"IMPORTANT: Episode 5: Polarized - Summary uses Creative Commons Licensed content from the DONTNOD Entertainment Wiki. The list of authors can be seen in the page revision history (view authors).

Max Caulfield learns that time is impossible to control and that her power carries many consequences as she moves inexorably towards the most agonizing decision of her life. Arcadia Bay, meanwhile, is preparing to weather a huge storm as Life is Strange comes to a gripping and gut-wrenching conclusion.

A groggy Max starts to come around from Mr. Jefferson's drug to find her hands and feet are bound to a chair inside the Dark Room. She shouts for help, but nobody hears her. If Max decided not to warn Victoria Chase at the End of the World Party, she will find herself alone, but if she had warned Victoria and Victoria believed her, then Max will notice her unconscious and tied up on the floor next to her.

The only way out for Max is to go back in time through a nearby photograph of her that Jefferson had taken when she was drugged. The only problem is that she cannot do much while in this drugged state other than to move and annoy a perfectionist Jefferson while he tries to photograph her. He walks off to get a stronger dose to keep her still. As he returns to dose her, Max struggles, which results in her knocking the nearby trolley and soaking Jefferson's photos with the drugs. As a result of this, Max ends up where she was before: in the Dark Room with her hands and feet still tied to a chair.

Max notices a new set of photos on the trolley now and spies one where she appears to be more alert. She uses this photo to go back in time to that moment. In this more alert state, she is able to listen to Jefferson as he discloses that Nathan Prescott is dead and will be the perfect scapegoat for Jefferson to get away with his evil deeds. Max notices her diary and mentions it to Jefferson who picks it up and throws it on the floor in front of her, making a disparaging comment about the photo on the page it lands open at, which happens to be the selfie she took in Jefferson's class earlier in the week (Episode 1: Chrysalis): "What a waste of talent... Look at that shot, Max... You can do so much better..." While Jefferson walks away to study his new photo set, Max uses this moment to go back in time through her class selfie.

As soon as she is back in Jefferson's class at the start of the week, Max sends a text to David Madsen, praying that he will overreact to it and track Jefferson and his Dark Room down as soon as possible. Max then walks to the front of the class where Jefferson and Victoria are talking and hands in her photo entry for the Everyday Heroes Contest. Soon, Jefferson is arrested and Max wakes up on a plane that is on its way to San Francisco. Principal Wells is sitting next to her, asleep. Looking at her phone, she discovers messages from her mom, her dad, Chloe Price, Dana Ward, Kate Marsh, and Warren Graham, all congratulating her on winning the contest. It's October 11th, and it seems like Arcadia Bay is finally safe! Max is relieved. Once she arrives at the Zeitgeist Gallery, Principal Wells advises her to make the most of this opportunity and mingle with the attendees who seem to adore her entry. As she stands in front of her entry, she gets a sudden headache and a vision of the storm with Chloe's voice desperately shouting her name. Max comes to with a nosebleed, and tells the concerned crowd, "I’m okay... Jet lag... High altitude...", before rushing downstairs to find a quiet place to check her phone. She curses herself for leaving the ringer off and sees 6 missed calls, all from Chloe. Max immediately rings her back and hears Chloe's panicked voice telling her that her vision was true and that the tornado is heading straight for the town. Max knows exactly what she has to do and heads back upstairs to travel back in time through her competition entry. She finds herself back in her dorm room in the moment she had taken her entry photo with a tripod. Without hesitation, she tears up her photograph, deliberately ruining her chances of entering the contest and preventing the San Francisco timeline from happening. As the timeline shifts again, she says, "Sorry, San Francisco... Chloe comes first."

She ends up in the Dark Room again.

Confused, Max looks around her to see that Jefferson has burned her diary which has made her return to the Dark Room. (If Victoria was in the Dark Room previously, she is now no longer there, and Max learns that she has been killed by Jefferson.) Before Jefferson can kill Max with an overdose, a noise is heard and Jefferson quickly rushes towards the entrance, grabbing a tripod to hit whoever has discovered them. David Madsen appears, having successfully located the Dark Room from Max's earlier text, but he is assaulted by Jefferson. Max uses her rewind power to warn David which distract Jefferson, and David successfully knocks Jefferson unconscious after a tense scuffle. He rushes over to untie Max from the chair and asks where Chloe is. Max has the option to lie to David or tell the truth about Jefferson having shot Chloe. David will become so enraged and upset if he hears the truth that he will shoot Jefferson dead in front of Max.

Suddenly, Max remembers a way to save Chloe from the only photo she can think of that has survived in the timeline: the photo that Warren had taken of him and Max at the End of the World Party. Max takes the keys to Jefferson's car and phones Warren who says he is holed up in the Two Whales Diner and tries to warn her not to drive to him as the storm is too dangerous. Determined to save Chloe, Max ignores his warning and makes her way to to the diner in Jefferson's car. During the drive, Max listens to a voicemail she has received from Nathan who sounds tearful and apologizes for everything he has done, such as drugging Kate and accidentally overdosing Rachel Amber. He tries to warn Max that Jefferson is after him and will be coming for her next, but of course this message was received too late. Max discovers that her route to the diner is blocked by debris from the storm. She has no choice but to leave the car and make her way to the diner on foot in the harsh weather. She sees people limping and rushing around her, trying to evacuate the area amid screams for help from others who are trapped. Max can help these people if she chooses to, or she can continue on to the diner. If she chooses to help people, then she can assist the trucker, whom she has had the opportunity to speak with before, who is pinned down under debris; Evan Harris, who is so distracted by taking photographs of the storm that he is at risk of getting taken out by flying debris; Alyssa Anderson, who is stuck inside a collapsing building; and the fisherman, who is trapped by an electrified wire inside a burning building. When Max nears the diner, a trail of fuel from a car will ignite and blow up the diner, but Max can rewind to use some sand from a sand box outside the diner to soak up the fuel and prevent the spread of the fire. The front entrance of the diner has been crushed in by Frank Bowers's RV that appears to have been blown into it, so Max makes her way into the diner from a side door. Inside the diner, she finds Joyce Price tending to an injured Frank, and Warren is at the counter. Pompidou will also be nearby if Max had thrown the dog treat into the car park and not in the road. Warren is relieved to see Max, and after a conversation, he will give her the photograph she asked for. Max may have the option to kiss Warren before she goes back in time through the photo if she had agreed to a movie date and acted interested in him previously. If she hadn't accepted the movie date, then she will only have the option to hug him or do nothing.

Going back in time through the photo, Max ends up back at the End of the World Party where she is outside with Warren and Chloe. Max immediately gives a very confused Chloe a hug, and a dejected Warren excuses himself to leave them to it. A heartfelt conversation takes place between the two of them where Max tells Chloe she is "afraid I'm fucking up all these alternate realities." This gets Chloe's attention and she listens as Max tells her everything she has done to try and keep her alive, including seeing her dad, William, again. Max tells Chloe that Nathan is dead and Jefferson hurt her but David managed to save her. Chloe tells Max that she believes her and Max warns her that in a few minutes she won't remember any of this conversation so Chloe has to make sure they both go back to her room and do nothing, explain everything to David, and let David handle things regarding Jefferson and the Dark Room. As they walk away from the party together, the timeline alters again.

Max finds herself at the beach with Chloe, who explains to Max the events that led them there. She tells Max that they had left the party to avoid Jefferson, just as Max had suggested, and then the "storm got hella crazy" and Max had said they would be safe at the lighthouse. As they start to walk up the cliff together, Max collapses and wakes up in Mr. Jefferson's class once again. Only, this time, there is something horribly wrong as she hears bangs to her right and sees blood splattering the windows of the classroom as birds fly into them. When the windows are completely covered in blood, everybody in the classroom disappears and Max finds herself alone with windows that are blood free. Depending on whether Kate survived or if she died, Max will see "I want to die" written around and all over Kate's desk (survived), or a puddle of blood (died). If Max looks out of the windows, she will see dead birds littering the campus grounds. Several pictures in the classroom have become warped versions of what they once were, such as the picture of the lighthouse that now destroyed by a storm; the doe in the forest now features Chloe and Max digging up Rachel's body; The Everyday Heroes contest poster now displays the words "Everyday Zeroes" and Max's face with the words that are derogatory towards her.

As soon as Max tries to leave the classroom, she hears Jefferson's voice behind her as he suddenly appears. He wants to talk to her about her entry before leaving, exactly like the conversation that took place as she tried to leave his classroom earlier in the week. As she nears Jefferson, she is asked if she would like to spend the rest of her life in his Dark Room. Max tries to fight the replies that this nightmare version of her wants to say, which are: "I love you, Mr. Jefferson", "My selfies are shit", "Our dark room" and "Thanks for killing Chloe". When she chooses a response, Jefferson disappears an Max can leave the classroom. Max suddenly finds herself in the Girls' Dormitory where the corridor is eerily lit with candles that have been placed outside the dorm doors. Kate stands in front of her door, crying. As Max approaches, Kate blames Max for saving her or letting her die, and then she opens her door and jumps into what appears to be a bright white void. Max finds a key in the corridor to Room 218 and she uses the key to enter that room. She appears once again at the entrance of the dorm corridor, but she is now dressed in Rachel Amber's clothing that she had worn earlier in the week. She notices that the corridor is now filled with missing person posters relating to Rachel's disappearance and hears voices referencing Rachel around her as she makes her way to Rachel's old room. As Max enters the room, she once again appears at the start of the corridor, this time in Victoria's body. As Victoria, Max makes her way to Victoria's dorm room and notices references to Victoria appearing as graffiti along the corridor. Upon entering Victoria's room, Max changes back to herself and sees that the corridor is now plastered with small polaroid pictures that were once part of her "Max Caulfield Photo Memorial Wall". She enters her own dorm room and suddenly finds herself outside Mr. Jefferson's classroom, leaning against the wall and observing her fellow students in the same manner as she did earlier in the week (in Episode 1).

The difference now is that everything around her is moving backwards and everyone's speech is reversed, with the exception of Max who is not affected. The music that Max is listening to in her earphones is also reversed. Remembering events from earlier in the week, Max makes her way down the corridor towards the girls bathroom and sees a ghostly doe appear and disappear into the bathroom. Max follows it into the bathroom and finds herself instead in a nightmarish maze that is a twisted version of the art gallery in San Francisco. Jefferson prowls the dark spaces with a flashlight, looking for her. Using her rewind powers, Max manages to sneak by him. She soon encounters another section of the maze that now resembles the main campus ground of Blackwell Academy. She hears the booming voice of Principal Wells as she tries to dash behind the cover of art boards to hide from a rotating spotlight. The art boards now display pictures of Dark Room victims. As Max advances past this section of the maze, she now encounters a section that resembles school hallways and lockers. In this section, Max will sneak past Warren, Nathan, Principal Wells, David, and Samuel who are all carrying flashlights and searching for Max as they make creepy or disparaging comments about her. As she makes it safely through this section, she will find herself in a version of the junkyard where Frank, Jefferson, and Nathan are searching for her. Just like earlier in the week, there are 5 bottles scattered around this junkyard which Max can collect if she wishes.

When Max finally reaches the lighthouse, she sees a bench and sits down on it. As soon as she does this, she looks around to see that she is now trapped inside a snow globe which rests on the mantelpiece at the Price Household when she was last there, aged 13 years old. From here, she is forced to watch herself facing the fireplace as she burns the photo that allows William to remain dead in that timeline. The scene jumps once again to the Dark Room, and Max finds herself tied to a chair once again. She sees Jefferson and Chloe appear, and Chloe poses for his camera. They disappear and Chloe appears again, this time with Warren, and they joke about Max before they kiss. They disappear and now Max sees Nathan and Chloe sitting together on the couch in front of her. Chloe talks down to Max when she sees that Max is looking at them. Then things change once again, and Chloe is now dancing on the couch in her underwear that she wore when she swam in Blackwell's pool with Max mid-week. Then Victoria appears on the couch with a fully dressed Chloe, and Chloe says spiteful things about Max before they kiss. Max then sees the Chloe from the alternate timeline who appears in front of Max in her wheelchair and tells her, "Why did you get rewind powers? You don’t even know how to use them…". Then the original timeline Chloe shows up once again, this time holding a camera and taking pictures of Max and telling her, "I wish you would have never come back to Arcadia Bay... You’re the real storm."

Max suddenly finds herself in the restroom of the Two Whales diner, with a digicode lock by the door. Max tries to use the code lock and suddenly finds herself surrounded with numbers all over the walls and ceiling. Only the mirror is free of numbers. As Max looks in the mirror, she notices a single code, which happens to be Chloe's birth date. This is the code that allows her to exit the restroom. As Max finds herself in the main area of the diner, she is suddenly faced with immobile versions of everybody she has ever encountered in Arcadia Bay, and they are all begging Max not to let them die. Max notices that she is also among the crowd of people, and walks over to herself. This "Other Max" is the only person in the diner, besides Max, who appears to be able to move. A conversation takes place where "Other Max" blames Max and calls her selfish and fooled by Chloe, telling her that Chloe doesn't really care about her, but Chloe suddenly approaches and swing-jumps into the booth (similar to how she did in Episode 2) and berates the "Other Max" for trying to mess with Max's head. Max suddenly appears inside a journey of memories she's had with Chloe throughout that week. As she gets to the end, she sees the lighthouse and makes her way towards it. This causes Max to wake up from the nightmare in Chloe's arms, who is clearly worried about Max after having to guide (carry?) Max from the beach to the lighthouse. They see the storm moving closer to the town, and Max tells Chloe that this is her storm and she caused all of this. Chloe realises that it is because Max had saved her from being shot earlier that week, and she hands Max the blue butterfly photo she had taken in the bathroom before that fateful event occurred, telling Max that there's no other choice but to make a decision: Sacrifice Chloe to save everyone from the storm, or sacrifice Arcadia Bay to keep Chloe alive.

If Max chooses to sacrifice Arcadia Bay, she tears up the butterfly photo as she and Chloe watch in despair as the storm devestates Arcadia Bay. After the storm passes, Arcadia Bay is shown in ruins as the two leave town in Chloe's truck.

If she sacrifices Chloe, Max goes back through the butterfly photo to find herself back in the bathroom where she is forced to listen to Nathan shoot Chloe as she sits on the floor, silently crying as her body jumps at the sounds of the shot. There is no sign of a storm, and some time after these events, Max makes her way to the lighthouse to watch the sun set over Arcadia Bay before she makes her way to the cemetery to mourn Chloe at her burial, alongside Joyce, David, Warren, and other students from Blackwell. Even Frank and Pompidou are in attendance, albeit from a distance. A blue butterfly flutters down from the sky to land on the coffin, and Max sees it and smiles, knowing its significance and the part it has played.