I loved this puzzle! Because it's one of the few times I've actually worked one out by myself.
You do sometimes need to adopt a "game puzzle" logic. Look at who is available to speak to. Notice anyone doing anything obviously different. Look at what is in your inventory.
And remember that game mechanics often require you to have examined something to flag the fact that your character has noticed it. It's not enough for you to see it on the screen, your character has to take note of it too.
Admittedly, this last point can be counter-intuitive at times. But in this particular case, if you just start by trying to
then without the need to flag seeing the
you could potentially start the whole
conversation without ever having seen it, so you'd be there going "WTF???". So you do need to "tell the game" about what you are seeing and thinking as a player.
Basically, look at everything all the time. Every hotspot, exhaust its comments until you hear them repeating. But this is part of the fun! I want to see and hear everything. So, if something is blocked then chances are you have not seen and heard everything.
I got that with Kian. I didn't notice he could examine the
. So I had the
but I reasoned that I must have missed something because the solution had to be there. So you go back and start the pixel-hunting! Number of pointless barrels I looked at, lol. But then I enjoy that too.