you’d love to be the guy who gives that speech

****Life Is Strange Episode 2 Spoilers****


Even though you knew it was going there the whole time. Even though they portrayed Kate Marsh admirably. All I could think throughout the culmination of Episode 2 was this episode of Louie. (Contained within an NPR segment you can find the relevant audio of the scene with Doug Stanhope here.) And in my quest for screenshots of this scene I discovered that you could–had you gathered the right information, deployed it at the right time–have saved this girl. And that smacked of Stanhope’s character’s attack on Louie in that scene. What can be read as an attack on everyone who writes one of these scenes, ever. “You’d love to be the guy who talks this loser — who you never think about — out of suicide, so you can feel better about yourself.”

You shouldn’t be able to save Kate Marsh.

You shouldn’t be able to enact these white knight fantasies out like this. You shouldn’t be able to strongarm the scene into a pat on the back for yourself. It should only be possible to end the scene in a way that reminds you that people do this all the time and they don’t get saved by some altruistic time traveler with a bloody nose. I’m not accusing the scene or game or its mechanics of making light of such situations, no. But this pathos is not yours. You don’t get to own it. You don’t get to avert it. You need to deal with it (or get how hard that is) and you don’t get to take over and turn it into a way to give yourself a mental high-five. Gross.

I couldn’t save Kate Marsh because I didn’t learn the required pieces of information. Or gather the right objects. Or whatever. I was tired, it was late, I wanted to get the episode finished in one sitting. But even had I taken hours and hours, sat with it, made sure I never missed an object…even then, it shouldn’t have worked. We should not have been given that power, because the self-congratulation we gain from that obscures the issue at hand. The focus hones in on the heroic act, and not what necessitated it. It’s a poor way for the story to go.

I still love this game, mind you. Nevermind that the entire train scene I kept screaming IT’S A GODDAMN SWITCH GIRLS GET THE HELL AWAY FROM IT DO YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT TRAINS WELL DO YOU. I don’t care for the snooty gripes about the dialogue or its pandering. This girl is riding the high tide neither of her boobs nor her brains. She’s just trying to survive. She reminds me a lot of April Ryan (yes, even down to the hair and the cadences of her speaking voice). I appreciate and admire that. But even April Ryan had her limits; places where the plot had to draw the line.

Saving Kate Marsh, for Max Caulfield, should have been one of those lines.

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