The Walking Dead: A New Frontier - Episode 4 - Thicker Than Water
The Walking Dead and Telltale are both suffering from increasing fatigue, but this season's penultimate episode helps this particular story soldier on towards a potentially satisfying, if predictable, conclusion.
The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series - A New Frontier Episode 4: Thicker Than Water leaves a number of unanswered questions, flashing plot gaps and too prolonged foreplay, but a quick and emotional ending gives us hope for a really bright and memorable finale.
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Short, contrived, and occasionally frustrating; Episode 4 of New Frontier is so far the weakest of the bunch, and it's up to the game's finale to bring this entry back to the top of its game.
Much like the preceding episode of Season Three, ‘Thicker Than Water' is roughly an hour and a half. Although I would always prefer if each episode was slightly longer, it felt as though there was too much filler in this one. The opening episodes of Season Three felt like Telltale had set a great pace to the story, however now it feels as though the developers are slipping back into their old ways. With only one episode left, there's still plenty to cover in this story. I'm looking forward to seeing how the story concludes, but I can't help but feel somewhat disappointed by the predictability of the season so far. Hopefully, we won't have to wait too long for the final episode.
To say Thicker Than Water is the season's worst episode is both true and deeply misleading. It does take a step back from the extreme highs of the first three episodes, but this is still a story well worth seeing through to the end. Hopefully enough of the Garcia clan survive this season because they're worth another of their own. Some gripes with dialogue aside, the thematic elements remain strong, the characters are some of the best the studio has born, and this episode contributes to the still very high expectations for the season finale.
The weakest episode in The Walking Dead: A New Frontier thus far, Thicker Than Water is paced awkwardly and doesn't spend enough time exploring the relationships that really matter. A good conclusion sets up the finale well, and there are some standout scenes over the course of the instalment. But an underdeveloped villain and some hard to believe exchanges make this a forgettable episode overall.
Telltale has noticeably struggled in the past with the episodes leading into their season finales in previous titles, though by-and-large Episode 4 of The Walking Dead: A New Frontier manages to deliver some deep character moments and development while anchored by a tense conclusion that sets up its last episode for a big finish. Though some aspects of the episode may leave fans wanting a bit more, "Thicker Than Water" shows that family is just as much the root of some problems as much as it is the answer for them. Of course, the bigger question is how many of the Garcia clan makes it to the end remains to be seen, but the answers will be devastating either way.
As strong as this season has been, the latest episode, "Thicker Than Water," did little to change the stakes or present new angles to its cast. Were it not for the final minutes, this episode may as well have been called "Treading Water."
I find myself waiting for the finale with mixed feelings. Episode four's finale has me eager to jump into the finale and face what comes Javi and the group's way, but I really hope Telltale nails down the pacing for episode five.
A lot of this outing of The Walking Dead: A New Frontier feels like treading water, as Telltale takes their time building to episode 5. Ending on a cliffhanger, the instalment does its job of upping the stakes for next time. Whether or not the developer can deliver a satisfying finale, however, is still up in the air.