Really, Athena? [Ep. 3 review, possible spoilers ahead]

So I did one playthrough up to the completion of Episode 3. Now, I don’t have have anything really against Athena (despite my previous posts on her, I just think that she really didn’t make a good case for herself in front of Lilith and the others). However, after seeing her in action again in Episode 3, I really do have to question her integrity.

So here’s the rundown that I have so far:

  1. General Knoxx DLC: Athena is pissed at Atlas, and wants to sabotage their continuing occupation of Pandora. She cites their disingenuous lies and corrupt practices (isn’t that the case with all fictional mega-corporations?) as justification to kick them off the planet. Hers is a righteous call to action against the oppressors. She only mentions being duped to kill her sister once, and that was more of a random comment with little detail about the incident.
  2. The PreSequel: The details of her sister’s death, her defection from the Crimson Lance, and her relationship with General Knoxx are revealed. It seems that the main reason for leaving Atlas was the code 64 which resulted in her sister’s death. Throughout the game, we see Athena facing moral conflicts between her mission and her values, the same values that she pronounced to the original Vault Hunters in order to enlist their aid in stopping Atlas. In the end, Athena chooses to fulfill her mission, despite the clear evidence that Jack is just as bad, if not worse, than what Atlas was.
  3. Claptastic Voyage DLC: Despite knowing what a despot he is, Athena again works with Jack. Though she finds anything to do with Jack as distasteful, Athena nonetheless accepts the job because she needs the money (for herself and Janey). Again, there is no moral outrage that she had shown in the General Knoxx DLC. She just merely expresses regret and disgust with herself for what she “needs to do.”
  4. Tale from the Borderlands: It is some time after Handsome Jack’s death, and years after Athena’s last job with him. In Episode 1, we see Athena still slaughtering any remaining Atlas personnel on Pandora that didn’t become bandits or join Roland’s Crimson Raiders. The exact reasons are unknown, though it could be assumed it has something to do with the Gordys project. But in Episode 3, Athena is not aware of the Gordys project until she joins Rhys+Fiona & company. She apparently is only killing Atlas personnel because she still has a personal grudge about that Code 64 where she killed her own sister. She hasn’t shown any such genocidal tendencies to Jack or Hyperion, despite that Jack did prove to be worse than Atlas Corps.

So now, we have her in front of Lilith about to get shot to death. And a lot of this is because the Athena she knew from the General Knoxx DLC (where she first meets Roland, Lilith, Mordecai, and Brick) is not the same Athena in front of her. Now, she’s just a merc for hire, willing to work for whoever can pay the right price. Now, this doesn’t make her a bad guy. Hell, most of the Vault Hunters are little better than that, and she’s definitely a step above bandits (morally, that is). But it’s that ambivalent attitude toward Jack and Hyperion that raises red flags to Lilith.

Now some may disagree but Athena is very much like Lilith, because both are prone to emotional outbursts. Most of the time, Athena’s pretty chill and professional, but she still has a murderous hard-on for anything Atlas. Otherwise, as long as it doesn’t hurt her or her own (i.e. Janey Springs), she’ll let laying dogs lie. She didn’t cut Jack at any time, and she hasn’t gone out of her way to kick Hyperion off Pandora either. None of them have hurt her in a very personal manner, so she doesn’t care. Jack and Hyperion may be much worse than Atlas and the Crimson Lance were, but since they didn’t kill her sister, Athena doesn’t give a damn. And that’s where she’s different from Lilith.

Like Athena, Lilith has an object of disdain, namely Handsome Jack. And like Athena, Lilith wants to wipe out anything Hyperion off the map. Her hate is justified, though, because Jack murdered her boyfriend and tortured her for hours (in addition to all the horrific deeds he did in both TPS and BL2). Now Lilith did give Athena a chance to explain herself, hoping that she was just duped or blackmailed into working for Jack. But because Athena sucks at conversation, she never made a really good case why she worked for Jack and let him live despite her tendency to get “stabby” with Atlas personnel. Fortunately for her, the Eridian Watcher saved her ass and made Lilith reconsider Athena’s case.

In the end, Athena’s just human like the rest of everyone there, but she’s just so damn clueless about the human condition that she can’t see anything beyond her own experiences. Hopefully, Janey remains a good influence on her, and that she actually develops a conscience by Borderlands 3.


So… episode 3 will not help me like Athena as a character again? Got it :P.

Yeah, episode 3 will only reinforce what you felt about Athena from episode 2 (i.e. lying to Janey, etc). It doesn’t make her out to be any worse, but it doesn’t help her look any better either.

However, she does have a good reason to be chasing Fiona and Sasha through Hallow Point, and up to Old Haven.

But… she doesn’t have a good reason for killing all those Atlas personnel either.

And… she’s still lying to Janey, even in the middle of a fire fight.

Pretty much.

I thought she woulda out grown killing all Atlas employees. Her sisters death was 6-10 years ago.

They made her too angry at the last employee for my taste.

TL; DR Athena is why we can’t have nice Atlas loot

Thanks a lot, Athena

Eps 4 and 5 will probably have sanctuary reintroduced, and by then Athena should’ve finished telling TPS’s story to everyone in Sanctuary. I liked how you could convince Athena to not kill the Atlas Engineer in Ep 3, it really did add a lot of variety, considering how much she hates them and that it would be near impossible. Hopefully Athena might change again after ‘reflecting’ on her actions. Also I am dying to see the Jack-pedia entry for Claptrap.

Just watched it. So far, I agree with you about Athena (like usual) but there were some things throwing me off, and not just about Athena. Namely why Fiona was able to almost foil Brick and Mord. Seems like a only-fight-as-a-last-resort con artist shouldn’t be able to almost foil two seasoned killers… Anyway, something else was that Athena, despite you saying she’s usually chill, was really cold and bitchy this episode (or at least from the version I watched, I’ll have to do it differently when I get it). She also admitted that she loves the thrill of Vault hunting even though she shows no kind of attitude toward that in TPS. Now granted this could just be because she had Jack as her boss and Claptrap by her side, but it still seems wrong. Not wrong on her part, but wrong like that bit of writing broke character… Eh, it felt like Fiona dodging all of Mord’s shots broke Mord’s character also, so I guess there’s a bit of character breaking in this episode.

Actually I have to agree now. People like to hate Lilith because she’s cold and bitchy, well so is Athena, both in this and in TPS.

I seem to remember on the old forums that you used to try to demonize Lilith by saying she was going after everything Hyperion, while Athena was doing the exact same thing with Atlas personnel, regardless if they were involved in Code 64 or not. Sorry, I don’t have anywhere to go with this, but I have to bring up this irony (if it is irony, I might have the wrong word here).

That was the old me, before i was enlightened. I try to remain neutral now, provide facts for both sides.

Remember, this is Fiona telling the story. The details might not necessarily be what actually happened in reality.

“Wait, loaders can’t do that.”
“Were you there? Did you see what happened?”
“… Go on…”

Yeah, her depiction during General Knoxx and most of TPS has her acting cold and professional, if slightly on the abrasive side. I think, in Episode 3, Athena is dropping her “professionalism” in favor of being a mentor. It doesn’t really work, obviously, considering her still-developing sense of empathy. Of course, with any number of writers working on all of this, there is bound to be some inconsistencies in character to make the story work (think American comic books).

Eh, true. Maybe I could blame Mord missing on his new sobriety :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I’m not into comic books or superheros, so I wouldn’t know.

It’s where we get the term “retcon” (retroactive continuity). Here’s an example:

  1. Spider-Man fights a clone of his in a story arc first published in the early 80’s. Both are seen covered by falling rubble. Only one of them gets out alive. This is assumed to be the real Peter Parker/Spider-Man.
  2. A different writer in the 90’s thinks “what if that clone was still alive?” Or even worse, “what if that one Spider-Man was actually the clone, not the real one!” This means that the “Peter Parker” since then, who has been battling villains all this time, who was part of the Secret Wars and found the Venom symbiote costume, who dated and married MJ, was never the real Parker, but was actually the clone. [RETCON!]
  3. People didn’t like that story arc twist, so then it was re-[retconn’ed] again so that the one Spider-Man that left the rubble was the real Peter Parker, but the clone did survive and used the alias of Ben Reilly since then.