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Bonus Episode: Life is Strange

We’re back with a special bonus episode on Life is Strange! You’ve probably heard us talk about it before, but with the release of episode five and a veritable ocean of tears, we thought we should revisit the game with our final thoughts, a discussion of the game’s tropes and themes, and whether we recommend it to others.

We’re back with a special bonus episode on Life is Strange! You’ve probably heard us talk about it before, but with the release of episode five and a veritable ocean of tears, we thought we should revisit the game with our final thoughts, a discussion of the game’s tropes and themes, and whether we recommend it to others.

Warning: contains spoilers for all episodes of the game as well as some discussion of potentially triggering themes.

Some Links You Might Find Interesting:

Butterfly of Doom via TVTropes

Hide Your Lesbians via TVTropes

Hella Talk: An Interview With Ashly Burch on Chloe Price, Queerness, & ‘Life is Strange’ via FemHype

Bury Your Gays via TVTropes

Review: Life is Strange Episode 4 – On Soap Operas, Glurge, and Unreal Stakes by Maddy Myers

Origin of the “Interactive Pricefield Museum” (Credit where credit’s due, and all)

4 replies on “Bonus Episode: Life is Strange”

I thought I should comment on your points made about the handling of sexual violence, since I think they did a pretty good job in that regard. If you read the newspaper on the plane, it states under the Jefferson Arrested article that there were no signs of physical or sexual assault on the victims, so I don’t think that he or Nathan raped any of the girls. But the whole action of drugging, kidnapping, tying up, and photographing young women against their will definitely has a sexual nature to it, regardless of any actual physical sexual assault. I think Dontnod did a pretty good job bringing up that topic without showing gratuitous sexual assault (coughcough* Game of Thrones) which would have been really distasteful on the developers part and would have made me and probably many others quite uncomfortable. I think they did a good job exploring that theme without directly showing it, but still acknowledging it’s impact and horrendous nature. Here’s a link to a tumblr post that does a good job of explaining some of the points I made: http://mjrrgr.tumblr.com/post/131547227103/okay-enough-negativity-about-episode-5-let-me. Great podcast, btw!

Thanks for the feedback! You’re totally right – I remember there being something that made me really question whether Nathan or Mr. Jefferson sexually assaulted the girls but I couldn’t remember what it was, and that had to be it. Before recording the episode we talked about how it seemed like the episode was intentionally trying to say that none of the girls were raped (the drugging, kidnapping, and such being horrific in and of itself), probably because so many people (myself certainly included) thought Nathan had drugged and sexually assaulted Kate, when he was actually a pawn of Mr. Jefferson in many ways (not to absolve him of any wrongdoing entirely, just to acknowledge Jefferson’s manipulation and influence).

Of the things that the game tried to tackle, I think you’re right that this issue was one of the strongest. Jefferson is a monstrous figure but because I had read his and Nathan’s actions as heading toward sexual assault, I was really, really concerned about what the final episode was going to entail. Thankfully they made it clear that, while creepy and messed up and disturbing and awful, what was happening in the dark room wasn’t that and it wasn’t going to be a moment of shock in that way, which is done far too often.

Thanks for the link! Good points all around, and I look forward to replaying the game (eventually) with those thoughts in my mind.

Thanks for the response!

I also have one more thing to comment on about another thing you mentioned in the episode, the fact that David was the one that saved Max from the Dark Room. Again, I think the developers did a pretty good job making it so that Max was never really "damseled" in that situation. Yes, if David hadn’t come along at the moment, she would be dead, but if Max didn’t have her powers both her and David would be dead. I thought it was a smart of them to make it that Max had to help David help her escape, rather than just David comes in a saves the day. It makes me feel like there were aware of that because I never felt like Max lost her agency in those scenes (and even if she did, it was very brief). So yeah, I think the developers still get a point on that even if it had to be a male character to rescue Max. They definitely seemed to be trying to subvert the trope.

I also liked what David said: "Don’t thank me. You brought me here." Or something like that. I goes to the idea that Max ultimately saved herself, even if she needed David’s help.

No problem! We’re not messing around when we say we like hashing our thoughts out with other people. 🙂

I think you make a good point that David couldn’t do it without her – that’s a really interesting take on it that I didn’t consider. I don’t know if you’ve listened to the show before this episode (no big deal if you haven’t – we’ve gotten so much traffic just from this episode that it’s kind of blowing our minds!) but Merri had expressed concern in an earlier episode that David would be the one to show up in the dark room, and she was really hoping that wouldn’t be the case because she had a strong dislike for him as a character. Even if they did subvert our expectation that he would bust in with his soldier skills and save the day (albeit assisted by Max), I think a portion of that disappointment was that that’s precisely what happened – both of us were hanging our hopes on different things not happening, and then they happened anyway.

While I think they did what they could to round out and redeem David, I think I’d still have preferred something else. There are a lot of characters that Max helped over the course of the story (provided you helped them, of course) that I would rather have seen her work with. I wouldn’t have minded so much if I also didn’t have such strong feelings about David’s character, but when I think of him I can’t help but think about him hitting Chloe and the security cameras in the house.

Again, though, I think you make a great point about the scene not taking Max’s agency away. Definitely something to chew on!

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