Jessica (played by Meaghan Martin) starts off as an unsympathetic and over-sexualized character. When you play Episode 4, you play Mike. A creature drags away Jessica, and you have to chase after her. If you fail every QTE button push, Mike won’t reach her in time. She’ll fall from above and hit the floor dead. If you reach her in time, she lies on the floor of an elevator. Then the elevator gives way and falls down into the mine. Mike believes she’s dead at that point, but we discover in the final, Episode 10, that she’s still alive. At that point, she tries to escape a Wendigo, creatures that are the real killers, in the mine.
If she tries to hide and you manage to stay still with the game controller, Jessica will get away. You have to do this absolutely still trick twice with the game controller in order to make her survive. In this latter life-or-death situation, it doesn’t seem like a really fair choice. Jessica dies if she runs, and lives if she hides. But she’s in such good shape that the player should realize she has no chance if she decides to run. In this latter period, Jessica is injured and vulnerable, with none of the annoying swagger of the earlier scenes.
Matt (Jordan Fisher) is the jock boyfriend of Emily, and he catches a lot of verbal abuse from her. In Episode 6, he faces his first life-or-death moment when a herd of deer corner him and Emily on the same cliff where Hannah and Beth fell. In this case, Nature can take revenge. If Matt tries to attack a threatening stag, rather than just do nothing, the deer will start pushing back, driving Matt off the cliff.
Later in the episode, Emily and Matt run into trouble as the tower falls. This one is tricky. When Matt and Emily decide whether to go the ranger tower, Matt should disagree. It seems like a small thing, and it is. On top of the ranger tower, Emily finds a flare gun. If Matt had agreed and Emily gives him the flare gun, then Matt shoots it off needlessly. Then he won’t have it later, when he needs it to save his life. So, again, Matt has to disagree on the ranger tower, then Emily has to give him the flare gun.
Then the ranger tower topples and falls into the mine. Matt has a choice about saving Emily or jumping to safety. Matt survives if he jumps to safety. If he tries to save Emily twice, she falls anyway, and Matt is tossed to a landing. Emily appears to die, but she doesn’t. At that point, a Wendigo finds Matt. If he has the flare gun, he can use it. If he doesn’t, he dies a nasty death as the monster impales him on a hanging hook. Once again, the details matter here, and Matt’s fate is tied to some random decisions that make him hard to save naturally.
Lastly, in Episode 10, Matt runs into Jessica. Together, they play out the same routine that either saves or kills Jessica. If they hide, they can survive. While hiding, Matt has to catch Jessica from falling and making a nice with a very fast QTE. If he fails to catch her, they both die.
As noted, Emily (Nichole Bloom) doesn’t die when she falls into the mine. She catches her foot on a swinging hook and can swing her way to safety. But in Episode 8, a Wendigo Emily gets chased by a Wendigo in the mines. If you fail the QTEs while running, the Wendigo will catch her and kill her. She is at risk while running, and she’s also at risk when the Wendigo punches through the door and bites her in the neck. That bite has consequences down the road.
Later in Episode 8, Emily goes to the “safe room” in the basement with the others. Ashley notices the bite on her neck and starts freaking out about how Emily is infected, will become a Wendigo, and will turn and kill them all. Mike latches on to this theory and pulls out his gun. Sam disagrees, but Mike points the gun at Emily. If you shoot the gun, Emily dies. Then Ashley reads the stranger’s dropped Wendigo book and discovers that the bites are not infectious. Emily’s death is needless.
In Episode 9, Ashley (Galadriel Stineman) faces her own critical moment when the group is moving through the sewer to find Mike in the mines. Ashley trails behind and hears a plea for help. It sounds like Jessica’s voice. If you choose to investigate the voice, Ashley goes down a separate path. There’s some moaning, and Ashley has to decide whether to open a door that is being banged on from the other side. If she opens it, a Wendigo comes out and beheads her. It’s a fairly random and pernicious death: If she’s kind, she dies.
In Episode 8, Chris (Noah Fleiss) goes with the stranger to try to save Josh. They don’t find Josh and discover they are in danger as they try to return to the lodge. You have to remain still as the Wendigo stalks you, but no matter what you do, the monster hears you make a step. There’s no way to save the stranger from being beheaded. But Chris has a chance to survive as he runs.
But here’s some kind of bug. When I tried to shoot the shotgun directly at the Wendigo, the trigger wouldn’t pull. If I aimed at the flamethrower gas tank, the shotgun did fire and blow it up. So by default, just remember to shoot at the explosive when you have the option. At any point during the pursuit, Chris can die if you miss your shots. And if the Wendigo gets him, he loses his head. If he makes his shots, Chris can reach the safety of the lodge.
But there’s one interesting twist. If, in Episode 6, Chris opts to fire the gun with blanks at Ashley, rather than shoot himself, she’ll turn on him. In that case, even if Chris reaches the safety of the lodge, Ashley won’t open the door for him, and he’ll die on the steps.
Mike (Brett Dalton) starts out as a big jerk, but he becomes one of two main characters. He’s much more likable when he comes under pressure. And so while he faces many dangers from Wendigo attacks, he doesn’t face his real do-or-die moment until Episode 10. At the close of the game, as the Wendigos hunt the survivors in the lodge, everybody has to stand still. If Samantha fails her QTEs, she and Mike can die. If Samantha runs for the light switch in an attempt to save herself, she may blow up the lodge with Mike still inside it.
Sam (Hayden Panetierre) has to make a run for it as Josh is terrorizing her in the lodge. But if she gets caught, she falls unconscious with sleeping gas. Like Mike, she is the other main character. And she won’t have a death moment until Episode 10. As noted, if she fails her QTEs and is spotted by the Wendigos, then it’s all over. Panetierre, by the way, gives an outstanding performance at the close of the game.
Josh (Rami Malek) seems like the most helpless character. It seems like he dies early on at the edge of a circular saw. But Josh survives until the last episode. If you collect all of the clues about the missing twins, and find the last note by Hannah in her diary in the mine, then Josh will live. A Wendigo emerges from the water, pulls Mike under, and then emerges to grab Josh. If you did not collect all the clues, then the Wendigo squishes Josh’s head. If you collected the clues, the Wendigo drags Josh away. And that sets up the final part of the ending.
— by Dean Takahashi