Warning: Full Spoilers for Episode 4 ahead
Check out my spoiler-free technical review of Episode 1 here
“Dude, What Happened To Your Eye?”
This series just keeps getting better and better. Episode 4 of Telltale Games’ The Wolf Among Us builds upon the revelations of Episode 3 – well, with only the opening sequence dealing with the aftermath of the previous encounter with the Tweedles and Bloody Mary. The rest of the episode delves straight into Bigby chasing down more leads in his mission to track down the Crooked Man, with the individual scenes offering some truly memorable moments, albeit being a bit disassociated with one another.
Firstly, I find that in each Telltale game there’s at least one squeamish moment, be it pulling apart your wound for maggot-medicine in Game of Thrones or chopping off a guy’s leg in The Walking Dead, but none come close to resetting your incredibly broken arm in The Wolf Among Us. The way your hand just flops around, with the bone protruding out of Bigby’s arm like a tree branch, is disgusting (and also totally metal).
After Dr. Swineheart is done pulling the silver bullet fragments out of him, Bigby discusses the state of Fabletown with Snow. As she is now taking over the Deputy Mayor position from the kidnapped Crane, her first decision to stabilize Fabletown is to send all un-Glamoured Fables back to the Farm, a place in upstate New York where Fables are kept hidden away from the rest of the world. The Farm is viewed as more of a prison than a home, a place where no Fable wants to end up (particularly Colin, one of the three little pigs who, ironically, stays with Bigby in his apartment). I held off her decision for now, hoping to find a compromise with Snow in order to keep my piggish friend around.
As the scene ends, Bigby gets a call from Nerissa, who meets him at his office. Despite the spell keeping her from revealing intimate details regarding the Crooked Man and his plans, my conversation with her raised some eyebrows towards the Fables I consider my friends. I also started to figure out that the ribbon the girls wear at the Pudding & Pie is most likely the source of the silencing spell, but Snow showed up with another lead before I could do anything about it with Nerissa.
Snow’s lead brought me to Beauty and the Beast’s apartment, where I learned that they both got in far over their heads in an effort to maintain their royal, luxurious lifestyle. With the Business Office unable to lend financial assistance, the two found themselves going to the Crooked Man for help, a move that they clearly now regret. An angry voicemail from one of the Crooked Man’s thugs gave me the insight I needed into how much trouble these two were in, and so they confessed their involvement with his organization; Beauty took out a loan from the Jersey Devil at the Lucky Pawn, and Beast has been making mysterious deliveries for the Crooked Man out of the Cut Above Butchery.
I decided to check out Cut Above first, thinking it’d be smart to get dirt on the Crooked Man before potentially confronting him. After a quick interrogation of timid Johann the Butcher, I discovered a magical meth lab in the back of his butchery. It turns out the Crooked Man muscled him out of his own establishment, using slave labor to create illegal magic and spells. Here, I learned just how far-reaching the Crooked Man’s influence was, as well as how much some of the less fortunate Fables relied on him to get what they need to survive. It was an eye-opening sequence, as Bigby chastised himself for not catching on sooner.
Afterwards, Bigby headed to the Lucky Pawn, where I found the Woodsman in a confrontation with Jersey over his stolen (and subsequently pawned) axe. This is where this episode’s sole quick-time event came into place, as I was given the option to either hold back the Woodsman or Jersey. I held back the Woodsman, figuring our history would be enough to rationalize his calming down as well as put Jersey in a better mood to answer my questions. Turns out the Jersey Devil really is a “slimy prick,” however, and it wasn’t long before his true form showed up for a fight.
After the Woodsman and Bigby incapacitated Jersey, I discovered Crane’s coat hanging in a closet. After searching the pockets, Bigby found a picture of Snow (I think), a fat wad of cash (awesome), and the missing shard from the Magic Mirror (necessary to getting it working again to track down Crane and the Crooked Man). As Bigby and Woodsy were on the way out, the Jersey Devil started to run his mouth about the girls who’ve been murdered. It took the patience of a saint not the shut him up, but I opted to let him talk, hoping to gain insight into the Crooked Man’s motives. I didn’t learn much besides the usual “you don’t find him, he finds you” nonsense, and I moved on with the story.
Back at the Business Office, I found Snow presiding over an argument between Toad and Bluebeard. I told Snow what I had found out, gave Bufkin the Mirror shard, and offered Toad one last chance to Glamour up before I’d send him to the Farm. Snow wasn’t too happy about my leniency with both Toad and Colin, but tensions were high; hopefully she’ll find some leniency by the season finale. Once the Mirror was fixed, Snow used it to find Crane just as he way getting into a cab on his way to Paris. Bloody Mary was there to ensure his cooperation, but she felt the Mirror’s presence and used her magic to block its clairvoyance. I then forced Bigby to rhyme his way into finding the ever-changing entry to the Crooked Man’s hideout; I saw it move to a door in Central Park and hurried over to catch it before it moved again.
At the episode’s conclusion, Bigby finds the door and runs through the portal behind it. On the other side, I was met by a grown-up Tiny Tim, who could only find work through the Crooked Man. He led me to his office, where inside were a handful of seedy Fables, as well as the boss himself. A drooping eye, a slender frame, clutching a cane; the Crooked Man is clearly more cunning than he is imposing. He welcomed Bigby, mentioning that they have “much to discuss.” Rather than respond or threaten, all I did was light a cigarette.
The Wolf Among Us has been a great narrative experience so far. Phenomenal pacing, solid voice acting, and engaging dialogue options have made this my most enjoyable Telltale experience so far. It’s as disappointing as their other work in regards to how much your decisions affect the story’s outcomes, but it’s still an enjoyable story nonetheless. With the level of quality being consistent through the first four episodes, I can only imagine that there’s some awesome moments ahead in the season finale. Time to see what’s down the Witching Well…