I’m torn; with one episode to go in this series, I struggle with the idea of Telltale ending their run with Gearbox’s franchise, as this episode has both made me laugh and cry in the space of two hours. Through some mysteriously found comedic timing, melded with an emotional crescendo that I had no idea had been building within me for several years, I don’t honestly know who should write the story for Boderlands 3, as Telltale debuts perhaps the greatest episode yet in any of their episodic series to date with Tales from the Borderlands: Escape Plan Bravo.
Telltale continues to demonstrate its mastery with Escape Plan Bravo, the fourth from their Borderlands series. One of the funniest parts comes from a visual gag within the launch montage, which garners more laughs with no words than some comedy games do with thousands. Each of the characters brings something different and unique to this quick episode, the greatest part being it isn’t all laughs. The series has had its serious moments in the past, but Escape Plan Bravo will cement Tales into the overall Borderlands lore in a way most people won’t be happy about, but damn if it isn’t glorious in its own right. It is no longer a side story on Pandora; it feels like its own proper entry in the timeline, with real effects on the world Gearbox built.
being so close to the end, every decision that I was forced to make was another cringe-inducing moment of wondering if I had just said my last goodbyes to that character. Rhys and Vaughn share another special bro moment (not as funny as their interaction in episode two) which shows how much this journey to Pandora has changed each of these characters and their relationship with each other. While the episode still has its funny moments, there is a much larger focus on reigning in and humanizing these characters.
A moment on Handsome Jack: he has become dangerous. Tales from the Borderlands has done an excellent job of building him up over four episodes, from some funny, awful thing only Rhys can deal with to an honest-to-goodness terrifying entity. If you’ve made choices for Rhys that have lead to his accepting Jack, you’ll probably feel more comfortable with the outcome of Episode Four. If you’ve been resisting Jack, well, something more horrifying will happen. This is the biggest thread of player choice running through the series, and now we’re finally seeing it come to fruition. As a fan of the series from the very beginning, Jack has easily been the most interesting character to see developed and definitely one that most people have loved to hate (and hated to love).
From the opening with Rhys hilariously attempting to zig-zag as he runs from his masked captor, to the epic Borderlands staple credits sequence set to a great soundtrack, and all the way to the jaw dropping conclusion, Escape Plan Bravo manages to cram humor, heart, and tension into one of the best episodes that they’ve ever created in any of their series. Sure, it’s not the most choice driven or fastest paced thing they’ve done, but they’re telling a great story that has captivated me wholeheartedly both overall and moment to moment, and judging by their name, isn’t that what Telltale is all about?