What We Deserve closes out Telltale’s miniseries The Walking Dead: Michonne. The final episode is the best of the three, but also the shortest. We get closure on the story, but ultimately little to no progress in character development. By the end of it all, one of Walking Dead’s fan-favorite characters is wasted in something that never approaches the quality of either season featuring Clementine.
Because this series takes place during the comics, no situation Michonne is placed in, no matter how dire, can result in her death or even serious harm. The same goes for Pete. I was never concerned about their safety because I knew no matter what I chose they’d both be fine. It’s the reason I left Pete behind in Episode Two. I knew Norma couldn’t kill him.
The inverse is true of Sam and Paige, characters that are expendable because they have no anchor to the source material. While they both have sympathetic backstories, my constant expectation that they would both die at any moment left me unable to invest in them as people. At all times they felt like characters the story was pushing me to feel for just so they could rip them away. Unfortunately, in both of these cases the result is I couldn’t care much about the broader plot. Knowing this is merely a side story to the comics lowers the stakes. It was nice to end a Walking Dead story without such a depressing downbeat, but the story wasn’t that interesting.
One constant throughout three episodes is Michonne feeling haunted by the last time she saw her daughters. She constantly sees glimpses of them, often at the most inopportune times, and struggles with her loss. She knows they are gone, but longs to speak to them just one more time. When Michonne experiences her moment “speaking” with her children, it felt like the natural conclusion to three episodes of torment. Mere minutes later, the entire series worth of progress gets the reset button pressed. Michonne’s psychological issues are no better off at the end than they were in the beginning. My relief that Michonne got her closure immediately turned to disappointment in a fake-out.
Action packed climax
The action sequences in Deserve remain impressive.This time around we’re less focuses on the walkers, rarely even seen in this one, than the living on the way to engage in a prisoner exchange… for somebody who may be dead already, depending on your choice at the end of Give No Shelter. Naturally the uneasy standoff escalates into something much worse. Things get completely out of control and all of a sudden the miniseries is at its best. Guns, zombies, fire, and untimely flashbacks? I might worried if I didn’t know Michonne was wearing the impenetrable armor of continuity. Still, the climax is quite engaging. We’re given little time to catch our breath, as the denouement last only a couple minutes before the credits roll. Michonne definitely saved the best for last, but just like Episode Two, I completed this in easily under an hour.
I should note that aside from dialogue choices, I did not have control of Michonne until the start of chapter four. The series is more about storytelling than action, but to go nearly half of the episode before I could walk on my own felt strange.
While What We Deserve is the strongest episode of the series, it does not elevate The Walking Dead: Michonne to anything beyond mediocrity. The action remains impressive, but there is very little content here, with Episode Three clocking in right at 50 minutes. Deserve wrapped up all the loose ends of the plot, but did little to develop characters from where they began. Huge Walking Dead fans will appreciate the extra time with Michonne, but I suspect they will be left longing for a more meaningful, and longer, adventure. I know I was.