Episode 1 – Chrysalis
SPOILERS AHEAD FOR LIFE IS STRANGE EPISODES 1-4!
Life Is Strange’s inaugural episode sets up the scene for us by introducing us to the cast of characters and batshit events that are about to unfold over the course of the rest of the episodes. Max Caulfield is our level-headed, down to earth, normal teenager protagonist. She’s back in Arcadia Bay from spending some time away with her family in Seattle in order to attend the expensive private school (Blackwell Academy) that has a great photography program. She’s mad hipstery in that she’s into photography, indie music, and sarcasm.
The game opens up right with action and what-the-hell-moments as you’re walking through a full-blown tornado storm, making your way to a lighthouse area. Max gets completely clobbered by debris and wakes up suddenly in class. She had fallen asleep.
Max isn’t into the popular crowd in particular (the Vortex Club), but she’s cool with everyone. There’s a guy named Warren that’s into her, but the player can choose to either leave him as just a friend or reciprocate his feelings. Of course, because it’s a private school, the teens are into crazy shit to get back at their rich parents. We meet the shitty Regina George of the campus, Victoria, and the rest of Max’s classmates while they’re all in photography class in the opening act. We’re also introduced to the photography genius teacher, Mark Jefferson. He has a soft spot for Max because she’s sort of a prodigy, but she doesn’t believe in her abilities enough to submit a photo to an upcoming contest.
But let’s get to the weird shit. During class, Max was hardly paying attention because she had just been straight up napping and now she’s zoning out. She takes a selfie of herself and this catches the teacher’s attention. To test the class, he asks them a question. Max gets this wrong because she was too busy daydreaming, but Victoria gets it right because she sucks. Class ends and Jefferson scolds Max for not submitting a photo to the contest yet, Victoria tries to mack on him because she really wants the scholarship, and Max wants to head over to the bathroom.
When she does, she heads to a stall while a blue haired punk chick and the psycho of the school, Nathan Prescott, are hanging out in the bathroom. They get into an argument, he pulls a gun out, shit gets out of hand and the punk girl gets shot. Max jumps out of her hiding place at this point and seems to, suddenly, reverse time. She’s back in the classroom just as Jefferson is going to ask the class that question. Suddenly, our teen drama has sci-fi involved.
So Max heads out of the classroom all over again, goes to the bathroom, and this time she stops Nathan Prescott from shooting bluey by pulling the fire alarm. Max is hella confused about how she has friggin’ superpowers.
Episode 1 is also where we find out the mystery of Rachel Amber. She’s gone missing and there are a ton of posters all over the school, put up by someone hoping to find her.
Anyway, after side things that don’t matter in the grand scheme, Max is talking to Warren in the parking lot, and Nathan Prescott’s crazy ass shows up, livid. He’s, of course, pissed off if Max chose to tell the principal about what she saw in the bathroom. He goes HAM on Warren when he interferes, and suddenly the blue haired chick is back and saves Max from the rumble. It turns out, they know each other! Pretty well, in fact. Before Max left Arcadia Bay for Seattle, her and Chloe were best friends.
Chloe takes Max back to her house and Max is overwhelmed with nostalgia of the past and how much Chloe seems to have changed since they were kids (she’s super punk now). Chloe reveals that Rachel is her current BFF and she’s gone missing. Chloe’s been the one putting up missing posters in hopes of finding her, as they had plans to move to Los Angeles together. Nobody has a clue where she could have gone, and it’s not likely Chloe would have been left behind by Amber. We’re also introduced to Chloe’s super nice, small-town diner waitress mom, and her hard-ass ex-military stepdad that she doesn’t get along with at all. (Chloe’s dad passed away in an accident when her and Max were young.)
After other side stuff that doesn’t matter in the grand scheme, Max and Chloe are chatting near the lighthouse area when suddenly Max passes out and has another weird, tornado vision. She wakes up and tells Chloe all of the weird things that have been happening as snow falls in the middle of definitely not winter.