Forgot password?


Password reset

Please enter your e-mail address and new password.

The Walking Dead - Season 2 Episode 2: A House Divided

By Bobfish08-03-2014
StuntmanLT (editor)

The Defence

Telltale Games
Telltale Games
Release Date:

The Prosecution

Intel Core 2 Duo 2.3 GHz
AMD equivalent
Nvidia GeForce GTX 460
AMD equivalent
4 GB
2 GB

The Case

Welcome back to the apocalypse. I hope you packed your socks kiddo, because we don’t have time to sit around with thumbs in anal cavities watching the world go by. Some nasty things already befell us in Episode 1, and Episode 2 firmly promised it wasn’t going to let us off the hook that easily. In fact, it was positively gleeful about telling us we had it easy. Now it’s time to really kick everything into action and mercilessly murder everything in the face. Ladies and gentlemen, A House Divided is here. Without further ado, let’s all grab our backpacks and get the freaky hell out of Dodge.

The Trial

Well now, if you came here expecting a relaxed, leisurely stroll through the woods...wait, what am I saying? Nobody came here expecting that. You know what The Walking Dead is, you know what it’s all about. You know it ain’t going to be pretty, so can we just skip all the pretence of establishing tone? If you really don’t know what’s going on here, you’re not going to be reading this in the first place. So suffice it to say, shit’s all fucked up and it has no intention of changing that any time soon.

Unless it’s for the worse of course.

Depending on your decision in the closing moments of Episode 1 (All that Remains) you will be with one of two characters you met in the first episode. (Spoiler) If you chose to go with Nick, as I did, his uncle didn’t make it...so yeah, starting off on a sour note either way. But in this case far more so. We join our intrepid hero/s (I’m unconvinced if Nick really fits that category) trapped in a small stone building in the woods, throwing all their might behind the door to keep the walkers from ambling casually inside and lovingly munching you both in the face. Because they’re such sweethearts.

I remain...unconvinced.

I remain...unconvinced.

It’s an impressively powerful scene that goes a long way to establishing just how damned determined our little Clementine really is. Four feet tall, 100 pounds if she’s an ounce, and she, albeit momentarily, holds those doors closed. By herself. Against the weight of several fully grown door to door salesmen trying to force their way in and sell you the latest hot product.

Without dwelling, too long, on the opening, it does go about establishing the theme for the entire episode. Whilst the first chapter showed Clementine coming to terms with being on the cusp of adulthood, facing the imminent expectation of being a self-sufficient cog in the newly established social order. A House Divided introduces us to a hardened, jaded, grimly determined young woman in all but age. A concept that runs, with extreme subtlety, through the entire episode as she not only takes charge of the situation around her, but finds the older, supposedly far more knowledgeable and capable adults actually looking to her for direction.

The greatest strength of the new narrative direction is how understated it is. Nothing is ever said, apart from an entirely throwaway comment by Luke, who comments on her reliability. Beyond that, nobody comments on her burgeoning role as warchief. The narrative itself never dwells on it and there are no moments of character interaction where it is ever demonstrated that she is in any way in charge. Everything is far more subtle than that. Often wrapped up in some lengthy dialogues in which she must explain and press an issue.

But the thing is, each time this comes to pass, albeit slowly, everyone, everyone, ultimately follows the choices you dictate. It is handled exceptionally well. To such a degree, even, that A House Divided stands on the precipice of becoming a conversation piece bandied around as a paragon of organic character development. Something which may take some time to become clear, but the kind of thing that people look back on, years later, as they finally come to appreciate just how powerful it was in context of what came later. Kinda’ like how heavily The Lord of the Rings influenced Babylon 5 without meaning to.

Come get some! I'll take you all on!

Come get some! I'll take you all on!

As for the overall flow of the narrative, a lot happens here. A hell of a lot. Another, seemingly, throwaway comment (from the first episode) coming back to be the driving force behind just about everything that happens. That chap Carver, who was clearly mentioned as a major concern for Clementine’s newfound...companions (I hazard to call them friends) in such a way that it could just as easily have been flavour text. But nay, he is a very real, very immediate concern. Arriving very early on to have a painfully awkward conversation with young Clem.

A scene that was genuinely uncomfortable to watch, though perhaps not for the reasons you may be thinking. Far from being concerned for her safety, confronted with this clearly all too calm and collected, fully grown man. The true power of the unfolding dialogue comes as we see how casually and effortlessly she evades his vocal sparring, all of the time calmly and methodically looking for the most efficient way to remove him from her presence. Bringing the player to the inevitable conclusion that she not only would, but could, stab him in the throat and let him choke on his own blood without exertion...or concern.

That’s a powerful, and again beautiful understated, moment of clarity.

Of course, it would not be so simple if that was the outcome of their meeting. Rather, Mister Carver goes on his way with a clear implication that he does not believe her story, and he knows she knows. Which is where the title comes in to play. The divided house, you see, is not that in which we now find ourselves inextricably entwined, ‘Tis rather the homestead, run by the enigmatic Carver, which they fled from prior to our first meeting with them. This is the one divided and, honestly, with the way everything plays out, it becomes increasingly difficult to convince yourself their either ‘side’ is in the right here.

You’ve got something between your teeth. Got it.

You’ve got something between your teeth. Got it.

We see a lot of story elements that weave together in such a way as to add a multitudinous layer of context to everything. All of the individual players in this drama, of which there are many, have their own motivations, goals, histories, secrets and lies. Nobody here is a good person. They have all done, will do, and intend to do some horrific things. Even young Clementine, as mentioned above, is no delicate, wilting flower of innocence in the otherwise corrupted wasteland.

But isn’t that really the point of all this? An exploration of desperation? Nay, survival. We are not here to judge and moralise. These are people facing down an impossible situation in the only way they can, doing not what they want, but what they must. Somehow, despite all the odds, even managing to find those little moments of peace that give the faintest glimmer of hope that there can still be something better at the end of the tunnel. Whilst casually reminding us, and them, of all the appalling things they were not only forced, but oft times readily chose to do on their way to it.

Powerful stuff.

As with the first episode, in fact, even more than that. Better than the first. This is undeniably some of the best writing, in any medium, I have had the pleasure of experiencing. Beautifully ugly, expertly crafted and powerfully delivered without any of the tired tropes we have grown so accustomed to. Gone are the smouldering looks, the glowers and frowns, the awkward pauses and knowing one liners. The dialogue is all so terrifyingly genuine. Delivered by a voice cast that is so gloriously understated you could be forgiven for forgetting they’re even actin gin the first place. Which is quite possibly the greatest compliment that can ever be given.

The apocalypse has come, and people still read pulp trash.

The apocalypse has come, and people still read pulp trash.

One line, in particular, really blew me away. It just came so far out of left field, delivered with such flippant reality, I broke down and lol’d. Alvin, the large, rough, but still immediately likeable black man who was so poorly underdeveloped in All That Remains, makes up for it here in spades. Especially when, towards the latter half of the second act, he responds to the news there were lights seen below, and the suggestion that someone (Carver’s people) has been tracking them. “Tracking?” He cries, “What do you think they are? Ninjas?”

I lost my shit.

If it isn’t obvious by now, whilst All That Remains was an extremely solid, albeit somewhat linear and primarily reactive, strong opening. A House Divided blows it out of the water in every conceivable way. Even the visuals are improved. Not graphically, everything is still rendered in the same engine of course. But the assets introduced are far more varied, with clear splashes of colour, often craftily muted to further enhance the mood. Some carefully chosen establishing shots and strong imagery such as the bridge you cross roughly at the midpoint. And the wind turbine which calls down an invading horde of walkers shortly before the climax. All of it builds on the narrative and reinforces, well, everything.

The Verdict

Long story short folks, A House Divided is well-nigh perfect. There is less direct interaction from the player (QTEs and the like) but even that works in its favour as many of the first episodes’ dragged on at times. The majority of player input comes in the form of dialogue choices, which may not change the flow of events massively so, but do throw in buckets of layering to what it all means. There’s even the introduction of a new character...who is actually an existing, and well loved, returning face from the first season. But no spoilers here, you’ll have to see who for yourself. If there is one complaint...it’s a little short. But considering it’s an episodic series, it still clocks in at more than 90 minutes, which is a comfortable length. Rather 90 minutes of perfection than eight hours of bland repetition after all.

Case Review

  • Clementine: Our little girl is all grown up, and is not at all shy about proving it.
  • Characters: Adding in even more, for a total of well over a dozen, even those we barely see leave a real impression behind them.
  • Environments: The forced march the story delivers not only allows, but demands a commendably wide variety of new sights delivered at a respectable pace.
  • Narrative: A dizzying miasma of layered context that will take many weeks, if not months, to truly appreciate and dissect.
  • Voice Acting: “What do you think they are? Ninjas?” What more can I say?
  • Choices: Though they still lack the impact many of us desire for the plot, they are powerful when considered in context of character reactions to events.
  • Length: Though more happens, and is told even better than before, there’s still barely more than 90 minutes of content.
Score: 5/5
What do you think they are? Telltales?


After the disappointment brought by Episode 1 of The Walking Dead’s second season, I was starting to get a little worried for the future of the series. Not only was the episode very short compared to the episodes of season one, but it also felt devoid of any player-input. Nothing you did really felt like it mattered, and while it’s an exciting idea to have the new game seen through the eyes of a young girl, it never felt like the first episode actually fulfilled the potential it had.

Well, along comes Episode 2. And what do you know, it is actually fantastic. The length is pretty much the same as before; you’ll be hard pressed to make it last more than an hour and a half. But this time around, there is more happening throughout. Depending on who you chose to help out at the end of Episode 1, you’ll start the Ep. 2 hold up somewhere with that character for some time while surrounded by walkers, before managing to escape back to the hut. After a visit from a mysterious man, the group decides it’s time to move on. Along the way, you’ll meet a few new characters, visit some places, and kill some walkers before...big things happen. I don’t think it’s appropriate to go into any more detail than that. Needless to say, there is plenty of stuff happening here, and you’ll be in the thick of it.

It can still be a little frustrating at times, when Telltale clearly have a whole series of chain reactions you’re meant to deal with that are all lined up, waiting for that one - completely unavoidable - triggering event to happen first, when it feels like you as the player should have been able to avoid that event from transpiring in the first place. But, I suppose, such is life in this drab and desperate post-apocalypse. Don’t expect to be making any game-altering decisions in this piece of the story either. But for what it’s worth, it’s at least one of the best story pieces The Walking Dead games have had to offer so far. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Score: 4/5


A House Divided is the next episode in Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead Season 2. There was a big gap between this and the previous episode in the season, which added to the anticipation and built up a lot of expectation. The wait for this latest chapter was definitely worth it; if you thought the first part was good, then you are in for a real treat here.

A House Divided picks up the story where the previous episode left off. The game opens with Clementine coming to terms what she has been through. This time though, she is not alone, as she is with the new group of people she found. In this group, everyone also has their own issues to deal with. This part moves along at a steadier pace with less action than the last episode, but this by no means is a bad thing. A House Divided is all about the character development and the relationship that Clem forms with the group as a whole, as well as with individual members of the group. This lays down a good foundation for the remaining episodes in the season.

Instead of focusing on action, the player must make some decisions which are designed to make you think. They’re also designed to make you probably regret them later. In these choices that you, through Clem’s character, are faced with that shows Clem’s development since the first season, where she gets treated like an adult, and not a kid. The chapter builds to an awesome climax, which is enhanced by the fact that you pretty much make the ending your own based on your responses. This is by far the best episode of the series, which leaves you wondering: how long before Episode 3 is out?

Score: 5/5
Comments (0)
You must be to post a comment.
No comments!