Few things can be said about Telltale’s latest game series I’ve already said. It’s refreshing, fun, and hilarious. Telltale has rebuilt a very believable world here, one that manages to do justice off of it’s original material. Earlier last week, episode four released to the general public. Allow me to elaborate for a bit on why I think this game continues to be one of my favorites in the Telltale pantheon.
WARNING: This analysis contains spoilers for Escape Plan Bravo. If you haven’t played it, just cough up the five dollars and come back when you’ve completed it. You can also scroll down to “final thoughts” for a brief summation.
Escape Plan Bravo continues right where Catch a Ride left off. Athena’s been captured by familiar faces, and you’re left to deal with the aftermath of Vallory’s assault. Not wanting to see her friends hurt, the ever-adorable Gortys agrees to obtain her final piece that will lead the gang leader to the Vault of the Traveler, and the purported treasures within.
The main trouble is that the piece is hidden deep in the confines of Helios (Hyperion’s main base of operations in space). This complicates things, as Rhys would obviously no longer be welcome there, and they had no means of actually getting off Pandora to even make it to outer space.
Enter Handsome Jack. With Jack’s help, Rhys discovers exactly where the last Gortys piece is being held, and hatches his own Ocean’s Eleven type heist scheme to snatch it up. The entirety of the episode focuses on the ensuing heist, and it’s all good fun.
Sasha and Fiona are tasked with getting help from Scooter in acquiring a rocket that will get them to Helios. Scooter is dutifully willing to help, but immensely lacks the required knowledge to make something like that work (despite being a huge part of propelling the city of Sanctuary into the sky in Borderlands 2), but luckily his work partner (Athena’s Aussie girlfriend Janey) knows how to get a rocket up and running. I take some time consoling her to make her hopeful for her future with the gladiator, and she begrudgingly chooses to help out the team. At Scooter’s behest, Fiona agrees to let the foolhardy mechanic tag along on their quest to help keep the ship running on the way out of the atmosphere.
Rhys’ part of the initial setup was by far the most hilarious. Needing Vasquez’s body and face so he can clone his appearance, Rhys reluctantly returns to Haven to retrieve it. Unfortunately, Rhys is immediately grossed out and horrified to discover psychos cut off his former boss’ face for a “skin pizza party,” as Jack refers to it. A hilarious sequence follows as Rhys has to forcibly peel of the stretchy skin flap from the front of a sleeping psycho’s face mask. Handsome Jack shines as usual in this scene, as he shamelessly goads Rhys into peeling it off with sadistic enjoyment. The laughs continue as the psycho wakes up and chases our hero back to his captors, with Jack flying majestically from behind. Telltale really understands the world that they are writing from, and that a good story can be equal parts funny and engrossing.
The hilarity continues, as our group of companions begin their slow-motion walk to the rocket ship. An 80s ballad thunders through the speakers as our cast exchanges furtive glances with each other, highlighting little hints of romance underneath the surface. With little hesitation, the group is off and shooting through space at fantastical speed — as Kroger and Finch nervously hold hand along the way.
Things don’t go off as swimmingly as first thought. In fact, our little band of aspiring vault hunters hit a snag almost immediately, in the form of a floating Hyperion corpse — which manages to get lodged into one of the engines of the rocket ship. Scooter and Fiona head outside to handle the situation, but Scooter gets his arm stuck in one of the engines in the process. What follows is a surprisingly touching sequence, as our favorite creeper mechanic sacrifices himself to save his friends. Fiona offers him one lone kiss before releasing him into space. As Scooter plummets back to the atmosphere, he offers one last shriek of his now famous tagline (CAAAATCH A RIIIIDE), before finally exploding in a blaze of glory. Rest in peace, Scooter. I was surprisingly bummed out by this, and even more surprised that Telltale was allowed to take such liberties with a pretty important character in one of their flagship series. Granted, it’s totally possible that Scooter somehow survived his ordeal when factoring in game logic, but for now I’m assuming he met with a fiery end.
Things continue to go poorly when inside Helios. While in his Vas-guise, Rhys is astonished to learn that Yvette had been double-crossing them ever since they set foot on Pandora. She clearly seems to have been behind something deeper that very few could’ve seen coming. I was definitely taken aback by it, as Yvette quickly climbed up the ranks of my shit list. She claimed to be a friend to you, but all she really wants is whatever is hiding within the depths of Rhys’ head. While not completely sure what they’re referring to, I have to assume that it has to involve Handsome Jack and his sudden presence in Rhys’ mind. Only time will tell, I suppose.
The whole infiltration is funny, as Rhys has an intense air gun shootout with the entire Hyperion staff. It’s drawn out, and totally over the top. I loved every second of it. Fiona has her hands full, as she is tasked to lead a group of mouth-breathing Handsome Jack fans through a Hyperion office tour. Things go south, and my version of Fiona has no choice but to aim her concealed pistol at a “statue” of the infamous Butt Stallion and fire. Hilariously, Fiona is horrified to discover that the statue bleeds, and she may have shot a real life butt stallion…Yeah, it is as weird as it sounds.
Rhys manages to find his way up to the office utilizing Jack’s murder chute. Once inside, the duo manages to find the Gortys piece and complete their mission successfully. Not without a pretty big turn of events, however. Rhys (at least my version of him) makes a deal with Handsome Jack to take over Hyperion as it’s new leader. Not sure how this will impact the rest of the story, but it seems like they’re pushing for these characters to maybe become a big part of the Borderlands universe. Which I’m totally okay with. We still don’t figure out how our heroes end up in their present-tense predicament, but I’m definitely excited to figure it out.
I was admittedly surprised at the reviews this episode has been getting. Personally, I thought it was amazing. It’s hard to pinpoint who my favorite character is, as each one offers something brilliant and hilarious to the table. Each episode of this game continues to make it an even stronger contender for my favorite Telltale game series to date. Don’t listen to those other reviews out there. There’s truly something special here. Check it out!
What’s Good: The best fake video game gunfight of all time, Handsome Jack, Butt Stallion
What’s Not-so-good: I have to wait to play more!
What do you think of Tales from the Borderlands and its penultimate episode? Sound off in the comments below. Thanks for reading!