The Skipper is really flawed

Spoilers for a good chunk of the game

Am I the only one who finds the whole Skipper section of the plot (i.e. where you’re tasked to get an AI from the Drakensburg, and right before you go to Helios), not that good, and honestly, really jarring with the rest of the plot?

I mean, even from an overall plot view, what does the robot army even do for the story in the long term? We never see them in action on Helios station, it’s never even implied that there off fighting on another side of the station out of view. The only robots we ever see are a few wandering about, that you can convert in the Lunar Launching, and half a dozen Jack sends down in Vorago Solitude. It feels like the whole point about needing the robots to re-take Helios just kinda vanishes, since the Vault Hunters have to fight through to the eye with little assistance.

But ignoring the whole “why” of the missions, I just find this section of the story problematic. When you first encounter the Bosun and the Skipper, they try to stop you, and basically, we find that the Bosun is a complete idiot, while the Skipper is the smart one, a little irratating with the whole man=dumb, woman=smart trope with relationships, but it’s only a little annoying, and I think the Bosun gets some of the best lines in the game, so I can live with it.

But what does really annoy me is when you reach the ship and find out that the Skipper is the Bosun’s prisoner, and is apparently “using” her. Which, well, I find idiotic. The Skipper constantly refers to the Bosun as if he’s the really evil, horrible guy, and I just don’t buy it. The guy is a moronic, clueless bandit leader, and he’s hilarious because of it. The Skipper making him out as some kind of cyber rapist just seems bafflingly to me, it’s be like if we found out half way through a Looney Tunes episode, Elmur Fudd goes home each night and beats his wife.

Not to mention, does the Skipper even have a physical presence? Pickle makes a point about how it’s strange noone knows what she looks like, (though why that is particularly strange to begin with, I don’t know), only for the first time we speak to her, she has a clear headshot, which changes to a new headshot off her being a hologram after the reveal of her being the AI. So, is she able to have a body? And if not, what exactly was the Bosun doing with her? Just making her do the equivelant of phone sex, and droning on and on with her?

When we leave for the robot factory, we get this new kindof story arc for her. She changes her name to Felicity and feels free and basically sets herself up for how oh so tragic her demise will be. There’s also this thing done about how she is pretty pro-violent early on, but when she’s put in a body, she drones on about how killing is wrong, as if Borderlands has suddenly decided to be Spec Ops: The Line. And then when we’re forced to kill her, because in a universe where you can spawn a car out of thin air, it would take 2 days to copy some software. Oh yeah, and it apparently hurts the AI if you install it, but doesn’t, if it’s a copy? And what would happen to the copy, since that would mean 2 AIs?

Basically, Skipper’s violence arc goes:

Killing scavs and torks is A-OK! to -> killing is evil, and wrong, you monster! to -> you tried to kill me, now I’ll kill you, you bastard!

Just, urgh… The whole thing infuriates me. It feels like there was meant to be some pay off there, but what it was, I don’t know. It’s pretty damn hypocritical too coming from a game that has comedic violence all the god damn time, I mean hell, Aurellia becomes a Vault Hunter just for funsies!

The whole thing just leaves a bad taste in my mouth, and I think derails the story for a bit. Anyone else feel the same, that it just feels problematic?


This is the only part of your essay that bothered me. Because if it was the other way around, as in if Bosun was smart and Skipper was dumb, then there would be accusations of sexism. So there would be a trope either way.

Well, yeah, but I’m not advocating it should be reversed to begin with. I was more thinking of several family sitcoms or advertisements, where if it’s a man and a woman as a couple, the man will typically act like a moron, or “blokish”, which the woman will often be the brains on the operation.

I’ll share my views, just snipped the actual quote cause the whole thing is so long.

Overall in the game: It helps to foreshadow that Jack isn’t an actual hero but a subtle villain who’s ambition is leading him towards a tipping point. Overall in the series: Helps to set up Jack’s gigantic army of robots that try to kill you through out most of BL2. Further quests also set up EXP loaders as well as the moonshot mechanic they use during chunks of BL2. I agree we could use some explanation of to what they were doing while not helping us reatke the eye.

I wish I could find transcripts, I swear at some point it mentions he’s good at Tech. I just figure he was meant to be an extreme personality at the point. Good with Tech, completely ignorant with social situations and every day real life. He could be just stupid though, but that wouldn’t bother me. These things come a go in trends, it wasn’t that long ago that gangster rap had a grip on culture and women we’re treated and portrayed like inferior pieces of property in popular media. If there’s currently a trend towards strong, smart woman in media (which there is) then more power to them.

I’m not sure whether she has a physical presence or not is too important. As a sentient AI program she could still be subject to mental and vocal abuse and honestly you don’t have to be that smart to terrorize anyone. If he’s forcing her into something like phone sex under the threat of destroying the AI it isn’t any better than if she could take a physical from and he was doing it that way. Abuse is abuse.

As far as the copying go I’ve never really thought about it. It’s inside my wheelhouse of things I’m willing to accept because it’s a video game. If I had to think of a reason it would probably be something of a lines that a sentient AI that can feel and is self-aware is more complex than the car that is still just a car, but like I said before that’s just off the top of my head.

While I agree those are the basics of the transitions, but the subtle implications take it much further than that. When you meet her in the drakensburg she has been prisoner for a time period and wishes revenge on the people who held her capture. As she continues along helping you and Jack through the plant she slowly realizes that revenge is a cycle of violence (Comments like: do you never talk, etc.) and eventually doesn’t want a part of it anymore. Until Jack erases her in his revenge quest and during the last moments of her life she just lets go and lets that cycle continue.

That’s how I see her as a character, but I could be reading too much into it. :slight_smile:

I read the whole thing as (a) a Halo/Cortana reference (especially the way the Skipper keeps saying “Yank me”) and (b) a loser Geek stereotype reference. Jack sums it up when he says the line about the “hot chick really being an AI reprogrammed to be some geek’s fake girlfriend”. And, being a particularly smart AI with the “genuine people personality” feature, the Skipper knows she’s being used and resents it.

I’ll also note that I knew at least a couple of guys in university who’d altered the login welcome and command line prompts on their accounts to be… suitably creepy. (“Hello sexy” was one of the milder ones.) And no, that wasn’t me: mine always said “(A)bort, ®etry or (F)ail?” - on a very early Unix-style system!

One of my favorite missions and dialogs.

I would not want anything changed … except Felicity to not have been wiped.


Yeah, another plot hole. You’re obviously going to need more than one military AI, so wouldn’t the very first thing you did when you got one be to at least make a back-up?

I was also thinking about the whole “robot army” thing, and it comes down to story versus actual game play. Yes, it would make total sense to take a constructor and a whole bunch of 'bots with you back to Helios. But how many active NPCs can you have simultaneously on a console? And, if you had a whole bunch of robots with you, what would you as the player actually get to do? So I just tell myself that they’re all in a different part of the station, clearing out the Dahl troops.

How many soldiers are there in a “Lost Legion”, anyway? Sure seem to be quite a few of them…

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Maybe in Borderlands 3, you have to rescue a body pillow from a lonely scav, because it somehow gained sentience, and he’s made out as a rapist because of it.

I think what Jack did is he created copies of the wiped AI and used installed that into his loaders and new constructors. At the end, Jack basically destroyed all of Felicity’s sentience and only left the routines that pertained to warfare. As for her and the Bosun, I’d rather not think about what they did…

I actually liked this whole story line and felt like “the Skipper” was learning throughout, she named herself Felicity. She became conflicted about killing…I loved the Blade Runner quote. I didn’t like her getting wiped because I’m sappy but it showed Jacks continuing slide to evil and set up the further slide of killing Gladstone and company. I liked explanation of how Jack ended up with all those constructors and bots he threw at us in BL2. Anyway, didn’t seem too bad to me at all.

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For the same reason that sit coms the dad is always dumb

As i understand the violence pros and cons, Felicity started changing her mind as she had to kill anything by HERSELF. We all love killing stuff in games, but few of us would like or even be able to kill in real life. Its something totally different!


Here’s how I see it

  1. He converted the ai into a virtual girlfriend BEFORE he went Psycho Bandit.

  2. The “making her do things” just amounts to the whole “virtual girlfriend” and making her talk all “Dear” and “my love”, maybe dirty talk.

  3. Jack is not known for thinking things all the way through. If you’d noticed, he had exactly ONE damaged constructor to work with, then immediately rushed to retake helios. He didn’t actually HAVE an army yet, he just went “SWEET bot maker lets go”, then probably realized “wait, crap, I only have one of these, that’s not enough to already have an army”. plus I imagine most of what bots he DID have were sent to where the vault hunters WERENT, as Dahl had taken over the ENTIRETY of Helios.

  4. I agree her “no I don’t want to be a weapon” was completely out of left field and made no sense. She had AGREED to it, that’s why she helped you and you took her in the first place. I can see being hesitant when she found out that she’s going to be wiped, but the whole nonviolence thing was unneeded.

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Not true. Plenty of sitcoms have bimbo female/smart male relationships. Penny and Leonard from Big Bang Theory, Jay and Gloria from Modern Family, Al and Peggy from Married with Children, Elaine and Seinfeld, etc etc etc.

The only reason he finds the “the-male-is-the-dumb-one” trope irritating is… well. I don’t know. Why would a guy find that irritating?

I like the fact you only take point with my one sentence about this, especially when I say I actually don’t mind it that much, considering I think the Bosun is one of the best characters in the whole game.

I usually find this irritating just because it is such an overused construction. I feel it is lazy writing. Why can’t both partners in a relationship be more complex than dumb vs smart? Oh, right, that would take time to consider the layers of individuals and intermesh them. Silly me :stuck_out_tongue: Though I’ve watched the Simpsons my entire life, so it’s not to say I avoid it completely.

In regards to the thread topic, I took it more as the Bosun was there to poke fun at the “neck beards,” the “basement-dwellers,” or the “losers that have no social abilities but affirm themselves through artificial self-serving practices.” The Bosun is funny because he is such an exaggeration of an asocial and antisocial person, to the point that he purposes a pretty wicked cool AI to be a virtual gf, just to make him feel cool. Granted, he is a simple and shallow character, but Felicity experiences a change that can seem quick, but as has been laid out in earlier posts, makes sense. I am not a particularly aggressive person, but I would go balls out crazy Rick Grimes biting throats on my captors if I was kidnapped. The captors aren’t going to be seen as people, just obstacles within Felicity’s pursuit of freedom. But once she is out, and interacts with the VHs, Pickle, Jack, and Gladstone, she sees people that are working towards a good purpose and have apparent good motives, and this may further change her perception on people. This would explain how conflicted she feels in seeing people working together that at the same time slaughter tons of bandits. To her programming, maybe she has a hard time differentiating people and bandits (at least bandits that aren’t holding her prisoner).

I didn’t even think it was a question. I thought it was you trying to imply I’m some kind of sexist, who get’s enraged at the thought of a man being portrayed as dumb.

So, to directly answer you, I dislike it because it’s a trope, and one which in a way, I think actually backfires somewhat in story. The Skipper constantly makes the Bosun out to be some kind of malicious guy, who treats her awfully all the time, yet when we hear the Bosun, all I see is a massive idiot, one who acts to try and prove his standing as a leader, but is very clearly incredibly incompetant. That’s not to say the Bosun is a good guy, it’s just I don’t buy the fact he’s malicious, but rather, blatantly ignorant, so much so, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Bosun didn’t even realise the Skipper was even really sentient, but rather a program he took over because he was awful with woman.

Again, as far as I’m concerned, the Bosun is basically a cartoon character, and it feels inconsistent, with how the Skipper talks about him like he was an evil cyber rapist. I think it’s jarring in tone.

We get the same dynamic with the Meriff, right – trying to exploit Serena? So there’s some under-thread of these ‘sentient’ computer programs being used, by some, to nefarious ends, sort of mirroring what happens, sometimes, in the human world (exploitation of others). But, like in real life, whether someone acts maliciously stupidly or smartly makes little difference to the recipient (except maybe it’s harder to escape the smartly evil ones?)

I’m not sure if anybody answered this but I had to respond right away. Yes it is true that the bots are not used much in the pre-sequel but this sets up the story for Borderlands 2 where you see these robots a lot. Felicity happens to be the very first loader bot and after she is complete and they have saved the moon they have time to make copies of the now thoughtless obedient AI to use in the Loaderbot 2.0 that you see in Borderlands 2.