Game Review | Tales From The Borderlands | Season 1, Episode 4 | "Escape Plan Bravo"
Episode Summary: Vallory forces Rhys, Fiona, Sasha, Loader Bot, and Gortys to retrieve the upgrade from Jack's office on Helios; she sends August and her thugs to go with them. The caravan is converted into a spaceship to make the journey. (Wikipedia)
*** SPOILER ALERT – Do not read any further if you don’t want any spoilers ***
Tales from the Borderlands continues to struggle in its penultimate episode, with another episode that feels insubstantial and disappointing, with very little happening in terms of plot. To make things worse, the humour and the interactions between the characters all hit a low point for the season too.
It’s certainly not what I’d consider to be a bad episode, more kind of ‘meh’. Even the ending falls flat, leaving me in eager rush to see how things turn out. I really feel that “Catch a Ride” and “Escape Plan Bravo” should’ve been one episode if some scenes were trimmed down and what comes to feel like filler content left out entirely.
It does have its moments – being able to act like a complete dick while impersonating Vasquez is fun, as is the finger-gunfight you can take part in as him too – but long stretches will leave you just wanting to get to the next scene so the current one can be over, rather than because you’re interested in what will happen next.
This time out, our intrepid heroes – minus Vaughn, who is missing for the entire episode save one seconds-long conversation over the radio – are forced by Vallory to make their way to the Hyperion space-station of Helios so they can retrieve the next component to help Gortys summon the Vault of the Traveler, which is the end goal for Vallory.
With assistance from Sparks and Scooter, their caravan is transformed into a spaceship and they leave Pandora, with Sasha and Fiona talking about how the sight of their homeworld far below puts everything into a new perspective for them.
There is then a genuinely sad moment when the caravan-ship collides with Henderson, who Vasquez killed back in “Zer0 Sum”, with Fiona and Scooter forced to go outside the ship and repair the boosters, only for Scooter to have to be sacrificed after his hand is caught in the machinery.
He may have been mainly comic relief and only a tertiary character to boot, but he’s also one of the very few genuinely nice people in the story, so it’s unquestionably sad to see him drift away and die.
On arrival, Rhys (impersonating Vasquez) is then shocked to discover Yvette, his and Vaughn’s supposed friend, had actually made a deal with Vasquez to ‘take care’ of the pair and bring her whatever was inside Rhys’ head – which we know to be Handsome Jack’s AI self.
The problem here is that I started suspecting something was up with Yvette in the first episode, and was further convinced with every interaction after, so it didn’t play out as a shock at all and only made Rhys seem dumb for blindly trusting her so much.
This is a big case of gameplay/narrative dissonance, where the characters tell us one thing, but the game provides no evidence to support it. Yvette doesn’t really do anything to confirm that she is indeed Rhys and Vaughn’s friend and worthy of their total trust.
Maybe if we’d spent a little more time with her at the start of the game or had been given some kind of proof that she was trustworthy, the ‘twist’ might’ve worked. As it is, the reveal is as disappointing as the rest of the episode.
"Escape Plan Bravo" consists of a typical – to the point of cliché – heist-style story, with a cunning plan set up that will work perfectly as long as nothing goes wrong, which it inevitably does. And that’s the problem, how things go wrong and the characters’ reactions to them just don’t work.