re offered a choice here – cut his leg off and he has a chance, or leave him to die.

      Ah, but the game offered what I assumed was a clever third option – there was the chain holding the bear trap. You can swing at this with the axe. Hah – a way to have my cake and eat it too! I can save him WITHOUT cutting off his leg, then we can carry him back to camp and open the trap. So I swung at the chain, and it kept telling me I hadn’t broken the chain yet, but I assumed if I swung enough times it would give. Then it told me I was out of time, and I had to leave him to die horribly.

      The point I took from this was “focus on your goal, you can’t have everything you want.” Have cake, or eat cake.

      I saw this similarly. Our goal is “save Clem.” We had accepted we were going to die doing it. Then we have this option “Hey! There’s a slight chance you can save Clem and STILL save yourself!” I saw this as cutting the chain again – taking an unlikely path to get everything you want, instead of accepting the situation and focusing on the primary goal. And I’m a lot more likely to save Clem with both arms and not having a major amount of blood loss, even if there’s a slight chance I’ll survive personally. So I kept the arm.

      And, yes, I’m aware of the irony of a situation that taught me “you should have cut the limb off!” teaching me “you shouldn’t cut the limb off!”

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        Ironically, I used the same “save Clementine” logic when choosing “Fuck it! Just cut it off.” because I was afraid that the infection would weaken me too much to be able to save Clementine.

  8. anaphysik says:

    Campster, you ought to know that you can get real proper high off licking batteries. Like licking salt. Salt & battery.

    1. Deadyawn says:

      Man, we sure are getting a lot of mileage out of that one, huh? I feel like we’ve battered the horse to death by now.

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        It’s the pun that takes a licking and keeps on ticking.

  9. Ysen says:

    I’m not sure it’s “moving to a TV presentation creating TV expectations” which makes people complain about characters they directly control not operating at peak performance all the time. The thing is, if a player is in direct control of a character then they are already making mistakes, having lapses in concentration etc. because the player isn’t perfect. Demanding that the player and the character both perform the action successfully makes it seem like the designer couldn’t decide whether he wanted the action to be based on player skill or not. I mean, imagine if when you made a heal check in D&D, you had to get the first aid kit and physically demonstrated that you knew how to bandage a wound, and then roll a skill check to demonstrate that your character also knew how to do so.

    1. anaphysik says:

      He was also extremely lucky in /when/ he cut off his arm. Any earlier (or if folks – folks with access to good medical facilities, mind you – had found him any later than they accidentally did) and he would have totally bled to death. (In fairness, though, Ralston had lost a ton of weight & blood already, plus, you know, there’s that no food/water thing.)

      Also, Ralston is an extreme badass. Lee’s just some guy, you know? :P

      1. StashAugustine says:

        Hey, Lee is a protagonist!

    2. BeardedDork says:

      His arm was already crushed and your circulatory system has thousands of sphincters that close to prevent excessive blood loss from traumatic injury. The same thing applies to amputations, they need to be done as quickly as possible so your body reacts appropriately and closes those sphincters. So that hiker probably lost very little extra blood by cutting his arm off.

      This is the principle that sparked the invention of the Liston knife. Speedy amputations are more likely to be successful amputations. We saw that they have all the necessary tools to perform an amputation, with the surgical tubing and the bone saw. Though the bone saw is not likely to be fast enough to do a good amputation with and Kenny’s level of knowledge certainly isn’t up to the task.

      1. Paul Spooner says:

        Looks like both of the links in the preceeding two comments have been sanitized (link target is gone). Anyone else having this problem?

        Test: link to Did it work?
        EDIT: worked for me anyhow. Other two links (“Liston knife” and “cut off his own…”) are still blank though (for me).

  10. That New Guy says:

    In regards to cutting off Lee’s arm.

    I had read the Walking Dead comics before playing the game. One of the characters is in this exact situation and survives by cutting off the bitten limb. So when the same choice appeared in-game I assumed the same, especially because I thought it would affect the ending. Like, if I kept the arm then I would turn faster and not save Clementine.

    1. MrGuy says:

      Interestingly, this is a bit of a case where the game’s mechanics make this unlikely.

      Every choice that has a “you died/Clem died/you lost the game” outcome has that outcome immediately. Which is sort of mandated by the game’s autosave mechanics – if you have to go do it again, you go back to “right before you did the dumb thing.” The game never unwinds the last 20 minutes for you. And since it’s hard to “save scum” in this game, there’s no expectation that you can “reload a save from before you did the dumb thing.”

      Essentially “delayed effect” failure like you describe (later in the game, I’ll turn just when I was about to win) isn’t something these mechanics allow for – what would happen after the “you died” screen?

  11. Daemian Lucifer says:

    We have a perfectly good house here.I say we take it apart,brick by brick,and build a boat out of it!

  12. ooli says:

    Sorry Shamus.

    If you wanted to stress out how “engineer” make very bad leader you went right to the point.
    Last time your main concern about zombie outbreak was about rat and deer (?) invasion one year from now! It may be true problem (which I doubt), but it probably totally irrelevant to the main stress to secure a farm beside river.

    And now you pretend we must not kill anyone. Of course we must not. Even the worst evil “Alpha” leader know that. Just stupid leader in videogame act stupid.

    Before making your decision to NOT kill anyone you MUST have a reason to kill someone to begin with.

    Let’s say, you lack clean water (food is never a real problem). You know you can only make it to the farm with 10 out of 15 people with the amount of water you carry. Do you take the risk to go to a nearby town to find some? Do you try to diet everyone on their water?
    Now, we have a basis for deciding if we must NOT kill someone. Now, it seems you like children. They need to drink too. So who do you kill (or NOT) to let the children live? I mean, If everyone should live (and drink) the child will probably be the first to die of thirst.
    Of course everyone should live. The problem just arise when it’s a risky business to keep everyone alive.

    1. Aldowyn says:

      Did you post this on the right post? Honestly think this was meant for the second zombie plan post.

      And didn’t he mention how IF the decision must be made it must be made as an exception to the rule EVERY time? But that the decision may still have to be made?

    2. Shamus says:

      I did NOT call rat and deer my MAIN concern. It was one paragraph in a 2,000 word article, as I speculated on possible known and unknown threats. Historically, exploding rat populations is hardly an unknown danger.

      And then you would dare call me a bad leader for not wanting to kill people?

      It’s never okay to kill a few innocents for the greater good. It really isn’t. Sometimes the greater good suffers for this. That’s how it is. Maybe a kid will die. Maybe they won’t. But I’m not going to execute someone and make myself the arbiter of life and death, and I will hold that as a core value of the group for as long as I’m in charge. Remember that someone could willingly choose to sacrifice for the group. If not, I never have the right to MAKE someone make that sacrifice.

      You say:

      “You know you can only make it to the farm with 10 out of 15 people with the amount of water you carry.”

      How do I know this? You’re talking about executing useful human beings, and you’re holding this up as the actions of a “good” leader? (Historical examples run very much to the contrary.) I can turn this hypothetical around on you:

      Perhaps we will find a spring on the way. Or meet help along the road. Or it will rain. Or five people will be killed in a zombie attack. If I go murdering people for the “greater good” I could end up traumatizing people and wasting precious human life. Suppose I kill five people so the rest can live, and then we’re attacked by zombies and the group is too few to defend themselves?

      1. Aldowyn says:

        To be fair, he never mentioned executing people, at least not at the beginning of this hypothetical journey.

        But what do you do when NOTHING turns up, you have next to no water and it’s three days to the farm? You make a decision.

        1. Aitch says:

          I’m not sure I could buy not being able to find water for 3 days in (presumably) western PA. Glancing briefly at google maps it looks like the whole general area is all rivers and reservoirs.

          Even without something like a large source of fresh water, there’s a hundred ways to come up with the stuff. Like if you come across even one house – go into the basement and drain the hot water tank, or crack open any of the pipes, chances are there’s at least a few gallons just sitting around in them.

          If not, grab fifty plastic bags, find a hardwood tree that gets full sun, and tie them all over the branches. In a day or two the tree will give up at least a few pints through it’s leaves that will condense into the bags.

          Or if it’s the right time of year for something like dew or frost you could set up something akin to a radiator, clean metal with a lot of surface area, and let the temperature change condense all the water you’d need to stay alive for a couple days.

          Even a dirty puddle can be made safe and palatable with some freshly roasted charcoal and a simple drip filter.

          Not to mention even one swimming pool, one water tower, one store that wasn’t totally looted out, a broken down car with a few water bottles in it, a pond, a spring, a rainstorm, a snowstorm- or if you’re lucky enough to catch one- a deer that you hang by the ankles, drain the blood, and solar still the water out of it… any of it could give you enough water for three days of travel.

          And between 15 people working together, spending a couple days getting maybe an extra gallon of water for each of them? Shouldn’t be that difficult, or at least not a life and death situation unless you’re in a really arid biome or the middle of nowhere.

          Besides, it really takes a lot for a person to die. Much more than most people realize. Even if no one found any water at all, unless they were incredibly ill or somesuch, yeah they’d be thirsty and dizzy and feel badly hung over, but three days of travel totally dry? It can be done.

          At the very least it’s nothing to go shooting people in the head about or leaving people abandoned over. I’m with Shamus on this one – cause you never know, that one guy you leave behind might end up being the one who knows how to brew biodiesel and fix an engine, or how to properly suture a wound, or any of a thousand other bits of knowledge that are totally crucial to the group’s survival.

        2. Shamus says:

          My decision is to press on without killing anyone. See, while nothing is going to show up in our hypothetical, I don’t know that within the hypothetical. As the leader, I know things like rain, springs, chance meetings, and heroic human endurance are possible. I’m not going to kill someone for CERTAIN, in order to prevent the LIKELY death of some.

          This is why I said, “The writers might contrive some situation”. Because actual situations where you have clear-cut decisions are few. Everything else is, “Do you murder to reduce risk to the people you value?”

          1. Steve C says:

            I see this “hypothetical debate” again and again and I don’t understand why it even comes up. It’s neither hypothetical nor a debate.

            Right now in the real world there are real people dying in refugee camps and other horrible places due to lack of resources. We (the human race) have already collectively decided what to do; We help as many people as we can. We have never decided to cull humans due to some pragmatic concept of the greater good. The closest thing is triage and that’s not even close to the same.

            When people have killed these poor souls it has been due to other heinous reasons; the strong preying on the weak, racism, political gain, self interest, etc. And in every case the ones responsible are condemned as the monsters they are. They are never considered to be forward thinking leaders doing the right thing.

            I thoroughly enjoy a hypothetical debate. They expand the mind. This particular one is a dry well that should have been capped to prevent people from falling in.

            1. Lord of Rapture says:

              “And in every case the ones responsible are condemned as the monsters they are. They are never considered to be forward thinking leaders doing the right thing.”

              I envy your naivete.

              1. Steve C says:

                That statement was purposefully broad in the hope that someone can come up with a specific example to prove me wrong. The closest I can come up with is when Churchill let Coventry be bombed in order to keep secret the fact that the German code had been broken. Had that happened it would prove me wrong, but it’s a total myth. It never happened and was debunked.

  13. baseless research says:

    – About the arm choice: I have never read or watched other Walking Dead media (tv-series or graphic novel), so I have no idea what the characteristics of the disease are. So when it comes to how to deal with the arm, here was what I knew:

    Keeping the arm, chances of Lee dying are 100 percent.
    Cutting the arm, chances of Lee dying may be less than 100 percent.

    The choice is obvious. Now, this assumes that the writers would not screw you over by giving you an impossible situation later on to punish you for your choice, but I chose to trust the writers. And it works.

    – About a human being losing their arm: I heard from a medical student relative that, if an artery is cut cleanly (not at an angle) that it will sort of curl back on itself, stemming the blood flow. If it is at an angle, or if it gets torn off, it cannot do this and the flow remains uninterrupted.

    Also, on the Daily Show I once watched an interview with an USA veteran who lost his hand from a bomb explosion. He stated that he was surprised at the lack of blood coming out of the wound (possibly the heat of the explosion cauterised the wound?), he provided his own tourniquet and proceeded to help his squadmates who were pinned down in an ambush.

    Point being, cutting off an arm does not necessarily lead to a geyser of blood. I don’t recommend experimenting and the nearest ER can’t be near enough but you can survive.

    1. Isy says:

      I cut if off because I wanted to see what would happen. People are arguing the mechanics of infection on a disease that caused everyone dead in the world to spontaneously rise as a zombie in one day. Pretty sure that’s not normal bacteria there. So, will it work? I don’t know. Let’s find out!

      In retrospect, “FOR SCIENCE” wasn’t the best line of logic in a real world situation, but if they wanted logic they shouldn’t have put a timer on that decision.

  14. anaphysik says:

    I didn’t even remotely consider cutting off Lee’s arm for one reason: it doens’t fucking matter what happens to Lee. Getting to Clem & getting her safe is the only thing that matters. Cutting off the arm adds lots of potential complications to that, at rather (as far as Lee knows) limited & completely uncertain potential benefit.

    1. Thomas says:

      I thought there might be a chance that without cutting off the arm Lee would turn before he could save Clem, or turn as he saved her and this might delay it. But I regretted the decision as soon as Lee had to hop up an elevator shaft with one arm, clearly this would only kill him faster :(

      1. Kian says:

        Bah. Another arm would just get in the way.

        I cut the arm off. Lee had already passed out once or twice. The infection was sapping his strength and inhibiting his ability to perform. Given the speed at which his symptoms were developing, there was no reason to believe that you were going to get better if you didn’t do anything.

        Thus, cutting off the arm seemed like the reasonable choice. After all, from everything we’d seen before, I was going to deteriorate too quickly to be able to do anything for Clem.

    2. Cutting it off might have only been a solution if he did it immediately after being bitten. But because too much time passed between then and getting back to the morgue, and the virus has been in him for too long, I didn’t think it’d make a difference.

  15. Chauzuvoy says:

    So I’m going to point out a thing that’s unrelated to Lee’s second amendment rights for a second. That group of cancer survivors isn’t really given a whole lot of characterization. As in I don’t think it’s specified how long they had been in remission. In case you weren’t aware (and frankly, if it wasn’t for first-hand experience with the process, I wouldn’t be, so that’s not a negative statement), cancer isn’t necessarily as bad as TV medicine makes it out to be. Especially after you’ve been in remission for some time. Chemotherapy in particular is an absolute bitch, and will keep you in a pretty bad state as long as you’re being treated, but that treatment and it’s side effects aren’t indefinite.

    Through my own battle, I wound up having several surgeries, each of which I was able to recover from like one does from such things, and a buttload of chemotherapy, which admittedly left me with some neurological damage, but that amounted to a drop foot and some lack of fine motor skills, hardly a serious disability and both of which I was able to overcome with some physical therapy. Now, admittedly I was fairly lucky in that my cancer was focused on the kidneys rather than another organ, the impairment of which could concievably leave you with some more serious handicaps. But overall, assuming that the group of survivors had been in remission for some time, they easily could have worked through their side effects to such degree as possible, and concievably were more or less able people, similar to anyone else depending on how well they take care of themselves.

    Basically, given that you’ve got Omid’s broken leg, Christa’s pregnancy, Kenny’s recent gunshot, Lee’s bite, and Ben’s general incompetence, it’s entirely feasible that that group of cancer survivors could kick Lee’s group’s collective ass.

    1. anaphysik says:

      Plus, it’s like Chuck who never actually died, that was his evil twin & the real Chuck will be the twist-protagonist of Season 2 said: there’s just people now. Ain’t young or old or boy or girl or sick or healthy – just /alive/.

    2. Basically, given that you've got Omid's broken leg, Christa's pregnancy, Kenny's recent gunshot, Lee's bite, and Ben's general incompetence, it's entirely feasible that that group of cancer survivors could kick Lee's group's collective ass.

      It is most certainly NOT feasible. That isn’t unbelievable just because they’re old and were sick. It’s not because they’re somehow too “weak” from having cancer once to overpower the group.

      It’s because they wouldn’t do that! These weren’t the Save-Lots Bandits. They were not enemies to the group. They co-operated with Lee. They were cautious at first, yes, but only Brie was willing to convince Vernon to shoot Lee, and Brie isn’t a problem for them anymore. She was the most volatile influence of the five of them, and that influence doesn’t exist anymore.

      I could understand Vernon being mad if you and Lee end Episode 4 on a bad note. I could understand Vernon packing things up with the others and leaving once they find out about the walker herd. But I refuse to believe that they would then rob(either at gun-point or when they’re not around) the people who helped get them medical supplies. Vernon would not tell Lee that the boat is a dumb idea, and offer to protect Clem, and then steal that same boat while also dooming that same little girl.

      That. Is. Stupid. That is a convoluted excuse to make the entire team go to the Marsh House. It completely betrays the established character of Vernon. It was a cheap “solution” to the fact that Telltale Games wanted to bottleneck this game at the last minute, either due to a deadline or recklessness.

      They should have made it so that whoever doesn’t come along with you to the morgue just… changes their minds. Maybe while you’re away, coming to the realization that it’s wrong to let an 8-year old girl be in danger just because they disagree with Lee on some things. Maybe they were about to head out when you and and the walker herd showed up, preventing them from getting the boat back out to the water.

      And if everyone went with you, then the boat’s still there, but the herd shows up before you can safely bring it out to the water.

      Forget feasible. At least that way, it doesn’t require twisting not-evil characters into unbelievable jerkwads, for the convenience of the writers.

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        I agree. The whole thing with the cancer survivors stealing the boat felt forced. I had assumed that the kidnapper took the boat because I KNOW Clem wouldn’t and I couldn’t imagine Vernon even thinking about such a thing.

        Honestly, the whole “they feel bad about it” felt like rubbing salt into a fresh wound.

        1. Steve C says:

          I disagree that Vernon’s group was not-evil. They were evil jerks from the first second Lee meets them and that remained consistent.

          When you first walk into the morgue a doctor shoots an unarmed man that was only trying to leave. Only someone evil would do that. Brie is the one telling him to shoot but Vernon pulled the trigger. The rest of the people in that room don’t say a word. That damns them all in my book. Think about what you would do if you were in the back of that room. I would say something. If someone chooses to remain silent when a man’s life is in the balance then that’s giving consent. Feeling bad or guilty about it afterward isn’t redeeming. That just makes them cowardly evil jerks.

          Later Vernon/Brie are ones that suggest an armed assault on another group in order to get supplies. Why are you immune to the same? Vernon sees a clear threat to everyone from the window when he asks about the railroad. He purposely hides that threat from you. The only reason not to say anything then is in the hopes something bad will happen to you. Everything they do is consistent with being evil jerks. It’s totally believable to me they would turn on Lee’s group and steal the boat.

          As for beating up Kenny… Kenny gets into fights with everyone and loses every single time. Clem could beat up Kenny. Kenny losing a fight is one of his defining characteristics.

          1. Halceon says:

            And it actually makes some sense. As the saying goes – the worst slave owners are the former slaves.

            They’ve been so traumatized by Crawford, that this opposition has become their main source of self worth. At the same time they’ve accepted the social rules of Crawford, only this time it’s not the fittest, who are deserving, – it’s the vulnerable.

            I can just see Vernon saying to his group “Hey, we’re taking their boat and their survival plan. At least we’re not throwing them out on the street for their disabilities!”

          2. They were not evil. They were scared. There is a big difference. They were constantly living in fear of Crawford people finding them, because they established that others like them had been killed before.

            Either way, they eventually learned to trust and work together with Lee’s group. So them stealing their boat is still an arse-pull.

          3. IronCore says:

            I completely agree with Steve C. To add another point to it Vernon never said he disagreed with Crawford’s plan because it was morally wrong. He was angry that he and the others got kicked out. Nothing more. They wanted to be a part of it, and they were told no so they were angry.

      2. Even says:

        I always saw it as just an act of desperation. Something about the moment when Vernon looks out of the belltower window and asks the group if they came by the railway and then drops the issue when asked. The next thing we know, the town is suddenly absolutely filled with zombies. It’s not exactly spelled out, but I think the implication is that maybe he realized or saw what was coming (if he spotted the horde it doesn’t of course explain why the others wouldn’t have seen it), and for all we know, it’s the same massive herd that was chasing the train back in Episode 3.

        Temptation to evil/selfishness is something most everybody lives with in one way or another and there can be times people find themselves in a situation where all the choices they’re able to perceive for themselves are ones that lead to crossing the Moral Event Horizon. It’s just a recurrent theme, another variation of the Cannibals, except they had the courtesy of not planning to eat you or killing you outright. There’s no moral angle that really makes their choice right, but living in an apocalypse, I’d see it as somewhat of an inevitability for a lot of people.

        Still, it’s not that the theft of the boat still doesn’t feel a little forced and I’m not trying to defend the writers’ choice of handling it. I’m just saying it’s not something that couldn’t fit the story.

        1. thebigJ_A says:

          It’s pretty obviously spelled out that that’s exactly what happened. The horde, every zombie for miles and miles who heard the train, the one we *saw* earlier, is now flooding Savannah.

          Hell, they straight up tell you in the beginning of the next episode, in case you somehow missed it.

        2. Andrew says:

          Now that I think about it, Vernon’s offer to take Clementine makes more sense if you look at it with the knowledge that he was planning to take the boat. He didn’t explicitly state his plan, but implied it was to stay put and live off the group’s supplies and whatever they could scavenge from Crawford – untenable after the arrival of the horde, something Vernon knows and Lee doesn’t (Vernon presumably decided not to tell him so Lee’s gang didn’t leave with the boat before Vernon’s gang had a chance to steal it). With that plan and the other alternative of escaping overland, there’s no real reason not to offer capable adults a chance to join (especially Clementine’s pseudo-adoptive-father, Lee, for the sake of her wellbeing). But if Vernon’s decided that stealing the boat is the only option his group has to escape the horde, then with limited space on the boat, offering a space to the child and only the child fits.

  16. Joshua says:

    Couple of grammar nitpicks:

    “It's not always the case, but haves historically have a hard time getting us to accept things that stand between us and the controls. ”

    Not sure what “haves historically have” means. I guess you meant “games” instead of “haves”?

    “Where is is carrying this stuff?”

    Supposed to be “he” instead of a second “is”?

  17. Deadpool says:

    The cutting off arm thing I feel is a missed opportunity.

    Losing an arm would severely slow you down. It would make you less able and less capable at saving Clem.

    Which would make the choice of cutting off your arm a choice between your safety or HER safety. Cutting off Lee’s arm should have saved Lee and sacrifice Clem.

    1. Silly, that would involve giving the player a meaningful choice.

    2. Isy says:

      It would have been interesting, but I don’t think a good idea. I think we’re all assuming that if given a straightforward choice in the game (Lee lives and Clem dies vs. Clem lives and Lee dies) the overwhelming majority of people would pick Clem over Lee. But when confronted with the arm decision, the only way to guess “Oh, I’m picking Lee’s survival over Clems” is to metagame and hope you metagamed the same way the developers did. Yes, we know Steve Buschemi is in Atlanta, but what was stopping him from taking his station wagon and driving right out after his conversation? Revenge, sure, but we don’t know that yet.

      The only way for people not to feel cheated is if the game completely telegraphed the outcome so obviously you couldn’t miss it, and then you may as well go back to the straightforward choice (Lee lives and Clem dies vs. Clem lives and Lee dies).

  18. Spammy says:

    I didn’t know that there was a scene in the other Walking Dead media that had an arm being amputated to stop the infection, but… I can’t think of a time I’ve ever seen that work or being presented as working in a zombie story. So I meta-gamed there and saved the arm because I didn’t believe that cutting it off would make any difference, once you’re bitten you’re dead and nothing can change that, and if the last thing I can do before I die is save Clementine, I’ll do it with both arms.

    Also, I really liked the next scene that’s coming up for Ben finally snapping and standing up for himself in front of Kenny. It makes me wish though that they hadn’t gone all Star Trek Generations “Bridge on the captain!” on Ben.

    1. I’m honestly surprised that part didn’t come with a QTE “Mash the A Button” thing, where you and the gang pull him up. For people like me, who actually cared about Ben, that felt like such an anti-climax.

      Were they just trying to eliminate as many variables as possible for the next season? Because the Scorched Earth policy they took doesn’t really leave a lot left to build a second season on.

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        The way they handle (SPOILERS) the death of Kenny and (maybe) Ben feels really stupid no matter Ben survives or not. It honestly pissed me off.

        If Ben is alive, he falls and is impaled on a spike. Kenny stands by him in a last stand.
        If Ben is dead, then Lee gets bumped and the walkie-talkie falls into a hole. Christa goes in, then Kenny jumps in to help her up, killing him.

        Both scenarios feel forced and annoying. I really don’t understand why Telltale saw fit to do that. There was no reason to kill off people in your group. Especially since Lee gets separated from them later.
        They conspire to make sure that the game ends with only Clem, Christa, and Omid alive (and Lilly missing).

  19. Slothful says:

    I got really confused there because earlier on Ben established that it wasn’t the bite that turns you into a zombie; it was dying that turns you into a zombie, and now apparently the bite does do it now, and everybody automatically knows?

    Confuses the hell outta me.

    1. Katesickle says:

      I think the bite is just an infection that kills you, but once you die you turn into a zombie. Ben’s point wasn’t that bite isn’t dangerous, but that it’s not necessary to create a zombie.

      Wait, does that count as Ben being useful, since he knew more about the zombie outbreak than anyone else?

  20. Bodyless says:

    I am amazed that noone even tries to lend Lee a hand when he does anything.
    Hold the ladder while he climbs? nope!
    Help with forcing an elevator door open? nope!
    Grab his arm(s) when he pulls himself up the ledge? nope!
    Help bim back up when he falls unconsciousness? nope!

    These people now really feel like dead weight but i guess they didnt got the resources to do all the scenes depending on who came with you.
    Together with all these one handed animations this episodes looks kinda ridiculous already.

    1. harborpirate says:

      Telltale backed themselves into that trap when they allowed the possibility of Lee having to tackle this whole hospital sequence alone. They would have had to add loads of other extra animations to support the other characters acting more rationally as well as having Lee lone-wolf it.

      As others have mentioned, probably the worst fourth wall breaker is that you can run into a situation where four mostly healthy individuals let Lee climb that ladder between buildings. This is the same guy who is dealing with a debilitating infection, has lost a couple liters of blood, now only has one arm, and who is frequently passing out. Such an outcome is completely preposterous.

  21. Xine says:

    I’m pretty sure it’s said somewhere that Kenny was just grazed, or that the entire bullet didn’t hit him or something/

  22. Katesickle says:

    Cutting off Lee’s arm to stop the infection seems like just about the dumbest idea ever. On top of the blood loss, a wound like that is going to be very open to infection. So even if somehow it did stop the zombie virus, Lee would probably just get killed by some other infection. In the Civil War an amputation carried about a 1 in 4 chance of death and that’s with doctors who at least understood the concept of not letting the patient bleed out. You’ll notice there was no tourniquet on Lee’s arm when Kenny was getting ready to saw away at it (and I doubt they had any alcohol on hand to disinfect the saw–assuming they would even think to do that, which I’m not betting on–so a nasty infection is all but guaranteed).

    It would have been great if choosing to cut off your arm lead to a game-over as you die from the obvious complications of having your arm amputated by idiots without any medical knowledge.

    1. X2-Eliah says:

      Hm. I thought I saw a surgical rubber band tied around lee’s arm. Granted, it is probably only useful for building pressure in surface veins, not restricting any meaningful bloodflow, but still, I think I saw *something* tied around Lee’s arm.

      1. anaphysik says:

        I think a more important point is that Lee is dead like, less than 24 hours after. So really, any talk about wounds getting infected is a little too-long term for Lee’s situation :/

        1. Katesickle says:

          Yes, but they don’t know that’s going to happen. My point is that they should know this is a stupid plan just based on what is, in the 21st century, pretty common knowledge. They’ve already expressed an understanding that wounds = bad, yet they’re willing to inflict a really really bad wound without any kind of disinfectants on hand. Going strictly by in-character knowledge this is an idiotic plan.

          1. Steve C says:

            They all pretty much know with certainty that Lee is going to die from that bite. He’s definitely infected because he collapsed. It’s just a matter of time.

            Logically it comes down to a choice between no hope and a tiny hope in hell. Putting aside the Clem issue, it’s rational to shoot for that tiny chance of life. It’s a situation where Case B is slightly better than Case A… but both suck.

            1. Katesickle says:

              The fact that he collapsed means the infection has spread beyond his arm. Which makes the plan even dumber. It has no chance of helping Lee, and a decent chance of either killing him right there (which means no saving Clem) or of giving him another infection that will kill him if the zombie virus somehow doesn’t. Lee’s “tiny chance” would be in antibiotics, not surgery.

              And X-2 Elijah is right, there was a tourniquet. It’s fairly thin, though, so I missed it when I went back to check the first time. So they aren’t being quite as stupid about this as I initially thought.

  23. Isy says:

    Actually, if we’re talking about incredibly improbably athletics here, how about when Clementine manages to drag Lee’s 175 lb unconscious dead weight off the street? I’m 27 and 50 lbs heavier than Clem, and I couldn’t do that!

    1. Even says:

      That was my exact thought when Lee woke up. One of the dialogue options lampshades it, but it never goes further than that. It’s even more incredulous considering she managed to do it in the middle of a hungry zombie horde. I don’t know if it would be impossible but it’s hard to imagine her being very succesful without some absolutely clever planning. Even if she could make him move, I doubt it would be much more than a couple inches at a time and thus would have taken likely a considerable amount of time and effort to move Lee all that distance, which was likely at least a few meters/several feet. You could handwave it with the zombie juices protecting her and most of all Lee from being eaten, but it still feels like a huge stretch when you start thinking about it.

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