The Walking Dead Season Two: Episode 5 – No Going Back Review

I’m very wary of spoiling a single moment of the conclusion to series two, no less the continuation of the end of the last episode. So, expect quite a vague review to follow, with extremely minor spoilers about the situations rather than the characters included (aside from Clementine, of course), though that all may depend on the choices you’ve made yourself. 

I’m devastated. Telltale Games have done it again, they’ve got to me and put more emotion than anyone should be able to handle into a single episode of The Walking Dead. They’ve crafted an adventure that started off bleak, got a bit more hopeful, and then dived into a downwards spiral of sorrow, and now I’m just devastated after seeing how they’ve brought it all together.

Let’s get this out of the way first: while it’s a superb finale, it’s not quite as good or as impactful as the first season, but there’s some brilliant storytelling here which will tie in all your choices (well, some of them anyway). And that’s the beauty of it really – this is your story, and while many of the decisions are vague, and don’t really have an effect, you can see how your version of Clementine is different – more battle-hardened, or perhaps easy-going – through some smart dialogue in this finale.

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It’s as gruesome, brutal, and just as horrible as you’d imagine a finale of such a series to be. With the arrival of a new baby in the last episode, things looked like they might be getting better. But Telltale have taught you time and time again that, in this universe, that’s not just how things work, so don’t expect anything less than them to pull your heartstrings throughout the entire episode.

The cast of characters is strong now, and after a difficult start, you should have began to accept that these are who you’re with, and that you’ll have to get along with them. At least, that’s what Clementine has managed so far. But some characters will surprise you – in both good and bad ways – and you’ll be back to questioning who you can trust in this bleak world.

After all, The Walking Dead Game was never about the reanimated dead themselves; these creatures act as a backdrop for the characters to bond, fall out, move on, and attempt to survive. It’s wonderfully done, even more so in this episode where the dead are barely noticeable as you’re so caught up in the real action which is achieved through the dialogue.

Clementine is simply a wonderful character. She has changed from an inquisitive, scared young girl into the pseudo group leader, often getting her friends out of any given situation. At times, this can feel like somewhat of a cop-out, but that’s explored well in this episode so the “Clem saves the day!” motif never becomes overbearing.

This is backed up with a stunning performance from Clementine’s actress, who has progressively transformed in tone of voice and demeanour as the young girl has grown up. The back-up cast is great too, and this episode in particular really shows how great a medium episodic games can be, with their branching narratives and levels of interaction through the dialogue and action sequences.

What’s Good:

  • Clementine has grown into an extremely strong character.
  • Choices made are explored well.
  • It’s filled with incredible, impactful emotions.
  • Great voice acting performances.

What’s Bad:

  • You will cry.
  • Clementine can be a bit too smart for her age at points.

The final episode brings everything to a head, just as you’d expect, and this is done wonderfully through many moments of genuine despair. Don’t expect laughs, but do expect tears. Clementine’s journey through season two comes to a superb conclusion with many tough choices to be made, and the exploration of decisions already taken.

Score: 9/10

Version tested: PC

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8 Comments

  1. I read the first line, scrolled to the bottom for the score and that’s enough (for now). I have an idea how this is going to end but I’m trying not to think about it :'(

    • I have no idea what’s going to happen, read the opening paragraph and zoomed to the end score. Lovely news that it’s been so well received.

      Friends visiting have just played through the first season so the events are fresh in my mind (once more). Looking forward to diving in and playing the entire second season over the space of five days or so. Awesome stuff.

  2. I’ve read the review there isn’t anything that made it spoiler alert here worthy. Good review that has made me more hungry to play this tomorrow, not that I needed too. I can’t wait.

  3. Just finished episode 4 over the week-end so perfect timing really.

    Haven’t really enjoyed the last few quite as much as the first series but still desperate to find out how the story concludes

  4. Well i didnt cry, tbh i thought it was a bit of a lame end to the season

    • I think that might depend on your choices.

      Some spoilers here…

      Seriously. STOP READING THIS.

      It looks like the last chapter could involve the death of up to 2 characters. And Clementine ending up with some new people? Or on her own? In my case, someone died, and it was only a half unnecessary death. A truth lead me to abandoning someone, and Clementine ended up on her own with the baby.

      And yes, I cried a bit. And there were laughs too. And hard decisions I might just regret making. Nothing ended up how I hoped it would, or how I was trying to make it happen. I could play it all again and make some different choices, but that seems like cheating to me. So many choices (even if a lot of them are only slight detours and it gets you back on course for the plot soon after) and yet I only want to play it once. Playing again to change things rather than live with my choices seems wrong to me.

      • that’s the replayability (if that’s a word?) factor right there…

        i’m happy with my choices in the end, no regrets ;)

      • I think you’re supposed to have regrets. Clementine is even asked about that, and one of the options is “all the time”. There isn’t a single choice in the game that can’t be justified in some way. No clearly right or wrong options.

        Although a couple of choices were made at least partly in anger. Including at the end of the last episode. (And episode 3. I stayed to watch the end of Carver. Some people didn’t)

        So I’m not happy about some of the choices, but I can justify them to myself, which is all that matters. And I’m not about to go back and undo them. (The game will probably do that for me if it’s that important)

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