Push to Smart Water Cooler: Tales from the Borderlands

Look at all of us, living a life of crime. This week we say goodbye to Gortys, Loaderbot, and all the flesh-bags of Pandora.

Transcript below the cut!

STACEY: This episode contains spoilers for Tales from the Borderlands.

STACEY: Welcome back to the Push to Smart Water Cooler. We are talking about the final episode of the season for Tales from the Borderlands. We last left our heroes in dire straits, per usual. They are trapped on the space station! Rhys has just let Handsome Jack into his head! Or maybe not. So we should probably review real quick. At the end of the last episode, I voluntarily went “Hey, let’s rule this” with Handsome Jack. You did not.

JAYLEE: Correct.

STACEY: Wonder how much of a difference that made. Because he turns on you pretty quickly. (laughs)

JAYLEE: Yeah. Immediately you get back to Sasha and Fiona and Gortys, and so I’m so happy that there was no Sasha double-cross or anything like that. I feel like I didn’t get that far into this scene because I ended it by punching Yvette in the face.

STACEY: I did too. (laughs)

JAYLEE: Yeah. (laughs) But I did love Gortys being like, “Look at the three of us!” (laughs) “Living a life of crime!”

STACEY: That was the first big laugh.

JAYLEE: I mean, Gortys remains the most delightful part of any Telltale game that I have ever played. But when we meet up with Rhys, Handsome Jack has… He actually seemed a little less homicidal until he brings out all the saws and everything to cut you up.

STACEY: See, I didn’t get that!

JAYLEE: What?!

STACEY: I don’t think I got that part. I saw it on Tumblr later. It’s like, I didn’t get that… (laughs) It looks so funny!

JAYLEE: So he straps Rhys into this chair and then he brings out all these lasers and saws, and he’s like, okay, “I’m going to be you in this robot body, and so you’ll be dead soon.” But he forgets that the chair that Rhys is sitting in has wheels on it, so you have to roll backwards as your first action as him and then use the saws and stuff to get out of it. Which was fantastic. What was that like for you, though?

STACEY: I wasn’t in a chair. I was mostly just standing there talking to him like, “No, I’m not going to do this. This is stilly. Why would I volunteer to do this?” And then, I don’t know, I might be skipping something, but he tries to jump down the torture chamber chute and gets stuck, and then he ends up having his conversations with Jack half in the chute. (laughs)

JAYLEE: (laughs) That’s fantastic as well.

STACEY: Not as fantastic as escape by office chair! (laughs)

JAYLEE: That’s true. That was so good. Did he show you the robot body?

STACEY: He did. And that was the whole thing, because they’re having this conversation like, “You’re my guy, also I’m going to kill you and put this zombie… this suit in your skin bag.” And he’s just like, “No. Why would I agree to that?”

JAYLEE: Yeah. (laughs) Quickly after that you’re reunited with them, and pretty much immediately split up. But before that Rhys has the option to either save Yvette or leave Yvette. Which did you do?

STACEY: I left Yvette.

JAYLEE: Really? Is it because you thought I would save her? (laughs)


JAYLEE: Okay. (laughs)

STACEY: At first because I was trying to remember whether or not she had told Rhysquez the kind of deal they had caught, and I thought she was saying… And I thinking was like, no, she mentioned killing him. And as I was leaving I’m like, I don’t think she actually did. Oh well, Jaylee will save her. (laughs) It’ll all be fine!

JAYLEE: Oh! (laughs) I almost didn’t because I was like, Stacey will probably save her. But I’m glad I did.

STACEY: (laughs)

JAYLEE: Yeah, she doesn’t really add much to the situation and you don’t really get any real closure with her. Especially because she ship kind of blows up.

STACEY: Oh. Does she survive?

JAYLEE: She does.


JAYLEE: Well, I’d assume she does. She gets out with an escape pod.

STACEY: Oh, so you never see her after in the weird enclave?

JAYLEE: Yeah, the time jump forward.


JAYLEE: Yeah, none of that.

STACEY: I was surprised how far in advance the time jump ended up being.

JAYLEE: Oh yeah.

STACEY: I didn’t realize that much time had passed. So we actually have a whole thing where Gortys, Sasha, and Fiona get separated. As well as some confrontations that are quite funny from Rhys and Handsome Jack. I enjoyed him running down the hallways just flicking off all the monitors. (laughs)

JAYLEE: Oh yeah! (laughs) And then Sasha, Fiona, and Gortys meet up with August, who saves their butt, and they move onto the hanger where they’re kind of betrayed.

STACEY: We have some last scenes with Loader Bot where Loader Bot helps Fiona get to an escape pod and then he runs to find Rhys and get him to an escape pod. And I was very upset through this whole sequence.

JAYLEE: Because you knew how it was going to end up.

STACEY: Yeah. Not how it was ultimately going to end up, but how this particular scene was going to end. Which is with Loader Bot sacrificing himself so they can all get away, and you just see him in the void of space getting shot at.


STACEY: And it’s like, no, his biggest fear was outliving his people! That doesn’t mean you get to kill him! So what was it like with Yvette then? Is she with Rhys when all this is happening?

JAYLEE: Yeah. There’s just one extra last escape pod if you do that. And Rhys is just like, “You’re gonna owe me one,” and then that’s about that. And then it continues on to the Loader Bot and Rhys goodbye.

STACEY: Oh. See, when you don’t have her with you, there is one last escape pod. And there’s a random account dude that’s running for it while Rhys is getting shot at by Handsome Jack. And Handsome Jack keeps shooting at him, like “Go on, buddy! You can do it!” Like letting this other guy take the pod. (laughs)

JAYLEE: (laughs) That is amazing.

STACEY: I still haven’t played much of Borderlands, but I really like Handsome Jack based on these games.

JAYLEE: Oh god, me too.

STACEY: The writing is so good. His performance is so good!

JAYLEE: Yeah. He’s one of those evil characters you kind of love.

STACEY: Yeah, and he’s really good because not only is he really funny, but he can be really evil and scary too!

JAYLEE: Exactly.

STACYE: But also sympathetic.

JAYLEE: It just switches back and forth so easily, yeah. And then after the crash and everybody’s escaped, it goes to back Rhys, who is right next to the Helios rubble. And so he goes in and he does have that final confrontation with Jack, where Jack tries to basically kill Rhys with his own arm, and so Rhys pulls it out of its socket, which was really kind of uncomfortable.

STACEY: Yeah, a lot of body horror here.

JAYLEE: Yeah. But not nearly as uncomfortable as when he pulled his eye thing out, which I wasn’t even sure how that was working, I just knew that I was just like “Ugggghhh!”

STACEY: Yeah, I had my hands up over my eyes like okay! Hopefully there’s no quicktime event.

JAYLEE: Oh yeah. So in the end you have the chance to either destroy the AI or keep him imprisoned. Which did you do?

STACEY: I crushed it.

JAYLEE: Me too.

STACEY: Aww, I was hoping somebody didn’t. (laughs)

JAYLEE: Oh yeah. I’m sure it’s on YouTube. And I’m sure that people who’ve played the entire Borderlands series are much more attached to him than we are, so they probably kept him imprisoned.

STACEY: We jumped to Fiona, who’s trying to find Sasha and Gortys. And they find out when Gortys reunited with her final piece, she opened a vault that unleashed this gigantic monster.


STACEY: And the only way to escape the monster, which has been just slaughtering Vallory’s troops, is to destroy Gortys so that the vault will close.

JAYLEE: And that’s what Vallory’s doing. And on your way to get Vallory to stop, you happen along Finch.


JAYLEE: And I shot the shit out of him.

STACEY: I didn’t.

JAYLEE: I shot him three times and I was like, this is gonna be it! This is gonna be real this time!

STACEY: (laughs)

JAYLEE: Did you just leave him to die?

STACEY: I left him, because I was like, I’ve gotta save these for Vallory! She’s shooting at Gortys!

JAYLEE: Oh yeah. See, that was the long-term thinking there. (laughs)

STACEY: (laughs)

JAYLEE: And then Vallory just gets destroyed by the monster. But luckily her rocket launcher remains, and then you have this sweet reuniting with Sasha and Fiona, because everybody was being really vague about Sasha, and so it was like, is she dead? Is she alive?

STACEY: Yeah, well she communicated with Fiona on the comm, and then as she’s trying to talk to her, you hear somebody else yelling at her and she gets pulled away, and you don’t know what happened to her. That’s one of the things where I’m not sure about the whole trajectory. We’ve talked about how they’re learning to become more than NPCs, especially with Fiona, who’s learning to be Vault Hunter. And there’s this great scene in one of the previous episodes where Vallory literally just throws this gun at her to hold her down because she knows she can’t lift it. And here she’s trying to fill those shoes and trying to shoot this gun and she’s able to, but it really is a struggle for her, and she’s only able to with the help of her sister. And I wasn’t sure… I really, really, really, really like that scene, but I also wasn’t sure how it led into Fiona’s overall momentum toward becoming a Vault Hunter, especially in regards to the ending.

JAYLEE: So you’re kind of hoping she would rise to the occasion?

STACEY: I think… I really, really like the scene, but I don’t know if she just needed something else in there too. Because it’s always been about Fiona becoming a Vault Hunter, not Fiona and Sasha becoming Vault Hunters. And every time she’s had to work at it, it’s been with Sasha.

JAYLEE: Mhmm, or with Athena even.

STACEY: Yeah. With Athena she at least had the point where she got to defend Athena and rise to the occasion herself, even though Vallory ultimately took her out, and we haven’t really had that with her and Sasha. Which if it becomes a story about badass sister Vault Hunters, I am so onboard with that, but that’s not what they’re doing. (laughs)

JAYLEE: Well I thought that once they were in the monster, she definitely rose to the occasion. Because there were all those little scenes, and then she just throws Sasha up there in the end.

STACEY: Yeah, I could see that.

JAYLEE: But no, I totally get where you’re coming from, though.

STACEY: Mhmm. This episode was a wild ride, let’s just put it that way. (laughs)

JAYLEE: (laughs)

STACEY: Okay, so we’ve got Sasha and Fiona have to work together to unfortunately take out Gortys. Gortys explodes. Time jump to her and our unknown assailant.

JAYLEE: Who, now that I think of it, should have been pretty obvious.


JAYLEE: But he’s planning on making a trade, and I know those abs anywhere, so I mean…

STACEY: (laughs)

JAYLEE: So I was like, that is Vaughn in a mask.

STACEY: I couldn’t… I’m very nearsighted, so I’m looking at this TV. I’m like, okay, is that person wearing a shirt? Because at first I thought it was Athena because of the hood. Like, no they’re not wearing a shirt, that’s just their abs. … OH!!!! (laughs)

JAYLEE: (laughs)

STACEY: I know who that is! (laughs)

JAYLEE: He’s weirdly buff! Yeah! (laughs) And I have to say, he’s quite fetching with his hair grown out. (laughs)

STACEY: (laughs)

JAYLEE: But yeah, so basically you kind of get the band back together in that way. And Rhys is revered among all the accountants and people who were saved from Helios for breaking their chains. And then Fiona’s just like “Are any of you going to interrogate this guy? Because I’m really curious who he is.” And then you get the interrogation where you figure out that the masked assailant is actually Loader Bot in the cyborg body!

STACEY: Yeah! Two things. I really liked when they’re walking into Helios—or the remnants of it—and the statue of him is just a statue of Jack without the head and “Rhys” written on it in paint. (laughs)

JAYLEE: Oh my god! (laughs) Yeah! Yeah. I loved that. Oh my god.

STACEY: Because they couldn’t make a new head for it! (laughs)

JAYLEE: (laughs)

STACEY: And then I also liked how they go and— Did you agree to be the bad cop?

JAYLEE: I was the bad cop.

STACEY: Okay, I was the bad cop too. And I like that they immediately mixed up which cops they were. (laughs)

JAYLEE: Exactly. And I also loved when you’re Fiona and you’re talking to the unmasked Loader Bot, and you’re try to goad him into being like, “I know who you are!” And he’s like, “Really?” And she’s like, “No. Thought that would work.”

STACEY: (laughs) That was a very satisfying reveal for me. Because I didn’t predict it, but as soon as he started talking about how he was there when… And he just wanted to know what happened to Gortys, I was like, “No!”

JAYLEE: Yeah! “You promised to protect her!” My heart!

STACEY: Yeah! I am so attached to Gortys and Loader Bot. (laughs)


STACEY: That was a big emotional reveal for me.


STACEY: I wasn’t… I was a little bit unsure of the episode up to that point, and then that was like, okay, I am on board with this.

JAYLEE: And then they have their big plan and from there you get—which I thought was just this awesome scene—where you get to choose your final party.

STACEY: Yeah! Your actions matter!

JAYLEE: This is a way that Telltale can make your choices matter! Without killing everybody! Because I had that questioning a couple episodes back where I was like, does the game know that I killed Felix? And then at the end you can try to recruit him, and it’s like, “You could totally try to recruit him, except he’s very dead.”

STACEY: (laughs)

JAYLEE: And so my final team ended up being Cassius, Athena, and Springs. Who was yours?

STACEY: Okay, so mine… Since I pissed a lot of people off, mine initially was Felix, Athena, and August. And then when you go to find Felix if he’s alive, he doesn’t actually join your party. But you go back to where the caravan first crashed and there’s that vanity with the mirror that was left out in the desert form a few episodes ago. You go back there and you find there’s a communicator device that he’s rigged to do a live feed. And it turns out that he had staged he whole thing, and inside that vanity is all the money that he stole.

JAYLEE: Oh wow.

STACEY: And he had left it for Fiona and Sasha. And he’s like, “I needed you to know”— “I needed them to think that I had betrayed you and run off with the money so no one would trace it back to you.”


STACEY: “And I needed you to believe me.” And so he’s like, you know, “There’s all the money in there. Share it with your sister and make sure she doesn’t spend it all on guns.” And so he doesn’t join your party, but he gives you all these resources. And since I had pissed off everybody else, I had to use those resources to recruit a Vault Hunter. Who ended up being Claptrap . (laughs)

JAYLEE: (laughs)

STACEY: So my final team for the Megazord battle was August, Athena, and Claptrap.

JAYLEE: And I have to say, never in a million years would I have expected a Megazord battle inside Gortys.

STACEY: Yeah! (laughs)

JAYLEE: But it was so perfect!

STACEY: It was!

JAYLEE: I just loved it!

STACEY: So to get ahead, so what happens is, it turns out Gortys is designed in her biggest form—which they’re able to rebuilt her—to take people and that she can only fight with what they know. Like, she learns from them how to fight. So with Rhys, the finger guns make a fantastic comeback.

JAYLEE: Yeah! (laughs)


STACEY: Because that’s the only way he knows how to fight. (laughs) Did you try, when her finger guns went offline, did you try to do the fist bump?

JAYLEE: Yes I did!

STACEY: (laughs)

JAYLEE: I couldn’t expect a better, weirder, more fun ending.

STACEY: There was no way to predict that, but at the same time, it’s like, how else could it have ended?

JAYLEE: Exactly! And also in my game, Athena and Springs were talking about their upcoming wedding.

STACEY: Aw, that’s so nice!

JAYLEE: Yeah! And then at the end they’re like, “Oh, we’re gonna invite everybody!” And Athena’s like, “Oh, I thought it was gonna be small.” I don’t know. It was just really cute banter. But after… Well, at the same time as the Megazord fight, Sasha and Fiona are inside the vault monster. As we mentioned a little bit previously, Fiona gets that Vault Hunter-y moment where she gets to choose all these different outcomes.

STACEY: Which is great because that power kind of disappeared after it was introduced.


STACEY: Which I wish it was a little bit more in the other episodes leading up to this, but it was good to see it come back here.

JAYLEE: Mhmm. With a vengeance, really. (laughs)

STACEY: (laughs)

JAYLEE: So they plant the bomb and they’re getting the hell out of there, except they can’t detonate the bomb because they’re too far away, and then Sasha kind of sacrifices herself to detonate the bomb, and then… Is that when the sword comes out?

STACEY: Yeah, which, of course. Why wouldn’t there be a sword? (laughs)

JAYLEE: Yeah. (laughs) And so Gortys finally gets a sword and just lays waste to the vault monster. And then everybody’s running up to it because they haven’t seen or heard from Sasha, and Sasha’s dying.

STACEY: This was an emotional rollercoaster for me, this game. Because there’s stuff like, you can’t do this to me in this game!

JAYLEE: I know!

STACEY: This is… Why would you do this? But I also enjoyed the moments between Fiona and Sasha, and then I also enjoyed Rhys trying to do a magic Disney tear. (laughs)

JAYLEE: Yes! That was— God, Rhys! (laughs)

STACEY: It was so silly and funny, but it was also really sweet!

JAYLEE: It was so sincere! Yeah! But—and god, pulling at my fricking heart strings—but I loved that they had a respawn!

STACEY: Oh yeah!

JAYLEE: Because throughout the series, one of the things that I’ve loved so much is how they take these first-person shooter tropes and work them into the story, and then what saves the day is Sasha gets a respawn. And I loved that! I thought it was brilliant! And then immediately afterward everybody’s running around in circles trying to pick up loot. (laughs)

STACEY: (laughs) Yeah, that took me a minute to figure out what was going on, because they’re watching them, and then they’re running for the vault, what were those other people—? OHHHH!

JAYLEE: (laughs)

STACEY: The monster dropped loot. (laughs)

JAYLEE: And I like how as Sasha’s dying, she’s like talking about this gun that’s really rare that she has in her hand. Ah, I just loved it.

STACEY: Because Claptrap is there for me, so I was a little bit worried that he was laying it on a little bit too thick, and a little on the nose. He’s also commenting too, like “This isn’t how it’s supposed to end!”


STACEY: And stuff like that. Which on one hand, it’s like, that makes sense. On the other hand, it’d like, shhh, let me have my moment.

JAYLEE: (laughs) Yeah, exactly.

STACEY: (laughs)

JAYLEE: And then you have that final conversation. And one thing that I love is that you start this game as these two kind of competing narratives where they’re trying to paint themselves as the heroes, and then you end the game as one single conversation between these two people, and how it’s all unified. And so the big part of the conversation is whether Rhys likes Sasha, and whether Fiona likes Rhys liking Sasha. (laughs) Did you confess your crush?



STACEY: I had him confess.

JAYLEE: And did you have Fiona, according to the choices, “Ship Rhys and Sasha”?

STACEY: I don’t remember what my outcome was, but I had her say that Sasha fancies him.

JAYLEE: Yeah, I think that was what I got too, and I got that it was “shipping” them.


JAYLEE: The ending kind of leaves on a question mark in a way, because they kind of just disappear.

STACEY: Yeah, which was another thing, because I haven’t played much of Borderlands, I was like, is that normal?

JAYLEE: Is that a thing? Yeah, I was the exact same way.

STACEY: Is that just what happens when you open vaults? (laughs)

JAYLEE: (laughs) So overall, what did you think about the ending, and what did you think of the series as a whole?

STACEY: I enjoyed the heck out of this series. I don’t think it works particularly well as an over-arching story. I think there’s a lot of things that hook in that are really good, but I don’t think it was paced very well. But it’s hard to fault it when it was so enjoyable.


STACEY: The dialog writing was really good. The performances across the board were fantastic. You get a few of the weird Telltale-y animations and I felt like in this game more so than any other, the inputs were really weird.

JAYLEE: Yeah. Oh yeah.

STACEY: Especially after coming onto after playing this after Until Dawn, it was really obvious that it didn’t matter what button I was hitting as long as I hit the right one eventually. (laughs)

JAYLEE: Well, for me there were a lot of time it was like, “Hit R2” and I’d hit X and it would count as an input that was correct.

STACEY: Really? (laughs)

JAYLEE: Yeah, so a lot of the time it didn’t even matter if it was the right button as long as I hit a button.

STACEY: But it’s hard to fault it when it was just so enjoyable.

JAYLEE: I know. It was so fun. And I thought that the episode, this episode in particular, kind of started off slow, but it ended so well. But I loved how it tied in the first person narrative explanations, and it just kept its sense of humor. I just loved my time with this game. And for that it’s hard to… Like you said, it’s hard to fault it.

JAYLEE: Last episode we asked where you expected the finale to go. Unfortunately, I don’t think anybody called the Megazord. (laughs)

STACEY: No. (laughs)

JAYLEE: There were a lot of commenters who were trying to figure out who the masked man was. And I was set on it being Felix. But I was happy that it wasn’t. But a lot of people thought it was either Vaughn, or Felix, or even Scooter. Which I thought was really interesting because you all had evidence tying these things in that I never would have caught. Like Scooter’s arm being the same kind of mechanical arm, or like a shotgun from Jack’s office that the guy was using.

STACEY: I really liked Bleeters comment, “Don’t you dare kill Gortys.”

JAYLEE: (laughs) I know. That’s the thing. I was like, you can’t do this to me.

STACEY: I will only buy some of your toys if you kill off Gortys.

JAYLEE: And I loved how Gortys and Loader Bot were just kind of walking off together, and they were like, “Those two are so cute.”

STACEY: I know! (laughs) They are though, like when she just rolls up and gives him a hug. It was like, aww!

JAYLEE: My heart!

STACEY: Aww! My little robot children.

JAYLEE: So now we want to know what you guys thought about the finale. Did you like it? Did you hate it? What did you think of the reveal? Et cetera, et cetera. Please let us know in the comments and of course don’t forget to subscribe to keep up to date on all of our latest episodes and Water Cooler discussions.

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