Episode 5 presents an oddly sombre finale to the season as a whole. It's funny, a comedy first and foremost, and a wonderfully imaginative finale – but one that packs several stings in the tale, and more than a couple of dead bodies. It feels like an epilogue as much as an episode, not just to this specific story, but potentially to Telltale's stint as Sam and Max's storytellers.
Right from the start, this episode has a different feel – a new title sequence, bigger set-pieces, and most notably, no Max as Sam's partner. He's still a major player, but as a snarky enemy, appearing mostly as an army of flaming heads using the now familiar psychic powers to sabotage your progress.
He's not desperately effective at this though. The limited number of rooms and objects makes this the easiest episode of the series by far, but that's fine – it keeps the story bubbling along admirably. The superb Narrator remains the unquestionable highlight, and even if a couple of the big story reveals do fall oddly flat after all the build-up, his Twilight Zone style commentary papers over the cracks with great style. Such a shame he probably won't be back now that his chosen story is told.
As for the series as a whole, ignoring a few wobbly moments here and there, especially in Episodes 2 and 4, it's been an excellent year for the Freelance Police. The Devil's Playhouse hasn't been a deep story, but it's been a fun one, letting Telltale stretch their creative fingers and try some much needed new twists on its formula. It would be a shame for the series to end here, but a fitting send-off if it does.
The season goes out with a bang as Episode 5 kicks up the production values and delivers a fulfilling conclusion.