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This Needs to be Said - Kenny

posted by Belan on - last edited - Viewed by 9.7K users

With the season finale quickly approaching, I have thought it best to finally take the time to clear a few things up about Kenny and his character in season two. I honestly was interested enough in this topic that I wanted to write up an entire essay's worth of information, but I know that would turn off certain users that do not feel like taking the time to read that sort of thing. I would just ask that Kenny haters and apologists alike bear with me as I take a look at a few key issues surrounding Kenny in season two.

Issue One: Kenny doesn't belong in Season Two.

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I am going to try and keep this brief because I do not really think there is much that needs to be said here, but I see this idea get floated around from time to time, and I would like to address it.

I see this idea mainly pushed around by people who have a personal dislike of Kenny. They argue that aside from the improbability of him surviving the events of season one, his presence in Season Two has taken away from the development of other characters. While this is true to an extent, it is really a silly thing to argue about as any character who takes up any amount of space in the game is going to take away potential development time from other characters. That being said, it is possible for certain characters to hog screentime. We do not see that from Kenny though. Despite what a few people have said around these parts, he has not gotten any more screentime than any of the other members of the group (who have survived up until at least Episode Three), with maybe the exception of Nick and Sarah. You have to remember that he did not even show up until halfway through Episode Two. Kenny is a character who is still developing, and has every reason to be a major figure in Season Two (among other characters..). Just because you happen to be sick of him or have a personal distaste for his character does not mean the guy does not have a reason to be around.

Issue Two: Kenny is reckless.

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Lets start with the first incident that most people call into question in regards to Kenny’s recklessness, that being the shootout at the ski lodge back in Episode Two.

For some reason people love to throw Kenny under the bus for this one, and blame him for Walt’s death (and potentially Alvin’s). This just isn’t very fair at all. As is the case with most issues that people have with Kenny, these people fail to put themselves in his shoes, and fail to see things from his perspective instead of solely their own. We have to remember that Kenny knew absolutely nothing about Carver and his group, and he knew nothing of their intentions. Us as the player didn’t even know a lot at the time, but we at least had a general idea. In hindsight it is very easy for us to look back at Kenny’s actions and call them reckless, but we need to understand this is only because we know what the outcome of the situation is. Kenny had no idea what would happen in the case of him surrendering. Seriously, why would he just assume that Carver (someone he knows nothing about) would spare everyone’s life if he laid down his gun and gave himself up? As far as he knew, Carver could have just gunned down the entire group once he had them all at his mercy. After surrendering, there was nothing stopping Carver from killing everyone and walking away with Rebecca and the baby. Again, in hindsight we know Carver had his reasons for not wanting to do this, but in the moment we had no reason to think he would spare anyone. There is no logical reason to blame Kenny for this incident, and it does not even show a hint of recklessness on his part.

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The second main issue that some people blame Kenny for is his gruesome killing of Carver. They argue that his methods took up too much time, and indirectly caused the deaths of Carlos, Sarita and potentially Nick and Sarah. He caused this because he wasted time in getting revenge instead of using that time to get a head start on escaping.

There are many arguments that disprove this one, but I’ll stick to just two for now. It’s pretty simple really. We have to remember that Kenny was the one who took action on Carver in the first place. Everyone else seemingly wanted to have a discussion about it, but Kenny took the matter into his own hands and dealt with it. How long would everyone else have bickered and argued about the morality of their decision making before they finally made a choice as a group? We obviously have no way of knowing for sure, but that is kind of the point. We don’t know how much extra time everyone else would have taken up before deciding what to do with Carver. Even after deciding what to do, they would then have had to execute that plan. Kenny didn’t wait around for this, and took matters into his own hands. Argue about his methods all you want, but he is the one who took action.

Another argument against his supposed recklessness here is the fact that his actual killing of Carver only took around 20 seconds of time. Obviously shooting Carver would have taken even less time, but we’re not talking about a major difference here. We’re talking an extra 20 seconds or so. The bulk of the scene was taken up by Carver talking (for dramatic purposes..). So would Kenny finishing Carver off with a simple shot to the head really have dramatically changed things? Most likely not. Again though, this really isn’t even all that worth seriously looking into considering Kenny was the one who expedited the process by taking action in the first place. Similar to the last issue we looked at, there really isn't any argument for calling Kenny reckless here. There is no ground for it to stand on at all.

Overall I do not think it is fair to call Kenny a reckless man, but he does have his moments. His little tussle with Mike in Episode Three led to walkers breaking into the compound and putting Clem and others in danger. The actual incident with Mike was never explained at all so we can’t really speculate if Kenny had a legitimate reason to be angry, but cooler heads should have probably prevailed. Earlier in the episode Kenny also had a fairly risky plan to escape the truck they were being transported in. The interesting part is the fact that the plan actually had a pretty good chance of working considering only three unassuming guards met them at their destination, but despite that fact, the plan was a little reckless in of itself.

Issue Three: Kenny’s Grief (aka how he mistreated Clementine)

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This alone has stirred the pot with people’s viewpoints of Kenny probably more than anything else he has done this season. Truthfully, I am absolutely baffled by it. I understand this topic has been beaten to death, so I’ll try and keep it short and sweet.

First off, let me say that the way Kenny treated Clementine following Sarita’s death was absolutely wrong. But instead of us reaching for our torches and pitchforks, let us take a moment to at least try and understand what the man was going through. We’re potentially looking at a man who literally saw his lover get her arm cut off and then brutally ripped apart by walkers only a matter of hours prior to having his discussion with Clementine. It was clear that Kenny was in shock, and sick with grief. For a brief period of time, he had given up. That being said, is it really all that difficult to understand why he went off on the one person who was directly involved in Sarita’s fate? Is it really difficult to understand why he was so bitter? Obviously the situation changes a little in the instance that you didn't cut off Sarita’s arm, but the concept stays the same. Kenny was simply grieving. That doesn't make what he said alright, but we are in really no place to pass judgement. The man is only human. It would be one thing if he held onto his anger against Clementine, but he clearly does not, which further shows that his outburst was a by product of his intense grief and despair. It is really kind of unfortunate that people let this very natural incident take away from all the great things that Kenny did in the rest of Episode Four. Despite his grief, he was able to let go of his self pity and rushed to the aid of the group when no one else could. Whether people want to admit it or not, Kenny is/was a beacon of hope to the group, and they looked to him for leadership. He could have remained bitter and depressed until it sunk the rest of the group down with him, but he isn’t about that. Instead, he put his own needs aside and delivered a baby.

''You don’t just end it cause it’s hard. You stick it out, and you help the folks you care about.'' - Kenny

It is clear that Kenny cares about the group, and especially Clementine. I will admit that at first I was a little angry with Kenny for what he said to Clementine, but as I began to understand his situation from his own position, I was able to let go of that. If anything, I would say that I am a little sad that he said what he did… because it is clear that he cares about her a lot.

To conclude here, I would just like to say that I hope you consider these points when thinking about how you personally feel towards Kenny going forward. With the season finale approaching, we may not have much time left with his character. Lets try and end it on a good note.

  • Good points. Largely.

    You seem to have assumed that people who call him reckless are doing so because of the two incidents you describe.

    I call him reckless because his plan of storming out of the van and attacking Carver's community would have got him, and possibly the group, killed.

    Also, while I know you make efforts to appear neutral, the fact that you tried to turn every single action of his into a positive comes across as slightly Kenny apologisty lord-and-saviour-y.

    Aside from that, awesome work. It still doesn't change how I feel mostly, but he's gone from being the only member of my hate list of alive characters to the only member of my hate but understand list.

    • Fair enough, and thanks.

      Though I would openly admit that I am a bit of a Kenny apologist. Not sure if that is necessarily a bad thing though. I attempted to appear neutral enough that Kenny "haters" wouldn't be immediately turned away from the thread ;)

      Also I would just like to add that I understand that there are few other issues in question in regards to Kenny being reckless, I just wanted to hit on the more popular ideas that I see around here.

      • Well it depends on what you define a Kenny apologist as, to be honest.

        I would define it as someone who always sides with him as a reflex and then trying to justify why they did so and telling off people who didn't do the same, as opposed to someone who thinks about things before they choose to side with him on something and can understand why they chose differently.

        Basically, the exemplary Kenny apologists are the ones who say 'I like him because he is a flawed character' and then go on to refuse to acknowledge that some of his actions are flawed, which makes no sense.

        Right, so you tried to trick people into thinking you were more neutral than you are? :p

        • Oh, if that is how you meant it that is definitely not how I am. I simply tend to agree with a decent amount of his decisions, and typically understand where he is coming from. I feel like he is treated unfairly at times.

          • To me it seemed like you were trying to justify all of his bad actions :p

            If that's not you, as a matter of interest what do you think are Kenny's worst, non-justifiable actions?

            • From season two?

              Probably only his meltdown on Mike in Episode Three causing walkers to break into the compound. I can't really think of anything else that I have a problem with, as far as it being justifiable or not justifiable.

    • Kenny is the only character i hate from alive people too, but imagine if Kenny appeared in s2 for the first time, would people like him so much like now? I know im gonna get a lot of hate for this but this had to be said.

  • I personally believe that kenny had every right to be mad at clem IF she did cut saritas arm off, because it kinda is her fault then. Good points though I agree with pretty much all you said

  • I think Kenny belonged in the Season 2 storyline, i just think that maybe he shouldnt have taken up as much space as he did. Just because Kenny took the spotlight in Episodes 2 and 3 does not mean he shouldnt have been in Season 2 entirely.

    • Also, this. I feel they could have made more effort to have new characters.

      However, this will come in season 3 as it seems likely that Telltale will be killing off Kenny.

  • Great post, Belan. And if some people didn't know, Kenny can apologize in the tent. Alt text

    • I don't really see how him apologising if you act a very specific way is so wonderful.

      He owes ALL clems an apology for the way he acted. Not just the tiny, tiny minority who play as a mute.

      At least Luke always apologises for what he does. One of his only saving graces in episode 4 to be honest.

      • If you cut off Saritas arm he was jjustified in being angry imo. It wasnt really your right to do that. If you didnt cut off Saritas arm well then fuck kenny he had no right to blame you for her death

        • He was justified in being angry but I wouldn't say he was justified in swearing at you and being horrible.

          • Ok yeah I agree he went overboard with some of his comments. But i actually did agree with his comment about Clem getting people killed, because she has, most notably Lee : (

          • His girlfriend just got killed, he got viciously beat up and is probably blind in one eye, he lost his group, he lost the ski lodge, he's lost Katjaa and Duck.

            The guy just takes shit after shit and eventually it just get's too much. "That's enough Clementine, I'm tired of this bullshit."

            He was just sick of so much crap happening to him, and he wasn't in the mood to be talked to by Clementine or anyone else for that matter.

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          MindWeb BANNED

          It wasnt really your right to do that.

          Larry and Lee's arm would agree with you.

      • I see the justification for Kenny being angry, I mean if you cut of Saritas arm you end up killing her, it doesn't matter whether your a little girl or not. Kenny loved Sarita and you couldn't just expect him to be ok with the fact Clementine caused her death.

        • I never said Kenny wasn't justified in being angry. I'm saying that treating a child the way he did is despicable, regardless of whether he was angry or not.

          • Again I refer you to my other comment. When the world throws so much crap at you, when you're made to suffer day in and day out. You lose your friends, your family, you live everyday wondering what the hell is the point anymore.

            Kenny has been put through so much shit, he's lost everyone he cared about, he lost his son and wife, his partner, he loses the ski lodge, he loses his friends, he get's viciously beaten up as he takes a beating (For Clementine I might add) which likelihood of one of his eye being useless now. Then his partner dies in the walkers horde.

            People seem to forget that the man is put so much crap and in the end you can't expect him to be fine about it, he's human and he get's angry. At the point of Saritas death he didn't care anymore, he was sick to hell of everything he has falling apart, and to have everyone around him talking about him, speaking about their worries, it just takes it's toll on the guy.

            So what I'm saying is you can't blame the guy for losing it, he's sick to death of everything falling apart.

            • You've literally just ignored what I said because I completely agree with what you're saying.

              You're giving reasons why his anger is understandable. It IS understandable. But that still doesn't make yelling at a child objectively 'right'.

              Look at Lilly for instance. Her father died, she had nothing to live for, Kenny tried to leave her behind after she saved them from bandits. Then she snaps and commits a murder.

              Lilly's actions there are understandable. She was pushed and hated and left to die by the people she was trying to save. But that does NOT make her murder objectively 'right'.

              • Thats actually a really good example about the lily thing EDIT: but killing someone and yelling are two different things too

                • They are, but in this context they can be equated as 'a negative action'. And thank you!

                  • Granted but that negative action weights a bit more on Lillys side than it did with Kenny in their scenarios.

                    I mean Kenny isn't always the most calm minded of people and yeah he says things he shouldn't, but the guy does care for her, i mean he willingly took a beating for her in episode 3.

                    But in the end your right, he shouldn't have talked to her like that, but it doesn't really bother me too much, the guy has done a lot of good things for her this season that makes what he said a minor negative for me.

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      InfiniteDawn BANNED

      Kenny apologizing doesn't really justify his actions and how he treated Clementine.

      I mean, when Luke fucked up, he apologized immediately and various times. But, people still don't like him for it.

      And then Kenny apologizes which is actually determinate (not many people stayed silent), it doesn't justify it.

  • Actions speak louder than words.

    • But expressing yourself through words is an action. That is such an overused phrase which means very little.

      • Expressing himself how? Expressing his rage or by apologizing after? I guess that phrase doesn't fit the situation on him apologizing or raging at Clem. I guess what I was trying to say was that he can apologize but for me at least, that doesn't change much. Thanks for apologizing, but you still called her a stupid kid, etc. That's going to stick with her, it won't just blow over. Like oh, he apologized so everything is better. I don't see it that way. It doesn't just go away.

        • He doesn't apologise after for the vast majority of people.

          Like literally, he never once thinks 'Oh my god, I said all those things to a kid I care about, I better apologise'. He pretends nothing happened for the rest of the episode for 99% of people.

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    CrazyGeorge BANNED

    I consider myself a Kenny Moderate. I disliked how he acted in Season 1, because i sided with Lilly, and got angry Kenny. I like his character a lot, his pissyness is much more natural than nice guy Luke, even though i do like Luke's meltdown after sexing up Jane.

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      CrazyGeorge BANNED

      The only thing i didn't like about season one was if you don't side with him on Killing Larry, he pretty much hates you for the rest of the game, would he really care that much?

      • He even leaves you to die in episode 3 if you don't murder Larry.

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          CrazyGeorge BANNED

          I feel like he was added in at the last moment, because if you remember S2 E1 , Carlos is supposed to be the guy who flies off the handle, then by episode 3 he is pretty much rewritten as the cautious guy. I wonder what kind of story they were going to give us with Carlos, It will never be known.

          • Its a shame than fan service look over from storytelling.

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              CrazyGeorge BANNED

              Its a shame than fan service look over from storytelling.

              Well look at how Clementine's character is now. I find it odd how she would give this speech about not leaving people behind, then she does it herself with Sarah. They are trying to turn her into Solid Clementine, when they don't need to.

  • All very good points. Interesting read.

  • As a Walking Dead comic reader, I don't find Kenny surviving the alleyway to be THAT bad.

    In the comics, Tyreese survived being locked in a gymnasium full of walkers for three days, armed with nothing but a hammer. And your only explanation is that he's a bad ass like that.

  • It doesn't matter if you like him or not, we all know he has issues but he will stick around for a while.

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