Atlas Mugged, the second episode of Tell Tale's Borderlands set series, was exactly what I had been hoping this series could turn into. Funny, fast-paced, and with the characters finally truly beginning to step into their own, it marked a fantastic installment in the series and ended with a brilliant cliffhanger that can take the series in many different directions.
Picking up in the immediate aftermath of the first episode, Atlas Mugged found Fiona, Rhys, Sasha, and Vaughan on the run from Hyperion and a nasty creature they awoke. This short, quick opening was a smart return to the series and wonderfully set up the episodes opening credits. Cinematic might not be a word always used to describe Tell Tale games but in this case it was more then deserved.
The biggest praise I can give the episode though, is the fact that Atlas Mugged finally lets Rhys and Fiona truly shine. Rhys in particular really gets some standout moments as he struggles with dealing with Handsome Jack being trapped inside his head. Rhys internal struggles help to steady this series and really begin to give it a sense of direction that was largely missing from the opening episode.
Yet again though, the episode is almost stolen by the excellent group of supporting characters featured in Tales from the Borderlands. Vasquez, Handsome Jack, and Scooter are all great, well written, and very funny characters, but by far the biggest star is Loader Bot, who has very quickly become the breakout star and provided the series with much of its heart and spark.
Tales from the Borderlands second episode delivered exactly what I was hoping for. Refining our main group of heroes into complex, humorous, and deep characters, while providing the series with a much needed dose of direction and purpose. The internal battle Rhys finds himself in as he battles with the ghost of Handsome Jack, has led to an excellent look into the mind of the characters and given us a welcome look into who he really is. The final scene of the episode, as major conversations and decisions are made, all against the backdrop of a second well-crafted and film-like scene, showcase just how great Tell Tale games can be at telling their stories. This twisty, bloody, western-inspired, hilarious, season has finally found itself and I can't wait to see where it goes in its next episode as it bridges the gap from the beginning to the end of the series.