Tales from the Borderlands’ finale was one hell of a ride. With a veritable bouquet of guns to your head, what choices did you make?
(Tales from the Borderlands spoilers ahead!)
As you might have already read, I adored Tales from the Borderlands’ final episode—and the whole series in general. Like other Telltale series, Tales let players leave their mark on Borderlands’ cartoonishly psychotic universe with choices. Many were, of course, illusory in that they’d ultimately keep you on the story’s straight-and-narrow no matter what. However, a few—like how you dealt with Handsome Jack in previous episodes—had long-term consequences, and the series itself had BIG long-term ramifications for Borderlands as a whole.
All that in mind, I found the choices in Tales episode five really interesting. It was the end, but also not the end. The book closed on Tales, but not on Borderlands. As a result, there were some “oh shit, that was a really big deal” moments, but they didn’t necessarily have immediate in-game consequences. They never came back to haunt me; they literally couldn’t. They just... were. In some ways, I think that made them more powerful. There was no cold, calculating system to game—no curtain to peer behind as the clock ticked and my finger hovered over the select button. I got to do my thing in the heat of the moment and make up my own mind about what it all meant.
Granted, I’d have loved for there to be more massive plot-altering choices, but when something turns out as nice as Tales, it’s hard to complain too much. Anyway, on with my choices.
Did you save Yvette’s life?
Yeah. I mean, she was one of Rhys’ BFFs back in the good... er, corporate old days, even if she did betray Rhys in the end. And she may not have! She claimed she only made a deal with Vasquez and Hyperion to track Rhys (with the goal of obtaining his head—alive or dead) to protect him. Not sure if I buy it, but I simply decided to be better. Tales—at least, as I played it—was about Rhys’ slow climb out of the corporate shark tank, out of a vat of churning ruthlessness. Maybe Yvette deserved to die, but I didn’t feel like I was qualified for the job.
Also, let’s not forget that it was Yvette who originally sent Loader Bot to Rhys. So in a way, she saved Rhys’ life on multiple occasions and gave him a lifelong friend. Plus, Loader Bot is the coolest. I mean, it’s Loader Bot, you guys. Loader Bot!
Did you destroy AI Handsome Jack?
I did. I have a lot of feelings about this one, though. See, I felt bad for Handsome Jack, I legitimately did. Tales painted him as a character equal parts twisted and tragic. When he went on his long, humanizing diatribes about his own attempts at playing hero, about how everyone—even his own goddamn daughter—ultimately betrayed him, I felt like that came from a real place. But I think Jack, AI or not, also understood how human he was, how powerful his story was. He confessed some heavy stuff to Rhys in part because he needed to—because he was lonely and heartbroken and a little scared—and in part because he knew he could manipulate Rhys by playing rip-roaring guitar solos on his heartstrings.
But just because somebody was good once—and still has some scraps of good embedded in them, like shrapnel from a lost battle—doesn’t mean they’re good now. Every time Jack seemed to turn a corner, he was actually acting in his own interests (and to everybody else’s catastrophic detriment). I’d given him plenty of chances. Nothing ever changed. He was rotten to the core, and I needed to make sure he could never come back, no matter what. Sure, if I’d kept that little piece of him, it probably would’ve just existed as a glorified souvenir—impotent and inert, except as a memory. But I couldn’t be certain. So even as Jack begged for his life, whimpered, “Please! There’s not anything afterward! There’s NOTHING there,” I crushed my last cybernetic implant, permanently ending Jack in the process.
Did you let Finch bleed out?
For reference, Finch was one of the two thugs who basically followed Fiona, Rhys, and co around for the whole series. Fiona ended up shooting him multiple times. He was always a dick, though, so he was kinda asking for it. And yeah, instead of ending him on the spot while trudging toward my final confrontation with Vallory, I decided to let him die alone and in pain, without so much as his partner in crime, Kroger, to comfort him. I played Fiona as a little more ruthlessly than Rhys, so it fit her character.
Did you have Fiona be bad cop while interrogating The Mysterious Masked Man (TM)?
Yeah. I mean, Rhys would be (and to an extent, still was) the shittiest bad cop on Pandora. This one was kinda a no-brainer.
Who’d you pick for your Gortys rescue Vault Hunter mega-team?
Initially I went with Athena and Springs (because duh; best couple in Borderlands) and Fiona’s traitorous mentor Felix, because I had to know how that would play out. Felix, however, didn’t join the team. Instead, I got a really sweet scene where he explained himself, patched things up with Fiona, and gave her a shit-ton of cash. Using said cash, I then shelled out for the mystery Vault Hunter, who turned out to be... Claptrap. Fuck.
In fairness, this was Claptrap’s least I’ve-taken-to-choking-nearby-electronics-to-vent-my-frustrations annoying appearance in a game to date, so that’s something. I was definitely surprised when he showed up, and I even almost enjoyed having him around.
Did you ship Rhys and Sasha?
OBVIOUSLY. Ever since that scene in episode three with the “fall” and the flower and the angry space jellyfish, I’ve been all fucking aboard the Rhys x Sasha train. Even before then, I liked their weird chemistry. I dug that Sasha was this brilliant, take-charge badass and Rhys was a jerk in rehab, a dork who was learning to step up and be a decent, almost heroic human being. I especially liked that, more often than not, Sasha saved Rhys—not the other way around. The first scene where they worked as a team (in the first episode, I think) was when I realized I was starting to care about Tales’ characters. It was that burgeoning warmth and friendliness that hooked me.
In my game, Sasha and Rhys had been kinda on the outs ever since I had Rhys confess that Handsome Jack was in his head, but when they reunited after the time skip, I did not hesitate for a mockingbird’s heartbeat at having Rhys tell Sasha he missed her. Then they hugged, and it was really nice.
And when Sasha nearly died and Rhys was crying all over the place? Man. I’m surprised nobody called an ambulance because my still-beating heart was on the goddamn floor.
In the end, I had Rhys confess that he was into Sasha, and I had Fiona approve in her characteristic “if you hurt her I will fucking end you” sort of way. And then that was that, which was sort of weird. The climax of Rhys and Sasha’s relationship was a conversation that didn’t even involve Sasha—one that was, frankly, kinda possessive and out-of-nowhere. I don’t know. I felt like that part was kinda weak, even if it was cool that I got to make decisions for both characters. Speaking of...
How did you play Fiona and Rhys’ final conversation?
I really liked this scene. Fiona and Rhys walked into the Vault of the Traveler, and—as they ascended the bioluminescent rave staircase—they reflected. Again, I was in control of the entire conversation. I made dialogue choices for both of them. Ultimately, I had Rhys say that vault hunting was dangerous as hell—something he was probably done with—and that he wanted to make Atlas into something that would help better Pandora. I had Fiona agree that the journey was perilous, but also that she had a knack for this whole vault hunting thing. Both agreed, however, that they were kinda sad that the ride was over. BUT. It didn’t have to be. They could work together again.
And then they opened the chest, and they disappeared together.
Bonus: Did you figure out who the Mysterious Masked Man (TM) was?
Nope, not until he removed his mask. I thought maybe it was Felix, since he was one of the few remaining loose ends at that point. I just figured Loader Bot was dead forever, that Tales had taken both of my trusty robo pals from me for some sadistic reason. Then Loader Bot came back as a machine powered by pure friendship, and my heart grew so many sizes that I live inside it now. I sleep in a ventricle every night. It’s weird.
What choices did you make during Tales from the Borderlands’ finale? Which of your choices from earlier episodes mattered most? DID YOU SHIP RHYS AND SASHA?