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Recap / Life is Strange Ep 03 "Chaos Theory"

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Episode 3:

Chaos Theory

The episode opens a few hours after the last one ended, late in the evening. The shot pans from outside the dorm, revealing that Max is asleep at her desk (as well as that she's taken in Kate's rabbit Alice). She's quickly awakened from a Catapult Nightmare by a text from Chloe, asking (or perhaps telling...) her to meet outside the main campus. After sneaking out of the dorms and past a drunken Principal Wells, she meets Chloe who reveals the latest thing she's "borrowed" from her step father; his keys. The "Blackwell Ninjas'" skills are quickly tested when they're forced to hide, as Jefferson and Victoria exit the main building. The latter tries, and fails, to influence the outcome of the contest, before storming off and leaving Chloe and Max free to continue.

Outside of Well's office, Chloe finds that she doesn't have the key and begins trying to pick it. Max, decides to take a more direct route. She texts Warren for instructions on how to build a pipe bomb and uses it to blast the door open, rewinding time so she can simply unlock the door from inside. Inside the office, they quickly find what they're looking for; Nathan's real permanent record, which includes a disturbing drawing consisting of the words "Rachel Amber in the Dark Room" written over and over again. After Max pre-emptively vetos Chloe's plan to keep Well's chair as a souvenir, she finds something better; an envelope full of cash labelled "Disability Fund", which contains more than enough to pay off her debts to Frank. The player makes an important choice whether to go along with it, or to have her put it back. Chloe then suggests they go and take a swim in the pool before they leave, which Max agrees to in spite of her better judgement.


Predictably, security eventually shows up (either David himself, or the police if he was suspended), and our heroines are forced to escape in Chloe's car, returning to the Price residence rather than letting Max risk getting caught on the way back to her dorm room. Max wakes up the following morning next to Chloe, and they share a quick selfie. The player is then prompted with another important choice, when Chloe dares Max to kiss her (if she does so, Chloe will be shocked, but gleefully text Warren that he's "out of the loop" later). Because Max's clothes smell like a "chlorine factory", she borrows some of Rachel Amber's clothes.

Max heads downstairs as Chloe "wakes and bakes", where Joyce treats her to breakfast. She also breaks out the family photo album and gives Max a photo which was taken of Max & Chloe the day William died. At this point, Chloe comes down and starts an argument with her mum so Max can investigate the garage. After breaking into David's laptop, Max finds extensive notes on Blackwell students, including Kate and Rachel. She also finds photos of Rachel and Frank which suggests they were more than just friends...


As Max returns to the table, David shows up (angry about having to work late because of the break-in at the pool), turning the argument between Chloe and Joyce into a Mêlée à Trois. Max can intervene on either David or Chloe's side. Siding with Chloe brings up David's surveillance and the fact he's been stalking students, which prompts Joyce to kick him out. Siding with David has her point out that they don't know he's done anything wrong yet, earning Max his gratitude and Chloe's ire (again).

Chloe takes the news of Max's discovery as well as expected. The girls head to the diner and resolve to break into Frank's camper van for some answers. After interrogating a cop, Nathan and Frank, Max is able to get Frank to reveal his keys, which she promptly snatches, and enter the camper. But not before distracting Frank's dog with a bone (which the player must decide to throw into the traffic or the parking lot). Unfortunately, Max finds yet more proof that Frank and Rachel had a relationship, which Chloe takes exactly as well. In the car, Chloe rants about how everyone betrays her eventually, even admitting she blames her father for getting killed sometimes. They part on less than friendly terms as Chloe drops Max off.


Max is left in her dorm, in tears and staring at the old photo Joyce gave her...when she finds herself being strangely drawn to the photo. One quick minigame later, and she's back in the body of her 13 year old self, on the fateful day William Price left to pick up Joyce from the grocery store. After successfully hiding his keys and convincing him to take the bus, Max excitedly hugs Chloe, confident that she's changed the past for the better...

...she returns to the present confronted with the smiling face of Victoria, as the Vortex Club welcome her (mostly) as their newest member. "Kids Will Be Skeletons" by Mogwai plays, as Max rushes to find Chloe, and the changes to the timeline become apparent; Warren is dating Stella; David is a bus driver; Brooke appears to be into biology instead of robotics and the animal deaths have escalated to the point that dead whales are washing up on the beach. On making it to the door, she's greeted by the ever cheerful William, who's surprised, but happy, to see her again. He calls Chloe, who Max is mortified to discover is now confined to a wheelchair (but nevertheless, happy to see her best friend again)...

Tropes featured in this episode of Life Is Strange:

  • Chekhov's Gun: There's an open padlock on the workbench. It's worth the player's while to remember the combination on it, as it will be used to lock up David's files in the next chapter.
  • Fanservice: Of sorts in Episode 3, during the scene at the pool. Granted, it's a great character scene, but Max and Chloe strip down to their bras and panties to go swimming with a Fanservice Faux Fight.
  • Fanservice Faux Fight: While they're in the school pool after hours, Max and Chloe play-fight by splashing one another with water.
  • Iconic Outfit: The one of Rachel's Max borrows is apparently so recognizable, that several people mistake her for Rachel momentarily or refer to it as a "costume".
  • Kick the Dog: You can throw the bone to distract Frank's dog into the road, causing him to get hit by a car. Notably, less than 2% of all players chose this option (even though he might be a threat later).
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Max discovers that she has a form of Mental Time Travel which uses photos of herself as a focusing point. Just after Chloe went on a rant about how her father's death ruined everything in her life and just when she happens to be looking at a photo from that very day.
  • Painting the Medium: When you first leave the dorms, you're able to move Max normally, but after taking a few steps, the cutscene where Chloe Jump Scares her suddenly takes over.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: After Chloe and Max swim, David (or a random police officer if he was suspended) shows up to inspect the place, the two of them having tripped an alarm when they snuck in.
  • Wham Shot: When Max meets Chloe after changing the past, she finds that she's confined to a wheelchair in the new timeline.

Video Example(s):


Max and Chloe

While they're in the school pool after hours, Max and Chloe play-fight by splashing one another with water.

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Example of:

Main / FanserviceFauxFight

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Main / FanserviceFauxFight