Our latest Water Cooler episode is here! This time we level with our surprisingly different paths leading to The Walking Dead’s latest episode, “A House Divided.” This is made unnecessarily difficult by Stacey’s inability to remember anyone’s name. What difference did it make if we escaped with Pete or Nick at the end of the last episode? Who was the surprise returning character? Did anyone actually remember this? All this and more in the latest Push to Smart Water Cooler.
As usual, a transcript is below the cut.
This episode contains spoilers for Telltale Games’s the Walking Dead.
JAYLEE: Hello and welcome to the Push to Smart Water Cooler. This episode, we will be discussing Walking Dead season 2, episode 2 by the infamous TellTale Games.
STACEY: The second episode of The Walking Dead, a House Divided, finally starts to dig into what’s gotten under the survivor’s collective skin. Once an intimidating man named Carver casually lets slip that he knows where they’re hiding, the survivors uproot and move on through the mountains, taking Clementine with them. It’s a journey fraught with quick time events, surprise returning characters, and some genuine drama! And some drama that wasn’t so genuine.
STACEY: Yup! Yeah, I think this was definitely an improvement on the first one.
JAYLEE: Oh, I completely, completely agree. There were some things that I really loved about this episode. And there were some things that I was kind of taken aback by how much I disliked them. So I guess, starting off, you are stuck in the house alone with Sarah, and then the inevitable happens and this guy we’ve only heard stories about shows up and he rifles through the place.
STACEY: which, I thought that was a very effective scene.
STACEY: You’re playing obviously as Clementine, home alone. And Sarah we kind of already established in the first episode is very naive, she’s kept very sheltered whereas Clementine is used to bad guys, basically. So—
JAYLEE: Actually, before we get into that, right before this takes place, Sarah wants you to teach her how to use a gun.
JAYLEE: Did you do it?
STACEY: I did.
JAYLEE: I did! And then when it said, “she’s going-she knows how to defend herself,” I was like, oh shit, what’s going to happen?
STACEY: (laughs) I know right? Yeah, I thought that was really interesting. I’m really liking how the dynamic with Sarah is evolving. And, um, I don’t know. The way I’ve been approaching it as Clementine is Clementine doesn’t see her as a peer, as we kind of talked about, but I think she both wants a peer and feels responsible because what has been imparted on her from, like, Lee. So she thinks, “yes, you need to learn how to use a gun and I’m going to show you because that’s my responsibility as part of the group.” And I also really liked the character moment that created then when Sarah aims the gun at her. You know, even though it’s empty, just because she has no concept of how dangerous it actually is. And Clementine’s reaction was just perfect.
JAYLEE: There’s just so much about this series… and just watching the evolution and the evolution of the characters… it’s, it’s very—it sounds a little dorky—but it’s a very enriching experience.
STACEY: Yeah, for the most part—I’ll get to my grievances later. For the most part it’s a very well-written series.
JAYLEE: Ok, BACK to…
STACEY: The house? It’s in the house!
JAYLEE: The house and the bad guy coming in…
STACEY: Yeah! That was a great—the idea that you kind of had—you knew that Sarah was in the house. You knew that this guy was possibly after her. And the way that you kinda had to steer him through the house. Him knowing full-well—probably—that you’re not supposed to be there. I was curious, though, did you say that you were part of the group, or did you say that you were alone, or with your dad?
JAYLEE: Oh I definitely said I was part of a group with a lot of people.
STACEY: Me too! (laughs)
JAYLEE: Yeah, if there’s something I’ve learned from The Walking Dead franchise as a whole, it’s that you’re not supposed to display weakness or let them know how few people you have.
STACEY: Yes. Yes, we have lots of people. They all have guns. They are made of guns and they will kill you.
JAYLEE: and it was really interesting too how, like, ok, how aggressive am I going to be? And then I tried to pull a knife on him because I really wanted him out.
STACEY: Me too!
JAYLEE: And he was really freaking me out a little bit, but then he’s like, “ha ha! I can put this away for you.” And then, oh my gosh, that scene was just so tense.
STACEY: I took that as him testing her to see if she really belonged to the group, because he was like, “where does this go?” Which is again, just a great little character moment. It was like, oh man! And it just made him that much more sinister—the idea that he could think this out and that he was trying to play this game with her. When, you know, she’s eleven! He could overpower her if he wanted to. Um, yeah. That was a great way to start the episode. And now I’m curious, too, because right after that, my group moved out, and we went to go find the body of the survivor that was bitten? That my Clementine escaped with? Um, but I know you went with the other guy—whose name escapes me right now. Did you still go try to find his body?
JAYLEE: Yeah, because he wasn’t dead. I’ve been really curious about what has happened in your play through since we chose such different options but no! He drinks, like, all the freaking whiskey in the thing. And he’s like, in the very beginning, in the shack, he’s, like, throwing the whiskey jars at the door and um—
STACEY: Wait, you were in a shack?
JAYLEE: What? Back the truck up!
STACEY: (laughing) oh no!
JAYLEE: Yeah, so they run into this shack. And you know, they’re basically kind of… they’re at the door, and the walkers are trying to get in. And, uh, then they, you know, prop up against the door, then they’re just waiting it out.
STACEY: Oh, wow.
JAYLEE: Wow, I’m just surprised that this doesn’t happen in your game.
STACEY: No, it’s similar, though.
JAYLEE: It’s filled with whiskey.
STACEY: As it should be.
JAYLEE: Jars of whiskey—or bourbon or one of those kind of, like, manly drinks.
STACEY: Of course.
JAYLEE: And uh, Nick offers some to Clementine and that’s one of the choices. I didn’t drink any.
STACEY: Oh that’s interesting. I had something similar in my game. When Clementine and Pete ran off they got locked in a delivery truck for cigarettes.
STACEY: So instead of being offered a drink, she was offered a cigarette. So that’s interesting. I’m wondering what the pay-off for that’s going to be if we got that in both of our games. I chose not to have her smoke too, but I kind of thought later that that might have been—cause the way I’m playing Clementine is that she’s very resourceful and she’s also a little bit stubborn and she really wants to, kind of, prove that she can do it. Because she’s out kind of, that she doesn’t—not that she doesn’t need these people, but that she can carry her weight. Um, and that, you know, that she’s been with these other people before.
STACEY: And so I was thinking that maybe I should have had her do it to kind of, to try to prove something? Cause, you know, she is a kid, so why not? Yeah, I’m really interested to see what happens with this since we both kind of had that temptation. Obviously it’s going to lead somewhere.
JAYLEE: Ok, so they’re in the shack. They, you know, they have to escape because there are walkers everywhere. And the walkers figure out that they’re there. And Nick tries to, kind of, sacrifice himself. He, like, throws a jar at one of the walker’s heads, and he’s like “go!” And you can either run to him or you can run away from him. I ran to him just because I felt no man left behind kind of thing, but you run away. All the stuff happens with Sarah, the people get back, and there was a group of survivors who were out there looking for you two. Is this happening in your play through too? Ok. So all this business with Sarah, and then you go back to the shack, and he’s inside and he’s really drunk.
STACEY: Oh, interesting! So he stays behind at the shack and you go back to the shack to pick him up. And you just assume Pete’s dead? Interesting. Because in my play through, you’re in the truck with Pete. He sacrifices himself because he’s already been bit so Clementine can get away. At first I… I rewatched the preview because I totally didn’t forget—totally forgot it from last time? And um, there’s a point in the preview where he looks at a saw like he’s going to do something with it, maybe cut off the leg, and he almost does that in the play through, but he just… he chickens out, because we know from Lee there’s nothing he can do. So he sacrifices himself. He does the same thing that it sounds like (Nick) did in your game. He makes a bunch of noise and you have the option to run away. And then I had the option—I had to lead the group back to him to see where he was, and we found him. He’d just been completely torn apart. So that’s what I was wondering—if that was in your game.
STACEY: Yeah, it was pretty gory. But we also discovered that he had been shot in the head. So someone else had been there and we don’t know who. Presumably, I guess we could say it was Carver’s group. That kinda plants this, kinda, extra sinister seed that I’m not sure is there when you just find him drunk in your game.
JAYLEE: Ok, so did you have all that business on the bridge?
STACEY: Yes! Where, um—
JAYLEE: Who shot Walter’s partner?
STACEY: Your guy whose name I still keep forgetting. Wanting to call “kenny”
JAYLEE: Pete? Wait, no.
STACEY: Pete’s dead.
STACEY: Nick, yeah.
JAYLEE: Wait, Nick isn’t dead in your play through?
STACEY: No, he met up with the group. That’s another interesting thing because he met up with our group, and we find Pete’s body with him. And he gets really depressed, and is just tailing along the back of the group. And then when he shoots… is it Matthew? His partner? Um, when he shoots his partner, it’s kind of to prove himself and to prove how useful he is because he think (Matthew) is threatening Clem and Luke—I think that’s the other guy’s name. Is that what happened in your game?
JAYLEE: Kind of, um, he’s obviously really rattled by what went down. And at that point he’s trying to prove himself. It seems to be at this point that Clementine is kind of, like, on his side.
STACEY: It’s really interesting because it seems like in my game that he feels that everyone is against him—that it’s his fault that Pete’s dead. That was the impression, at least, that I got. Obviously it’s probably the same exact dialogue and animations and everything, so thats really interesting that it changes how dramatically we read that scene.
STACEY: So I guess that brings us to, um—obviously that was one of the things I was wondering about; if [Walter’s] partner was killed in both games, which obviously he is.
JAYLEE: Poor Matthew.
STACEY: I know! So I guess that takes us to when we meet up with his greater group, who has the surprise character who is not Lily.
JAYLEE: Who is not Lily at all.
JAYLEE: not even a little bit
STACEY: Nope! not even a little bit.
JAYLEE: so what was your response to having it be Kenny?
STACEY: Part of me, um, I was really surprised. And actually, I was happier than I thought I’d ever be to see him, but at the same time there was a part of me that was like, this feels kind of cheap. Like, how did he just leave that scene that I left him in at the end of the first season. And he’s just like, “hey! I left!” And he’s totally ok with being abandoned by the team. But um, one of the things i’m wondering is if we’re going to get a little more into that because there’s all this talk with the other survivors that there’s something that’s just not quite right about him? And at least in my game—did you choose to sit with him at dinner?
JAYLEE: That was one of the most difficult decisions.
STACEY: And it was so silly!
JAYLEE: I know, but I chose sitting with him ‘cause I was like, ok, I’ll catch up.
STACEY: Yeah, so did he call you Duck by accident?
STACEY: Yeah, So I’m wondering if this is going to escalate?
JAYLEE: I know. Well, as soon as I saw it was Kenny I got very emotional! I was kind of surprised.
STACEY: Yeah, I know!
JAYLEE: Kenny’s back!
STACEY: And I didn’t even like the character that much!
JAYLEE: I know!
STACEY: I was just like, oh! A familiar face!
JAYLEE: I know and just seeing him, like, kind of happy. But then as it goes on, it starts to wear off, and it’s just like, ugh, it’s the same old freakin’ Kenny. And one thing I am really disappointed in is when he kind of starts bad mouthing Ben. It was like, you were ready to sacrifice your life for this guy, maybe don’t call him a bumbling idiot or something, you know?
STACEY: That’s what I’m wondering… if that’s part of what’s not quite right about him—if maybe he’s forgotten some things? Like maybe some of the most traumatic parts of his experience and that’s why he slips up and calls her duck, or is overcompensating with his positive attitude.
JAYLEE: In my game he mentioned that, you know, Lee killed Duck.
STACEY: Yeah… oh, wait. You killed Duck in your play through?
STACEY: oh… I don’t remember if I did. I don’t think he said that to me.
JAYLEE: And, you know, by the time I was done sitting with Kenny and having a meal, I was like, you know, I’m ready to be with the other group now.
STACEY: (laughs) But then they drop that bomb on you when they figure out that Matthew—the guy you killed, or that Nick killed, on the bridge—was actually part of the group, and that you took the knife. Like, that was also a great dramatic moment.
JAYLEE: You know, admittedly, I thought that the episode was going to end with him…
STACEY: playing with the knife?
STACEY: Yeah, me too. I thought that was going to be the cliffhanger, but it kept going!
JAYLEE: I was like, that’d be brilliant, but then the episode just kept going. Which isn’t a bad thing, I was just surprised. And were you able to save Nick?
STACEY: I was. I didn’t even realize you couldn’t save him.
JAYLEE: Did you say Carlos after Carver came in?
STACEY: I did.
JAYLEE: Ok, I’m not sure if Carlos can die.
STACEY: I’m not sure if he can, either. It seems like he’s going to be an important character. Then again, I would have assumed that, like, Walter would have been, and Walter just gets shot. And then he’s dead.
JAYLEE: The two gay characters die in the same episode.
JAYLEE: Which sucks because Matthew was so cool. He was just like, hey guys!
STACEY: I have lots of food! Lets, Lets have a campfire.
JAYLEE: Even though he only had a can.
STACEY: Yeah, I know!
JAYLEE: But he had more at the lodge.
STACEY: So we should probably go back and explain, like, when you’re at the lodge, Carver’s group catches up with you. And one of the more interesting things about it is that Carver’s group includes Bonnie from 400 Days.
JAYLEE: I know! And I actually really liked Bonnie from 400 Days, but when I saw her I was like, nothing good can come from this.
STACEY: Exactly! It’s like, oh no! Which that—I thought that was really interesting, too. Because one of the things that was just really weird about 400 Days, is that it just plopped you in the middle of a story and didn’t tell you anything. So, like, with Bonnie for example, you’re just walking through the woods with this guy; he hits on you so, because it’s a game, might flirt back, and it’s like, oh, he has a wife. Bonnie the character would know this. You as the player are purposely left in the dark about it. And then that kind of cumulates in when you’re dropped in as this woman trying to recruit all the survivors from 400 Days to join her group. You have no idea what kind of community she’s actually from, but you’re kind of force to make up this pitch, and kinda recruit them even though you have no idea what you’re doing. And I thought for sure that the game was going to end with, like, a tag where I find out that I’ve actually lured them to their deaths or something, you know? And now it looks like it’s going to be Carver’s group and that’s what we were trying to pitch at them in that game which is really uncomfortable!
JAYLEE: Yeah, although I will say about Bonnie, it kind of felt like she was reluctant? Because when you’re giving her the big box of food she’s like, this is too much…
STACEY: I was wondering if maybe, if I’d played my cards differently, she would have turned on Carver, or if she will in the future. That was something I was interested to see in the variations.
STACEY: So did you when, um, Bonnie and Carver and their group have everybody kind of lined up, did you—and they’ve shot Walter—did you leave to try to find Kenny or did you stay to help Carlos.
JAYLEE: I stayed to help Carlos because I was like, too many people have died; all the gays are gone; we need to save one. But apparently, if you go after Kenny, you’ll see him kind of shooing Luke away.
JAYLEE: Yeah! Luke leaves.
STACEY: Weird! Luke leaves the group?
JAYLEE: Yeah, like he and Kenny are doing the generator thing, and… so in my game, I was like, oh thank god. At least Luke is away to come save us. But if you go after Kenny and Luke, apparently it’s a bit more dire in that Luke is just done with the group and leaves.
STACEY: I also it was interesting in the choices—when it displays them all at the end of the game—I don’t know if the previous episodes have done this; I never noticed this before. But it assigns—
JAYLEE: In retrospect, they did. But it was the first time I noticed it as well.
STACEY: That they have assigned names to every choice? So, like, leaving to find Kenny is classified as “bravery.”
JAYLEE: I was not.
STACEY: Me neither, apparently. But 63 percent of us when I played were not, so there. (laughter) There was also, like, I think… I usually play the games right when they come out, and it’s usually skewed heavily one way or the other, but in this one they were all 50 percent, 63 percent, 60. Like, they all kind of towed that middle ground. Like, people were really divided on what to do, which is quite telling and interesting.
One thing I kind of wanted to talk about is Rebecca—is she the pregnant character? I have a lot of problems with her. Part of it is I just don’t believe the whole narrative thrust that Carver is pursuing them just because she’s pregnant. Like, that’s just so silly. And it was kind of funny, ‘cause when you’re talking with Luke about it, and he’s like, “what would a man, you know, what does a man value so much that—“
JAYLEE: Oh, I loved that part!
STACEY: Yeah! I played dumb.
JAYLEE: Because I chose everything but it.
STACEY: Me too! And it was funny because I chose to play dumb originally just because I was mad at this plot line. I didn’t think it was good enough. And it ended up being this really nice, kind of sad character moment for Clementine. Where it’s like she… what does she value most? Safety and food! Because this is the world she’s in. And Luke even looks kind of sad! And it was just—originally I just chose it because I was mad at the plot. And it ended up being really nice!
JAYLEE: I don’t know. Rebecca’s character, she… in the first episode she was the angry black woman trope, and in the very beginning of the second episode she was the same way. And she kind of started to open up a little bit…
STACEY: But it was weird that she was opening up. She even says, “why am I saying this to an eleven year old?” It’s like, why ARE you saying this to an eleven year old?
JAYLEE: Please explain yourself. Honestly, when I was playing through the episode, I was like, who is this other guy? Her husband? Was he here last episode? I don’t think he was here last episode.
STACEY: He reminds me of Cyril from Archer. Like he is so bumbling… One thing I wanted to kind of get in about Rebecca is I feel like—and this might me reading too much into it like I tend to do—but the way I’m playing it is that she is… she could potentially be read as a double for Christa. And the idea that probably… the idea that she’s pregnant, and the last time we see Christa she was previously pregnant, just lost the baby, and I feel like that is a potential—not to be overwrought and over-dramatic—but the idea that that could be a potential… kind of root for drama and strife between her and Clementine. Because of the idea that Clementine just went through this. Like, even Rebecca asks her about a name, right after Omid asked her the exact same question in the first game—or the first episode.
JAYLEE: It might be a trigger for a flashback to see what happened.
STACEY: Yeah, I’m really wondering if that’s going to payoff in some way because it seems like it… it should. And that’s definitely the way I’m playing it. I’m playing Clementine as very distrusting of her. A, because she was mean, and B, she did just go through this with people she actually liked.
JAYLEE: And we saw how that turned out.
JAYLEE: So, I’m still enjoying it.
STACEY: Yeah, me too.
JAYLEE: There’s some decision that I’m not as excited about—like we talked about with Kenny and whatnot. Um, and… I don’t know. I really wanted this Carver business to be over. Like, there was so little of it, but I’m still just kind of like, I’m already sick of it. I don’t know why, but it’s just not really ringing with me.
STACEY: That’s just so funny that we both had the same reaction to that.
JAYLEE: Yeah, it’s just like, I don’t care. If you’re going to a compound or whatever that has a bad ruler… I don’t know. I realize that Carver bookended the episode. In the beginning he was a threat and at the end he was a threat. But 75 percent of the way through the episode, it felt like we were on to something new already.
STACEY: Yeah, I thought it would be like… Carver would just kind of be motivating them, and maybe a bogeyman for most of it while they encountered other things. I was kind of surprised, like, in the preview, it seemed like he was, I don’t know, taking a special interest in Clementine and showing her all about how this society works and stuff, and it’s just like, why would we do this?
JAYLEE: Yeah! And, like, in my preview, people were being rude to the group. But, you know, Carver was like, oh, they still have a chance to find their place here!
STACEY: Yeah! Which.. yeah.
JAYLEE: And I was like, oh, that’s very Governor-y.
STACEY: Yeah, exactly! I was like, oh, he’s Governor 2.0. Kind of putting on that face. I guess we’ll just see where it goes. I’m excited. I thought this episode, for the most part, was pretty good.
JAYLEE: So thank you for listening to the Push to Smart Water Cooler. What did you think about the episode? Did you expect Kenny to come back? What choices did you make? How did you feel about them? Let us know. We can talk it out. Put it in the comments section, please. And don’t forget to subscribe to our channel so you can be up-to-date on our latest episodes and Water Cooler discussions.
LUKE: “Kid, look. It’s not that I don’t know you have guts but are you crazy?”
CLEMENTINE: “Maybe I am.”
LUKE: “Just… stick to the plan, OK?”