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"I know you don't owe me anything. But I beg you, please, help my sons if you can."

— Karen in her letter to Claire and Stephen Reynolds in "Rules"


Karen Reynolds (formerly Karen Diaz) is the mother of Sean and Daniel Diaz, the ex-wife of Esteban Diaz, and the daughter of Claire and Stephen Reynolds in Life is Strange 2. She lives in Arizona.

For the image gallery, click here. To visit Karen's room, click here. To check out Karen's tablet, click here. To check out Karen's computer, click here.

Personality

[TBC]

Appearance

In her photograph in Stephen's workshop (Episode 2), Karen has long, blonde hair and wears a grey earring and black clothing. In Episode 4, Karen has close-cropped hair and wears a blue jean jacket, a brown v-neck with zigzag patterns, blue jeans, and brown hiking boots, as well as a necklace holding a purple gem. In "Wolves ", Karen wears a sleeveless yellow top with the same jeans and boots, and her hair is slightly longer. In the Redemption ending, she wears Joan's rainbow-striped vest over a black top, grey jeans, and black shoes.

Background

Karen is the only daughter of Claire and Stephen Reynolds. She grew up in Beaver Creek with interests in art, poetry, and photography. Through the personal belongings found in her bedroom, she is implied to have not enjoyed life in her small town; she wrote poems and letters expressing her loneliness and desire to leave, owned a book about travelling the world, and kept a bus ticket from Oregon to New York hidden in her CD player.

At some point in her life, Karen moved to Seattle, where she married Esteban Diaz and had two sons with him: Sean and Daniel Diaz. She loved Esteban deeply and didn't fight with him often; when they did, she would light a cigarette to calm down and he would "come over and ask for a drag". She often did activities with Sean, such as going camping in Vancouver with him alone and teaching him to ride because Esteban couldn't. After giving birth to Daniel, Karen began to feel as if "[her] own life was slipping away"; she talked about her feelings with Esteban and her parents over several months and attended family therapy, but came to the realization that she could never feel content with the life she had.

Karen mutually agreed with Esteban that she would leave her family and start off to lead an independent life; although she wanted to contact them again multiple times, she ultimately decided to stay distant in hopes that they would forget about her and move on, only contacting Esteban a few times before disappearing entirely. After she left, Karen decided to pursue her dreams in New York, where she ultimately failed; Karen contacted Claire and Stephen to help repay her financial debts, but rejected them after they offered to on the condition that she return home. Karen would go on to only make contact with her parents once by phone call and six times by letter over the next decade.

After failing in New York, Karen met a woman named Maggie who had a "tough life" down in Florida, who introduced her to the Arizonan desert community of Away. Karen settled down in the community, and would live there long after Maggie's departure up until the events of the game.

Episode One - "Roads"

Karen's existence is first made known when Sean examines her belongings in the household's basement. He questions with contempt why his father still keeps them around. An old bicycle belonging to Karen can be found in the garage.

If Sean chooses to question Daniel before fighting their neighbor Brett Foster, Brett antagonizes the brothers by making a comment about how their mother walked out on them, which aggravates Sean to the point where he lashes out.

If Sean chose to take a moment of calm on the bench in Mount Rainier National Park, Daniel will say, "I just wish the family was together," in reference to Esteban joining him and Sean on their journey. It is later revealed that Daniel was too young to remember Karen before she left. Later in the episode, when Brody Holloway asks Sean about his remaining family during their stop at Otter Point, Sean only says that she's "out of the picture."

Episode Two - "Rules"

While staying at their maternal grandparents' house, Daniel repeatedly expresses the desire to visit his mother's old bedroom, which Claire had expressly forbidden them from entering. During and after breakfast on a Saturday morning, Claire expresses bitterness and weariness towards the subject of her daughter. While in Stephen's workshop, Sean can come across a photo of Karen hidden in some drawers, which Stephen apologizes for leaving out.

While searching through her bedroom, Sean and Daniel discover a recent letter addressed from Karen to her parents. Within it, she expresses concern about the boys following the recent events in Seattle and asks her parents to help them should they come across them, referring to them as "the only family they have" and leaving a post office box address to contact her with. During the brothers' subsequent confrontation with Claire, it is revealed that Karen left eight years ago.

After leaving the Reynolds' house, Daniel keeps his mother's letter in his backpack and later asks Sean if they can look for her, which Sean refuses.

Episode Three - "Wastelands"

Karen - Sports Club ID

Karen's ID.

During the opening flashback in the Diaz household, Sean can enter Daniel's room and find Karen's old ID card for the Tortoise Sports Club in Tukwila, one of Seattle's bordering cities. Upon examining it, Sean says to himself, "Too bad we didn't have a clue she hated all of us."

In the present day, after Finn heads back to their campsite and leaves the two brothers alone, Daniel asks Sean whether they could try to find Karen with the new information her letter gave them. Sean can choose to either try to be understanding or shut the idea down. Later on, after returning from the pot farm at sunset, Sean can mention to Finn that Daniel wants to visit his mother in Arizona. While Sean searches for items to train with at the lake, Daniel asks him what he thinks Arizona is like; when Sean asks why, Daniel replies that he's just curious.

Episode Four - "Faith"

Upon hearing from Jacob about Daniel being in a religious cult at Haven Point, Karen has made her way to this community. She is first seen when Sean gets kicked off the property, and she approaches him. As Sean turns around, she seems shocked to see he has an eye injury. Karen manages to convince Sean to come with her to the motel she is staying at, providing him with a clean shirt and boxers while she steps out for some supplies.

As Sean explores the motel room (Room 11) while Karen is away, we can learn more about Karen, such as her preference for "low tech" (her old phone) and a wary nature (taping over the camera on her tablet).

As Karen returns with supplies, she has also returned with Sean's favorite burger from a fast food outlet ("Double cheese, no onion, right?"). This shows that, even though she was absent for much of their lives, she hasn't forgotten the little things. She can also help Sean to clean and dress his eye using the supplies she has bought. In these supplies is an eye patch, which she gives Sean to wear from this point.

Karen and Sean have an honest talk while at the motel, and she allows Sean to ask whatever he wants to ask her about why she left. During their conversation, she confides that she wasn't meant to be a wife or a mother. She thought she was supposed to, and she tried to pretend for many years. She tells him she wasn't happy, and the urge to leave became unbearable. She felt she had no other choice. When Sean was about 8, and Esteban's garage business was getting busy, she felt like her own life was slipping away. She felt like an empty shell.

She tells Sean that she was honest with Esteban. They did family therapy, but it wasn't about him; it was her. She didn't want to live a lie, but she never stopped caring about her two sons and Esteban. She wanted to contact them so many times and almost did.

Karen tried to live in New York, but it didn't really do her good. She pursued some dreams and failed and learned the lessons. She went on some soul searching to find her own way.

"Family, religion, social norms... It's just all about security, after all." ... "But it all just looked like a sweet golden jail to me. I tried to escape that."

She has been staying in Arizona where she thinks she has found her place in the world with her people. She believes she is now at peace with her decisions and thinks people should know who they are and not fake it for anybody.

We learn from Sean that Karen used to do so much with him. He enjoyed when he went camping with her in Vancouver. Karen remembers that Sean always loved night skies.

She shares a moment outside the motel with Sean, and starts to smoke. She tells Sean that Esteban hated when she smoked, because he didn't want her to die an early death. (Sean can join her in smoking if the player wishes him to.)

Once Sean and Karen re-enter their motel room, Karen may offer her help to clean Sean’s eye and change his dressing (depending if the player chose enough options to let Karen open up to Sean earlier). She will tearfully watch Sean change the dressing himself or help him clean and change it, before they agree to meet up with Jacob tomorrow.

Upon arriving at the location Jacob told Sean to meet him at, Karen and Sean briefly discuss how Daniel is a person and his behavior. Jacob then arrives at the meeting location and explains exactly what happened after the blast at Merrill’s farm. Karen will remain in the car for some time until she eventually exits, and officially introduces herself to Jacob in person. Jacob comes up with a plan to help Sean sneak into Haven Point with him to rescue Daniel. Sean and Karen agreed with his plan, and to help Jacob find his little sister’s, Sarah Lee Hackerman, medical file from Lisbeth Fischer’s office. Karen provides Sean with a walkie talkie to communicate throughout their mission.

As Sean and Jacob reach the entrance for the church, Karen warns them that there are three people present beside the church, a man with his child, and woman alone on either side. If Sean decides to contact Karen on the walkie talkie, she will reassure him that she found a great hiding spot to keep a look out on many areas of the church. Once Sean and Jacob find a way into Lisbeth’s office and retrieve Sarah Lee’s medical file, Karen will warn them that Nicholas Durand, the thug who works for Lisbeth, is approaching her house (either carrying files if Sean managed to not raise any suspicion earlier, or speaking to either Derek or Helen Miller from the gate who raised his suspicion). Karen offers Sean to distract Nicholas with a backup plan, to which Sean may either accept or refuse. If Sean chose to accept along with accessing a hiding spot, Nicholas will hear people screaming outside, and quickly leave Lisbeth’s house without locating Sean or Jacob. As Sean and Jacob leave Lisbeth’s house, they witness Karen’s distraction, which was setting fire to one of the community’s buildings in the distance. However, if Sean managed to not raise any suspicion when sneaking into Lisbeth’s house, refused Karen’s plan, and successfully hid, Sean and Jacob will be safe from Nicholas. Finally, if Sean refused her plan to divert Nicholas’ attention and raised suspicion earlier, he will be caught by Nicholas, and stun Jacob before dragging Sean into the church where Lisbeth and Daniel are training his powers. Karen will then quickly enter the church immediately asking Sean if he is okay, and helping him get up. Karen may meet with Sean at the entrance of the church, enter together if Sean and Jacob managed to escape Nicholas.

As they enter the church, Karen is shocked when she witnesses Daniel’s powers for the first time. At one point, Karen will try to convince Daniel that she and Sean are his true family who care for him when she reveals the truth behind Lisbeth’s manipulative actions and words. Karen will continue to try helping Daniel understand that she and Sean truly care for his wellbeing unlike Lisbeth, who is only tricking him for her selfish desires. In return, Lisbeth will then reprimand Karen for her selfish actions, such as abandoning Daniel and Sean, therefore giving up her rights as their mother. She also tries to pin the blame on the Karen for Esteban’s death, to which Karen will shout that she does not know anything about that situation and it was an accident. Karen will genuinely apologise to Daniel for abandoning him and Sean as she understands how much she has hurt them with her absence, and hopes they can talk about it together as she did with Sean. Lisbeth will then leave the decision of believing her or Karen onto Daniel who appears to be very confused and conflicted. Before Daniel can respond, Lisbeth makes the decision for him and tells Sean and Karen that Daniel will remain in Haven Point with her community. Sean dismisses this statement, and approaches Daniel to leave with him but Daniel uses his powers to push Sean away from him, causing some candles to fall to the ground, slowly spreading a fire.

As Karen helps Sean back up, she encourages him to talk to Daniel as he is the only one who can successfully convince him to think by himself and understand Lisbeth’s true actions. At this point, Nicholas enters the church (if he did not catch Sean and Jacob inside Lisbeth’s office). Sean will continue trying to reason with Daniel to see the truth that Lisbeth does not genuinely care for him and is only using him as the community’s main attraction. As the fire continues to spread an increasingly fast rate, Lisbeth orders Nicholas to beat Sean in order to stop him from taking Daniel away. Karen will offer to help Sean get back up at times, encourage Daniel to listen to Sean and yell at Lisbeth to stop ordering the attacks on Sean. Once Sean finally manages to convince Daniel to join him and Karen, he will push Nicholas away with his powers, embrace with Sean, and apologise for not listening earlier. Karen then tells her sons that they need to quickly leave the burning church now, but before they are able to do so, Lisbeth blocks the door to prevent the three of them from escaping. Sean and/or Daniel may either spare Lisbeth by moving her away from the door allowing them to escape, or they may kill Lisbeth using Nicholas’ gun or Daniel’s powers which will frighten Karen.

Sean, Daniel and Karen will escape the burning church and reunite with Jacob and his little sister Sarah Lee at the meeting point above Haven Point. As Sean and Daniel say their goodbyes to Jacob and Sarah Lee, Karen is last seen driving with her sons away from Haven Point, traveling to Arizona.

Episode Five - "Wolves"

TBA

Relationships

Family

  • Sean Diaz (son) - When Sean was approximately eight years old, Karen cut off contact with her family and left them behind, leaving him to develop bitterness and anger towards her for leaving Esteban to raise them on his own. Upon hearing of the events in Seattle, Karen sends a letter to her parents asking them to take care of him and Daniel should they come across them, telling them that they're "the only family they have left". When Sean was kicked out of the religious cult, Karen comes across him, and he gives her a cold shoulder before she convinces him to go with her, and explains her reasons for leaving, and Sean can be understanding or simply tell her off and not forgive her. Over the years, Karen still remembers what her son enjoyed as a child, such as stargazing and his preferred type of burger.
  • Daniel Diaz (son) - Around a year after giving birth to Daniel, Karen cut off contact with her family and left them behind. Upon hearing of the events in Seattle, Karen sends a letter to her parents asking them to take care of him and Sean should they come across them, telling them that they're "the only family they have left". During their time at Away, Daniel becomes close with Karen, doing activities such as playing ball and going on hikes together, and
  • Claire Reynolds (mother) - Karen was disowned by her mother following the event that led to her estrangement from the family. Claire still expresses hurt, weariness, and anger towards the subject of Karen over eight years later, and can refer to her as having done something unforgivable towards the rest of the family. The one memento Claire keeps of Karen is her milk teeth inside her jewelry drawer.
  • Stephen Reynolds (father) - After she cut ties with her family, Stephen remains sympathetic towards Karen and keeps old mementos of her hidden from his wife, including a photo of her as a child wearing his firefighting gear. He tells Sean that, although he cannot approve of "what she's done", he understands her reasons for doing so.
  • Esteban Diaz (ex-husband, deceased) - Karen used to live with Esteban in Seattle, where they had two children together. According to Sean, Karen contacted Esteban a few times after her disappearance before cutting off contact completely. Upon hearing of the events in Seattle, Karen sends a letter to her parents telling them that she was heartbroken over the incident.

Friends

  • Emma (pen pal, former) - Emma envied Karen for being an only child and having a big house all to herself, while she had to put up with annoying siblings. 
  • Joan Marcus -
  • David Madsen -

Enemies

Theories

Main article: Theories and Speculations (Season 2)
  • Karen's reasons for leaving the Diaz family were debated by fans since the release of "Roads"; some speculated that Karen abandoned the family upon discovering her own supernatural powers, while others suggested that she left for purely selfish reasons, as indicated by Sean's attitude and comments about her throughout the first two episodes. The latter was confirmed with the release of Episode 4.
  • Karen has an amethyst in her bedroom, which is said to strengthen a user's clairvoyance due to its association with the Crown Chakra which rules higher states of consciousness. It is speculated that this may be a clue that Karen is a seer or prophet and could provide an explanation as to why she left. It is also a stone to help deal with emotional turmoil and grief.
    • The photos in her room of random things could have been used to practice her far sight ability.
    • This was indicated to be incorrect with the release of Episode 5, where Karen has trouble adjusting to the reality of Daniel's powers and does not show any sign of having her own.
  • Some fans speculated that Karen may have left her family to join a religious cult, which would explain Claire's resentment towards her as rooted in her strong religious beliefs. Several references to church recruitment can be found within previous episodes; in The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, a pastor named Derek calls Chris Eriksen to spread the word about the Universal Uprising Church, and in "Roads", a recruitment poster for True Cornerstone Church can be found at Bear Station. Karen also put up a cross in her room, indicating that she is a religious person. This was deconfirmed with the release of Episode 4 and 5, which reveal that Karen left on her own and Claire's resentment stemmed from her beliefs surrounding marriage and abandoning family.
  • During the campfire sequence in Episode 3, Jacob states that his old religious community had an “intense” female reverend. Some fans speculated this reverend to either be Karen, who shows several signs of interest in spirituality within her room and caused her devoutly Christian mother to disown her for reasons unknown; or Karen's pen pal, Emma, who mentions living in a "boring" area and having a large family, possibly either in reference to the community or due to contraception being against their religion. Both were deconfirmed with the release of Episode 4, where the reverend was revealed to be Lisbeth.
  • Due to Arizona being located on the Mexico–United States border and the closest state to Puerto Lobos, some speculated that Karen's new home would be a destination in Episode 5. This was confirmed in Episode 5, where a major destination is Karen's Arizonan community, Away.
  • Some speculate that Karen possesses pyrokinesis. During the climax scene at the church, an approach to her face is showed right before the fire begins spreading further. After that, she is seen pressing her stomach with her hand while bending her back, which can be a sign of weariness because of doing a recent effort. In addition, during a previous scene she starts a fire as well to distract Nicholas from Sean and Jacob, and her methods for doing so weren't entirely clear. It is also speculated that Daniel has powers because he inherited them from her mother.
    • This was indicated to be incorrect with the release of Episode 5, where Karen has trouble adjusting to the reality of Daniel's powers and does not show any sign of having her own.

Memorable Quotes

"I know you don't owe me anything. But I beg you, please, help my sons if you can."
— Karen in her letter to Claire and Stephen in "Rules"
"I wasn't meant to be a wife... or a mother. I thought I was supposed to... I tried to pretend for many years... but I was unhappy and the urge to leave just became unbearable... I had no other choice."
— Karen to Sean in "Faith" (determinant)
"Something was missing from the equation, yeah. I was."
— Karen to Sean in "Faith" (determinant)
"I didn't have a choice, Sean. We only have one life, and I didn't want mine to be spent in regrets. For years I've fooled myself, thinking I'd find satisfaction into what society expected me to be, and that was my mistake. I hope someday you can understand that... but I never stopped caring about you... For what it's worth, I am sorry for hurting you and Daniel... and Esteban."
— Karen to Sean in "Faith" (determinant)
"I know, that's hard to understand... But I think people should know who they are... and not fake it for anybody."
— Karen to Sean in "Faith" (determinant)
"That's when you know someone is good to you. When you can just sit together... shut up and let the universe do its own thing..."
— Karen to Sean in "Faith" (determinant)

Trivia

  • Karen's bear, Ulysses, is named after the Greek hero and protagonist of The Odyssey, a story about his long and fantastic journey to return home from the Trojan War.
  • Karen's book "Of Mice and Men" that Daniel reads in her bedroom is a real novel by John Steinbeck and is a story about cross-country travel. It was said in an interview with Co-Creative Director and Writer Michel Koch that this book was one of the inspirations for creating Life is Strange 2.[1]
  • Despite locking away most of Karen's pictures and belongings inside her bedroom, Claire still keeps a small case of her milk teeth inside of her jewelry drawer.
  • Karen owns the music single "Rude" by the band Magic!. The song is about a man who asks his girlfriend's father for his daughter's hand in marriage; when the father refuses, the man tells him that he will marry the daughter anyway. Because the song was released in 2013, it is rather odd that it would be in Karen's teenage room. The music CD could be a reference to Karen's father Stephen, who might not have initially approved of her relationship with Esteban.
  • Karen has an amethyst in her bedroom, and Sean comments on her being into New Age stuff. In New Age mythology, amethysts are used to strengthen a user's clairvoyant abilities (far sight and prophecy). This may imply that Karen either has powers herself or was trying to obtain them.
    • The amethyst could also be her birthstone for the month of February, which would make it her personal "healing" stone.
    • A stone that large would be very valuable and expensive, and it's odd that Karen did not take it with her to continue using if she truly believed in its power. She may have worried about theft wherever she was going and simply trusted her parents to keep it safe.
  • Karen's hobby of taking random photographs may be a reference to Max Caulfield doing the same thing in the first Life is Strange game.
  • Karen's carving on her bed stand, which depicts a "Exit doorway to somewhere else" is a reference to Chloe Price's "Hole to Another Universe" graffiti in the original game.
    • Like Chloe, Karen wanted to escape her family and her hometown.
  • A QR code that can be found on Karen's sports club membership card during the opening flashback in Episode 3 contains the words "work hard mustard big", which is the slogan of Hawt Dawg Man.
  • She smokes, a hobby that Esteban hated.
  • LiS2-Note-Ep4-KarenTablet-01
    LiS2-Note-Ep4-KarenTablet-03
    When Sean is accessing Karen's tablet at the Sand Snake Motel, the camera is covered with a small piece of tape. Karen is possibly paranoid, or there is a likelihood that somebody has been trying to protect her whereabouts.
  • Apps/icons on Karen's tablet are seen for a split second before the browser opens. Among these appears to be a launcher for the Hawt Dawg Man game.
  • The password for Karen's tablet is "112708", the date David Madsen met Joyce Price in the original Life is Strange.

Gallery

Main article: Karen Reynolds/Gallery

Photos

References

  1. Why Life is Strange 2 is ditching Arcadia Bay for its radically different road trip (August 21, 2018)
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