Amazon Prime’s animated series “Vox Machina,” based on the RPG series “Critical Role,” dropped its third trilogy episode today for the second season. The last we saw of the unlikely heroes who call themselves Vox Machina, they were escaping the acid-breathing dragon Umbrasyl using Keyleth’s magic, but they got separated midway. Moreover, driven mad by Craven Edge’s bloodlust, Grog accidentally stabbed his best friend Pike in the gut. Now, the group is divided into two; they find themselves in strange lands with newer difficulties and unknown evils to face. Here’s what happens in this week’s trilogy:
The Fey Realm
When Vax, Vex, Keyleth, and Percy find themselves in a strange but beautiful land, Keyleth is worried because the other members of their group are nowhere to be found. Percy realizes they’ve made it to the Fey Realm, where they’ll be able to find the next Vestige. Vax consoles Keyleth, and she spots a beautiful bird before it’s torn apart by the ferocious plants in the strange land. In here, usually land-dwelling creatures fly in the air, and three-headed snakes camouflage themselves as walking sticks. Vex feels dizzy looking at the grass that changes colors like a disco floor or a drug-induced trip. They arrive at Awoken Grove, where the environment senses the way a person is feeling and reacts accordingly, so the goal should be to remain cheerful. While everyone passes through, Vax is attacked by the plants, which start choking him until Vex’s explosive arrow destroys the tentacles. While the rest of the crew leaves, she spots a creature observing them from the darkness.
Meanwhile, Grog, Pike, and Scanlan land somewhere unknown, and Pike is heavily injured. She asks Grog to put the dark magic-infused sword away and starts healing herself, but it keeps drawing her blood. Scanlan recognizes it as an evil monstrosity, but Grog isn’t willing to listen because it strengthens him and says that all it did was push him more. Craven Edge, the sword, whispers in Grog’s ears that the two gnomes are jealous of his strength, and he approaches them with bloodlust in his eyes. As Pike pleads with him, he brings the sword up, but this time he brings it crashing down on a rock. Grog has finally regained his senses and realized the evil in the weapon, and he plans to smash it to bits. He manages to smash the sword, but it unleashes a tsunami of blood that extracts all his strength and muscles, leaving him a husk of the bulging giant he was. Pike assures him that she can make a potion if she has the proper ingredients and then figures out that they’re back on Tal’Dorei. In a montage, Pike and Scanlan are seen lugging Grog across the wilderness because he’s now weaker than a newborn puppy. They manage to drag Grog in a makeshift cart to the front of a house at night, and Scanlan collapses in exhaustion.
Elsewhere, the rest of the Vox Machina are walking through the Fey Realm, and they seem to be lost. While they’re discussing amongst themselves, Vex spots a monkey-like creature scribbling on a notebook. She sneaks up to him, grabs him, and shoots up in the air. The creature reveals himself as a wanderer seeking entertainment, and his name is Garmelie. Upon reading his notebook, the crew finds overtly sexualized drawings of each member, and the creature guarantees them that he can guide them to their destination. While walking, they come across pink bubble-like organisms that try attacking, while a massive version of the blob goes after Vax. Upon bursting the bubbles, they release spores that send Vex and Keyleth on a drug trip, making them see things. While the girls see every color on the spectrum, Vax is having a hard time with the blob until Percy suggests that its weakness might be water. The elf makes the blob cross a fountain, and Percy uses his electricity armband to electrocute the blob until it explodes. Later, Vax comments that everything in this realm seems to be after him, while Gaarmelie says that Vex shall find the Vestige bow she seeks at the Shadowmurk and agrees to guide them to the point. On their way to the bogs of Shadowmurk, they find a city floating in the middle of nowhere, and the elven twins identify it as Syngorn, their homeland, where they had lived with their father.
In a ruined land, Thordak summons the image of Umbrasyl and chides him for letting the Vox Machina escape, but the acid-breathing dragon beseeches him to let him search for the rest of the Vestiges because these will help the Chroma Conclave succeed. Thordak allows him to search for the pieces but reminds him to keep in mind the gold he seeks. Anna Ripley presents herself to Umbrasyl after the meet is done and calls Thordak a fool for ignoring the powers the Vestiges hold, but Umbrasyl still remains loyal to the fire-breather.
The Echo Tree
As one-half of the Vox Machina accompanied by the peevish Germelie travel through the marketplace of Syngorn, Vex explains that elven lords can teleport their cities to safer places when great danger presents itself. They try to sneak their way to Shadowmurk when they’re halted by guards, and Vex commands the guards to take them to Ambassador Vassar because the twins are his children. At the palace, the siblings meet a woman called Devana, who informs them that Vassar shall meet them shortly and introduces them to their half-sister Velora. The half-sister is gladdened by meeting the famous elven twins when Syldor, their father, arrives and immediately presents himself as a surly and foul-natured person. While talking to Syldor, Vox Machina explains their plan to defeat the dragons that destroyed the kingdom of Emon by seeking a bow that lies in the Shadowmurk. Syldor has heard of the Fenthras Bow, but he calls it a baseless rumor and scoffs at his children’s achievements until Vax gets in his face. His sister calms him down and pleads with Syldor for assistance. Before they leave, Velora hugs her half-siblings, and Syldor hands them a decree granting them safe passage through Syngorn, but Percy wants him to address Vex as a Lady and gives her a few titles of Whitestone. Syldor reproaches him for the tactics, and finally, Vex shoots back at her father and calls him a failure of a parent, and he asks them to bring back the Fenthras Bow to receive his adulation. Later, Vex thanks Percy for standing up for her and tells her childhood story of growing up with an unloving father, while Percy gives her an arrowhead he made for her.
They realize they’ve reached Shadowmurk finally when the trees appear dead, and the forest reeks of death and decay, and Keyleth says that all she feels from the plants is pain. A hissing voice is heard, and Garmelie forces everyone to cover their ears and not listen to the sound, but upon Vax’s demands, the monkey-like beast explains that a cursed Archfey named Saunder lives in Shadowmurk, but he can be avoided if one doesn’t pay attention to his voice. However, Vex seems to be listening to Saunder’s voice and keeps walking through the murk littered with the skulls and bones of humans, as Archfey keeps whispering that he understands her suffering. A tree stem opens up to reveal a reddish light inside that Vex walks through, and as Garmelie flees, the others try chasing after her into the tree. Saunder reveals himself to Vex and claims to understand her pain, but when the rest of the Machina break inside, vines trap and gag all three of them. Upon taking Saunder’s hand, Vex finds herself as a child in Syldor’s palace, but the Ambassador showers her with approval, bearing the face of Saunder. He promises to give her the Fenthras Bow, that’ll earn her Syldor’s respect, and all he needs in return is Vex’s heart. The trance that she was in breaks, and she shouts that her heart belongs to someone else (the gunslinger Percy) and punches the dark Archfey in the face. Keyleth frees herself and the two men, and Vex attacks Saunder, but the three are faced with cursed tree spirits, while the Archfey shoots arrows at Vex with the Fenthras. Things look dire against the tree spirits until Keyleth transforms into the walking owl in flames from Episode 5 and roasts the cursed spirits, but Vex isn’t out of danger yet. She shoots an arrow, exposing Saunder’s corrupted heart, but she loses her quiver and is trapped by Saunder’s vines. He has in her grasp as she writhes helplessly before finally giving in, and just as the demonic fey thinks he has broken her, she stabs him in the exposed heart with Percy’s arrowhead. Saunder melts into black tar, leaving behind the Fenthras and the arrowhead for Vex to pick up. Outside, when Percy suggests taking the Bow back to flaunt it under Syldor’s nose, Vex is unsure, and they’re once again interrupted by Garmelie, who’s tremendously pleased with the entertainment. As a reward, he opens a portal for them to Tal’Dorei and promises to answer Vax about his true identity the next time they meet. As the crew leaves for Tal’Dorei, Garmelie transfigures into a high elf with sparkling eyes, symbolizing he’s a very powerful elven mage or something similar.
Meanwhile, at Tal’Dorei, Pike, Grog, and Scanlan have reached her great-great-grandfather Wilhand’s home, and the elderly fellow rushes out to meet his granddaughter and is surprised to meet Grog in his current state. Wilhand makes up a few homemade pills to help Grog, but nothing seems to work. In the morning, Pike and Scanlan decide that they can’t wait for the rest of Vox Machina and have to leave for Westruun, but Grog doesn’t want to. After a bit of questioning, he reveals that the gauntlet Vestiges that Mythcarver showed Scanlan were the ones Grog’s uncle owned and had used to murder the half-giant.
A Test Of Pride
The ninth episode opens with a village of peaceful farmer gnomes being raided by half-giants that brutalize and slaughter the helpless villagers mercilessly. The leader of the raiding team applauds a young half-giant and cheers him on to ravage, calling him Grog Strongjaw.
Back to the present, Scanlan, Pike, and the skinny Grog stare at the deserted ruins of Westruun, and they’re not sure if it’s the right place until two giants drag a man out and let him flee. They play a game to decide who makes the killing blow, and the winner throws an axe at the man’s skull, killing him. Pike wants to fight, but Grog stops her and says Kevdak is leading the herd, and it’s he who wields the stone gauntlet Vestiges. Kevdak is the uncle who had applauded the young Grog all those years back, and the nephew shares bad blood with him now. Realizing that Grog is useless now, she suggests doing recon to gather intelligence on the enemy, so Scanlan transforms himself into a dragonfly and sneaks into Westruun to reconnoitre. Grogs admits to Pike that he’s ashamed of the actions he did as part of the herd, and when she asks him to lighten his heart by sharing the burden he carries, Grog opens up about his past. In a flashback, Grog is seen brutalizing villagers and hacking them to pieces, aided by Kevdak’s son, his cousin. He was a ruthless savage, destroying everything in sight until he barged into Wilhand’s home. He advanced toward the unarmed gnome with the intent to kill until the locket on his neck revealed a picture of himself and the child, Pike. Grog’s whole perspective of life changed upon looking at Wilhand’s helpless self, and when Zanror attempted to slaughter the unarmed man, Grog knocked him out and snuck out with Wilhand. They made it to the edge of a cliff when Kevdak caught up to Grog and sent Zanror to kill the two. Grog fought valiantly against his cousin, but Kevdak’s Vestige gauntlets were too powerful for the young giant. The uncle proceeded to insult Grog’s father, so he slashed the leader’s right eye with his axe, and in return, Kevdak smashed his nephew’s face and banished him from the herd. As Grog lay in a pool of his blood, waiting for scavengers to feast on him, Wilhand returned with Pike, who healed him. The two gnomes helped Grog to a warmer place, and since then, Pike and he have been best friends. As the two share a heart-warming moment, their reverie is broken by Umbrasyl’s screeches, as he’s seen flying towards Westruun.
Meanwhile, inside the ruins of Westruun, Scanlan finds the destruction Umbrasyl has left in his wake until he comes across three giants complaining about how the gold is finished and Zanror, Kevdak’s son, stating that they need to take control of the herd away from his father. Scanlan’s magic expires just then, and he sneaks inside an opening in the wall barely in time to avoid being caught by the half-giants. However, the bard can’t catch a moment’s respite because he’s immediately held up by a similar-looking gnome who commands him to identify himself. She and a few other helpless families are hiding out from the marauding giants, who’ve been ravaging Westruun ever since the dragon left. Scanlan identifies himself by his first name, but the gnome immediately recognizes him by his full name. The gnome is Kaylie, and she informs the bard that the giants are breaking down every door and demanding gold and allegiance from the people, and whoever doesn’t have anything to offer is being slaughtered. She demands Scanlan to help the ones who are hiding, but he says he’s just a scout when Umbrasyl is heard, scaring them both. The dragon lands at the city square, and he has Ripley on his back, who sneers as Umbrasyl demands an audience with Kevdak. The giants arrive with a crate of gold, but the dragon and Ripley aren’t impressed, and they want Kevdak’s Vestiges, but he refuses. He promises to provide gold despite the hardships they might have to face, as Zanror scowls at his father for accepting servility to a dragon. The dragon is irritated and snatches the crate, along with a giant, and melts his face with the acid breath before leaving with the warning that he shall return in 3 days and if there’s no gold waiting, he’ll take Kevdak’s arms instead. Zanror finally stands up to his tyrant father and calls out his weakness that has made giants servile to dragons, so Kevdak chokes his son. Zanror claims to be a better leader than his father and charges at him, but thanks to the gauntlets, he batters his son bloody, just like his nephew years back.
Kaylie and Scanlan watch this from a distance, and she reiterates that they need to escape. Pike suggests they need to grab Scanlan and escape, but there’s no way to sneak in. The half-giant uses pig blood to disguise himself and Pike and walks through the front gates, claiming that he has chased and killed the gnome on Kevdak’s orders. Meanwhile, Scanlan finally agrees to help Kaylie and the rest and asks for her flute, with which he creates a giant centipede to distract the giants while they flee. Scanlan runs into Grog and Pike, and after a brief introduction, they run in the direction they came from, and after helping them reach a safe distance, Grog wants to stay back and face Kevdak. At the city square, Kevdak is throwing his weight around and intimidating the other giants when Grog arrives and challenges him for a chance to rule the herd.
In the trilogy for this week, the crew is divided into two parts with no guarantee when they’re going to reunite again. With the 7th episode highlighting the plight that each group finds itself in, the following two episodes are dedicated to each group’s situation. However, the biggest challenge that the group faces is that the muscle of their team, Grog, is now shrunken and weak and can’t even stand up. Although he’s no longer under Craven Edge’s influence, he’s now useless to the team. Although Vex is able to extract the Fenthras Bow from the evil Saunder in the 8th episode, there doesn’t seem to be any visible solution for Grog, who stands in front of his uncle Kevdak and challenges him to a fight. Years back, when he was younger and had muscles, he was battered to near death, and now he returns to face the tyrant again, although he’s even weaker. There’s no guarantee that he’ll survive this time, but we need to check back again at Amazon prime next week to find out the fate of Grog and the clan.