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YMMV / Tales from the Borderlands

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  • Accidental Innuendo: In Episode 5, when Jack confronts Fiona and Sasha, depending on dialogue choices Jack can tell Fiona how much he wants to be INSIDE Rhysnote . To Jack's credit, he makes no attempt to walk it back when everyone realizes the implications.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • Is Felix someone who is actually a caring father figure to the girls or was it all a facade to steal their big score when it finally happened? Did he do it to try and protect them or did he want to head off any vengeance against him by phrasing it in the nicest manner possible. Is he just a conflicted man who was enticed by so much money? The revelation in Part 3 that he also hired Athena to protect and mentor the girls suggests that he genuinely cared for them. The fact he had to set it up all before they left for the initial meeting also calls into question his motivations.
    • August is portrayed as a vicious, violent, and vindictive thug in his initial appearance. However, his later appearances show him as still in love with Sasha and willing to forgive her conning him. Is this because he's just that infatuated with her or does he possess Hidden Depths? Is his story the man he killed was robbing him true or made up? He's also very polite and actually kind to his prisoners, compared to Vasquez-but he still works for Vallory, who's also his mother. And in Episode 3, he's already quite grumpy, but he also stops Vallory from killing Fiona and friends, and even refuses to shoot Rhys during the car chase if you don't pull off the QTE in time. By Episode 4, he's an extremely Grumpy Bear, but he's shown to be capable of leadership various times.
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    • Jack:
      • Jack gets a big one: In Episode 3, when he pleads with Rhys to accept his partnership, he mentions that he knows that people hate him. In Borderlands 2, Jack was the most hated man on Pandora, but he seemed completely unaware that nobody loved him, even his own private army, and insisted that he was the hero. Could he have been hiding the tiny shard of the less openly sociopathic and slightly more restrained person that he used to be at the start of the Pre-Sequel all this time? Or is he just trying to butter up the guy who is Jack's only hope of gaining back his life and power, and knows faking a Heel–Face Turn is the best way to do it? Likewise, are Jack's dickish actions towards the others just him indulging in his customary warped sense of humor... or a cunning and targeted attempt to isolate Rhys from the others, and thus make him more dependent on Jack?
      • To add to this, it's possible for Rhys to be trying to woo Sasha. Jack was a meek salaryman like Rhys when he first met Nisha. This could be Jack taking initiative to turn Sasha into Rhys' Nisha. He calls Fiona 'Sweetie' and she's an alternate pairing. And though he does call Vaughn a dweeb, the context is when he first saw Vaughn he thought he was a dweeb and actually respects him now. Add onto if you're on good terms with Jack in episode 4 at the end if you accept his deal, he announces to all of Hyperion you are the new president and promises you the universe to rule together. If you reject him he takes control of you anyway, showing this could be all be genuine respect for Rhys...or not.
      • As of Episode 5, it turns out Jack was using Rhys all along (but really, what could you expect?) and plans to turn him into a Robo-Jack prototype regardless of controlling or refusing Hyperion.
      • To what extent is the Handsome Jack featured in this game the same man as the one in Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!? Is he the same person reborn through Hyperion tech, or just an advanced AI programmed to believe it is Jack and mimic his behavior? The story and characters generally regard him as the former, but the science behind his return would indicate the latter. However, cut dialogue has him state that the last thing he remembers before waking up in Rhys's system was Nakayama testing something on him, suggesting the intent is that he's a digital copy of the same mind, diverging at the point Nakayama took the copy (this also accounts for Jack's behaviour being more like it was towards the beginning of Borderlands 2 and not knowing what happened to himself, he was made long before any of the events of Borderlands 2 happened).
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    • Yvette also has this in spades regarding her Heel–Face Revolving Door behavior. First she starts out as a friend and ally. Then in episode 4 she callously doesn't care about the apparent deaths of his former colleagues, explains to Vasquez!Rhys how she betrayed him, purposefully denied supplies to them and does all that in a smug, bitchy manner... yet the game provides several opportunities for her to be forgiven. One side claims her betrayal and her explanation for it was the same as the much less vilified Vaughn's (which ignores the fact that Yvette actually betrayed Rhys for money while in the safety of her office while Vaughn planned to do so for survival while he was in mortal danger during a death derby) while her condemners point at her gleefulness and that, depending on choices, she can betray Rhys one last time by taking the last escape pod if freed from prison. In the end it is questionable whether she is just a Corrupt Corporate Executive gleefully manipulating Rhys or just another victim of the circumstances and Hyperion's corporate culture.
  • Awesome Music: Being Borderlands, are you surprised that the series has some great licensed music?
    • "Busy Earnin'" by Jungle in the first episode's intro sequence, right up until it suddenly stops as Rhys runs over a skag.
    • What better Real Song Theme Tune for Bossanova than this?
    • The main theme of Episode 2.
    • The music that plays over the final scenes of Episode 2, 'The Galatarium', is suspenseful, somber and perfectly fitting as the situation for the protagonists gets more and more dire while also emphasizing just how impressive the inside of the Gortys Project facility is. It's almost like something out of Mass Effect.
    • "High Noon", which first plays in Episode 1 when Rhys, Vaughn, and Loader Bot are fighting Rudiger's gang, and then partially shows up in later episodes' combat sequences.
    • The theme for episode three, "Pieces of the People We Love" by the Rapture, perfectly captures the more easy going and care free nature of the opening, especially compared to every other episode of the season.
    • The theme for Episode 4 is the sky-high, dramatic "To the Top" by Twin Shadow, which plays over the team taking off on their ship to Hyperion.
    • ''Retrograde'' by James Blake, which plays as Fiona and Rhys evacuate Helios in Episode 5.
    • "Bandit Slaughter" from Borderlands 2 making a reappearance during the Vault Guardian fight.
    • ''My Silver Lining'' by First Aid Kit makes for the perfect ending song for Episode 5. It captures the feeling of the game perfectly as the credits roll.
    • The dramatic orchestral version of the main theme added with the release of Episode 5 is pure awesome.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Handsome Jack's presence in the game is one for several people. Some fans were glad to have him back, enjoyed his interactions with the characters, and hope that his vague "death" in this game means he can appear in future games in the Borderlands franchise. Others have tired of his character and are hoping that his "death" means he is Killed Off for Real.
  • Broken Base:
    • Rhys' scenes with Sasha in Episode 3. Many people feel that they are forced or wish Rhys could have chosen to go with another character and others are fine with the scenes themselves or the fact you get the option to downplay the romance aspect. And then there's the shippers, who, although peaceful, are on the brink of a forum-wide war at the moment.
    • Scooter getting killed off divided up the Borderlands fanbase, with one side believing that, despite how sad it was, Scooter went out like a badass, while the other side thinks that killing Scooter, one of the most beloved characters in the franchise, was unnecessarily cruel. Some have even speculated/accused Gearbox of signing off on this so they could replace Scooter with Janey Springs as the "mechanic" of the series. Which opens up a whole other can of worms we won't elaborate on here.
    • Another one has recently shown up when it was revealed that Anthony Burch, lead writer of Borderlands 2 (and disliked by a number of people for many reasons, mostly on the topic of his writing being Reference Overdosed with memes and some ham-fisted political ideals) wrote two scenes in episode 4: talking to Scooter, and infiltrating Hyperion disguised as Vasquez. The real issue comes with the second scene, in which you can choose to greet two Hyperion (male) guards with "Hey, ladies. Whatcha been doin'? Talkin' about boys?" While this seems to be keeping in character with the fact that you're pretending to be Vasquez, the two guards respond with some comments about misogyny, and stating that actually, one of the guards in question has a brother who is marrying his boyfriend. The ostensible point of the scene isn't what they say so much as it is that their responses throw Rhys as off-balance as possible; that said, a good number of people dislike the scene for feeling preachy, while another camp thinks it's funny and not worth getting worked up over. The captain's deadpan response to said wedding comment can also be interpreted in that he doesn't really want to go to the wedding.
    • On Tumblr, the debate if Fiona is Caucasian or a woman of color has sparked some very nasty debates and fighting in the tags. That is all that needs to be said.
  • Cargo Ship: If you chose Fiona over Jack at the end of the second episode, a certain choice makes Fiona and her hat a little... shippy.
  • Catharsis Factor: Finally blowing Helios out of the sky and killing Handsome Jack in episode 5 can be this.
  • Continuity Lockout: Downplayed. The game is fairly accessible to people new to the Borderlands franchise, although Tales does expect the player to know some of the plot points of the main series.
  • Crack Pairing: Rhack (Rhys x Jack) is very interesting in this regard. On the Telltale forums, it's considered a crack pairing. But on Tumblr and Archive of our Own, Rhack is certainly the most popular ship in those parts of the fandom.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • The Loader Bot is built out of pure awesome, with a personality tightly bolted with humour and likeability.
    • August is liked for being incredibly moral for a Pandoran mobster and being a lot more sympathetic compared to Vasquez.
    • Gortys for being essentially what Hyperion Claptraps were supposed to be: happy and friendly robots. Being extremely adorable and cuddly helps, too. It also helps that her voice sounds like Clementine.
    • Bossanova. With a unique design and an awesome theme, many were disappointed that he was killed in the 1st episode.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Handsome Goddamn Jack as always.
  • Fandom Rivalry: The fandom of Tales from the Borderlands has a slight rivalry with fandom of the Telltale Game of Thrones series, which was produced simultaneously. Since Game of Thrones is being funded by HBO, new episodes for the former were produced faster and marketed more heavily, with most episodes given at least a week between the trailer dropping and the episode being released, while episodes of Tales don't receive nearly as much fanfare (Episode 3 of Tales only got its trailer mere hours before it released, unlike any Telltale episode so far) and are barely acknowledged by Telltale after release until the next episode is on the horizon. Fans are understandably interpreting this as Telltale's marketing team just not giving a damn about Tales, coupled with the frankly huge gaps between the first, second and third episodes. However, almost as if to make up for this, it should be noted that the final episode of Tales from the Borderlands was released before the final episode of Telltale's Game of Thrones (the latter has not yet been released at the time of this writing, while all 5 episodes of Tales from the Borderlands are now out).
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: The satellite Scooter wishes to launch in order to advertise his business to the rest of the galaxy ends up being launched in memory of his sacrifice.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: After the sudden closure of Telltale Games and the revelations about its toxic work environment, writers for the series have admitted that Rhys was something of an Author Avatar, representing their own struggles under an increasingly abusive and incompetent employer.
  • He's Just Hiding!: A lot of people, especially many Borderlands veterans, are insisting that somehow Scooter survived the explosion in episode 4.
  • "Holy Shit!" Quotient: The final Episode, "Vault of the Traveler", features a borderline mecha fight against The Traveler, possibly the biggest Vault Guardian in the series so far.
  • Ho Yay:
    • Rhys and Jack. The former idolizes the latter and the latter can get pretty buddy-buddy with the former, and there's a moment where Jack immediately corrects himself after telling Rhys that "I'm inside you".
    • Rhys and Vaughn. The two are undeniably Heterosexual Life-Partners, and though you can downplay it by sticking to Rhys's more egocentric and flippant dialogue options, they're generally very open with each other and frequently on each other's minds. Scrapped dialogue turns this Up to Eleven.
    • Vaughn draws some interesting comments from both Vasquez and Jack after showing his weirdly ripped bare torso in Episode 2.
    • August seems very interested in whether Rhys jerks off with his flesh or robot hand, even dropping his grumpiness for a few seconds.
    • It's not explained exactly what the relationship between Kroger and Finch is, but when they are launching off into space Finch reaches to hold Kroger's hand which he reciprocates, and later Kroger spends an indeterminate amount of time hunting down Rhys and Fiona because he believes they killed Finch.
  • Idiosyncratic Ship Naming: Gayperion for Rhys and Vaughn.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Rhys is shipped with Fiona, Sasha, Vaughn, Jack, Vasquez, and even other Borderlands characters that have never interacted with Rhys like Timothy.
  • Love to Hate: Vasquez and Jack are both irredeemable bastards against our beloved protagonists, but they're just so hilarious to watch because of the over the top acting enforced by their respective performers.
  • Memetic Badass: Loader Bot has gained a lot of praise from Borderlands fans due to being a far superior model compared to other bots from the games.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name:
    • Shippers have created Rhyiona (Rhys/Fiona) and Rhysha (Rhys/Sasha).
    • For Rhys and Jack, Rhack.
    • Faugust for Fiona/August.
    • Rhysquez for Rhys and Vasquez
  • Nausea Fuel: The climatic scene in Episode 5 where Rhys kills Handsome Jack by ripping out his ECHO eye and cybernetic implants. The player is treated to several disturbing scenes of Rhys mutilating himself. The worst part is that you have to play through all of it.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Shade has gone from being the least popular character in Borderlands' message boards (though not overly hated either) to someone people love for his absolute psychosis (and the ability to punch him in the face).
    • Judging by the large percentage of people who saved her Yvette may be this for some. It helps that her Heel–Face Turn appears to genuinely stick as she plays a role of assistance to Vaughn in the final battle.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: Over on the Telltale Community forums, there are two definite sides constantly butting heads over Rhys/Fiona and Rhys/Sasha. This escalated into a rather nasty feud despite attempts to intervene, and although some fans are friendly with each other about it, most of the others have declared the other shippers to be "cultists" or "peasants." And it escalated right after Rhys's interactions with Sasha in Episode 3, with one side cheering and the other side fuming.
    • Since episode 5, the fires have gone down slightly, as players are able to express interest in either Sasha (directly) or Fiona (indirectly). Only slightly, though.
    • Rhack shippers have received flack from fans of several different ships.
  • Signature Scene: The finger gun fight in Episode 4. Its the closest scene in this game to resemble the main games in someway.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • When Rudiger puts on his helmet in the first episode, it appears to only go halfway down his face. Fiona's hat also sometimes clips through her hair.
    • The scene in episode 4 where Rhys peels Vasquez's face off a psycho's mask has two of these. First, the psycho's head is clearly clipping through the chair he's sitting in, and second, Rhys' hand is a couple inches away from Vasquez's face while he peels it off, making it appear as if he is peeling it via telekinesis.
    • When Sasha picks up The Desolator, it stays on the ground. When she drops it again (onto itself), she again has it in her hand in the next scene... where she is picking up an identical gun in the loot pile from The Traveler without the contents of her hand changing. Not helping is all of the other party members picking things up by flailing their arms around loot piles that do not always change when their "pick up" animation is used.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Zer0's new voice in Episode 5 was not well received at all, with many upset how it sounded far too high-pitched. Its was changed back for his next appearance in 3.
  • The Woobie: Rhys. Demoted to Senior Vice Janitor, nothing goes right for him, nearly murdered several times, frequently betrayed...
    • And Vaughn, for many of the same reasons.
    • The Stranger turns out to be this trope. He asked Rhys and Fiona to vow to keep Gortys safe, only for them to seemingly break that promise.
    • August. He may be a crook and a Pandoran bandit and son of a crime lord but it gets hard not to feel bad about him as the story goes on and things get progressively worse. First he gets played like a tool by Sasha and Fiona, then his mother finds out about his little scheme, and on Episode 5 he can genuinely stand up against Finch and Kroger to save Sasha (and Fiona), getting shot in the guts for his trouble. To complete the shitfest his life became, due to his gut wound, he can't do anything to save the life of his mother who is abruptly killed trying to stop the Traveler, while he feebly shouts at her to stop, unable to run and save her.
    • In the finale Gortys becomes this, when she's given her second upgrade and summons the Traveler, and is forced to fight it despite having no idea how to fight. In an effort to save her friends, she begs Fiona to use Vallory's discarded rocket launcher to take out her core and destroy it (and by extension, herself). Later, when she's rebuilt and Rhys has to motivate her into fighting, she just says she wants them to destroy her again because she doesn't want anyone hurt. Rhys even outright states that she is scared. You just want to give her a hug, despite her now being taller than most buildings.
  • Uncanny Valley: There's something off about the Jack AI on the television screen in the Rule Hyperion ending of Episode Four, as the character model is mirrored for some reason.

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