As an adult, one of the things I miss most from my childhood was being covered up in the warm blanket of blissful, innocent ignorance. My childhood was spent whiling the time away with toys, pitting Optimus Prime and He-Man against Darth Vader and COBRA, and gorging myself with pop culture offerings while remaining unaware of how the world works. There comes a point in our lives, though, when some major event pops our bubble to reveal that the world we inhabit can be a dark place. It could be the death of a loved one, parents separating, or being cast out of a home that can show just how unprepared we are as kids to deal with the fallout trauma can cause. For Sean and Daniel Diaz, the death of their father at the hands of a twitchy police officer served as a catalyst for the brothers to lose their innocence and flee for their lives, unable to answer for the strange circumstances that would trigger Daniel’s new telekinetic powers.
As Life Is Strange prepares to wrap up its second season, Faith serves as the sequel’s most heaviest and challenging ordeal for Sean who must find Daniel after he fled from the pot farm disaster that closed out episode three. Because you can’t just cause a major explosion and not attract attention, the episode begins with Sean in a hospital being treated for his injuries so that he may be given over to police custody. An initial glance around the room indicates that Sean has been repeatedly questioned by an FBI agent investigating the shooting that took place outside his home in Seattle. With the exception of a nurse, Sean has no allies in his corner and must decide how to act after discovering a clue as to Daniel’s whereabouts. Finding an unlocked car in the hospital parking lot (who does that?), Sean travels east towards Nevada to meet with Jacob, one of the workers at the pot farm, who knows where Daniel is. Though determined, Sean has no idea about the figurative road through Hell he’s about to endure that promises to destroy whatever shred of innocence he has left.
Faith is a difficult episode to talk about, not just because of the horrible things Sean has to go through, but because it delivers so much exposition and twists that can’t really be talked about without spoiling the story. Of all the episodes in the season, Faith offers the least amount of gameplay and instead focuses on extended, cinematic-enriched cutscenes that put all the cards on the table. The episode also goes out of its way to reinforce the ugliness that started this whole adventure. Sean finds himself alone in a country that has been riled up to antagonize an entire race of people and comes out of it beaten and bruised for no reason other than the color of his skin. And that’s before he discovers that Daniel has been taken in by a religious cult that preaches ”The Good Word” while at the same time exploiting Daniel’s power for their personal agenda.
The second and third episodes of Life is Strange 2 made it a point to show the good in people. In Rules, Sean and Daniel were taken in by their grandparents who showed the love and care they deserved after their father was killed (even if it did go a little off the rails after the boys broke into their mother’s room). When the boys fall in with the group of social outcasts at the pot farm, they are welcomed with open arms and for a brief moment, Sean was able to live his own life and even experience love. Faith is a hard dose of unrelenting reality that can really be difficult to watch as it tries to break Daniel into submission. When the one place that should offer some semblance of relief and protection turns out to be a cult that lies and manipulates its congregation, how does anyone expect Daniel to come out this experience without deep scars? A surprise encounter gives Daniel the strength he needs to endure because at the end of the day, all he has in this crazy fucked up world is his brother and he’s not letting anyone take him away.
Faith is Life Is Strange 2’s most engrossing, heart-wrenching episode and may likely stand as one of the best across of the entire franchise. What it lacks in gameplay, its excellent writing, wonderful performances by the cast, dramatic camera work and cinematic nature more than makes up for the deficit. It is how DONTNOD maturely handles sensitive subject matter like racism, belief, and family that makes this season feel far more grounded to a familiar reality than those before. As far as season finale lead-ins are concerned, Faith will have you counting the minutes until the anticipated conclusion.
Librarian by day, Darkstation review editor by night. I've been playing video games since the days of the Commodore 64 and I have no interest in stopping now that I've made it this far.