After my stellar review of the first episode, it has been a cruel four month wait until The Wolf Among Us: Episode 2 – Smoke and Mirrors. Picking up the morning after the initial episode’s conclusion, it was almost as if the extended absence never happened at all. Two hours later and episode 2 is ultimately weaker than the series opener, but keeps the tension going as the series of mysteries play out.
Unlike Episode 1, Smoke and Mirrors moves at a much more frantic pace. Rarely do you scour environments for clues to connect the dots, but rather converse with the expanding cast. Characters from Bill Willingham’s comic series like Jack and Beauty flit in and out of the action, with little more than cameo appearances. Unlike Mr Toad from Episode 1, these short scenes are basically the games way of screaming “look at these people; they will be important in the next episodes”. Pimp Georgie may steal the show as the slimy sex-pest of Fabletown, but the majority of conversations take place between Bigby and characters we met last episode. Sadly, this makes Episode 2 seem much weaker, with lesser characters slowly filling up the roster. This should pay off in the following long run, but with the majority of Smoke & Mirrors playing out through conversation, the lack of an anchor character, such as Snow White from the previous episode, makes things get lost in the rush.
Lacking a clear goal, the episode acts as filler, but filler with a purpose. It fills a necessary hole, but that sadly doesn’t save it from not having that Telltale flair. There are no big choices, with dialogue options being much more clear-cut than The Walking Dead. Where Lee and Clementine’s journey wallows in the vagueness of its choices, Bigby has the choice of being a surly grump, or a violent, surly grump.
How Angry Do I Want To Be Today?
Thankfully the episode is carried by both its charm, and the promise of things to come. Dialogue is sharp and occasionally witty, lending the episode some much needed levity at points, and while the ending is extremely abrupt, it sets up what should be the main conflict for the rest of the series.
Smoke and Mirrors doesn’t carry itself with the same confidence as the first episode, basically acting as a plot bridge to the, hopefully, more interesting later episodes. Without any of the usual Telltale love, Episode 2 is a slight disappointment given the quality of the series opener and the recent return of The Walking Dead. Telltale can, with any luck, pull it together by Episode 3, but, for now, The Wolf Among Us is now mostly killer, with a little filler.