And here we are, for the last time, about to delve into the final episode of The Walking Dead: The Final Season. I’m gonna start with some thoughts, actually, and the first thing I wish to say is that this game gave me closure. Now I’m a sucker for tragedy and a well made one at that, which is why the finale of season 1 got to me so hard and maybe in some deep twisted part of my brain, I wished that Clementine’s story would end exactly like Lee’s, because maybe they can finally be together in the afterlife, but at the same time there was this moment in the game, where I was glad that it ended how it did. This review will have a lot of spoilers in it, because I just want to let my bare thoughts out there and just make it a worthy final review of a game, which I enjoyed so much (talking about all seasons, not just the final one).
I watched Clementine from back when she was a little girl, lost and confused, dragged into this hellish nightmare of a reality, filled with zombies. Not only that, but people were becoming estranged and everyone was prioritizing their own survival, which was evident by not one occasion in the entire series. Lee stumbled upon Clementine, while she was alone at home and evidently something had happened with her parents, so he agreed to help her look for them, while protecting her from the harsh environment. The first season of the game developed a lot of bonds, but the main one was with Lee, who I believe, despite having a real father, Clem looked up to like a guardian or father figure and cherished with all her heart. Which is why their journey together came to an end in a very tragic way. Lee got bit and Clem was forced to do the unspeakable (of course by forced I say, we as the player made this choice, but personally for me, I picked this in order to have some form of closure between them). Yes, we shot Lee, in order to prevent him from turning.
Season 1 hit me really hard, because it focused on a subject, which is very dear to me and maybe this is why it’s my favorite season of all in the entire series.
After the events from the first game, we continued following Clem’s story, but this time from her perspective, with her as a main controllable character. There was no Lee, this time to make the choices and we were up against the world on our own. The season began with us being with Christa, which was a character from season 1, however when we got separated from her early on in the first episode, that was the last we saw of her. We were truly alone and to fend off for ourselves, which was evident by the entire first episode of season 2. But we met new people, we made new friends and we even re-explored old bonds, when we found out that Kenny was alive and well, even if mentally shaped by what happened in season 1 and more. Season 2’s finale saddened me as well, because we were the only voice of reason he would listen to, but right there at the very end, my choice was to shoot Kenny and I did it, not to save Jane, who by the way, I hate so much, rather than to give Kenny the closure and rest he so desperately wanted.
At the end, I decided to continue alone, because Jane’s selfish action showed me she did not deserve my companionship at all, but despite the grim turn of events, I wasn’t truly alone, because we had Alvin Jr. with us. But things would undoubtedly get harder now, because we were not only responsible for our own lives, but for another person’s as well, who could not make these choices on their own.
Then in season 3 we got some fresh perspective, but we never stopped following Clem’s story. We saw how much she had grown up and was managing to take care of herself amidst all the chaos. We were also let in on the darker side of things, in the form of the decisions she had to make in order for AJ and her to survive. This season showed us that surviving in this harsh world requires sacrifices, especially when you have loved ones at stake and this not only goes for Clementine, but for Javier too (the new protagonist we played in that season with).
Finally, we reach season 4, which is supposed to bring an end to Clementine’s tale. In this season, we see the focus shifts more on finding a new home and making it permanent. But Clem is with a more grown up AJ now, however she is still responsible for his actions and teaching him the perks of this world. Indeed, while I ventured into this season, I felt how different the world is, in comparison to the usual one. More so I felt how very few people understood that. Most of them had this fairy tale view, which while a nice breath of fresh air, in the end when you have a gun pointed at your face, or a herd of walkers are chasing you, accounts to nothing. And here we see how low humanity has stooped. Everyone prioritizes survivability and they care not for anything else. This community of raiders, which Lilly led, was ready to use children as soldiers in order to guarantee their victory in a war with another human community. But Clementine and the other kids … they fought back … for their freedom and their new home.
In episode 4, we opened up with the hectic finale of episode 3, where the ship exploded, and everyone’s fate was left in the dark. Turns out everyone survived, with a couple of raiders and in the struggle of us to actually stay alive, the rest of the kids managed to escape, with Clem and AJ staying behind. This was kind of accidental We are found by James and later Tenn and try to escape the horde of walkers through a cave. James decides to lash out on Clem, for the way she has taught AJ and how ruthless he is becoming, but I stand behind my choices. In a world like this, it is better for AJ to be ruthless and know when to show compassion, rather than frail and naïve. When danger lurks behind every corner, you have to be prepared to look at it in the face, without catching your breath.
After he couldn’t forcefully take away AJ, he decided to part ways with us. I feel like saying here that that ungrateful little sh*t is only alive because I made the choice to shoot Lilly, but okay, be that way. After we make it out of the cave, Louis comes back for us and in an unfortunate turn of events, he gets overwhelmed by the horde and dies (this one was on me) … all because of that c*nt Minerva and Tenn’s naivete. I swear, some people do not know how to survive.
Worse of all, Clementine gets injured and bit and for the first time in forever we get to play as AJ, while he is trying to secure a barn from the incoming walkers. It was this moment I was prepared for. To finish the cycle and end where everything began. Just like Lee, she got bit … just like Lee, she gave her final words of advice to AJ … just like Lee, I was ready to shoot her (this time it was chopping with an axe, but you get my point). Indeed, I was prepared for Clem to die since the beginning of the season and I was very surprised when I found out that she lived.
Like I mentioned in the beginning of the review, I’m a sucker for good tragedy and I was kinda disappointed when they took that away from me, but what changed my mind was that flashback sequence were Clem and AJ got reunited and the promise she made him. So, taking a 180-degree turn was suddenly good. I was glad she survived, and didn’t leave AJ to fend off for himself, just like she was forced to. And in the very end, they managed to settle in their new home together, alongside the remaining kids of Ericson’s Boarding School for Troubled Youth.
I feel good about this ending. My only regret is Louis, but I got here with my moral choices and if this is what it had to lead to, then I’m okay with it. The ending hit me hard, because they played the same song they did, back in the final episode of season 1’s credits. It was a good tie up for Clem’s entire exhausting journey.
As usual, gameplay was engaging enough, as expected from a game such as this. The tense moments, this time, were reversed at the beginning to mid episode, with a peaceful ending, in comparison to how it usually is, which is a nice contrast and change of pace. I was also very glad that the game handed us control over AJ and we managed to finish off the story with him, since he is a very important part of Clem’s life.
Overall, I am very satisfied with this series and I am glad I decided to take this journey. All the games are definitely worth it and I would recommend them wholeheartedly.