Those who have been keeping up with our The Wolf Among Us reviews know that we are pretty big fans of the episodic game. And now that the title’s first season has come to a close it’s time to look at The Wolf Among Us as a cohesive whole, but more importantly we want to talk about that ending. In other words, if you haven’t finished The Wolf Among Us turn back now.
Much like with The Walking Dead, Telltale Games‘ The Wolf Among Us doesn’t fully come together until the final moments. All the choices players have made up until that point coalesce into a few morally grey decisions that (presumably) will shape the future of the series. Specifically, how players, as Bigby Wolf, choose to deal with The Crooked Man should inform how the people of Fabletown will react to Bigby and the government moving forward. For example, choosing to kill The Crooked Man by ripping his head off renders a “The people of Fabletown are afraid of Bigby” message, while bringing The Crooked Man to justice by more honorable means delivers a more ambiguous “The people of Fabletown will remember that.”
Ultimately, though, there were countless different ways the finale to The Wolf Among Us Season 1 could have played out, but the final scene — the big twist, if you will — was universal. How players responded to it, however, was not.
So, what exactly happened? Well, in a final conversation with Nerissa (Fables version of The Little Mermaid) Bigby Wolf learns two things:
- Nerissa lied about having heard The Crooked Man discussing killing Faith or Lily. Although she had listened in on some of The Crooked Man’s underhanded dealings.
- Nerissa put Faith’s head on Bigby’s apartment building stoop hoping that he would jump on the case.
That in of itself is a big revelation because it paints a new light over the player’s ultimate decision. Sure, The Crooked Man was likely responsible for plenty of wrongdoing in Fabletown, but it was only with Nerissa’s evidence that Bigby was able to justify any punishment. Before she showed up, most of what Bigby had to say about The Crooked Man being involved was little more than hearsay.
Then comes the real kicker. As Nerissa is heading off, likely to start a new life somewhere else, she turns to Bigby and says, “You’re not as bad as everyone says you are.” This instantly triggers Bigby’s, and by extension the player’s, memory to a similar exchange between Faith in Episode 1. And it is then that Bigby realizes the person he thought was Nerissa isn’t Nerissa at all.
Now, here’s where things get a little confusing. Some seem to agree that the ending is suggesting that Faith glamoured herself to look like Nerissa, glamoured the dead Nerissa’s head to look like hers, put that head on Bigby’s stoop, and has been manipulating Bigby all along in order to take down The Crooked Man. And, for the most part, that seems the most likely explanation, because faux Nerissa uses the same line that Faith used.
However, things get a little cloudier when you consider that Bigby found “Faith’s head” lying on the stoop. If this head were actually Nerissa’s then, like Lily’s, you would think the glamour would wear off at some point. But since this leads to a lot of who is the real Nerissa and who is the real Faith confusion, it doesn’t necessarily add up.
Another, and arguably more likely solution, is that it was Nerissa glamoured as Faith who Bigby meets at the beginning. She started a conflict with The Woodsman, which led to Bigby stepping in, hoping that this brief interaction would be enough for him to want to solve Faith’s murder after she (Nerissa) put the head on his stoop. So, putting it all together, it was Nerissa who had been manipulating Bigby all along, forcing him into an investigation that ultimately leads to the Crooked Man.
Then, as Episode 5 concludes, players are faced with one last choice: follow Nerissa/Faith or let her go. By letting her go, Bigby is admitting that although she didn’t go about it the right way, Nerissa/Faith ultimately brought The Crooked Man to justice…in one fashion or another. Whereas pursuit suggests Bigby won’t let her get away with the scheme, even if she had noble intentions.
And that was the beauty of The Wolf Among Us all along. Where The Walking Dead‘s tough choices were about life and death, TWAU‘s dealt in various shades of grey. There’s ultimately no right or “good” choice, only those Bigby and Fabletown need to live with. That, in a nutshell, is why were so enamored with the entirety of The Wolf Among Us.
What about you? What choices did you make at the end of The Wolf Among Us? How did you interpret the ending?
Follow Anthony on Twitter @ANTaormina