Warning: The following contains spoilers for Life is Strange's fourth episode, "Dark Room." If you have not played this episode, turn back now.
Life is Strange has changed quite a bit from the teenage drama that it started out as in its first episode. It has become a full-fledged mystery, right down to the fourth episode's cliffhanger, which features the game's biggest twist yet. There are some big questions leading into the game's finale and Shacknews is wasting no time in asking the four burning questions that have popped up following the events of "Dark Room."
Mr. Jefferson! But… why?
It's the single biggest twist that Life is Strange has put forward. Max has been drugged and Chloe has been shot and likely lying dead in a pool of her own blood. The culprit? The kindly photography teacher, Mr. Jefferson, of all people!
Now let's take a look back over the course of the game to see where the signs were. Remember Kate Marsh's suicide/attempted suicide? At the time, some wondered why in the world Mr. Jefferson would be in on the meeting in Principal Wells' office. Wells pointed to Jefferson as someone that should have recognized Kate's state of mind, but let's go a step further. Players that talked to everybody outside Blackwell would have eventually stumbled onto rumors that Kate and Mr. Jefferson were sleeping together. It was easy to push such a silly idea aside, but the 'Dark Room' ending now paints it (and Kate's distressed state) in a new light. How about Victoria? If Victoria was designed to meet Rachel Amber's fate, it only made sense that Jefferson bring her closer to the fold by naming her the winner of the "Everyday Heroes" competition. And speaking of that contest, Jefferson made it very clear that he wanted Max to enter that contest. Now we know why.
It's a twist that hits harder the more one thinks about it. Nathan Prescott is a lot of things. He's unhinged. He's a drug addict. He's mentally unstable. But it never made sense that he was able to put together an entire underground bunker with binders full of women. However, if it turns out that Jefferson was behind the whole thing, including the murder of Rachel Amber, it makes him an outright criminal mastermind.
Not convinced of his sinister intentions? YouTuber Geek Remix has done a fantastic job of breaking down exactly what made him a suspicious character from the start through not one, but two breakdowns. (Credit to Chatty's shirif for tipping me off to these videos.)
And yet none of that answers the question of why? What does Mr. Jefferson stand to gain with these actions? What is his motive? What is his endgame? And what else is he connected to that we may not know about? This would normally be the part where this writer would offer up some suggestions, but I am honestly at a loss here, which is going to make the final episode that much more interesting.
Are the Prescotts aware of the coming apocalypse?
While Mr. Jefferson may be using it as his personal Saw-style torture chamber, the underground bunker underneath the barn clearly belongs to the Prescotts. It's a $1.35 million bomb shelter that's stocked full of food, drinks, and survival supplies. That begs the question, do the Prescotts recognize what's coming?
It doesn't take a genius to notice that weird things are afoot in Arcadia Bay, with beached whales turning up dead and a tornado on the horizon. There have also been numerous references through letters and testimonials that family patriarch Sean Prescott has expressed a desire to flush out the Arcadia Bay undesirables. Perhaps he's well aware that nature is poised to do so for him, which is why the bunker was created.
Is it a coincidence that Nathan Prescott, long identified as being the Vortex Club, decided to throw a party with the theme that the world is ending? Nathan's hubris knows no bounds, so he's bound to revel in the idea that a natural disaster is about to wipe everyone out while he stays under the umbrella of safety. His constant threats to Max, Chloe, and everyone else, telling them that they're all dead, may not have been a direct threat, but rather a reference to the storm that's coming.
The Prescotts have far greater connections than anyone else in Arcadia Bay, so there's a good chance that they've gotten wind of what's about to go down. But the goal for them isn't to flee, it's to rebuild in their own image. That would certainly explain the bunker, one that a certain Mr. Jefferson seems to have commandeered for himself.
Is Max actually the one behind the pending Arcadia Bay apocalypse?
This theory may be somewhat whacked out, but let's take a look at the disaster that's forthcoming. Max was never aware of the pending apocalypse until after she had started to develop her power. As she's mastered her power, the looming disaster has come closer. But more than that, the signs have become more ominous. Birds are dropping dead, whales are turning up dead on the beach shores, and the sky is filling with double moons. The latter occurrences have happened after Max pushed her power's limits and altered the timeline… and even then, the disaster was still coming.
So that leads to this question: Is the disaster and Max's power somehow connected? And if the disaster is only becoming greater with the more Max masters her powers, does that mean she's inadvertently the cause of what's happening? Earlier in this episode, Samuel told Max that he believed someone was behind what was happening, tying it to the idea of individual destiny.
If it turns out that Max is behind what's going on, once she figures it out, look for her to immediately think about how to turn things around. After all, the opening episodes established the deer as her spirit animal and the deer is associated with vigilance, intuition, and being in touch with life's mysteries. But what would her solution entail? Well…
Would Max ever use her rewind powers to their most extreme level?
Max witnessed the dire consequences that resulted from her overusing her rewind powers in the previous episode. She altered the timeline to such an extent that Chloe wound up paralyzed and slowly dying by the day, while her parents were mired in debt. It was a horrible experience, one that ended with her forced to decide whether to honor Chloe's request to die. It was certainly an experience that showed Max that her powers were not to be abused to such a degree.
But what if Max's power is the only way to save Arcadia Bay from what's coming? What if preventing the disaster means using her power to its absolute limit? Would Max be willing to do it if it means saving everyone? And what would be the consequences of such an action?
Max and Arcadia Bay are about to face the great disaster head-on in Life is Strange's final episode, Polarized. The end is coming, one way or another, in September.
For more on Life is Strange's fourth episode, Dark Room, be sure to check out our review-in-progress.
Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Life is Strange - four burning questions after 'Dark Room'