Warning: The following contains spoilers for Tales from the Borderlands' second episode, "Atlas Mugged." If you have not played this episode, turn back now.
The second episode of Tales from the Borderlands is out this week, continuing the stories of Rhys and Fiona as they attempt to survive their harrowing adventures on Pandora. While "Zer0 Sum" introduced the game's key cast members, "Atlas Mugged" capably set up where the story is going in over-the-top, hilarious Borderlands fashion. And as has often been the case with Telltale's high-quality writing, several character motivations and directions have been turned somewhat on their head over the course of a single episode.
Today, Shacknews is taking a look at some of the most burning questions to emerge from "Atlas Mugged." Where are our characters now? And more importantly, where are they headed?
Can Vaughn be Trusted?
The first episode established the tight friendship between Rhys and Vaughn. That's why a majority of players in the first episode opted to stick by him when Vasquez offered Rhys the opportunity to turn him into Hyperion for embezzlement. Unfortunately, "Atlas Mugged" revealed that Vaughn may not have had that same loyalty, with Vasquez revealing that a very similar offer was made to him. Vaughn decided to sell his best friend out.
Vaughn points out that the intention was to throw Vasquez off the scent, never expecting him to actually show up and personally get his hands dirty. He insists that he was never really going to turn Rhys in, but now the question of his true loyalty is out in the open. Yes, he's been at the receiving end of the same kind of Pandoran dangers and at the wrong end of Vasquez's blaster. But if another opportunity to save his own hide should arise, would Vaughn take it? It may have been established that he and Rhys are bros ("Bro! Bro-bro! Bro bro bro bro bro!"), but it's easy to forget that Vaughn is just as ambitious as anyone else on this journey. Vaughn's confidence level is closely being monitored, as indicated by several dialogue choices, and as it increases, so do the odds that he'll eventually fend for himself.
Is August redeemable?
Towards the end of the episode, the main characters are discovered by August and his goons, who are working in league with Vasquez. As August leads Fiona towards a separate corridor, he starts to lament over losing Sasha, not wanting to believe that the whole deal was a giant con. Even as Fiona tells him the relationship was always a means to an end, August sounds heartbroken and genuinely hurt by what transpired. In fact, he even points out that he's basically only doing this because his employer is demanding satisfaction over what's happened.
So is there a chance that August could potentially set his differences aside with the crew? Given his continued affection for Sasha, this may be a remote possibility. If Fiona and Rhys offer him a cut of whatever loot is at the end of the tunnel, it could be a quick way out of a jam. If it means any chance at winning Sasha back, August and his crew could just as easily becomes allies that could bail them out of any future jams.
The only wrench there would be August's employer, Vallory, who he clearly seems to fear. Would risking Vallory's wrath be worth trying to make a grand gesture towards the subject of his affections? Given August's tone through the end of the second episode, there's a possibility that he may become a friend sooner than later. Although given the argument that he and Sasha appear to get into in the final moments, don't necessarily count on that happening right away, if ever.
Is that really Handsome Jack?
On the surface, this question sounds ludicrous. But let's take a moment to break down just what's happening with Pandora's notorious dictator.
There's something strange about Rhys being the only one that can see Handsome Jack. Vaughn even goes so far as to point out what a wild coincidence it is, saying, "Of all the guys Handsome Jack could appear in front of, it just happens to be the guy that's totally obsessed with him." As much as Rhys is convinced that he's seeing Jack before his eyes, something about this is fishy.
That's where it's important to remember that Rhys' ECHO Eye is a Hyperion creation, meaning someone could have hacked into it. A remote hack could have Rhys seeing things -- possibly a manifestation of Jack that isn't really there. An apparition that's spurring him forward to uncover the hidden secrets of the Gortys Project for whoever's pulling these strings, which would explain how Jack is able to upgrade Rhys' implant on the spot. That someone could easily be Vasquez and could be the answer to how he keeps finding Rhys and Vaughn at seemingly every turn. Something about Rhys' ECHO Eye isn't quite right and, as a result, someone could be preying on Rhys' admiration for Pandora's fallen despot.
So if this is the case, how does Jack control Rhys' body at various points in this episode? Well, just how much about the ECHO Eye implant does Rhys know? Would a remote hack allow someone to potentially control his body? Don't discount this possibility. Likewise, don't discount the possibility that this whole deal with Handsome Jack is one giant ruse.
Who will try and collect Fiona's bounty next?
Fiona has become a popular target on Pandora. A growing number of bounty hunters are trying to collect on her bounty, including Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel's Athena. Athena points out that the longer Fiona and Sasha are on the run, the more bounty hunters will chase after them. And now that they're landing in Vasquez's crosshairs, that will only prove more true as the story goes on. So who will try and collect on the bounty next?
This leaves the table wide open to a number of additional Borderlands cameos, including other main characters from the first two games and The Pre-Sequel. But the teaser for the upcoming third episode made sure to highlight one mystery pursuer, in particular. This woman found an old picture of young Felix, Fiona, and Sasha and tore it up, making sure to toss Felix's image to the ground. This may very well be Vallory, August's employer, looking to step in and take care of Fiona and Sasha herself. It could also be someone tied to Felix's past, as indicated by the picture Fiona found at his old safe house of Felix and a mystery blond. Or it could even be both.
For more on Tales from the Borderlands' second episode, "Atlas Mugged," be sure to check out our episode impressions.