Review

The Wolf Among Us, Episode 5: Cry Wolf Review

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Huffing, puffing, and wheezing.

"So what if it wasn't the truth? It was true enough."

This line came in the final moments of The Wolf Among Us' concluding episode, called Cry Wolf and it was an appropriate proclamation given the episode's murky end. The mystery had been--well, I don't know if "solved" is the proper word, but the case was now closed and it was time to move on. It was time to reflect on what Bigby Wolf had learned, what his decisions had meant for Fabletown and its residents, whose fairy tale lives of the past had been torn apart by murder, prostitution, and social upheaval. It was time to consider that I might have done the right thing for the wrong reasons, or perhaps the wrong thing for the right reasons. I am still not sure which it was, and the game certainly isn't telling me.

I didn't feel all that hopeful. Instead, I was struck by a pervading nihilism as I learned even more information after already making life-changing decisions that affected multiple Fables. Had I done the right thing? Was there a "right" thing at all? It didn't seem so. The truth was now defined by its sliding scale. There was such a thing as "true enough." It was this nihilism that had Bigby--this loyal, gruff, impatient Bigby I'd created through the choices I'd made over the course of the series--lowering his head in shame. "It doesn't matter what I do," he said. "In the end, it's all the same shit it always was."

It's a good thing Fables are so hard to kill; Bigby's smoking habit can't be healthy!

In many ways, this nihilism is fitting for a series that clearly would have no happy ending. I'd confronted Ichabod Crane's lecherous ways in previous installments. I had torn a Fable's arm off, a decision I had to confront every time I glimpsed him out of the corner of my eye. And as it turns out, many Fables had turned to the Crooked Man for assistance when they felt their own leaders had let them down. I don't know that even a government led by Snow could turn this place around, a suspicion verified by a Cry Wolf scene that mirrored one from Episode 1, demonstrating the inhumanity of government bureaucracy. Fables weren't making good choices because there was no good choice to make, no path leading to freedom and happiness. No--I should never have entertained the notion that The Wolf Among Us would come to an easy conclusion.

Nevertheless, I had hoped for a finale that offered a bit more clarity and focus than Cry Wolf does. The episode's climax came to me not by way of a heart-pounding action sequence but rather a roomful of Fables yelling over each other, trying to sway me to make one choice over another. The scene plays out for more time than seems necessary, and is more focused on reminding you of various choices you'd made over the course of the series than it is on revealing anything new or important. "Hey, remember that thing you did two episodes ago? We're going to refer to it now," Cry Wolf seems to say, pointing out that all those choices were just switches you flipped and variables you gave values to. "Hey, remember that character? He doesn't seem to really belong in this scene, but we wanted to remind you he existed."

More smoking.

The action still heats up, however, particularly in an excellent sequence that has you taking on a multitude of attackers. You must keep your eyes glued to the screen, lest you miss a single button prompt and cause Bigby to take a painful blow to the head. In Cry Wolf, there is no turning away from the violence Fabletown has become steeped in--and certainly no turning away from the wolf that has always howled out from within Bigby, hoping one day to exact vengeance. Another action scene, one similar to Episode 1's chase scene, is equally exciting, but doesn't make total sense from a plot perspective, depending on your choices. If they wanted to escape, why would the Fables you chase have chosen the obvious destination?

I'm so glad to have spent time in the Fables world. I'm so glad to have gotten to mold Bigby Wolf into a redeemable hero rather than a seething mass of lupine rage. I'm disappointed by Cry Wolf, not because it suggests that Fabletown is destined to remain troubled, or that it doesn't overtly answer a vital nagging question, but because a few too many events are overtly manufactured to fit the plot's needs, rather than making each event feel like it progressed from those that came before. But there's no denying the episode's emotional impact, even in the midst of some questionable plotting. One goodbye in particular had me close to tears as one of Fabletown's few innocents asked me to pass on a gift to the only Fables who had ever shown him kindness. The road this Fable was soon to take was paved with Bigby's good intentions, but as The Wolf Among Us reminded me in its final episode, such paths may still lead to hell.

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The Good
Some tense action sequences
An appropriate and pervading sense of futility
The Bad
Some odd and unfulfilling story beats and plot conveniences
6
Fair
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About the Author

Kevin VanOrd played The Wolf Among Us in its entirety, but wishes it had concluded on a stronger note. He continues to make his way through the Fables comics, and will be sad when he runs out of Fables-related stories to experience.

Other Takes on The Wolf Among Us

From the tropical seas to the snarky suburbs to the zombie apocalypse, Chris Watters is the veteran of many Telltale Games adventures. He likes finding a way to fit in to new roles and new worlds, and generally plays nice with his new virtual friends.
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