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Tear Jerker / Life Is Strange

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"What kind of world does this!? Who does this!?"

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     Episode 1 - "Chrysalis" 
  • Anyone who's ever been through extreme bullying will know how Kate feels. She's a sweet girl and yet she gets harassed, even by a security guard! A really paranoid man, but still. It's especially worrying when you see his pictures of her. Poor girl.
  • Max sitting down by the tree outside the school and thinking about how lonely she feels.
  • Chloe's situation in general. Max left and never called, her father died and her mother remarried to a paranoid abusive step-dad, and she formed a new relationship with Rachel only for Rachel to vanish without a word. Chloe may not be the best girl out there, but she didn't deserve all that.
    • Her face when Max puts the CD on...
  • If you sit on the swingset and the couch while exploring Chloe's house, you can see Max nostalgically relive some of her childhood memories with Chloe.
  • The montage at the end of the episode, showing the aftermath of the freak snowfall. It gives us an insight into little, ordinary moments of the key people in the story. The beautiful song playing over the whole thing just makes it better.
    • Seeing Kate sitting alone in her dorm room, crying.

     Episode 2 - "Out of Time" 
  • Kate finally breaks under all of the stress and abuse and tries to commit suicide by jumping off the roof of the girls dorms. It is especially heartbreaking if Max doesn't manage to save her.
    • Before that, Max goes into Kate's dorm and sees how bad everything really is for her. The room is dark, and she's totally surrounded by nothing but letters of disapproval from her Christian family.
    • It totally hits home if you know someone who has committed suicide, was put in Max's situation to try and convince someone not to do it, or if you have had suicidal thoughts yourself.
      Kate: Max, I'm in a nightmare and I can't wake up! Unless I put myself to sleep...
    • At the end of the episode, if you fail to save Kate, you get a slow, solemn shot of a student-made memorial erected outside the school. It does show that there are people besides Max that cared about Kate, but it's upsetting.
    • Seeing Victoria bawling her eyes out over regret of bullying Kate.
  • The ending song is specially heartwrenching, regardless of the outcome.
    I don't have to see you right now
  • Max's contemplation with Warren in the ending, especially if she didn't save Kate.

     Episode 3 - "Chaos Theory" 
  • Max waking up after having a nightmare about Kate. It's clear that she's been traumatized by Kate's suicide attempt.
    Max: I'll never get the image out of my head of Kate jumping off that roof.
    • Let's not forget, even if Max prevented Kate's suicide on the roof, she still witnessed Kate jump while trying to rewind time. Either way, Max witnessed a classmate commit suicide.
    • If Max wasn't able to save Kate, her classmates will leave cruel comments on her webpage, blaming her for what happened.
  • If you fail to save Kate's life, you get a heartfelt text message from her father, thanking you for even trying. This is especially sad if you find the postcard he sent Kate, telling her that he loves her unconditionally. Losing his daughter must be beyond painful.
  • In order to create a distraction so Max can infiltrate David's surveillance room, Chloe makes a scene towards her mom. Once Max returns to the living room, Joyce is visibly devastated, almost wondering where she went wrong to have such a resentful and rebellious child. Even worse is that Chloe clearly doesn't care that she has hurt her Mom, and only about finding Rachel.
  • Chloe's outburst. She's an abrasive jerk at times, but this episode really piles on exactly why she's the way she is, selfish attitude and all. She perceives her dead father as having left her, still holds it against Max for leaving town, and thinks her Mom partially abandoned her for her step-father. The only thing that was basically holding her together was Rachel, and she finds out that the person she loved seemingly preferred Frank, a drug dealer (one who is now demanding money from Chloe) to her. When that gets revealed, you can see her break, and nothing Max can say - even if you've been on her side throughout everything and maintain that she has you - will stop her from turning Max away and driving off in silence.
  • Going back to her dorm, it gets really sad seeing Max rewind into the picture and destroy all the memories after William's death. All the happy memories that David had with Joyce, even if only a few, are gone. It's bittersweet really. Chloe is much happier with her biological dad around, but it's depressing seeing David being ripped of the joy of a family.
    • It is especially painful when we realize that without meeting Joyce in this timeline, David has become a miserable schoolbus driver. The glance he gives Max when she boards the bus is enough to make you want to revert things to how they used to be.
    • This hurts even more if you found the birthday card in David's garage that he wrote for Chloe about how he was so happy to be accepted into their family. Goddammit.
  • When Max firstly tries to save William from getting in his car, it's horrible seeing him walk off into the light, thinking that you can't save him. You can because your failure is not permanent, but still.
  • Beached whales at the end of the episode.
  • Max's face when William calls for Chloe.
  • At the end of the episode you see Chloe in a wheelchair. How did this happen? How is Chloe being screwed this time?
    • Made worse by three things: 1) with Max saving William, a heartwarming and hilarious photo montage is made, showing all the unpleasant moments of Chloe's life being replaced with happy moments that she shared with both Joyce and William (including a picture of a brand new car, the car she likely suffered her accident in) leading the player to think everything turned out okay; 2) the fact that apparently in this timeline, like the original timeline, Max hasn't reached out to talk to Chloe since she moved away from Arcadia Bay; and 3) in the original timeline: William's dead, Max moves away, Joyce remarries an abusive paranoid asshole, Chloe's best friend goes missing and it turns out that she's been lying to her, leaving Chloe to trust no one including Max. You would think that her problems would go away when William is saved, but instead, in this timeline, Chloe is paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair, with a breathing tube in her throat. Can the universe please stop shitting on Chloe now?
    • Chloe's smile when she sees Max at the door...oh God.

     Episode 4 - "Dark Room" 
  • In a heartbreaking case of Truth in Television, the Episode goes into great length to showcase just how incredibly shitty is the life of a quadriplegic. Most people just think "not being able to move your body would be a living hell", but it's way further than that. Think about not being able to feel anything with your body, or having to have other people attend to your most basic physical needs ("a nurse has to watch while I take a dump, so she can wipe my bum"), being forced to go incredible length just to keep one's body functioning on the most basic biological levels ("she has to use a lot of lotion to keep her blood flowing...", not to mention breathing through a tube because her lungs don't work), or being abandoned by all of your friends because you're just too sad a sight to bear. Not to mention, the feeling of being a burden on one's own family and loved-ones, and them practically having to destroy themselves out of care for you. All the more horrific because, again, this is a situation many people in our world are stuck in, and they don't have time-travelling friends who can save them. That said, it's worth noting that for all the horror, the episode does at least show that being a quadriplegic is not in itself the end of the world, and that if the situation wasn't quite so dire and dramatic, Chloe could've still had a happy and fulfilling life. Max even mentions how amazing it is that technologies like chin-operated joystick computers and electric wheelchairs are making life much easier for the handicapped, and Chloe is still shown to have many diverse hobbies and to have even made friends over the internet, implicitly other wheelchair-bound people, despite her disability.
    • Seeing just how frail Alt! Chloe's voice is. It's one aspect of her condition that's sorely overlooked. Major credit must be given to Ashly Burch for her delivery from vivacious and active to strained and hoarse. Now, just talking for Chloe is hard, and not something she can do so often. She even has to ask Max for water to moisten her throat at one point.
    • A subtle one comes with Alt!Chloe's text messages. If you notice, you can see that it actually takes her several minutes to respond in a text conversation with Max. It's a small thing, but it further drives home that even something she can do thanks to the mouth-operated joystick is slow and difficult for her.
    • Consider Max's situation in all this. She has every right to blame herself for what happened, yet she's technically not guilty. Had these things happened in the original timeline, she probably wouldn't feel responsible, all she would feel is sorry for Chloe and guilt over not being there for her. But this Max knows all this happened because she tempered with the past and thought she was making things right. What if she'd been able to use that photo power only once, and was unable to go back and reset things? She'd either have to kill Chloe herself, or deal with her early death knowing it's actually all her fault. She'd have to live the rest of her of life with this burden that nobody else knows about!
  • Alt! Chloe asking Max to kill her was incredibly sad. Just this nice, poor girl who could've had everything she ever wanted if she just didn't get in that car crash. Now, she probably can't even move her arms or legs. What's even worse is that this girl, who cares so much for her parents, is still asking for you to kill her despite knowing how much that would hurt them. She must be in that bad of a situation to have to lead to that...
    • The tears in both Max and Chloe's eyes.
    • What makes the entire scenario even more powerful is the absolute lack of background music or ambience sound effects. In typical shows or video games, there's background music inserted into the scene to address the impact of the tragedy to the audience. Here? It is completely silent apart from the conversation between the two girls. No sound effects and no music, not even the music that plays in this game when an important choice needs to be made. Just complete silence.
    • Chloe's reaction either way. She either tells Max that she loves her and she's proud of her if Max accepts, or otherwise bitterly accuses Max of bailing out on her like everyone else, and for just a moment, we see the old, angry Chloe in her. Then she just turns away.
    • As if Max's excruciating guilt over the whole situation wasn't bad enough, at one point Chloe accidentally rubs salt in the wound by telling her she's "not Super Max". She only means it as reassurance, but given how much time and effort Max has spent bending over backwards to be just that, for Chloe and indeed maybe for everybody, it hurts a lot.
  • Max uses the photo to travel back and let William die to save Chloe. It's really sad that the whole situation became so bad that Max had to undo it all. The Prices were about to become homeless from all the costs they had to pay, and William even remarked that he would have to take a third job. If only that car crash hadn't happened then everything would've been fine. Chloe was a straight A student, Max was friends with Victoria, and William was alive! All stopped because of one mistake by some random driver.
    • Max tearfully telling Chloe to be strong and never feel abandoned, no matter what happens, as William walks out to his death once again. It's even more poignant when you realize that she's making amends for not being there for Chloe when she needed her most.
  • Even if David has been a grade A Jerkass, it's hard not to feel sorry for him if you sided with Chloe in Episode 3 and he ends up leaving the house.
    David: You won, Max. You destroyed my family. I salute you.
    • You then find an unfinished letter in the garage, where David tells Joyce he's sorry that he can't explain himself to her, and that he would never intentionally try and hurt their family. He wishes he could tell her what is actually going on in Arcadia Bay but needs more proof. He also shows guilt for Kate's suicide attempt happening under his watch, and is upset that Chloe hates him.
  • Chloe's reaction if she ends up killing Frank and his dog protecting Max. She is completely in shock, and if Max doesn't rewind, has to be verbally calmed down by Max to avoid bursting into tears.
    • It's even more heartbreaking if you played Before the Storm: Chloe essentially killed the one person other than Max that risked their life more than once just to save her from being killed. Regardless of his attitude and the fact that he dated Rachel behind Chloe's back, it still doesn't stop Chloe from thinking of him as a good man, as much as he denied it before. And now because of her, he's dead.
  • Depending on your opinion of him, watching Nathan get pummeled by Warren, to the point of breaking down into tears and begging for him to stop was a strong pull on the heartstrings. Especially since it comes out of the blue and he was acting tough and domineering as usual just moments before. It shows that Nathan is probably much more fragile than he acts.
    • It becomes more upsetting when you consider Nathan's mental instability, and that Warren may well have pushed him close to his breaking point. If you've ever experienced severe mental illness or known someone who has, this scene, and seeing him lie pitifully on the ground afterwards, can be difficult to watch.
      Nathan: Everybody hates me...everybody.
  • When Max and Chloe finally find that Rachel has been Dead All Along. Seeing Chloe burst into tears as Max comforts her is heartbreaking. You can just feel the intense pain taking her. It's sickening that this could happen to just one kid.
    Chloe: (in tears) I loved her so much...how can she be dead?!
  • If you think about it, the drugs Mr. Jefferson used on the abducted girls were most likely bought from Frank, Rachel's love. In a way, Frank killed Rachel.
  • The biggest Tear Jerker of all for this episode is Max getting incapacitated by Jefferson and lying helplessly as Jefferson kills Chloe with a headshot. Chloe is dead, again, and Max can't undo it.
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     Episode 5 - "Polarized" 
  • The trailer for Episode 5. Max can be heard crying and begging Jefferson to let her go as he prepares another syringe. The poor girl's been through absolute hell, and it only seems like it's going to get worse. And the tornado is on its way.
  • If you warned Victoria and she believed you, she'll confide in Jefferson, who will kidnap her and murder her in the Dark Room.
    • Afterwards, you get a flurry of texts from Taylor, who's worried because Victoria disappeared after her acceptance speech.
    • Victoria crying and telling Max that she's sorry for everything she has done, and that she doesn't want to die at 18 years old.
  • Telling David about Jefferson killing Chloe is heartbreaking, but hiding the truth from him just to make sure he doesn't kill Jefferson in a rage is a punch to the gut, especially when he states how he plans on making things right with Chloe and Joyce. He thinks everything is going to be okay when he really has no clue.
  • Nathan's been a giant shit the entire game, but the voicemail he leaves Max before he's killed by Jefferson offscreen is absolutely heartbreaking. It doesn't excuse the fact that he murdered Rachel and drove Kate to suicide, but he only wanted to make his father figure proud, and now his father figure has murdered him and plans on framing him for everything.
    • The fact that unless you sacrifice Chloe, Nathan is dead because he was murdered by Jefferson before the party. Most people after episode 4 had become fond of him.
    • Before The Storm's bonus episode "Farewell" shows that Max made a voice tape for Chloe before moving to Seattle when William died. She left after recording herself to apologize and say goodbye forever to a person she never wanted to hurt but made suffer anyway, exactly as Nathan did. One can only wonder how much Max relates to Nathan's voicemail during that scene.
  • If you didn't warn the homeless woman who lives by the diner, Max comes across her dead body crushed underneath some debris. Max even curses herself for not asking what her name was.
  • If you tell Frank about Nathan and Jefferson killing Rachel with the drugs he supplied Nathan with, he breaks down. Hard.
    • The soundbites you hear from him afterwards...
  • Max's heart-to-heart with Warren, where she finds out that the storm, more or less, is her fault. Just because she wanted to save someone's life.
    • Max doesn't take it too well, either. At one point, she ends up in this nightmarish mashup of everything that happens and it leads her to the diner where everyone—every single person she's met—ends up in the room, including a version of herself that claims that she's one of the alternate Maxes that was left behind (whether she is this or a manifestation of Max's guilt is up to interpretation).
    • Most people shame Max for her selfishness or beg her not to let them die. All Samuel says is: "Please, save the squirrels."
    • When Max meets herself in the nightmare!diner, that Max reams into her for using time to mess with other people's feelings.
  • Both endings. Either you zap right back to the start and let Chloe be murdered by Nathan to stop the storm, or you let presumably everyone in town die to keep Chloe alive.
    • Let that sink in for a bit. If you save Chloe, the storm will destroy the entire town and seemingly kill everyone in it, including Chloe's parents and Warren, as well as Kate and Frank if you managed to keep them alive. When the storm clears, Max and Chloe will pack their stuff and leave town, smiling at one another. But if you save Arcadia Bay, Max is forced to sit in the bathroom and listen to Chloe die. Justice is served for Kate, Rachel and Chloe, but the look on David's face when he discovers her body and the way Joyce almost falls when she walks up to Chloe's casket...there's seriously no "good" way to end this game.
    • Chloe's You Are Better Than You Think You Are speech to Max before she has to make the decision, where Chloe actually advocates that Max sacrifice her. Chloe has grown out of her selfishness and has transformed into a caring and lovable friend after being back together with Max. And going back in time to the beginning would erase that side of Chloe and all of the moments she and Max spent together. As far as Chloe is concerned, she will die alone feeling sad and unloved, not knowing what happened to Rachel and never seeing Max again. But she's willing to do it to stop being a burden, because Chloe loves Max that much.
    • Max and Chloe bidding goodbye if Max decides to sacrifice her. Max looks completely heartbroken as Chloe reassures her, calling Max her "hero". Max and Chloe have a heartfelt hug or kiss, and Chloe delivers what might just be the single most heartwrenching thing you could ever stand to hear anyone say before losing them forever:
      Chloe: (in tears) I'll always love you... And Max Caulfield? Don't you forget about me...
      Max: Never.
    • In the "Sacrifice Chloe" ending, seeing Max helpless to save Chloe and crying silently in the bathroom corner is heartbreaking. As is seeing the time Max and Chloe spent together overwritten by the new timeline. Made even more powerful by the use of the song Spanish Sahara from Foals (already a Tearjerker in itself), which kicks in at just the right moment.
      • The "Sacrifice Chloe" ending becomes even more sad whenever you realize in recent years in our world teenagers have died in very similar situations like Chloe's "bathroom death" scene.
      • Remember how far Max could go out of her way to tell Kate in Episode 2 that the bullies were wrong, that there was still hope, and that she deserved to live as much as anyone? Yeah, Chloe doesn't get told any of that. Chloe gets told, by reality itself, that she was doomed from the start, that she has no right to live when the universe doesn't want her to, and that she better kill herself unless she wants to be responsible for the whole town being wiped out. How sad is that?


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