Many a season of episodic games (or tv shows for that matter) have that one episode that may not stand out as much as the rest. Episode 4 of Tales From the Borderlands unfortunately fits that build. Do not take that as Escape Plan Bravo was a bad entry, it is still a good episode. There are on two occasions where events that unfold effect not only the story, but the Borderlands universe as well. These surprising revelations help save an episode that starts off slow, with less emphasis on character relationships and more setting up for what should be a crazy final episode.
Escape Plan Bravo starts with Fiona and Rhys continuing their walk with their mysterious kidnapper in the Eridum Blight, which players discovered near the end of Borderlands 2. We are only in this "present" setting for a few minutes before Fiona continues the story that has been told for the previous three episodes. Unfortunately we do not revisit this setting, which seemed like more of a distraction from what is really going on.
What kind of works against the episode is the trip back to Helios. One of the aspects that made the other episodes work was the surprise of not knowing where exactly the protagonists are going, or what to expect. We have been to Helios and seen it extensively in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, whand feels like retreading a familiar space. On top of that, we know exactly where Fiona and Rhys are heading, which makes the episode feel predictable in a way. Dialog feels like a chore as as nothing significant comes out of the conversations and slows down the episode. It becomes more evident towards the end that this is more or less setting the stage for the final episode.
Action is sparse, with plenty of talking filling the time instead. Choices come up aplenty, but as I mentioned above not many feel significant. The only big action sequence is a finger gun fight that has Rhys taking on numerous employees of Hyperion in a Tarrantino-esque scene. The sequence is actually entertaining and funny but lacks any impact on the story. It feels added just to give a little change of pace, which it accomplishes for only a minute.
Amidst the slow pacing and light action are two sequences that save the episode from being a wreck. Without spoiling anything, what happens can/should have an effect on the entire Borderlands universe. It becomes clear that this is not just Telltale's own little side story with cameo's of familiar faces, this is a Borderlands story. No matter how significant you might think the two events, it is clear that anything can happen and nothing seems to be off limits.
Escape Plan Bravo takes a slow pace that ultimately makes the episode feel like a chore. It is the first episode in the series that I wanted to end before it actually did. Even with a few significant parts, the episode is the weakest so far in terms of story, character development, and action
Feeling more like part one of a season finale, Escape Plan Bravo sets up the events for what will no doubt be a crazy final episode.
+ Two instances where the entire universe could be affected
- Pace feels really slow
- Story development is slow to unravel
- Little action