I have a habit of sharing my theories about different things in Borderlands while streaming on Twitch. Since I got pulled back into Borderlands 2 for a 1-life challenge for charity the topic has come up yet again. This will be a series of Borderlands theories about Jack, zer0, Angel’s power helping Jack, and where I think the story needs to go in Borderlands 3. These theories are not based on my own fanciful desires about characters and story elements, but are pulled from clues, echocasts, and mythology within the game. For those who haven’t played through to the end of Borderlands 2 and The Pre-Sequel there will be significant spoilers in this post, so be warned.
This theory really didn’t get any legs until I saw the cinematic end scene at the conclusion of The Pre-Sequel. While Jack is interacting with the floating Vault symbol after you kill the final boss he sees the future. He doesn’t just see the Warrior and his lair, but he sees Lilith floating and charging the vault key as well as the vault location map with all of the planets after the key is pushed in. The events that transpire in between Lilith charging the key and pushing it in is the fight with the Warrior and the death of Jack. This means that it is safe to assume Jack saw those events take place. Now just seeing the future isn’t enough to establish this theory, there is much more going on with story elements, and even things stated by Gearbox team members.
Jack of all trades
There are a handful of things that go into this next piece of the puzzle. First, Jack has body doubles made to avoid being killed. You actually kill one of these doubles on a main story mission in Opportunity. If you listen carefully, something Angel says during the mission pairs nicely with what some Gearbox team members said on a stream with the Borderlands community. Angel makes it clear that Jack has multiple body doubles when she say, “one of Jack’s body doubles”. A lot of people speculated that the person you kill in Opportunity was the Doppelganger from The Pre-Sequel. But when asked about this on a stream Gearbox staff indicated that no, Jack had multiple body doubles at that time and it wasn’t Timothy Lawrence, the man you can play as in The Pre-Sequel. You can also pay close attention after killing him that he reverts to looking like a Hyperion employee, the same model used for Pyro Pete, and Timothy Lawrence underwent plastic surgery in order to physically look like Jack.
Now the real question is, did these two Gearbox team members have that desperate fact in their mind from a random echocast? Or did they reply with knowledge of multiple body doubles because it’s a major piece of Jack’s story arc? You only kill and see one body double in Borderlands 2, so it wasn’t beyond the scope of reason to think it was the Doppelganger. So to me, the only reason they knew this and answered in the way they did is because behind the story we are shown is a larger story where Jack survives. I believe we were shown the future at the end of The Pre-Sequel to further establish this fact. To me, it makes perfect sense that Jack saw the future in which he died and through a stroke of genius came up with a way to cheat fate by having a body double die in his place.
Four of a kind
Another important thing to notice is that in the final fight with Jack he keeps spawning in fake versions of himself while he cloaks around the room. The personal cloaking device that you give to him in The Pre-Sequel is a major piece of the story because it’s also how he manages to kill Roland. It seems completely out of character for Jack to stay the course and fight to the death given how often he uses other people to avoid danger. He tricks the vault hunters in Borderlands 1 to open the vault for him, he waits until after Angel is dead to teleport in to shoot Roland in the back, and he convinces desperate people to be his body doubles so they can die instead of him. It seems far more consistent with his character to have him narrowly escaping death and teleporting in a fake Jack that is so brainwashed and crazy that he rants and raves about being the hero up until the point that Lilith kills him.
To me, Jack is far too amazing and built up to just die in a pitiful second failed attempt at opening a vault. He knows far too much about the future, the Warrior room, and has done way too much planning to have it all blow up in his face. Keep in mind he mentions “All of the eridium remnants” when he shows you the eye of the Destroyer in The Pre-Sequel, indicating he knows a lot about the vaults and their protectors. Stay tuned for how I think Angel played a big part in all that he knows about eridium and the vaults. I believe he knew the only way to find all the vaults was through the Warrior’s key and that as he has so effectively done many times before, he tricks vault hunters into getting him where he needs to go. Stay tuned for all of this will lead into my hope for the story in Borderlands 3.
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