Life is Strange - four burning questions after 'Chaos Theory'

Life is Strange's third episode has ended in another major cliffhanger and represents a potential turning point for the entire story. Needless to say, there are questions and we're looking at four of them today.


Warning: The following contains spoilers for Life is Strange's third episode, "Chaos Theory." If you have not played this episode, turn back now.

Dontnod Entertainment appears to have grasped the advantages of episodic gaming. For the second straight episode, Life is Strange ended on a major cliffhanger, one that's as heartbreaking as the last one, albeit for different reasons. As one might expect, this raises a whole new slew of questions heading into the game's fourth episode, titled "Dark Room." Today, Shacknews is breaking down four of the major questions that have emerged following the events of "Chaos Theory."

What are the other major consequences of Max altering the course of her life's history?

Well, there's no way to put this off any longer. "Chaos Theory" ended with Max Caulfield discovering a whole new side of her powers. By focusing on an old photograph, Max was able to go all the way back in time to the tender age of 13, before Chloe's father died and before she became the emotional mess that's currently trying to live her daily life. Max altered events so that Chloe's father, William, never got into his car, thus never finding himself in that fateful car accident that took his life. The result is that William is still alive and married to Chloe's mother, Joyce, while security guard (and Chloe's "step-douche") David Madsen wound up with a new career as Blackwell Academy's bus driver.

The consequence? Chloe now appears to be crippled, bound to a wheelchair for the rest of her life, due to reasons unknown.

To say this turns the story completely on its head is a major understatement. It's unknown whether Max has the power to undo what she did. It's also up for speculation as to whether she'd even want to. Yes, Chloe has been stricken with a different kind of tragedy, but the end of the episode made it appear that she was still happier than she was before Max changed history. Is it worth changing things back just to restore Chloe to her miserable existence?

Let's say, for the sake of argument, that Max decides to keep things the way they are. What else has she altered? The end of "Chaos Theory" also appears to indicate that her actions have driven Warren to someone else, while affecting students like Victoria in other ways. Max also appears to be part of the much-maligned Vortex Club, which still has an "End of the World" party scheduled, if the post-episode teaser is any indication.

There's also one other consequence that Max's actions may have and that involves…

What was Rachel Amber's relationship with Frank the dealer? And following the "Chaos Theory" ending, is she even still missing?

Let's put the ending on the shelf for a second and explore the twist in the Rachel Amber mystery. Frank the dealer having Rachel's bracelet during "Out of Time" made it appear that he may have had something to do with her disappearance. Signs pointed to something sinister, with him potentially behind some foul play. "Chaos Theory" throws that idea mostly out the window when Max finds evidence that Rachel and Frank actually had a romantic relationship.

Speaking with Joyce and Frank, the indication is that Rachel may have somehow found her way to Hollywood to fulfill some lifelong goals. If Frank has any kind of connections, he may have been the one to help Rachel make her way out of Arcadia Bay. Just his drug money alone would have been enough to buy Rachel a ticket to Southern California. This throws up the possibility that Rachel may have willingly gone missing, willfully disappearing from the insanity of life in Arcadia Bay. It's a possibility that devastated Chloe, adding another layer of despair to her piling tower of teenage angst.

The more interesting question now involves the aforementioned ending. If Max has altered the course of history, did Rachel Amber ever go missing in the first place? Did she and Chloe ever even cross paths? If Chloe and Rachel met through Frank the dealer, there's a chance that they may have never even met. Keep in mind that Chloe's troubles started following the death of her father. Her rebellious actions were a manner of coping with that tremendous loss. They're actions that would no longer be taken now that the loss never happened.

So what becomes of Rachel Amber and that whole mystery now? Does it resurface or are we meant to take the Hollywood explanation as the final word regarding her fate?

What was the Blackwell "Handicapped Fund" for?

There are consequences that have yet to be explored and one of them likely involves the Blackwell "Handicapped Fund" found in Principal Wells' office. Players were presented the choice to either keep the money where it was or steal it to help Chloe pay back Frank the dealer.

This question is pretty short and sweet. What was that money for? And what are the consequences for Max if she decided to steal it? Will that action come back to haunt her in the next episode? Or does that get swept under the rug in the wake of the third episode's ending?

What's the significance of Max adopting Rachel Amber's wardrobe? Is it another step in Max discovering her identity?

"Stop second-guessing yourself, Max! Put this on and let your inner punk-rock girl come out! You can afford to take chances!"

This is a personal favorite question of mine, because it addresses how Max Caulfield has grown as a person since the beginning of Life is Strange. When the game started, she was a shy, demure teenager, struggling to fit in at Blackwell and searching for her identity. While the onset of her powers represents a kind of growth, they don't encompass the full extent of her maturity. And that becomes far clearer once she dons Rachel Amber's clothes.

Look at how much more assertive Max becomes in "Chaos Theory." It goes beyond her breaking and entering the principal's office and the pool. Look at how she confronts Frank the dealer, Nathan Prescott, and David Madsen. Max isn't the shrinking violet she was when the story started and that can be symbolically linked to her change in wardrobe.

How much more will Max mature over the course of Life is Strange? "Dark Room" looks to have some major choices on the horizon, some that will challenge Max to make some great sacrifices. Growing up is never easy and considering that Max still hasn't nailed down the exact nature of her powers, her road to maturity is about to get a lot rockier.

For more on the second episode of Life is Strange, be sure to check out our impressions.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

From The Chatty
Hello, Meet Lola