RAKKAHOLIC
about Mordecai from Borderlands

4. Friends and enemies

No man is an island, as they say, and that's a thing that Mordecai had to learn. He's the type that would rather be alone and take all credit for his feats, but hey, there's no "I" in "Vault Hunters". By the end of Borderlands 2, the egocentrical man that landed on Pandora a few years before has made some great friends, as well as a couple of enemies.

Roland

Roland

Prior to the events of Borderlands, Roland was a Crimson Lance soldier. When he realized that he was taking part in a basically criminal organization, he deserted it. Perhaps by finding the Vault he hoped to get the monetary resources to apologize to Pandora for what he had done as a mercenary. No question - Roland's main personality trait is his undying sense of justice, which is what brought him to create the Crimson Raiders to start the fight against Hyperion. He might not be the best with words, but he is a very respected leader nevertheless; he's a honest man on a planet of criminals.

Sadly, this also spelled his demise; he really was too good for Pandora, as Handsome Jack kindly reminded him by putting a bullet in his back. During the credit roll of Borderlands 2, the remaining three Vault Hunters are seen mourning him on his grave.

Roland was the best of us. To be shot in the back by a goddamned coward...amigo, I'm not gonna be done until I've wiped every last Hyperion grunt off the face of this planet.

Mordecai (Borderlands 2)

Mordecai seems to have been quite close to Roland, as shown by the fact that he had access to his armory in case something bad happened. It must also be noted that Roland's murder marks the second time in Borderlands 2 that Mordecai has to deal with the death of a close friend. He hadn't even really recovered from what happened to Bloodwing, and then bam, he loses another friend - probably his second closest. After this happens, Mordecai can be often found sighing wistfully or angrily talking to himselfThe hell's that all about?!, as if he's still not believing what happened. He does avenge him at last, but it's pretty evident that all of this took quite a toll on his emotional stability.

Lilith

Lilith

Lilith is one of six Sirens, a group of women with incredible and mysterious powers. She came to Pandora in her search for another Siren, hoping to also find the Vault in the process. She found both, and got much more than she was ever expecting out of her adventure; the opening of the first Vault triggered the appearance of Eridium, a mineral that enhances her superhuman powers, and Lilith got quite addicted to it. She seems to quite enjoy her new amazing powers - she's never been one for modesty, but as of the events of Borderlands 2 she basically thinks she's some sort of goddess. Hell, the bandits even worship her. In other words, Lilith is quite the fearsome bitch.

Some speculate that Lilith and Mordecai have been knowing each other for a long, long time, seen how Mordecai and Lilith are shown playing on the same tree as children in the opening sequence. On the other hand, their character profiles show them as hailing from different planets; additionally, some of Lilith's dialogue in Borderlands 2 might hint to the fact that, when she came to Pandora, she didn't really knowI was pretty bitchy to the others when we first got here,
but at the end of the day, your friends are all you got.
  the other Vault Hunters, so my guess would be that the artwork is the way it is for the sake of narration, and it adds nothing to their backgrounds.

Because of some information in Lilith's profile that hints to her being dumped by a fellow Vault Hunter, some speculate it might have been Mordecai; however, through Borderlands 2 we see her in a (rocky) relationship with Roland and, even if she previously dated Mordecai and then dated Roland, I don't think she would be the type to hide her resentment towards someone who dumped her, and I find it hard to believe that Mordecai and Roland would be in such good terms afterwards. As far as theories go this one sounds pretty unlikely to me, but, you know, ship and let ship.

Canonically, it is certain that they are friends. Their relationship is never quite explored, however; we see Mordecai openly concerned about Lilith once - when she is taken prisoner by Handsome Jack, which is a case where it would be horrible of him not to care, for a series of reasons.

Personally, I just think they're not very close; there's barely enough space for both of their egos on Pandora, and that must make it kind of hard to develop a great relationship...

Brick

Brick

He never gave more details than that, but Brick came to Pandora looking for his sister. It seems like he never found her; however, he ended up staying for one reason or another. After the events of Borderlands, he joined the Crimson Raiders, but he would be later expelled following an incident where he brutally murdered a traitor. Unlike Roland, Brick never wanted to have the moral high ground on Hyperion; embracing the fact that he was a violent bandit, he founded his own violent bandit clan, the Slabs, with himself as the Slab King. He would later put aside his differences with Roland to fight their common enemy, Handsome Jack.

Brick might be basically a world away from Mordecai, but, surprisingly, they actually seem to get along. All of their on-screen interaction happens after Bloodwing's death, and Brick might not be especially bright, but he understands Mordecai's pain, since Handsome Jack killed his dog. It seems to be a recurring theme in Borderlands - horrible people being loving pet owners, and pets dying horrible deaths.

Brick:
Sorry about Bloodwing, Mordy.
Mordecai:
I appreciate you saying that.
Brick:
If it makes you feel any better, Jack killed my dog a lot slower than he did Bloodwing.
Mordecai:
...I appreciate that a little bit less.
(Borderlands 2)

When Mordecai and Brick help the second team of Vault Hunters on their way for the Vault of the Warrior, they are always helping each other. As he punches his way through Hyperion personnel, Brick can sometimes shout, That's for the bird!. In spite of his brutish ways, Brick has quite a soft heart, and he does show great concern for Mordecai. He even calls him Mordy, hehe. The most touching display of their friendship takes place as Mordecai is under heavy fire:

Mordecai:
Dammit -- they’re swarming me, Brick! Just leave me -- keep going!
Brick:
Like hell! I gotcha, Mordecai!
Mordecai:
No, Brick! NO!
(Borderlands 2)

...and then Brick jumps in and acts as a human shield for Mordecai, saving him. What's that, no, that's just sand in my eyes, sob. It's such an unlikely, yet strong friendship. Sob sob.

The new Vault Hunters

Borderlands 2 Vault Hunters

In Borderlands 2, there is no dialogue specific to each of the playable characters; when other characters in the game talk about them, they're always talking about them collectively. There is not much to say about the relationship between Mordecai and the new team of Vault Hunters, but it's clear throughout the plot that he respects and trusts them a lot. They're not best friends, but he overall likes them.

Moxxi

Moxxi

The joke is, everyone on Pandora has slept with Moxxi at some point, and it certainly is true that she's had many partners, both male and female; however, she's much more than just a joke, and she's certainly not some whore. On a planet ran by dimwitted bandits, she's a smart, sophisticated lady who knows how to get what she wants. Behind her innuendo-peppered mannerisms that in any other game would have smelled like gross fanservice, there is a very complex character. As Mordecai had to learn, Moxxi is not the sort of person that is content to sit in the back and be passive - she takes matters into her hands, and does not compromise.

They say money can’t buy you love, but it’s a damned good replacement. Though, Mordecai might disagree with that. Poor guy -- I offered him a rakk hive’s worth of guns and cash for winning the top spot in my underdome, but he never wanted any of it. If I had a nickel for every time he asked me to run away with him...well, I wouldn’t need a tip jar, that’s for sure.

Moxxi (Borderlands 2)

Egocentrical and childish as he is, he thought that proving himself as a good shooter could automatically give him access to Moxxi's love. Ha ha, ha ha ha. Haven't we all met some pathetic idiot like that? Anyway, he must have whined so much that in the end Moxxi did give him a chance, I think either out of pity or out of wanting to try this new toy until it works. Needless to say - it didn't work for long.

Mordecai:
Moxxi ever tell you who she dumped me for? Huh? Jack! I win the Underdome, I find Rubi, and bam -- she drops me for the biggest fascist Pandora has ever seen!
Moxxi:
Hey -- until he set all those people on fire, Jack seemed like a pretty nice guy! It's not my fault Mordecai was more interested in pluckin' his bird's feathers than plucking...my...dammit, I'm so angry I can't even come up with a sexy innuendo!
(Borderlands 2)

Why did Mordecai even like Moxxi in the first place? Because she had a hell of a nice Rakk. [laughtrack] No, seriously, though - from how she speaks about him, it seems like he wasn't even looking for a sexual relationship. Perhaps he saw her as yet another trophy for his wall, or maybe he just wanted a romantic relationship with no sex. Regardless, pretty stupid of him to expect anyone to cater to his whims, and especially Moxxi of all people. She gave him a chance, and he blew it. What else was he expecting? Then she went and dated a man who makes Mordecai seem like an angel in comparison, but hey. We all make mistakes.

Still, even a couple of years later, Mordecai seems to not be over it. It sounds like he just put all the blame on Moxxi for dumping him and on Handsome Jack for stealing her away, not understanding how much of the fault is his. He still thinks of the entire deal as a linear winning/losing thing, and he hasn't even figured out that he was treating her like an object. All of this just resulted in him having a grudge against Moxxi and more reasons to hate Jack; he just refuses to take any responsibility on himself. As previously mentioned, though, it has to be said that this whole past history is revealed right after Bloodwing's death, and that there might be a hint of Moxxi caring about Mordecai in not wanting him to drink himself into oblivion, that Mordecai has plenty of reasons to be in distress at that point even without thinking about his ex, and that it's just cruel of Moxxi to bring up his love for his recently deceased pet into the argument. To be fair, though, it might be that she doesn't even know about what happened to Bloodwing; it's not clear.

I have to say, congratulations on the writers of Borderlands 2 for tackling this sort of thing very realistically - it doesn't happen often in games that you see a bad breakup where both parties are at fault, and where one of the heroes clearly did something wrong and hasn't even learned from his mistakes.

...and Bloodwing

Mordecai and Bloodwing
Lilith:
Bloodwing. Damn.
Roland:
Yeah.
Lilith:
Remember, ah...remember that time Mordecai got shot in the, the shoulder, and he just hid behind cover and threw Bloodwing out to fight those bandits on his own?
Roland:
Heh. Yeah.
Lilith:
And Bloodwing just flew around and around in circles, not attacking anybody? And Mordecai was screamin’ at him, “what are you doin, you coward, get to killin, blah blah blah,” and finally Mordecai stood up, out of cover--
Roland:
And Bloodwing went screaming down into the fray and killed all the bandits in a half-second. He wanted Mordecai to see him do it. wanted to make him proud.
Lilith:
And Mordecai was happy as a skag in slag, kissin’ his beak, scratchin’ his neck...
Roland:
Which woulda been cute, if Bloodwing hadn’t been covered in entrails.
Mordecai:
Rrrghh...SHUT UP ALREADY!

Mordecai is quite a jerk to other people and he overall prefers solitude, but whenever he interacts with Bloodwing, his softer side shows up. It's like flipping a switch - suddenly, all his emotions show up at once, and all of his love is for Bloodwing. The thing that is heavily implied throughout all of Borderlands but he never has the heart to say is, before his adventure on Pandora and before whatever misfortunes brought him there, he would have been completely alone, if not for Bloodwing. In an universe of scumbags ready to cut his face off whenever they felt like it, he had someone he could always trust. We can easily suppose that they have been travelling together for 15 years. And, in but a second, this dear friend is taken away from him in the cruelest of ways.

What is it that Mordecai wants the most, what gives him a sense of purpose? Judging from his endless space travels, there is one thing that he's been looking for the most: freedom. Mordecai's fascination with birds might be easily explainable - they naturally have what he struggles so hard to obtain. It is one of the main reasons why these creatures have been fascinating people since the dawn of times. Their freedom entrances and frightens people to the point that they want to be able to possess them, perhaps out of some subconscious belief that obtaining the bird equates with obtaining its freedom; ironically, caging a bird deprives it of what made it so appealing in the first place. Yet, Mordecai had the great privilege to have a relationship with a bird where the idea of owning was never in the picture - Bloodwing was with Mordecai, and Mordecai was with Bloodwing, simple as that. The two functioned like two stars orbiting each other - neither prevailing on the other, always in balance. And, as long as they were with each other, both of them were free.

When Bloodwing died, Mordecai didn't just lose a beloved pet, and he didn't just lose a friend. He lost a part of himself that will never come back to him. Not more than a few weeks pass between Bloodwing's death and Handsome Jack's demise; through the timeline of Borderlands 2, Mordecai seems like he hasn't really come to terms with what it means to be without Bloodwing. We see him incapable of believing, we see him losing his mind, we see him wanting to drown in alcohol, and, at last, he savors his revenge. However, even if Handsome Jack is dead, Bloodwing won't be back, and Mordecai will eventually have to come to terms with that. It won't be easy.

At the end of Borderlands 2, Mordecai is shown holding a hatchling. It won't be Bloodwing; it will never be Bloodwing again. But, perhaps, it means that he will find a way to go on.