After an unfocused (but still relatively-strong) third installment, the fourth episode of Telltale’s Tales from the Borderlands is a return to form for the series. Where Catch A Ride fell short, Escape Plan Bravo hits all its marks. Its plots payoffs, its gags thrill and its revelations genuinely surprise.
Minor Spoilers Below
Following the team’s capture by Vallory, Escape Plan Bravo sees Vaughn and Fiona return to the Helios space-station to steal the final piece of the GORTYS project. Unsurprisingly, the episode uses this tight premise as an excuse to ape the tone and style of films like Ocean’s Eleven and Mission Impossible. These references – along with a stellar sequence referencing classic BBC series Spaced – really uplift the episode and renew the fun spark that Catch A Ride lost in the mists of the series greater narrative. In short, it keeps things pretty simple and straightforward- with the final result all the stronger for it.
Earlier scenes of the episode dragged a little (though as always, the opening credits sequence was a delight) partially due to the reuse of existing environments. However, once the mission was underway, these niggles quickly fell away. Helios’ cold interiors and corporate-level humor made for a fun change and offered up some neat details for fans who explored the space station in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.
In line with the rest of the series, the most memorable moments of the Escape Plan Bravo tend to be the gags. However, it also featured some surprisingly well-crafted emotional beats.
Being the penultimate episode of the series, Escape Plan Bravo definitely leaves things in a very precarious position and it’s hard not to be curious about how it’ll all shake out. Though I’ve a personal theory that the final installment of Tales from the Borderlands will offer some hints concerning where the franchise is heading in Borderlands 3 – there’s more than enough loose-ends in play to ensure it’s a compelling finale even if they don’t go that way with it.
Escape Plan Bravo is a joyride of an episode – and a strong refocusing towards what hooked fans in the first place. Its positively crackling with creative energy and keeps thing as simple as it can whilst also managing to offer up the payoffs and revelations needed to set the stage for what might be Telltale’s most compelling finale yet.