Is Handsome Jack really a bad guy or did the effects of everything twist him?

When Jack appears for the first time he actually seams to be a good guy trying to save others. Was he naturally bad or did one of the events change him for the worst. It was obvious that vault key blinding him something but was that the changing point? Was he a bad person to start off with or was there a point were he became bad?

He was always crazy, let me try to find a rant I went on while discussing the story once and I’ll edit it in.


The story made it clear to me that he was already a sociopath who’s ambition was driving him to madness well before he was betrayed by moxxi/vault hunters.

1st off we have the Angel. Now I know what you’re thinking, Angel’s powers led to her Mother’s demise and so she needed to be controlled. Isolating his daughter to prevent her powers from hurting innocent people might have been justifiable thing to do, but he didn’t stop there. He isolated and then imprisoned her, followed by using her powers to further his own ambition. He constructed a plan to manipulate the original vault hunters into opening the vault, unleashing a giant living weapon upon Pandora and releasing Eridum upon the world. He then proceeded to harvest both for what he wanted, starting research into the new substance to further his own capabilities.

Now we get to the pre-sequel begins. He has learned of the existence of another vault on the moon of elipsis and wants whatever is inside. Now hiring mercenaries to help him do so is, again, justifiable. If he stopped there. Instead, he used his daughter to scout out these people and created files on them. The same files he has you pick up later on, because they can be used against you if they fall into enemy hands. He didn’t stop at vetting and hiring the vault hunters, he made sure he had something he could use against them. A tactic (along with using Angel to manipulate vault hunters) that we would see again in BL2 after he went off the deep end.

Now let’s talk about the eye of helios. He took the eye of the weapon he released earlier and used it to make a giant weapon. Throughout the game we watch him slowly start to make his arsenal of robotic weapons, he was smart enough to be able to make an army of robots in a small period of time. He also didn’t make them from scratch, every single thing he did (making a constructor, reprogramming the bots) was already being researched. Hyperion was already making this army, if you’ve played Tales, you’ve seen what a single robot is capable of doing against a large group of bandits. What did he need a giant, experimental laser created from a Eridian weapon locked away behind some of the most extreme security for? It was created and augmented (using slag experimentation) to the point that it had the ability to destroy a entire moon. That weapon was never going to be use for good reason.

Now let’s talk about his murderous rampage through out TPS. If looked upon innocently every one seems justifiable: The meriff tried to shoot him in the back, they didn’t have the time to copy Felicity, the scientists could possibly be traitors and presented an immediate danger. But once again, in true Jack style, he didn’t stop there. After every killing, he makes comments about how it’s exhilarating, how it feels good. Every single time he kills someone or thing, he enjoys it. He revels in it.

Now let’s talk about the attack on the space station. Zarpy isn’t just a dahl soldier at this point. She has been confronted and changed into a protector of the vault. That alien that is part of the race that sealed away all these weapons because of the destructive capabilities and saved Athena’s life when Lillith loses control of her emotions learns Jack knows of the vaults existence. It then proceeds to send an army to stop him.

Jack’s ambition,planning, and manipulations are already driving him to insane lengths before the story even began. And as we play through it, we see that ambition pushing jack further and further towards that edge before he betrayed by Moxxi or the vault hunters.

I’m not trying to say Lillith or any of the vault hunter’s are any less crazy. What I’m saying is the Jack drove himself closer and closer to that edge and was already well on the path to go off that cliff and dive into the deep end. All moxxie/the vault hunters did was give him a target to aim at when he finally lost it.


We might want to move this under the spoiler section, if possible.

Jack was always bad. He just didn’t know it yet.

Like Moxxi said, there was always something just not right about him.


Short answer, there are no heros in the Borderlands universe.


Here is a thread on the other forums where we discussed this, but since i dont think that the owner will port it over, here is the link for reference. I also think that no, jack is not a bad guy, and he believe what he is doing is good.

Moved to spoilers.

Yes, Jack believes he’s a decent human being doing a good thing, but so do all the bad guys! I’m with the rant in the second post - Jack’s already flawed, but he’s only just started his descent into madness.

Interesting side note: when you first gain entry to Jack’s office on Helios, there’s a picture of Angel on his desk. When you come back after major spoiler events, the picture is face down on the desk. Don’t know if that’s accidental or deliberate, but I find it intriguing.

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I think he became bad or at least tainted before Borderlands 1. And was effectively out of control. I also believe that he lies a lot during the TPS story to manipulate EVERYONE. He saw a lot of stuff coming and I think put a lot of stuff into effect while pretending to be surprised by it. The robot army plan definitely seems like something he was working on secretly and could have been pretending to be surprised. Also killing the 4 scientists could have had another purpose (erasing evidence perhaps?).

Also, it’s very interesting that he had Moxxi’s arena destroyed. Signs of his temper.

In any case, Jack was seizing more and more power and always showed signs of using it to destroy and kill. Cleanse even. Guaranteed, if he kept going he would have destroyed planets full of innocents just for fun. And probably also for profit and more power. He’s exactly why the vaults exist in the first place. To protect the universe from the super power hungry. The vaults are like the cursed gold in the hobbit or the one ring in lord of the rings.

Sure, the vault hunters in all of the games aren’t saints but they definitely aren’t Jack.

Lil is starting to get pretty damn close.


Yes and no. She sort of has an elite squad of vault hunters now. That’s pretty powerful. And she’s very powerful by herself. But doesn’t seem to have the ambition to use it for evil on Jack’s scale. She seems to have more interest in stopping the evils locked inside of the vaults. Remember, she was going to destroy the vault key at the end of Borderlands 2 until she realized it was a map to find and protect or destroy the other vaults. (possible plot hole though, didn’t they notice a similar thing in Eleseer inside Elpis?)

But, how long did it take you to figure that out.

I wondered about it the first time I saw the place. Especially when Lilith showed up to punch Jack. My guess is she didn’t see the planet stuff somehow.

Yeah, noticed that too. Surely not accidental!
I think he did that to make sure Roland and Lilith (and anyone else) wouldn’t see her.
Protecting his secret, basically.

I believe originally he was a good guy but seeing his daughter melt his wife (not confirmed she “melted” her but it is confirmed that whatever it was was equally as bad as melting her would be) is what began his descent from good guy to eventually becoming a insane tyrant.

Jack no longer being the exact same person he was before and obviously having some time to think about this, locked her away from society but chose her “prison” in a way that would still be beneficial. There was obviously a decent window of time between Jack’s wife’s death and Angel being placed into a central control hub which had been re-designed (most likely by Jack himself) to be more optimal for her personal use. This is supported by the fact that central control hubs being re-designed so a single user can use it, using ability’s that aren’t really documented and very few in the universe can even begin to understand, generally takes a little time and is prolly safe to say it wasn’t a overnight thing lol.

During that time he prolly re-thought a lot of his views on stuff and it was this tainted jack who locked up his daughter and tricked the original vault hunters. Jack only descended deeper and deeper towards madness during the events of the TPS. The meriff’s betrayal hit jack really harder and left him with a deep and irrational sense of paranoia. This is why he jettisoned the scientists at the slightest notion they might betray him. The betrayal of Moxxi, Roland, and Lilith again hit him hard and he again descended deeper this time losing the ability to rationally deal with those who offended him. In this state he would kill anyone who he didn’t like for any reason what so ever which is why when tassiter spoke to him again afterwards Jack’s response was notability more threatening and violent then it had been previously (with Jack even telling tassiter that after he was done with this he would be coming to kill tassiter). However in this state Jack’s overall intentions were still good and he still wanted to help people as long as they didn’t offend him in anyway (in which case he would prolly kill them).

However after the events at the end with the extreme scarring and also whatever potential mental damage prolly came from a direct result of the mental connection with the eridian artifact (pre-recorded mental message) being so violently and abruptly interrupted in mid mind-data transfer (think of what happens if you unplug something while it’s in the middle of a install for a example of what i’m getting at). Remember, in the middle of the upload of data to jacks brain his mind was connected to that artifact. Lilith shattered and Burned that artifact in the middle of the install. Even if there would have possibly been no permanent mental damage normally upon the abrupt disconnection, the extreme agony, pain and shock of the damage to his face at the exact moment of disconnect wouldn’t have made his chance’s of coming out unaffected any better.

It was at this Point that the last bits of who jack was originally were completely no more. All he had had left before that point was his desire to help people (at least the people of Elpis) and now all his good intentions were gone replaced only by Madness.

It is after this point when the worst actions of Jack start to take place. The fall of New Haven, The savage beating of tannis for the vault key that went on for several hours (he spared her but that’s prolly because she was prolly Extremely Hilarius to Jack due to her insanity given that they beat her for hours without her caring to much but the moment they start hurting a chair she starts to break), The force-feeding of Eridian to his daughter despite obvious potential and eventually evident side-effects, etc.

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Actually if you pay attention you will realize that Lilith’s ability to think rationally in matters involving jack has become significantly damaged. She has a deep deep Hated of Jack because of the murder of Roland. This Hated is so strong that it seems to cloud her judgment and can make her irrational in matters that either involve or that are related to Jack. When Jack’s not involved she’s fine and normal but in matters involving Jack her Extreme Hated of Jack makes her a Wildcard. Enuff to the point where she will do things she should never and would never do other-wise.

In all honesty it’s become extremely evident that Lilith shouldn’t be charge of matters involving Jack as she has shown her ability to lead and make decisions properly has been severely compromised in matters involving Jack. If Mordecai and Brick are smart they will recognize this and do something about it before Lilith potentially crosses a line that not only shouldn’t be crossed but will have severe consequences that can not be easily undone for those she’s in charge of once it’s crossed.

Jack not the greatest guy at the start of TPS. Essentially decent motives but dubious methodology. Latent Megalomaniac that turns into full blown psychotic break at the end due to the events of TPS.

At the beginning, not that different from the vault hunters.

I loathe Lilith by the end FWIW.


if by decent you mean re-securing the DWMD he built and securing a vault to gain power and wealth, then sure. And If by dubious you mean manipulating and exploiting everyone, including his own daughter for personal gain. Also remember that it’s revealed in bl2 that he has orchestrated and manipulated the events of bl1.

Meh…all the vault hunters are after a vault/money/power and have a hero complex. Not that different from Jack at the beginning of tps.