Video Game: The Wolf Among Us
"You're not as bad as everyone says you are."The Wolf Among Us
— Faith, Episode 1: Faith
is an episodic adventure game developed by Telltale Games
, the developers behind The Walking Dead
. It takes place in the world of Bill Willingham's Fables
comic book series, and is canonically a prequel to the events of said comics. In a nutshell
, it's a Film Noir
set around characters of archaic tales, and their difficulty surviving
in a modern, crapsack world
The player takes control of Bigby Wolf, the Big Bad Wolf famed in fairy tales, as he faces a conflict between his suppressed lupine nature and his desire to turn over a new leaf, keeping the citizens of Fabletown safe. All is not well in Fabletown, and a mysterious murder kicks off a situation which rapidly begin to deteriorate, threatening the entire community, leaving Bigby to cut through the tangled web of deceit and sniff out the truth - before it's too late.
The game features combat similar to The Walking Dead
, Telltale's previous choice-based adventure game, in that the player must use his or her cursor to quickly react to events and beat down their opponents. However, there are differences between Lee and Bigby; Bigby, being The Big Bad Wolf, is larger and much more physically powerful than Lee, and he won't be fighting off any zombies, so unarmed combat
and improvised weaponry
are far more par for the course than are the guns featured in The Walking Dead
Gameplay, however, is focused primarily on solving the mystery surrounding the aforementioned murder, and sharp-eyed players will find themselves at a significant advantage here. The more evidence Bigby collects at a scene, the more pieces of the puzzle he will have.
The first season has been fully released. It consists of five episodes:
Please note that, as the the first season has concluded and the page is whited out otherwise, spoilers for the first three episodes will be unmarked.
- Episode 1 - "Faith" (Released October 11, 2013)
- Episode 2 - "Smoke and Mirrors" (Released February 4, 2014)
- Episode 3 - "A Crooked Mile" (Released April 8, 2014)
- Episode 4 - "In Sheep's Clothing" (Released May 27, 2014)
- Episode 5 - "Cry Wolf" (Released July 8, 2014)
The Wolf Among Us contains examples of the following tropes:
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- Aborted Arc: Kelsey Brannigan, the cop that grills Bigby in Episode 2's beginning, is shown in pre-release Episode 3 materials and it's hinted that Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum are assigned to watch her if you go a particular path. Nothing is ever made of this by the end of the season.
- Accidental Hero: As the Woodsman confesses, he went to Grandmother's House attempting to rob her and Red Riding Hood, only to find Bigby already there and end up being lauded as a hero for cutting the pair out.
- Acrofatic: Tweedle Dee, in spades, during his foot chase with Bigby. It's assumed Dum is as well, being, well, twins.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: Bluebeard appears as a handsome bald man in the game. The original Bluebeard was described as hideously ugly (with wild, unkempt hair). Justified, as he could have cleaned up in the past 300 years and it does match his appearance in the source material.
- Adaptation Distillation: The game focuses primarily on Bigby Wolf and the Noir sensibility.
- Adaptational Villainy: Like the comic series it's based on, the game takes a few characters who were innocent in their respective stories and turns them into immoral antagonists:
- The Woodsman in Episode 1, but he gets better later in the series.
- Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, who frequently hinder Bigby's investigation.
- Georgie Porgie, who is an all-round piece of shit to everyone.
- The Crooked Man, who acts as the Big Bad of the game.
- Affably Evil: The Crooked Man. Although there are a number of Ax-Crazy villains on the payroll, episode 4 reveals that he also employs Tiny Tim as door guard, showing that there's a softer side to the villain too. This is thoroughly revealed to actually be Faux Affably Evil in Episode 5, however.
- Alas, Poor Villain: Georgie may have been a sex slaver and the murderer, but during his death scene, it's revealed that he truly loved Vivian, and he's torn apart by the fact that he's essentially responsible for her suicide. He's downright pitiful in his last moments. In addition, he really didn't have much of a choice - if he had let Faith, Lily and Nerissa go, the Crooked Man would have certainly killed Vivian and him both. In summary, he's sitting there with his guts literally spilling out, being tortured by both horrendous physical pain and the mental torment of knowing what he's done. He may be a thorough bastard, but his final moments definitely paint him in a more sympathetic light. Taken even further if Bigby refuses him a Mercy Kill and lets him die slow.
- The Alcoholic: Bufkin and The Woodsman.
- Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: The Woodsman falls victim to this.
- All Myths Are True: As with Fables.
- All There in the Manual: As you progress and/or replay through the game, you unlock entries in the "Book of Fables". These entries explain the terminology or items the characters use, the locations name-dropped, as well as events and profiles specific to the characters, presumably to avoid confusing people who didn't pick up the comic books.
- Ambiguous Ending: Even as of Episode 5's ending, questions remain due to the closing segment — two interpretations of the finalé exist, as the Wham Line means either: A) Faith (somehow) swapped places with Nerissa using a Glamour, meaning she never died and got the justice she wouldn't have seen otherwise; or B) Faith was dead before the plot and Bigby only met Nerissa Glamoured as her, allowing Nerissa to earn Bigby's sympathy and spur him into avenging Faith when he found her real body.
- And I Must Scream: The Witching Well doesn't make Fables Deader Than Dead like Bigby and others think. Instead, it traps the Fables in Well forever, fully aware and "alive".
- If the player chooses to spare the Crooked Man, he ends up trapped in the body of a raven with his tongue taken out. However, it's arguably more merciful than putting him down the Witching Well, as seen above.
- Anti-Frustration Features: When investigating Toad's house in the first episode, you have to check a lot of stuff that can be missed relatively easily - the busted lock, the broken lamp, the table the lamp actually used to be on, the window, the poker, and the blood on the wall - and catch Toad in his lies at least a majority of the time. This can be difficult for a first time player and just tedious for later players. Thankfully, there's an option to talk with Toad, threaten him, and slap him; while this will cause TJ to be scared of you, Toad to dislike you, and Snow to be a bit more unsure of you, it will immediately proceed on to the part where Toad tells the truth. You don't need to analyze anything to do this, so if you're fine with a little bit of a bad reputation from a couple characters, you can speed right through this part.
- Anvil on Head: Even after a merciless beating - see Good Thing You Can Heal below - the Jersey Devil's still standing, giving Bigby the option to brain him with a stone cavalry statue... or a big old blacksmith's anvil. Given that the result is the same either way, you can't blame most people for taking the sillier option.
- Arc Words: "These lips are sealed."
- An Arm and a Leg: At the end of his fight with Grendel, Bigby can choose whether to rip Grendel's arm off or not.
- Anguished Declaration of Love: In episode 3, when Crane confesses his "love" to Snow - who promptly tells him off because what he'd shown was definitely not love.
- Armor-Piercing Question: If Prince Lawrence is saved he manages to ask a very important question for the next episode.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: Bigby, considering who he is. Averted with Ichabod Crane.
- The Atoner: Our protagonist is the former Big Bad Wolf turned Noir Detective.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Sheriff Bigby Wolf himself, naturally.
- Axe Crazy: Bloody Mary.
- Badass: The Woodsman needed to be this given he was one of the few who could take Bigby in a straight fight. He's undergone some serious Badass Decay in the interim centuries but he's still got some left.
- Badass Baritone: Bluebeard has a very deep voice, courtesy of Dave Fennoy.
- Bad-Guy Bar: A minor example in The Trip Trap, which only really has two "bad guys" in it.
- Bad Liar:
- Mr. Toad, to a hilarious degree.
- Holly, the bartender, claims to have never heard of the Woodsman when asked, despite a picture of him being right behind her in her bar. Then again, she may have just been trying to annoy Bigby.
- And Episode 4 features Johann, the Butcher (whose shop is beside the Baker and Candlestick-maker), who really can't tell a lie to save his life.
- Bald of Evil: Bluebeard. The Woodsman is bald and a drunken idiot, but not really evil.
- Baleful Polymorph: One possible fate of the Crooked Man. He gets turned into a raven, has his tongue removed, and is shipped to The Farm.
- Bar Brawl: Bigby gets into one with Grendel at the end of Episode 1.
- Bash Brothers: The Tweedles.
- Because You Were Nice to Me: A few of the Fables on the villains' payroll are quite unexpected — namely Flycatcher (the Frog Prince) and "Tiny" Tim. Both of them hold their employers in surprisingly high regard, excusing their bosses' behavior as a case of I Did What I Had to Do or Well-Intentioned Extremist because of the kindness they were shown.
- Berserk Button: Don't call any woman a bitch while Bigby's around, but especially not Snow White. Grendel, Georgie, and Jersey find this out the hard way.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Snow White spends the majority of the series as the voice of reason, patience and moderation, but when Aunty Greenleaf is identified as the one who glamoured Lily to look like her and refuses to cooperate with the investigation, Snow is the first to demand that her tree (the source of the illegal Glamour) be burned.
- Big Bad/The Dragon:This game features the quintessential duo in Bloody Mary and The Crooked Man - the first is a lethal enforcer providing the player a physical, action-based challenge, while the second is a moral challenge requiring the player to make difficult choices. Indeed, this replicates real life, where battles against powerful, influential baddies are won not through physical violence, but in courtrooms and legislative chambers.
- The Big Bad Wolf: Again, Bigby. He's the Big Bad Wolf who tormented the three little pigs, Red Riding Hood, and others.
- Bittersweet Ending: The ending will have a slight twinge of bitterness no matter what the player does, since Lily and Nerissa/Faith are dead. It can be far darker or far lighter depending on the choices the player has made, though.
- Blessed with Suck: As noted, being a popular fairy tale makes the Fables stronger. However, if a character's injury or malady is a key part of their story, then that same belief also makes it incurable. Tiny Tim's perpetually deformed leg is the most notable example.
- Book Ends:
- Of a sort. The beginning segment of Episode 1 concludes with a closeup of Bigby lighting a cigarette. One option for the end of Episode 4 (which is effectively the "beginning of the end" for the whole series) is for Bigby to repeat the shot in the Crooked Man's lair.
- A major example comes in at the end of Episode 5: After a game full of twists and turns, Nerissa confides to Bigby about her involvement in the murders. As she walks away, she turns to him and says "You're not as bad as everyone says you are.", one of Faith's lines from the first episode. This spurs Bigby to realise that Nerissa was the one whose head was left on the doorstep and the "Nerissa" he has been talking to throughout the season was actually Faith. Suddenly, the mystery doesn't seem so wrapped up after all.
- And the mystery deepens further when it's possible that Bigby never met the real Faith, and instead he only met Nerissa glamoured as her. The popular theory seems to be that Faith was dead at the beginning of the game, and in an attempt to get Bigby to take the case, Nerissa glamoured herself as Faith, and then made sure that she would end up meeting Bigby. Essentially the girl at the end is either Nerissa, or Faith glamoured as Nerissa.
- Bullying a Dragon:
- While people's dislike and distrust of Bigby is understandable, given his past, antagonizing him doesn't seem very bright, considering what he's capable of. Grendel finds out the hard way.
- Tweedle Dum finds out the really hard way, with Bigby having the choice to kill him in the Episode 3 ending.
- In Episode 5, Bloody Mary toys with Bigby during their fight so she can draw out the real Big Bad Wolf. Bigby responds by revealing his true form and effortlessly killing her.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall/The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: A bizarre in-universe example. When Bloody Mary works out that Bigby is watching her, she turns to face the player, smiles, and halts the mirror's view of her, cutting off Bigby.
- Brick Joke: Should Bigby give Faith money at the beginning of episode 1, if he tries to pay for a whiskey later, he'll find he can't. This continues through the rest of the season, with Bigby being given opportunities to take money and later chances to hand over money; it's possible for Bigby to turn it into a Running Gag and repeatedly forget that his wallet is empty.
- Bungled Suicide: Since most Fables are Made of Iron, it's all the more horrific when you see how hard Prince Lawrence has tried to die in Episode 1. Attempts include sliced wrists (vertically to boot), swallowing three bottles of sleeping pills, and a gunshot to the chest; all it did was render him unconscious for a week. Can be subverted, however, as the player's choices can result in getting there too late, allowing him to shoot himself in the head and finally cause enough harm to die.
- Call Back:
- Like with Faith and Holly in Episode 1, in episode 2 Bigby can only give the The Little Mermaid money if he took it from Tweedledee/The Woodsman at the beginning of the episode.
- If he did give Faith the money, he can later find it stashed in Georgie Porgie's safe, and the player can choose to "repossess" it (plus a little extra for the trouble).
- Canis Major: During Bigby's final fight with Bloody Marry in Episode 5, he transforms from his usual werewolf-like form into a giant four-legged wolf.
- Car Cushion: Bigby falls on top of Mr. Toad's car when he runs himself and the Woodsman out of a window.
- Also occurs in episode five, when Bigby jumps onto a moving car.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Episode 3 introduces Bloody Mary, who acts as an enforcer for the Crooked Man. She absolutely revels in her bloody Urban Legend roots when not doing her paid work.
- Chekhov's Gun: While investigating the room where Lily was killed, Bigby notices a pack of Huff n'Puff cigarettes, which he thought he was the only one smoking. Later in Episode 5 in the Crooked Man's office you can see Georgie Porgie smoking one of these, which allows us to deduce that he was the one who killed Lily and Faith.
- Hell, even before that. If you were paying attention, the cigarette machine that you could have/did smash up was for Huff n'Puffs.
- Chekhov's Skill: Doubling as a Mythology Gag, episode 5's fight with Bloody Mary concludes when Bigby starts to "huff and puff" and blow Mary and her clones into the wall to shatter.
- Chew Toy: Georgie Porgie. By the time Bigby leaves he can have all of the money he keeps in his safe "repossessed", every essential piece of equipment in running his strip club broken, and been punched in the face and smashed with a cricket bat. And then in Episode 3, Bigby pays another visit to his place to find Ichabod Crane.
- City Noir: Fabletown and this depiction of New York City at large.
- Cliff Hanger: One on-par The Walking Dead in Episode 4 - Bigby starts following through on the player's last choice before a Smash to Black. This also occurs if the player chooses to go after Nerissa at the end of Episode 5. If instead Bigby decides to let her go, the game fades to black on the last line instead of smashing to punctuate it for dramatic effect.
- Cluster F-Bomb: At the beginning of Episode 5, there is quite an impressive ensemble of them as all of the people Bigby's pissed off begin arguing about him.
- Color-Coded Characters: Like The Walking Dead, the characters have color-coded subtitles.
- Bigby is white.
- Snow is blue.
- The Woodsman and Toad are light green.
- The Crooked Man is orange.
- Tiny Tim is mustard yellow.
- Tweedle Dee is navy blue.
- Tweedle Dum is peach.
- Bluebeard is gray.
- Bufkin is marsh green.
- The Magic Mirror is green.
- Flycatcher is forest green.
- Crane is purple.
- Bloody Mary is red.
- Aunty Greenleaf and Swineheart are yellow.
- Jersey is reddish brown.
- Nerissa is sea green.
- Faith is light blue.
- Georgie is dark orange.
- Hans is goldenrod.
- Detective Brannigan is teal.
- Beauty is maroon red.
- Beast is light gray.
- Colin and TJ are pink.
- Vivian is orchid.
- Company Town: The "Pudding an' Pie" is enough of one that it's even referred to as a "Company Store" in Episode 2.
- Compliment Backfire: If you correctly deduce all the clues at a murder scene, Beauty gives one to Bigby in Episode 2:
Beauty: You're a better detective than I thought you'd be.
- Cool Car: Toad's car bears a strong resemblance to the 1987 Ford Mustang, which would have been brand new in 1986, when the story apparently takes place. Unfortunately, it ends up getting wrecked during Bigby's fight with The Woodsman.
- Continuity Drift:
- Originally Beast's curse was only triggered when Beauty was upset with him, but this was later scrapped; and is not brought back for this.
- Bigby and Snow are both noticeably softer and more emotional than in the Comics, even if you play Bigby as a hardass. This could be explained by the game taking place a good thirty years before the comics, before Snow comes into power as Vice-Mayor of Fabletown, but even by then they're both hundreds of years old, Bigby has untold thousands of lives on his conscience and Snow personally tracked down and killed each of the seven dwarves in revenge for months of sexual slavery, making her obvious horror and outright disbelief at Faith's murder a bit implausible, although that might just be because there hasn't been a murder in Fabletown for a long time.
- Bigby's incredibly powerful nose and his ability to sense Snow and her feelings anywhere should logically have rendered not only a certain cliffhanger in Episode 1, but also half of the entire plot of the series obsolete. As such, it seems that his senses have been dumbed down a bit in the game.
- Cowboy Cop: The player gets the option to play Bigby like this. The Crooked Man exploits it by throwing it back in Bigby's face during the trial.
- Create Your Own Villain: One of the major themes of the game is that Fabletown's impenetrable bureaucracy and rampant corruption, particularly under Crane's administration, creates a whole mass of "disenfranchised" Fables who need organized crime organizations and the Crooked Man just to get the things they need. Snow even mentions being specifically ordered to ignore the pleas and complaints from the "common" folks in favor of those with money and connections, like Bluebeard.
- Cruel Mercy: Should the player choose to imprison the Crooked Man for his crimes, rather than rip his head off or throw him down the Witching Well, it will be revealed that he will be spending the sentence in a birdcage...as a raven.
- Cutting Off The Branches: Considering that Greenleaf is seen as a background character using magic at one point in the comics, it's safe to assume her tree wasn't burned.
- Dark Action Girl: Bloody Mary, in addition to being a certified Psycho for Hire, manages to take Bigby down with a silver bullet and is only narrowly dissuaded from finishing him off with the Woodman's axe.
- Dead All Along: Episode 5 implies that Nerissa was actually Faith the whole time, and that the head in the first episode belonged to Nerissa, glamored to look like Faith's. Either that, or meaning Nerissa used Glamour to befriend Bigby as Faith, spurring him into taking on her murder case; in other words, Faith died before the plot started.
- Deadpan Snarker:
- Bigby, in classic Noir fashion.
- Colin as well.
- Death Is Cheap: Aside from being Made of Iron, Fables will resurrect so long as the Muggles remember their tale(s), which explains how Bigby constantly comes back from, say, being killed by the Woodsman in the Red Riding Hood tale.
- Destination Defenestration: Happens to both the Woodsman and Bigby towards the end of their fight.
- Determinator: At the end of Chapter 3 Bigby gets put down by the Tweedle twins. Then Bigby opens his eyes, gets up and wades through a hail of shotgun fire, transforming along the way.
- Dirty Coward: It's hammered home in Episode 3 that Crane is one. It's even cited as one of the main reasons why he can't be the murderer.
- Dirty Old Man: Crane has the hots for Snow White. Subverted in that, as Fables, both of the characters in question are many centuries old and one just happens to look like an old man and the other like a beautiful young woman.
- Disposable Sex Worker: After Bigby rescues her from the Woodsman, Faith's head is found on the front porch of his apartment building. Also, Lily, who was murdered while glamoured as Snow White.
- The Dog Bites Back: If Bigby arrests the Crooked Man, the Crooked Man finds himself at the mercy of everyone he was blackmailing.
- Doomed by Canon:
- In the Fables comics, which takes place after this game, there is a grave with Mr. Toad's name on it at the "Farm", and he is followed by Colin Pig, Bluebeard, Ichabod Crane, and Flycatcher, who all die at some point during the comics.
- Doppelgänger Attack : Bloody Mary during the last episode showdown.
- Dramatic Irony: The revelation that Ichabod Crane was with the last murder victim the night she died, considering how he himself nearly met his end in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
- Driven to Suicide: Prince Lawrence, after Faith leaves him. Unfortunately for him, suicide is an especially long and hard process when you are a Fable; see Bungled Suicide. A more clear example is in Episode 5 with Vivian, who removes the ribbon from her own neck to make her head fall off.
- The Eighties: If the synthesizer-heavy soundtrack wasn't a dead giveaway, various background details seen throughout the first episode indicate the game takes place in 1986. The fact that Ichabod Crane is still Deputy Mayor of Fabletown lends further credence to this, since he'd resigned from that post by the time the comic's story started.
- To further emphasize this, in the Trip Trap, there's a poster for a "Rock Fest" happening on Monday, May 5th. May 5th fell on a Monday in the year 1986.
- Eleventh Hour Superpower: In Episode 5, Bigby has spent several restless days being pummeled, and soon takes a beating from Bloody Mary, who has duplicated herself into dozens of copies. Cue Bigby dropping his human form entirely, he finally transforms into the Big Bad Wolf of the story and kills Mary and her copies.
- Empty Fridge Empty Life: There is very little inside Bigby's fridge, aside from some alcohol and cigarettes. He even asks himself why he doesn't have a smaller one.
- The Ending Changes Everything: Naturally, as a Murder Mystery. The final conversation with Nerissa in Episode 5 does this tenfold, with her revealing she gave false testimony to catch the Crooked Man, before giving the biggest Wham Line of the series, implying very heavily that either she was posing as Faith at the start of Episode 1, or that she is actually Faith, and has been impersonating Nerissa throughout the season, and the first victim was actually the real Nerissa.
- Enemy Mine: Bigby teams up with the Woodsman to fight the Jersey Devil in Episode 4.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Vivian was willing to enslave the prostitutes for eternity with her ribbons (unless she killed herself to free them), but she didn't want them to be killed.
- Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: The Woodsman is just The Woodsman, much to his annoyance: he has a name, but nobody remembered it as the story spread to the point where he himself has forgotten what it was. This is a common occurrence in the Fables continuity, such as Frau Tötenkinder in the comics.
- Evil Brit: Tweedledee, Tweedledum, Georgie Porgie and The Crooked Man.
- Excuse Me Coming Through: Bigby tears through an apartment filled with frightened mundies in pursuit of Georgie and the Crooked Man.
- Eye Scream: In Bigby's fight with Beast, he jabs his fingers in the latter's eyes.
- Failure Is the Only Option: With regards to the Mr. Toad plot. No matter if you give Mr. Toad the money, he will still be sent off to the farm. See Doomed by Canon above.
- Faking the Dead: The ending implies that Faith and Nerissa swapped places, meaning one isn't who they say they are.
- Fallen Hero: The Woodsman, but not really; see Accidental Hero above. The self-loathing is eating him up.
- Fantastic Noir: Classic fairy tale characters in a murder mystery set in 80's New York.
- Fantastic Racism: Some dialogue between Crane and Snow implies that Crane doesn't like Trolls.
- Fat Bastard: Tweedledee and Tweedledum.
- Fetish: Crane has one for Snow.
- Film Noir: Hard-boiled Sheriff in a city full of darkness and secrets. And fantasy critters.
- Five-Bad Band: The Crooked Man's crew.
- Flipping the Bird: In Chapter 4 if you visit the Lucky Pawn first, Toad can give the British variant to both Bigby and Jack, and Bigby can flip Toad off in return.
- Foregone Conclusion: Becoming important in Chapter 4, Colin does indeed end up at the farm.
- Some of the things Faith says during her interaction with Bigby nod toward her later demise, particularly the whole "I won't be doing this for much longer." bit.
- The tarot cards appear to foreshadow some serious things indeed.
- Both Faith and the Mirror saying "These lips are sealed" when asked certain information. Episode 5 explains it to be part of the no-disclosure clause of the strip club Faith works for.
- Tweedle Dee uses "These lips are sealed" as well. In episode 2 when Bigby asks Nerissa for information she struggles to answer about the case but can only say "These... Lips."
- Comes back again as a plot point when Ichabod tries to clear his name about who murdered Lily with a ring that dispel's magic. Unfortunately for him the ring lost it's power decades ago prompting his final attempt to use it to be met with Nerissa answering "These Lips are Sealed."
- If he is saved, Prince Lawrence asks Bigby in the teaser trailer for Episode 2 where's the rest of Faith's body as only her head was found. One of the major theories for the game's ending involves Faith having been the "Nerissa" Bigby interacted with throughout the season, and the head on Fabletown's doorstep actually belonged to the real Nerissa.
- Functional Addict:
- Bigby smokes and drinks a lot, but it doesn't stop him from doing his job. That's because those habits help keep the wolf at bay.
- Also a bit of Hypocritical Humor:
Bigby: (about a soda machine) Ugh. That shit'll kill ya. (Lights smoke, takes drag.)
- Geas: In Episode 4, the purple ribbons that Georgie's prostitutes wear are revealed to be the seal that stops them from divulging any information about their clients, or other information that Georgie wants kept private. If the wearer tries to divulge said information, they are forced to say "these lips are sealed" instead. As revealed in Episode 4, simply removing the ribbon causes the wearer to be decapitated.
- Genius Bruiser: Bigby has a reputation of being a truly terrifying Blood Knight, but that doesn't mean he's stupid. He gets many Sherlock Scan moments in the game, added with his heightened sense of smell to find clues. Plus, he manages to solve the case and uncover a massive conspiracy beneath Fabletown.
- Girl Friday: Snow White to Bigby, except she's his boss, but she handles the paperwork and bureaucracy while he's out kicking ass.
- Glamour Failure: A literal case (and recurring plot point), starting in Episode 2. Due to the cost of Glamour spells, there's a great demand for cheap black market Glamours. These spells are unstable and provide an increasingly imperfect disguise before finally failing entirely.
- Glory Days: It initially seems that the fairy tales the Fables originate from serve as these to them; however, Bigby seems to be haunted by his monstrous actions as the Big Bad Wolf, the Woodsman is being eaten up by his own self-loathing and guilt over the fact that he's lauded as a hero despite having intended to rob Red Riding Hood, and (depending on Bigby's actions) losing an arm seems to scar Grendel.
- Good Thing You Can Heal:
- The Woodsman goes through a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, followed by plunging from his apartment onto the street below, and finally ending with an axe embedded in his skull. No one worries much about it, and the Woodsman stumbles off on his own while Bigby isn't paying attention. He's in shape for a drink by the next day. Fables are hard to kill.
- During a fight with Bigby in Episode 2, Beast gets his eyes gouged out, and is just fine a few moments later.
- In Episode 3: Gren and Holly both survive getting shot point-blank by the Tweedle Boy's shotguns and spend the next day recovering. Later Bigby is shot multiple times by the Tweedles and has his arm broken by Bloody Mary, teasers for the next episode show him healed.
- It's also implied that the Magic Mirror can mend itself after being broken if all pieces are in place and, even if some are missing, it will regenerate over time (but it may take a while).
- Despite getting an axe in his head, one of his antlers torn off and his skull smashed in, the Jersey Devil appears later with only a few cuts and bruises.
- This is actually a nod to the source material; the only ways for a Fable to permanently die are if not enough people know their story anymore, or if they're cast down the Witching Well.
- Grimmification: As carried over from the source material.
- Happily Married: Beauty and Beast, famously so.
- Hardboiled Detective: Bigby.
- Harmful to Minors: TJ has not been having a good time. Depending on Bigby's choices in Episode 1, he can get roughed up by one of the Tweedle Boys, and in Episode 2, he was swimming in the river when the second victim's body was dumped in.
- Heel Face Door Slam: Bigby is treated like dirt by most of Fabletown's inhabitants, regardless of whether he deserves it, because of his past as the Big Bad Wolf.
- Hell Hotel: Beauty, Beast, and Bigby find the site of Lily's murder in a hotel room.
- Here There Were Dragons: Played with. One might expect the Fables to have adapted poorly to the modern day, but in reality, the dragons are still just fine - it's just that they live somewhere else, namely the Homelands. The problem is that the Fairy Tale equivalent of Hitler has taken said magical lands over and kicked out a good deal of the inhabitants.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: In Episode 5, Georgie ends up getting stabbed in the stomach with his own knife, which fatally wounds him; if Bigby doesn't put him out of his misery, he bleeds out from the wound.
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Both Faith and Nerissa qualify.
- Hotter and Sexier: A stripper in the second episode is entirely topless. She turns out to be the titular character of The Little Mermaid.
- I Am Not Left-Handed: During Bigby's fight with Grendel, the latter is treating him like a rag doll. However, when Bigby's eyes turn yellow and grows claws, it becomes a one-sided No-Holds-Barred Beatdown by Bigby. The previews for both episodes 2 and 3 show a clip of Bigby in full wolf-man form, and he is scary. Taken Up to Eleven in Episode 5, when you see full wolf Bigby, wherein he ceases to be a werewolf, and becomes an enormous wolf looking to be thirty feet.
- I Can See You: Bloody Mary has an innate sense about being scryed by the Magic Mirror. It makes sense because her ability is to travel through mirrors when summoned. When she "touches" the Mirror, it mutters that it hates it when she's traveled through it.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Naturally, Bigby still has a nasty reputation for his wolfish appetites in the Homelands.
Bigby: Hey, it wasn't murder, I was just hungry.
Colin: Yeah, well, I'm hungry now, but you don't see me ripping your flesh off your bones!
Bigby: But you would if you could?
- Impoverished Patrician:
- Prince Lawrence and Faith were both royalty in the Homeland, and appropriately after marrying 'lived happily ever after'...at least until they had to flee without their wealth. Now in New York, he can't hold a job and she's forced into prostitution.
- Beauty and Beast were likewise royalty in the Homeland, and have had to get used to much more humble circumstances since arriving in Fabletown. Their desire to maintain a semblance of their old standard of living led them to borrow money from the Crooked Man. In Episode 4, that is revealed to have been a very, very bad idea.
- Implacable Man: When Bigby first starts shifting into half-wolf mode in Episode 3.
- I'm Standing Right Here: In the first scene of Episode 4, Snow, Colin and Dr. Swineheart are all fussing over Bigby and discussing his well-being among themselves. The man himself gets the opportunity to wearily point out that he's sitting not three feet away. Twice.
- Incest Is Relative: Faith's backstory. Snow White and Bigby both cringe at it.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: The brand of cigarettes that Bigby smokes? Huff and Puff.
- I Need a Freaking Drink:
- Bigby's first action after beating the shit out of Grendel? Go to the bar and order a double shot of whiskey. Justified, however, as it's heavily implied that the whiskey and the smokes help him keep his emotions and his lupine instincts under control.
- Bigby does this again after being patched up by Dr Swineheart following his near-fatal encounter with the Tweedles and Bloody Mary. His first instinct is to go to the fridge and get a bottle of beer.
- Colin begs for some of Bigby's bourbon. Justified, since there's not much booze at The Farm.
- In Love with Your Carnage: Bloody Mary seems fascinated by the stories of what Bigby used to be like in the teaser for the final episode.
- The Insomniac: Bigby mentions he has gone without sleep for at least two days. Detective Brannigan comments on his deteriorating appearance and urges him to get some rest.
- Interface Spoiler: Lawrence hints at it already in one easily-missed piece of dialogue, but one of the achievements shown prior to the actual reveal spoiled that Faith's pimp (and one of the murder suspects) is Georgie Porgie.
- It's All About Me: Vivian has shades of this, surprisingly. Once everything has finally been brought to light, all she can think about at first is how Georgie "betrayed" her by explaining to Bigby what the ribbons are and how they got them.
- Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: One approach Bigby can take in interrogating Tweedledee or the Woodsman in Episode 2.
- Jaded Washout: As he's happy to remind you, the Woodsman put down Bigby in their first scuffle, but by now he's a drunk and a failure while Bigby is widely known and the sheriff of Fabletown.
- Jerkass: Quite a lot of Fables have become proper assholes in their time in Fabletown. Some justified, some not.
- Deputy Mayor Ichabod Crane spends his entire appearance in Episode 1 insulting and abusing Bigby and Snow White, which the game implies is not at all unusual. It is also heavily implied that he regularly ignores the problems of more 'common' Fables in favor of those with money and connections.
- Grendel can come across as one initially, but given the way most of the Fables are treated by the Fabletown government, can you blame him? In the end, it seems all he really wants is to be left alone. In Episode 2, if played right, it can play down his Jerkass Tendencies when it's shown he legitimately looks out for Holly's well-being.
- Georgie Porgie is pretty much without redeeming features, relentlessly abusive towards his employees and obnoxious towards Bigby himself. He keeps the strippers in his club virtually enslaved with "fees" they have to pay, all the while enforcing their silence about what happens in their work by means of the magic ribbons around their necks. He's also the killer. His death scene makes him a lot more sympathetic, though.
- "Little" Jack Horner has grown up into a complete asshole, who spends most of his time in episode 2 trying to provoke a fight with Bigby.
- The Jersey Devil is this through and through, more so than even Georgie.
- Mr. Toad. He spends the entire season making snide remarks, having a perpetual bad attitude and an easily offender temperament, and blows the money Bigby can give him for glamours on a flash car instead, and then still blames you for him being sent to the Farm.
- Jerkass Has a Point: In episode 2, Crane hints that whomever allegedly killed Snow might have done so to get back at Bigby. Come the end of the episode, that is exactly what's going on, and Crane would know because he might have been the one who did it.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Bigby, maybe. It really depends on how you play him.
- In Episode 2 and 3, Gren also comes across as this. He's rude and confrontational, but its only because he cares about Holly and is disgusted with how the down-and-out citizens of Fabletown are ignored by its government.
- The Woodsman is first met as a violent, abusive drunk slapping a prostitute around his apartment. He's considerably more mellow and agreeable when he's sober, even stating that he's sick of fighting with Bigby.
- Jersey Devil: Makes an appearance in Episode 4.
- Jump Scare: When Tweedle Dee abruptly bursts from the closet of Faith and Lawrence's apartment. Hopefully one's nerves collect fast enough to react to the chase sequence immediately afterwards.
- Karma Houdini: Several characters can be considered this. Despite all of them being physically beaten by Bigby throughout the game, these ones are neither confirmed dead and aren't arrested.
- Although it was necessary to create a proper continuity with the comics, Ichabod Crane is this in Episode 3. However, the comics reveal that Bigby eventually found Crane in Paris and killed him. You can punch him in Episode 3, but that is essentially the extent to which you can beat him (and it's optional as well).
- Whilst both are badly beat up by Bigby at least twice in the game, Tweedle Dee and Jersey Devil are last seen injured in the Crooked Lair in Episode 5, and it is never confirmed if they died, which implies they were able to live after their beatings and it is never confirmed if they are arrested.
- If you choose not to kill him, then Tweedle Dum (who doesn't get physically injured at all in the fight during Episode 5) is this.
- Kick the Dog: If you choose to have Bigby rip off Grendel's arm. Though some might consider it a Kick the Son of a Bitch moment.
- Sending Colin or Toad to the Farm, though the latter might also be a Kick the Son of a Bitch moment.
- As tempting as readers may be to want to tell Bigby to punch Jack, he really doesn't give Bigby much of a reason to do so.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: While Gren's arm is ambiguous at worst, punching Georgie Porgie dead in the nose in episode 3 is definitely this.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: In Episode 2, Crane pays for a spell to wipe all memory of the previous day from the minds of everyone in the police station, in order to protect the Masquerade.
- Loophole Abuse: How Nerissa is able to help Bigby in his investigation; by not giving specifics, she is able to circumvent the spell that keeps her discrection.
- Sadistic Choice:
- As expected for a Telltale game. Episode 1 ends with Bigby being forced to choose who to take in between The Woodsman and Tweedle Dee.
- Subverted earlier in the first episode. You have a choice between going to help Toad or Prince Lawrence, both of whom are in danger. If you go to Toad, Lawrence will die from his injuries, but choosing Lawrence has Bigby arrive in time, and the only repercussion is that Toad Jr. is hurt by Tweedle Dee, which, while it is a bad thing, is still better than Lawrence dying.
- It's worth noting that some of the trophies/achievements for the game are unlocked by pushing Bigby into making the crueler choices of the game like ripping Gren's arm off or conducting The Woodsman's or Dee's interrogation Jack Bauer style.
- Averted in Episode 2. All of the choices are clear cut Nice Guy or Anti-Hero actions, besides Georgie Porgie, where it's a choice between trying to get him to cooperate or to give him a good dose of karma through trashing his place and hitting him.
- At the end of Episode 3, choosing whether or not to kill Tweedle Dum. On the one hand, Bigby has been trying to atone for his actions back at the Homelands. On the other hand, him and his brother have been antagonizing Bigby throughout the last two episodes, and in fact had just unloaded dozens of rounds into Bigby with their shotguns moments before you get to make that decision.
- If you're someone that plays through the episode multiple times (and therefore knows how other characters will be affected by your choices, you're willingly setting yourself up for this. In Episode 1, you can save Lawrence, with the knowledge that Toad Jr. gets beat up a bit by Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. In Episode 3, choosing to go to Crane's apartment (and finding a lead on Crane's witch through Jack, who's rooting through there) first sends Bluebeard to Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum's place, where Bluebeard will proceed to kick Flycatcher's ass.
- Saved by Canon:
- After her head was found on the doorstep of the Woodlands in Episode 1, Snow White reappears in Episode 2 alive and well. To the shock and surprise of only people who haven't followed the comics.
- Several of the suspects are major or reoccurring characters in the comic, which takes place after the game, so it rules them out as the killer.
- Separated by a Common Language: Georgie has a strong English accent, but has a habit of using the American "ass" instead of "arse" when cursing.
- Serial Killer: The murderer kills prostitutes and delivers their heads to the Woodlands's doorstep. This ultimately turns out to be a subversion. Georgie's a murderer, but he's not a serial killer. Lily and Faith were killed in the same incident, it's unlikely that Georgie intended to kill any more prostitutes, and Faith and Lily's heads were delivered to the Woodlands by different people for different reasons.
- Sherlock Scan: Bigby can piece together entire crime scenes from minor clues and scents.
- Ship Tease: Between Snow and Bigby on the cab ride to the Trip Trap. It's so obvious, even Colin invokes Everyone Can See It.
- Shirtless Scene: With Bigby in Episode 3.
- To another Telltale Games comic adaptation series. In Bigby's apartment after the prologue in 'Faith', underneath Bluebeard's file is the file of one 'P. Pennyworth'.
- Also in Chapter Four if you look in the soda case you'll see a can of Banang!
- The movie poster that appears early in Episode 1 (right before Faith takes The Woodsman's own axe to his head) is an obvious parody of the poster for the Sylvester Stallone movie Cobra. Given that the parody movie's title is Mongoose, it might be a double shout-out to the Rudyard Kipling Jungle Book story, "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi", about a heroic mongoose who defends a young boy from some villainous cobras.
- There are several references to a diner known as "I Am the Eggman". Another diner seen in the background is the "Yellow Brick Roadhouse".
- Early on, Faith rummages through The Woodsman's pockets for the money he owes. Turns out he only has "60 cents. Two quarters, and a dime."
- In Episode 2, TJ is seen wearing a "Stalk Thing" t-shirt; as an added bonus, both Swamp Thing and Fables are published under DC Comics.
- Significant Double Casting: Bigby and his old enemy, the Woodsman, share a voice actor.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: Toad. Even to his young son. The Woodsman, Grendel, and occasionally Bigby himself are all quite profane as well. Additionally, Tweedledee is quite fond of the F bomb.
- Stalker with a Crush: By the end of Episode 2, you discover Crane is this for Snow White.
- Stupidity Is the Only Option: After you tell Prince Lawrence that Faith was killed, Bigby and Snow give him a gun so he can defend himself against whoever is breaking in the house. Keep in mind that this guy tried to kill himself before knowing about his wife. Guess what happens if you take too long to arrest the intruder.
- Suicidal Overconfidence: In episode 5, Bloody Mary prefers to take Bigby down with Death By A Thousand Cuts, toying with him the entire time. Then Bigby decides to stop playing.
- Supernatural Gold Eyes:
- When Bigby's eyes turn yellow, better run and hide. The Big Bad Wolf is coming.
- A more literal example with Beast.
- Take That: Depending on your dialogue choices, Bigby may at one point paraphrase Niccolò Machiavelli, and claim that it's better to be feared than loved. When he asks Colin if he knows who originally said this, Colin replies, "Some sad asshole".
- Tarot Motifs: Bigby finds a number of tarot cards on a table in Crane's office, each of which seems to hint at the broader story.
- Tattooed Crook: Georgie Porgie.
- Tomato Surprise: The ending of Episode 5 draws Nerissa's identity and Faith's death into question, as their use of Glamours makes it unclear who she really is.
- Trailers Always Spoil: In the trailer for Episode 4, you can see Bigby entering what appears to be a magical door. By the end of the episode, it becomes apparent that the door is the entrance to The Crooked Man's lair, and Bigby entering his domain provides the ultimate climax of the episode.
- Trauma Conga Line: Poor TJ...
- Twist Ending: Natural, for a noir story, and for an episodic game.note Specifically, one in each episode.
- Episode 1: Snow White's head is found at Bigby's doorstep.
- Episode 2: Crane is revealed to be the killer behind the Snow-lookalike murder.
- Episode 3: Crane is not the killer, and the Crooked Man reveals himself. Bigby can kill Dum, and he fully transforms into a wolf-man; despite this, Bigby is almost killed by Bloody Mary.
- Episode 4: Bigby finally locates the Crooked Man, only to discover almost every one of his enemies (Georgie and Vivian, Bloody Mary, Dee and Dum, and the Jersey Devil) have been working under the same affiliation, rather than separately, as previously thought.
- Episode 5: Ending on a cliffhanger, Nerissa says a line that exactly mirrors a line Faith said in Episode 1 (the page quote, in fact), eventually coming to the shocking conclusion: either "Nerissa" has actually been a Glamoured Faith the whole time, and it was the real Nerissa's head found on Fabletown's doorstep, not Faith's; or Faith was dead the entire time, and a Glamoured Nerissa disguised as her to earn Bigby's sympathy before leaving the head for him. The episode ends before he can catch up to her, if you choose.
- Unproblematic Prostitution: Averted. Georgie treats his prostitutes like garbage and owns them essentially as slaves, held in control through debt and the ribbons around their necks. All of them we know of ended up in their position after having nowhere else to go. When two of them step out of line by trying to escape, the Crooked Man orders them killed. Nerissa is clearly miserable with her 'job' and Lilly was resorting to heroin use to make her life endurable. Without exception, prostitution is presented as an extremely unpleasant way of making a living.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Averted. Colin points out that he resembles a pig when he's arguing to Bigby over going to the Farm or not. Bigby himself will point this out to Toad- the man constantly is out of Glamour whenever Bigby finds him, and Toad looks like, well, a toad on legs and wearing clothes, which even New Yorkers would find weird.
- Vanity License Plate: One on Mr. Toad's car reads: TOADALLY.
- Verbal Tic: "These Lips are Sealed." The fact that the Magic Mirror also says this when asked about Faith is one of the first hints that something really big is going on.
- Videogame Cruelty Potential: And how. People frequently note Bigby's past as a villain, and you can try to turn over a leaf and/or do things by the book to solve the case. Or you can just instigate fights, insult everyone, and use threats and your fists to get what you want out of most people. Of course, if The Walking Dead is anything to go by, doing so will come back and bite you (if it hasn't already).
- Vitriolic Best Friends: Bigby and Colin act like this. If you calmly talk to the Woodsman in the Trip Trap there are shades of this. Woodsman says he's just sick of constantly fighting with Bigby.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Characters in the game (i.e. Grendel and Jersey) who use glamours, though some (like Beast and Bigby) have innate transformation skills. Only involuntary occurance of this is when Bigby (unknowingly) unglamours Aunty Greenleaf.
- Vomiting Cop: Near the end of "Faith" before Bigby enters the crime scene, one NYPD officer leaves the scene trying not to vomit.
- Wham Line:
- Episode 1 has a literal example, after successfully chasing down Tweedledee:
Bigby: Dumb? Yeah, it is. Look, it'd be much easier for you to—
Tweedledee: No, I'm Dee. He's Dum.
- From the end of Episode 2:
Bigby: "It's... Crane."
- Episode 5's ending has this in spades. After a long episode full of twists and turns, including Nerissa explaining how she indirectly caused the deaths of Faith and Lily, and how she lied in the trial, her closing line shockingly implies very heavily that Nerissa and Faith swapped places using Glamours: either "Nerissa" was actually been Faith all along, and it wasn't Faith's head at the start was the real Nerissa's; or Nerissa disguised as Faith to get Bigby's interest, pushing him into solving the case when he found the real Faith's head.
Nerissa: You're not as bad as everyone says you are.
- Wham Shot:
- The severed heads of Faith and Snow/Lily in Episode 1.
- In Episode Two, the shot of Crane smashing the Magic Mirror in Episode 2.
- Depending on your choice, Bigby's final action in front of the Crooked Man's Dragons for Episode 4; choosing causing the snap to a black screen ending for the episode.
- What Happened to the Mouse?:
- You don't learn what became of Tweedle Dee (and Dum, if you spared him in Episode 3) and the Jersey Devil after you leave them in the Crooked Man's chamber in Episode 5.
- The detective who interrogates Bigby is named, has her own model and voice actress, and is mentioned in the Tweedle's notes. However, she never appears again after Ichabod mindwipes her and her colleagues.
- If Prince Lawrence is alive you never find out whether he finds out the truth about Faith/Narissa, whether his wife is dead or his wife is alive and glamoured to look like Narissa, depending on which theory you subscribe to.
- What the Hell, Hero?:
- Would Hit a Girl: The Woodsman, who is introduced slapping around a prostitute in his apartment.
- Would Hurt a Child: Tweedledee and Tweedledum, who threaten to murder Mr. Toad's son if he tells Bigby anything.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Bigby is told that he is "not as bad as everyone say" by Faith. Whether it holds true is up to the player.
- You Monster!: The Woodsman, if Bigby tears Grendel's arm off.
The Woodsman: You fucking monster!
- You Should Have Died Instead: In Episode 2, it's revealed that the latest body is that of Lily and not Snow White. Lily's sister Holly tells Snow White, "It should have been you. It should have been you and it wasn't." Of course she takes it back once she realizes Lily was glamoured to look like Snow White.