Sunday, 16 February 2014

My Thoughts on: 'The Wolf Among Us Episode 2: Smoke & Mirrors'

Spoilers ahead!

So the second episode of TellTale’s magnificent cartoon point-n-click adventure ‘The Wolf Among Us’ has been out for some time now and I finally got around to watching an LP of it. While the player’s decision has a heavy influence on the developing story, I’m assuming certain aspects remain the same. Still, I will focus on the conclusions in the very end of the episode and throw out a few wild guesses as to what they might mean.

As you know from watching the second episode (or will know now from ignoring my spoiler alert), the body of Snow White found at the end of the first episode is actually not Snow herself, but instead some random troll lady covered in magic (aka ‘glamour’) to make her look like Snow. The murder site is quickly discovered, where someone seemed to have re-enacted the classic fairy tale from the brothers Grimm, with a half-eaten apple, a pretty dress and flower petals all around symbolising the glass coffin. Serving as the big cliff-hanger for the episode, the sheriff discovers an envelope below the bloodied bed with several pictures of ‘Snow’ sleeping on the still-clean bed and then one photograph of Crane (a sort of mayor of all the fabled characters and boss of Snow White) groping under the sleeping Snow’s skirts with a disgusting smile. Crane himself watches the discovery via the magic mirror and proceeds to smash it. End of episode 2.

Now of course the case is clear as day, right? Crane had a thing for Snow, but being the weirdo he is, he paid a hooker to act out his fantasies with her instead… until he murdered her in rage for not being the right woman. Someone needs to stop him!
But hold on! Ignoring our meta-knowledge that they probably won’t reveal the true killer at the end of the second episode (of 5 or 6 parts all in all)… why would Crane bother to sever the troll’s head, dump it in front of the apartments, proceed to hide the body in a river but forget to clean the room? Why on earth would he leave some pictures of him at the crime scene? And for that matter: who took the picture of him getting intimate with the troll? Certainly not himself.
Another thing that bothered me was the ‘coffin’. The troll was asked to lie down on the bed, surrounded by flower petals. Apparently that’s where she died, given all the blood on the bed. However, the circle of petals was only broken at the foot of the bed, indicating that the body was dragged off here. But how could someone (especially someone as weak as Crane) chop a woman’s head off without her struggling and thereby destroying the ring of petals? Wouldn’t the bed or mattress be destroyed where her neck was if he had chopped through her throat? Or did he drug her somehow just to go through a careful operation removing her head without touching the surroundings?
Also: if Beauty was working as front clerk while the troll got slaughtered in the hotel, why didn’t she recognise Crane when he walked in? Was Crane using glamour to hide himself, as well? And why would he want to draw attention to Fabletown by dropping severed heads on his own doorstep, just to bail the sheriff out with more expensive glamour?
I’d say the pictures are just a distraction. Fair enough, Crane’s a pervert and has a thing for Snow White. Doesn’t really prove anything. However, someone murdering fables and then conveniently leaving proof at the site of the murder all pointing at Crane so as to send the sheriff on the wrong track sounds like a good strategy. What appeared to me as the single-most valuable piece of information we got in this episode was TJ’s observation of one person dumping the troll’s body in the river and then ordering a possibly second person to suppress their laughter. I can’t really think of any classical fairy tale characters whose laughter is their prime feature, maybe apart from Rumpelstiltskin. So this shall be my guess until I get more information in the third episode. Any objections?