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- "Looks like the guy who ran this place. Looks like he figured himself as some kind of supreme leader."
- —Lee commenting on Oberson's photo in the Crawford School. (Determinant)[src]
Crawford Oberson, more commonly known as Oberson, is an original character who is mentioned numerous times throughout "Around Every Corner" of Telltale Games' The Walking Dead: Season One. From the information that is given to the player, Oberson is described as the effective, but ultimately ruthless, amoral, and power hungry leader of Crawford who only cared for the protection of his society and the authority he accumulated from ruling it.
As demonstrated by the events of the episode, Oberson's society had crumbled like the rest of the world and most of his followers were killed and reanimated into walkers while he committed suicide to avoid a more grisly death. While he only makes a brief appearance as a walker, his influence is felt all throughout Crawford and Savannah during the course of events throughout the last episodes.
Nothing is known about Oberson's life before or as the outbreak began, though he was presumably a resident and survivor of Savannah who rose up to the rank of leader over a large group of survivors in the wake of the outbreak. The exact contents of his accession into such a trusted and powerful position are largely unknown, except for the fact that it was total and complete.
Oberson became the self-appointed leader that controlled the district of Crawford in Savannah after the outbreak of walkers left the rest of the world in ruins. While his previous life and occupation is unknown, he undoubtedly possessed high authority and charisma to convince an entire district of a city to elect him as their leader.
At first, Oberson seemed like a stable and effective leader who truly had the best intentions for his people through his methods and survival tactics. He had the district of Crawford barricaded and effectively cut off from the rest of the chaos that was Savannah and the world. He helped gather up whatever supplies were left and formed a hopeful society where everyone looked up to Oberson as a hero.
Throughout his leadership, however, Oberson became drunk on power and his own authority and quickly became a ruthless, amoral, and violent tyrant who did anything he could to keep his power over Crawford intact. He believed that he was the only one who could lead his people to survival. The more he led Crawford, the more his mind began to deteriorate and started to form several, extremely brutal methods to ensure that the society he built would never be torn down. He grew to relish in the authority and influence his leadership provided him with and became more obsessed with upholding it rather than the welfare of innocent people.
Establishing the premise and the populace as his own, Oberson regulated his own set of strict and self-made rules that he believed would allow him and his people to survive and even flourish in this new world. These rules prohibited any children under the age of fourteen, elderly, or people with advanced medical conditions to be part of his regime and has them outcast or killed to heighten a more strong society comprised of individuals who are not dependent on constant medical attention and are less likely to die and become walkers. Women who were found to be pregnant were forced to undergo abortion procedures or suffer worse circumstances if they refused, with any and all medical consultations being video taped and documented as part of Oberson's surveillance over his people.
To aid himself in governing his district, Crawford appointed his most loyal and devoted followers to become his council, where they made all decisions and judgments for the people below them, essentially becoming the government and law that controlled Crawford. Anyone who opposed Oberson, his followers, or their laws would be horrifically murdered and placed into part of the barricade, made from hundreds of walkers, that separated Crawford from the rest of the world and served as a warning for potential trespassers. Oberson and his forces completely looted the rest of Savannah, retrieving car parts, batteries, drugs, food, and anything else left of value to be stored within their regime, killing anyone who got in their way, and leaving most survivors to fend for themselves. They also left a message written in blood on the docks warning survivors not to come any closer if they were on boats.
On rare occasions, Oberson's forces would recruit some of the survivors they found as long they met the qualifications to be part of Crawford. To keep track of all the areas that have been looted and surveyed, Oberson had his higher-ups train the populace to leave military-like marks all over the city to specify which locations have been searched and looted, keep track on how many survivors were left behind or brought back, the amount of walkers intercepted, who conducted the search, and the days since the outbreak when the area was searched and looted.
The school within the area became Oberson's main base of operations where weapons, medical supplies, food, and pillaged items were all stored as well as where the populace made their plans and operations for survival. Oberson directed his affairs from a classroom directly adjacent to the armory, where he kept all the blueprints and maps of the area as well as folders containing his plans and strategic tactics. All residents of Crawford were given rations once every three days and were urged to make the best use of them or else they would be forced to leave the district.
Oberson also played heavily in Molly's back story and her decision to ultimately leave Crawford once her sister began showing symptoms of becoming sick. While Molly and her sister initially thought that Crawford was an ideal society to survive in, their opinion quickly changed when Oberson's regulations become far more ruthless, particularly the laws that regarded medically ill residents. Molly's fourteen year old sister was diabetic - a liability in the eyes of Oberson and his followers - enticing Molly to make sexual favors for the community's doctor, Dr. Logan, in return for giving her the medicine she needs to keep her sister from showing symptoms and keeping it quiet.
However, Oberson began to crack down on inventory count with medical supplies and Logan chose to cut off his deal with Molly rather than endanger his own life. Without any type of medical treatment, her sister began to show symptoms of her disorder and Oberson handed down the order to take her away and kill her to eliminate her as a potential liability. Molly was horrified and guilt stricken that she could not save her younger sister and fled the district to fend for herself on the outside, believing it to be far safer and humane than living under Crawford and their ruthless ways.
However, Oberson's self-made regime crumbled like the rest of the world when a female resident murdered Dr. Logan, after finding out she was pregnant and refusing to give up her unborn child. She then stole his weapon and went on a maddened killing spree throughout the school out of vengeance for Oberson's twisted ways, turning many citizens into walkers and spreading the outbreak throughout the previously untouched Crawford.
While Oberson and his forces were able to successfully contain several hordes of walkers to various rooms within the school, the outbreak became too devastating. With their supplies depleted and most of the community dead or gone, Oberson soon wound up dead, having been hanged from the bell tower. The exact circumstances of Oberson's death, along with who hanged him, remain unknown.
By the time Lee and his group arrived, Crawford was completely overrun with walkers and Oberson was still hanging from the bell in the tower, having been reanimated himself, causing the bell to ring occasionally and attract more walkers to the area. A zombified Oberson attempts to kill Ben Paul when Lee's group attempted to escape the Crawford school. Lee can either shoot him to save Ben or let Crawford have him, the latter of which resulting in both Ben and Oberson falling. Regardless of what choice Lee chooses, Oberson will plunge to his demise, killing the villain once and for all.
While Oberson makes no further appearances within the game, he and his society are mentioned several times by Lee and his group, in particular when they spot a young couple who committed suicide, in which Christa, while trying to find a positive aspect towards their deaths, remarks that Oberson and his society probably would've killed them anyway had they not took their own lives first. The Stranger also references Oberson when telling Lee that he is not "some villain."
- Himself (Alive, Possibly Suicide)
- Anna Correa (Indirectly Caused, Alive)
- Zombies (Indirectly Caused, Alive)
As Crawford started to be overrun by former citizens-turned zombies, Crawford Oberson was hanged from the bell tower inside the community. It is unknown that whether he hanged himself out of suicide, or he was actually hanged by former citizen(s) who turned on him for his tyranny.
- Himself (Accidental, Zombified, Determinant)
If Lee chooses to do nothing as Crawford grabs Ben, he will pull Ben off of the ledge, causing the rope that held him to snap, which leads Oberson to falling and smashing his head open.
- Lee Everett (Zombified, Determinant)
As the survivors are departing the school, by escaping through the bell-tower, the zombified Oberson is found hanging from the bell and grabs a distracted Ben. Lee can shoot him, causing Oberson's head to explode along with the rope and his body to plunge down below, to attempt and save Ben's life or let him drop to his death.
This list shows the victims Oberson has killed:
- Ben Paul (Caused, Infected, Determinant)
- Numerous counts of unnamed people (Caused)
- Himself (Suicide, Alive, Possibly; Accidental, Zombified, Determinant)
- Possibly numerous counts of zombies
- "Oberson had someone down here yesterday taking inventory, he's really cracking down. I just can't risk it."
- —Logan to Molly about Oberson's actions. (Determinant)[src]
Crawford, in his days of leadership, seems to have at least trusted Dr. Logan, putting him in control of their community's medical stash. Logan, without notifying Oberson, began an "arrangement" with Molly to steal medical supplies. After Oberson began taking stock of the community's inventory, Logan ended his affair so that Oberson would not find out he had stolen, showing he feared what Oberson might do to him.
- "Around Every Corner" (Zombified)
- Oberson's first name, Crawford, was first revealed in the "Around Every Corner" stats section.
- Oberson is the only community leader in the game whose death is never witnessed by the player, having died off-screen before the events of "Around Every Corner" and only appearing as a zombie.
- According to unused audio clips, it was Molly's father who had hanged Oberson.
- The idea of impaling walkers around Crawford to serve as both a warning to survivors and a deterrent to other walkers is also used by The Saviors, as shown in Issue 104.
- Crawford's system of tallying and registering how many zombies and unfit people were killed by his citizens, called "Crawford's Final Solution", along with his overall town ideas, such as survival of the fittest and the out-casting or outright execution of the weak, show strong influences from Nazi ideology.
- Crawford is one of the few named people in the video game to be shown in a picture and as a zombie, but not as a human, with the others being Diana and Ed, Fivel, and Jon Sandusky.
- Vernon said that if you show up in Crawford with wounded man "You might as well tie a noose around his neck" which is, ironically, how Oberson died.