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  • Accidental Aesop: The scene where Mr. Diaz is shot seems to be a straight example of Police Brutality, but it's also a good lesson about gun safety and the importance of proper training and temperament in those that wield them. The officer's panic and disregard for basic gun rules escalates a misunderstanding into a fatal accident, which would have been avoided if he'd obeyed gun safety rules and kept his finger off the trigger and away from people he didn't intend to kill.
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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: It's made clear in Episode 3 that Finn has problems with being selfish, and tries to manipulate Sean and Daniel into robbing Merrill after the brothers are fired. However, there's some leeway in exactly how selfish and manipulative he is, especially concerning how he'll only kiss Sean if Sean agrees to go along with the heist. Did he express his attraction to Sean to manipulate him even further into going along with the plan, or was it a spontaneous, wholly genuine decision due to him being so happy that Sean agreed with him?
  • Angst Dissonance: Daniel is more insolent in Episode 3, constantly bickering with Sean and complaining that he isn't being treated as an adult. This sort of attitude is understandable given the amount of trauma that Daniel has experienced - in fact, if the player chooses to go to bed with him, Daniel explains that his anger and rudeness are specifically because his grief overwhelms him. However, many players aren't sympathetic to his problems, instead complaining that he's being "a brat" for little reason.
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  • Anvilicious: The game takes several hot topics in modern America and covers them with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. In the first episode alone, Mexican brothers Sean and Daniel face suspicion and discrimination at almost every turn, an incompetent trigger happy cop freaks out and shoots their father dead, and Sean is held captive by a bigoted redneck spouting racial slurs who makes it very clear which way he voted in the 2016 election. Examining Sean's message history with Lyla also shows an exchange where they are terrified for the future of their country over whether "he" will win the election.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • One thing the first two games were criticized for was the heavy use of Totally Radical dialogue. This was thankfully dialed back here.
    • Sean being revealed as bisexual, having a potential romance in Finn, and Penny being gay seems to alleviate any doubts that this game would not contain any LGBT themes like the previous two and that Sean would be a “generic straight male” protagonist.
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  • Contested Sequel: The dramatic shift in tone and play style compared to the first game put off quite a few fans, while others appreciate the fact that the Totally Radical dialogue is toned down and enjoy the relationship between Sean and Daniel. There also a matter of how it tackling hot button issues, as some people see it as a case of Some Anvils Need to be Dropped while others find it more Anvilicious
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Lyla is popular in the fandom for being an Asian female, for being best friends with Sean without any romantic undertones, and for her playful yet caring attitude to both Sean and Daniel. When she didn't make any sort of appearance in Episode 3, besides a few mentions of her in a flashback, many fans were disappointed. An interview with the lead writer reveals that Lyla wasn't supposed to show up at all after Episode 1, but made a re-appearance due to how popular she had become with fans.
    • Brody quickly became a fan favourite for his odd but lovable nature, and the fact he goes out of his way to help the Diaz brothers without asking for anything in return. He not only saves them from the racist gas station owner, he gives them money and supplies so they can continue their journey, along with buying them a motel room for the night.
    • Cassidy has been very well received for her very friendly demeanor and for being the first friend Sean has made that’s around his age since he made his journey. Her presence in Episode 3 had earned her more fans for her role as a potential love interest with good chemistry with Sean, along with her more level-headed approach in dealing with Merrill, and for showing a great deal of concern with Finn's decision to convince Sean and Daniel to steal from Merrill in payback for being fired by him.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Sean and Lyla have gotten some traction due to their close relationship despite, or perhaps because of, the lack of romantic undertones and if Sean decides to call Lyla before he throws away his phone, they both are practically on the verge of crying.
  • Fanon:
    • The heightened prevalence of Animal Motifs in the game, with the brothers frequently comparing themselves to wolves, along with Sean's various doodles of anthropomorphic characters (including, at one point, a 'trash panda persona', as well as a drawing of himself as an anthropomorphic animal), has led to the idea within fandom that Sean is a furry.
    • When giving Sean a haircut, Finn puts on a faux-Scottish accent and welcomes him to the "McNamara Salon". Some fans interpret this as McNamara being Finn's surname.
  • Friendly Fandoms: With fans of The Walking Dead video game, particularly The Final Season, due to similarities in characters and genre. Both are episodic, choice-based adventures games starring a bisexual protagonist of color who has to take on a protective elder sibling role for a much younger character. What's more, The Final Season ended around the time that Life Is Strange 2 debuted, allowing fans of the former to easily transfer over.
  • Good Bad Bugs: A hilarious glitch can happen in Episode 2, which leads to Chris and his father getting stuck in the marketplace and unable to return to their car. As a result, the car door opens and closes by itself, and the brothers drive off with no-one in the front seat (leading to jokes that Daniel was using telekinesis to steal the car).
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The first game was turned down by several publishers, who suggested they change the lead to a male. For this sequel, DONTNOD decided to give the suggestion a try.
    • Before the first episode was released, there were complaints that Sean seemed like a typical straight male protagonist. Episode 3 reveals that Sean is bisexual, making him a very atypical male protagonist.
  • Moe: Daniel is an adorable nine year old boy who loves video games, animals, and being with his big brother. He's physically cute looking with big dark eyes and fluffy hair, and likes cuddling up to Sean. Daniel is especially sweet when it comes to him looking after his puppy, Mushroom.
  • No Yay: Many fans enjoy Sean's potential romances with Cassidy or Finn. However, other fans are turned off from them, especially the optional sexual scene with Cassidy, due to Sean being a minor. While Cassidy and Finn's ages aren't specified, they do seem to be at least a few years older than him.
  • Player Punch:
    • Esteban's death, even for players who saw the dead parent coming a mile way (or were spoiled thanks to promotional material), hits hard because he was a genuinely warm and hardworking father whose murder was sudden and unjust.
    • Episode 2 has the death of Mushroom, which was the worst for players who felt that she'd become the Team Pet for future installments.
  • Ron the Death Eater: Much of the fandom has interpreted Officer Matthews as a racist cop and a searing criticism of contemporary American law enforcement. The game itself treats him more charitably, making a point out of showing how dire and threatening the situation looked from his perspective (it wasn't actually either, but it certainly looked pretty bad). The player at one point gets to choose between having Sean blame Matthews or blame himself, with the implication being that neither choice is entirely justified.
  • Ship Mates: Despite the potential rivalry, Sean/Lyla shippers and Sean/Cassidy shippers are very civil towards each other. Sean/Lyla shippers portray Cassidy as the Cool Big Sis while Lyla, being Sean's best friend, acts as his wingman for Sean/Cassidy shippers.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: While the execution is blunt, the protagonists and their social environment lead naturally to the game's handling of American hot topics like racism against Mexicans, and that with the Run for the Border plot it would be impossible not to talk about how current politics would influence that without the game coming off as tone-deaf.
  • Strawman Has a Point: A stall owner criticizes Cassidy and Finn, who he sees as hoodlums, for not putting a leash on their dog in public. As a response, he is mocked for his views, and the player is also given the opportunity to allow Daniel to prank him for daring to confront them over their dog. While calling the two "parasites" when they refused was unnecessary, some saw the stall owner as being reasonable with his claims, considering that he's right to be worried about a stray dog potentially causing trouble in the stalls while he's trying to sell his merchandise to the public, and especially when earlier on in the story, Mushroom died, because the dog was allowed to roam outside unsupervised and was quickly killed by a mountain lion.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: The drastic tonal shift between the first and second games, along with entirely different themes and a far more minimalist cast, were bound to turn off some fans of the original. At its core, one of the common complaints within the fandom is that following a pair of young boys on a grim trek to Mexico is simply not as endearing a premise as a pair of cute girls having high school hijinks in idyllic seaside Oregon.
  • Toy Ship: Fans ship Daniel with Chris, the protagonist of The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, as he saves Chris from falling with his powers. In Episode 2 the two of them quickly bond and foster an adorable friendship, with Chris distraught that Daniel has to leave at the end.
  • Unnecessary Makeover: In Episode 3, it's possible for Sean to receive a haircut after numerous complaints from his friends about his longer, shaggier style. A lot of fans, however, prefer the longer hair over the mohawk hairstyle that Finn gives him.
  • Win the Crowd: After fans had some reservations about there being a kid character with a significant role in the story, especially after the divisive reactions to Chris, the first episode saw a warmer reception to Daniel due to his likable character and relationship with Sean.

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