Life is Strange: Before the Storm Episode 1

Having been through a play through of Life is Strange prequel, I have some thoughts and theories about the game. The game does highlight Chloe’s feeling of abandonment and loneliness after two of her most important and beloved people, William and Max, left her life. With William dead and Max relocated to Seattle, Chloe is acting out in response and covering up her troubling insecurity and emotions with her rebelliousness. Once Rachel Amber enters her life, her life begins to have a180 degree turn.

On the subject of Rachel, she appears to a charming young woman with have it all, looks, success, intelligence, and popularity. However, as players found out at the end of episode 1, there’s more to Rachel than meets the eye. When Rachel and Chloe were burning Rachel’s photo near a tree, Rachel’s scream triggered a strong wind that fanned the flames. The resulting flames became a whole forest fire, a foreboding sign. The resulting wind might imply that Rachel possessed supernatural powers. It is also be interpreted that Rachel is the storm in the main game Life is Strange. The fact that Rachel plays Tempest’s Prospera, a sorceress with wind power also supports this interpretation. For more elaboration, there are a few possibilities if Rachel is the storm. As Rachel died aware of Jefferson and Nathan’s plans due to her angry expression in the picture, the resulting storm after her death could be her curse or revenge on Arcadia Bay due to her dreams being destroyed. In fact, a deleted line from Life is Strange episode 5 had nightmare Rachel speaking to Max about now she can never reach her dreams now that she is dead. Another possibility of her being the storm would be the vision of the storm is a message to Max and the catalyst for Max’s powers in order to guide and reunite Max and Chloe to find out the truth about  her death and other women by Nathan and Jefferson. Her doe spirit leading Max and Chloe to her buried body  and guiding Max to the beacon of lighthouse is evident of this possibility.

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Also at the end of the montage in episode 1, we see a mysterious woman in a white dress smiling at the forest fire. This woman had reoccurring appearances throughout episode 1, setting her up for a major character in future episodes. She also seems to take the role of the an antagonist. We see her kissing Rachel’s father and in the short transition waiting under the tree when Rachel and Chloe were just arriving at the park. When this mistress was smiling at the forest fire, she was also sitting relatively close to it, meaning she could have seen Rachel and Chloe starting it. Does this woman knows much more about Rachel than Rachel about her? What if she was involved in Rachel’s murder ? Or she is going to blackmail Rachel and Chloe in the future based on her observation of the two starting the forest fire?

Interestingly, animal symbolism makes a return in the form of a raven / crow. The crow appears throughout the game in reality and in Chloe’s dreams. It can represent Chloe and Rachel for different reasons. The crow is said to be a messenger to mortals and the intermediary between life and death. This is evident the when the crow appears in Chloe’s dream of William giving her advice about Chloe and Rachel’s quarrel. It is as if William’s spirit is directly communicating Chloe from death and the crow is enabling the interaction. In addition, the crow also represents power of prophetic insight, in which a picture of 18 year old Max hanging from a tree and appearance of Rachel under a tree and Rachel spontaneously bursting into flames are evident in Chloe’s nightmare. Eventually, Chloe and Rachel reconcile under a tree before they burned Rachel’s photo and accidentally started forest fire. The crow represents both Chloe and Rachel for their train of fearlessness and bold nature. For Rachel, the crow also symbolizes her trickster and manipulative nature. As Chloe stated Rachel seems to like playing games and lying. For Rachel’s charming nature, she gives off a manipulative vibe, given that she goaded Chloe into stealing a bottle of wine. Also, the crow raises a question on if it also foreshadows an omen, likely Rachel’s death and ensuing storm 6 months later?

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Overall, the game is on the right track. There is a definite connection between the main game and this prequel in terms of vibe, character, and consistency of elements and themes. It will be interesting to see how much Rachel impacted Chloe to be the person she is now in main Life is Strange game and possibly give more insight on the explanation of the Max’s powers and the unnatural phenomena occurring the game.

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