Weekly Blog June 13th, 2021: Critical Role Campaign Two Finale

****SPOILERS FOR CRITICAL ROLE CAMPAIGN TWO****

Hello Internet!

I hope everyone is doing well and staying healthy. I know it has been awhile since I’ve written a Weekly Blog. More specifically, it’s been almost a month since I’ve written a Weekly Blog. But don’t worry, this is not becoming a monthly blog. I have quite a few topics I want to talk about over the next few weeks so I’m hoping to put out Weekly Blogs on a consistent basis to finish off June strong. Just a reminder that sometimes things don’t get published on time. I find it very disappointing when things get pushed back or scrapped or just don’t get published. I think for the most part, all of you wonderful people are understanding when that happens, but I can also understand disappointment. I’m very grateful that people don’t feel entitled to the stuff I write and just enjoy the stuff I publish when I manage to get it published. Anyway, this is all to say that I appreciate all of my readers and I’m hoping to build some momentum with reliable content releases.

Speaking of those releases, I need to quickly talk about the pieces I’ve published in the past few weeks. Like I said, it’s been almost a month since I published a Weekly Blog so there’s a lot to catch up on. Hang with me as I go through these and then we can talk about Critical Role. The Last Weekly Blog I published was on May 23rd, 2021 and I talked about Infinity Train Book 4. If you have not watched Infinity Train, you are missing out. Obviously my Weekly Blog is full of spoilers so go watch the four seasons and then come back to read the blog. Overall I think the show is great, but Book 4 was a bit mellow especially if it ends up being the show’s last season. Cartoon Network and HBO Max should definitely let this show get four more seasons so the entire vision can be realized. On May 26th, I published a Poem titled “Brain Tingles.” This Poem is all about ASMR which may become its own Weekly Blog subject down the road. I’m a big fan of listening to ASMR on YouTube whenever I want to relax, focus, or go to sleep. Obviously ASMR encompasses a lot but this Poem alludes to some of the common things I seek out for an ASMR video. On June 2nd, I published a Poem titled “Too Many Questions.” This Poem contains some of the questions I’ve thought about my own content and the things I write. What’s the point of the things that I write and do they have any real impact? I think I’ve noticed that my content seems so short lived and that feeling can sometimes be so discouraging. I have lots of thoughts but those will definitely be put into a future Weekly Blog. On June 4th, I published a Writing Prompt Piece titled “Forest Shrine.” This tells the beginning of a tale between two teenagers, named Dagny and Finn, that discover an ancient stone shrine in the middle of the forest. Dagny decides to clean off the shrine and restore it, which ends up getting the attention of a mythical being. On June 9th, I published a Poem titled “Strings.” This was such a short Poem that I considered it Micropoetry. But I think there is some deep meaning in just the two lines and instead of adding more to it to make it into a longer piece, I kept it as it is. I’m very happy with it and it’s short, so reading it won’t take too much of your time. Lastly, on June 11th, I published the latest chapter of my Dungeons and Dragons inspired series, “Icy Aftermath.” The group had accompanied Prince Riffen to the Soulon Army camp, but as they talked to Captain Springbloom, there was an explosion at the gate. The group then rushed to help as Riffen was escorted away. Now in it’s direct aftermath the group has to figure out what’s best for them and Prince Riffen as some alliances and motivations are tested. Those are all the things I’ve written in the past few weeks so if you missed any of them, I hope you take a moment to read them. Now moving on to this week’s Weekly Blog.

Last Thursday, there was a monumental event lasting over seven hours. The second campaign of Critical Role came to a close. This was the longest episode of Critical Role ever streamed and it was honestly so great. I have so many thoughts on Campaign Two as a whole and how it ended, but I first want to say that I really enjoyed it. I tweeted out after I finished Campaign Two, that Dungeons and Dragons is such a powerful medium to tell stories and how creative collaborative storytelling can be. I am so grateful that the cast of Critical Role get together and stream their Dungeons and Dragons game for everyone to watch. The cast is so creative and the characters they create are so wonderful. I’m so thankful that even through the pandemic, the cast and crew were able to make the show happen and I think it’s some of the best content on the internet. Critical Role is not immune to criticism or critique, but at the end of the day this is their game of D&D and no one is entitled to the stories that they are choosing to tell. Campaign two did a lot of things right and by the end I really fell in love with every member of the Mighty Nein.

Obviously Campaign Two contains a ton of content with 141 episodes, most of which are 3 and a half to 4 hours long. I can’t cover everything but I cannot recommend Critical Role enough. If this is the first time you’ve heard about Critical Role, I definitely recommend starting with Episode 1 and taking your time to watch through it. I want to focus really on the finale and the few episodes leading up to it. A few weeks back there were rumors swirling around whether or not Campaign Two was coming to an end. The Mighty Nein were heading toward the end of a major arc and the community didn’t know whether or not it would be the final arc of the campaign. I personally thought that we were heading toward a time skip and then one big final arc in a similar way to how campaign one went. There were enough loose ends where I thought that we could get another 25-35 episodes to really wrap this up right. However we were then told by Matthew Mercer on Twitter that the campaign was coming to an end and that there would only be a few more episodes with The Mighty Nein. This caused mixed reactions among fans, but for me it was a bit disappointing. I didn’t want to see the story of The Mighty Nein end and I was really interested in how they were going to wrap up the campaign. I wanted characters to have satisfying endings and I was worried that there would be too many loose ends leading to a messy end. However when the finale came and went, it extinguished all my fears and worries. The finale didn’t wrap up every loose end but each character got their moment in the sun and they had a satisfying ending.

The first character I want to talk about is Molly/Lucien/Kingsley. Molly was probably one of my least favorite characters early on in the campaign and when he was killed, I wasn’t devastated. I was sad because it’s sad to see a D&D character die and this was the first time a Critical Role character played by the Player was killed permanently with no hope of restoration. However Molly’s fate was not sealed. He did come back as Lucien, the Nonagon, destined to bring a world of evil flesh into the material plane. Molly/Lucien went from beloved member of The Mighty Nein to the big bad of the final arc. In the last few episodes they managed to kill Lucien which left The Mighty Nein wondering whether or not they could bring Molly back. A restoration spell was performed, but due to Matt rolling a Natural One, this effort fell flat. Molly was dead and it looked like they would not get a fourth chance at life. But then Talesin Jaffe decides that Caduceus is going to try a divine intervention, rolled super low, and was blessed by his god. The Wildmother gave Molly another chance and with a successful dice roll, Molly came back. But this wasn’t exactly Molly. When Jester performs a Greater Restoration on Molly, he is awakened and decides that neither Molly or Lucien is who he really is. He is now Kingsley and he has his own destiny to forge. All of this made me really care about Molly/Kingsley and I feel like this was a good way to preserve the memory of Molly while still giving Kingsley a chance to live their own life. I loved it.

The next characters I want to touch on are Caleb and Essek. Caleb’s story of the Volstruckers, The Cerebus Assembly, and Trent Ikithon was all really interesting to me and I really thought it would have been front in center in this new potential arc. As Critical Role started the finale, they had not wrapped up Caleb’s fight with Trent and I was worried that it would not wrap up well or that it would not be satisfying. The fact that the first half of the seven hour finale was dedicated to The Mighty Nein fighting Trent definitely led to those worries dissipating. It could have been an entire min-arc but it got wrapped up in one half of an episode and I definitely think it worked. Then of course Liam O’Brien used his major roleplay chops and gave Caleb a fantastic ending. We got to hear his time travel plan, we got to see him deal with the grief of his parents death, and we got to see what Caleb’s future may look like. We also got to see his relationship with Essek develop. Essek was an NPC that I really like because of his aesthetic. A Drow that just floats around and does time/gravity magic is really cool. But then we learned that he was actually a war criminal and some of that coolness soured for me. The Mighty Nein then had to decide how to deal with this potential friend/enemy. Through the campaign we got to see Essek grow and learn to trust these goofballs. We got to see him work through the remorse he had and in the end he grew to become a proper member of The Mighty Nein. People like Jester and Caleb helped him get there. So when Caleb and Essek ended up together, it made me really happy. Both Caleb and Essek considered themselves as bad people and irredeemable, but together they were able to accept the things they did and grow into better people. 

Lastly I want to talk about Jester and Fjord as well as Yasha and Beau. There were still some loose ends with Fjord and Uk’atoa. Fjord still had the final cloven crystal and it seemed like Uk’atoa would stop at nothing to be released. This seemed like another potential for the final arc. But again, this was wrapped up in the final episode and I think it was done well. We got to learn about Fjord’s father-figure. Vandran, and how all this Uk’atoa business got started. We got to see how Fjord falls into all of this, and we got some allusions to Fjord and Jester going off to make sure the final lock is never undone. It was left open ended. I’m happy to see Fjord and Jester sailing the high seas together and knowing that we could see allusions to Uk’atoa in future campaigns. Similarly there was the loose ends of Yasha and whether or not she would return to her tribe to find the gravesite of her late wife. In the finale Yasha does end up going back to the grave and sharing the book of flowers she had collected. It was a sweet moment and I think it gave Yasha a satisfying ending. With Beau, there were some questions around The Cobalt Soul versus The Cerberus Assembly and whether or not her father would be brought to justice. Once again, the finale of Campaign Two gave satisfying endings to all of this and we got to see justice brought against Beau’s abusers as well as Trent Ikithon. All of this was very powerful and I’m glad we got to see this on stream. We live in a world where abusers either go unpunished or get weak punishments, so it’s important to see more powerful messages in our fiction. Real justice was carried out. Beau gets to live with Yasha till the end of their days and it all just makes me very, very happy.

There’s even more I could talk about that made me really like the ending of campaign two. Of course there are some loose ends which I hope get addressed in the campaign wrap up like what did Kiri make? What’s going on with the moon? Did Marious actually kill a guy? So many questions that I wish got answered but when you have so much content and so many threads, it’s likely that some will not be tied up by the end. It’s one of the nuances that come with a Dungeons and Dragons campaign. So am I satisfied with the ending of Campaign Two? Yes, yes I am. Am I excited for Campaign Three? Of course I am! Am I looking forward to the six week mini-campaign that is Exandria Unlimited? One thousand percent! I will continue to support these nerdy-ass voice actors as they play Dungeons and Dragons together because I think they tell fantastic stories with fantastic characters. I think overall I liked campaign one more and I like Vox Machina more than I like The Mighty Nein, but this campaign did a great job of narrowing the gap between the two campaigns and I enjoyed all of it. I could honestly go on for another ten thousand words about all the things I love about Critical Role and the finale, but I better wrap it up before it drags on too long. I know it’s a ton of content to watch/listen to but I do recommend watching Critical Role. Campaign Three is probably a couple months away so mark your calendars and make sure you are ready once it starts airing. I know I’ll be there ready to go. 

Thank you so much for reading that Weekly Blog about the Campaign Two Finale of Critical Role. If you liked this Weekly Blog and enjoyed reading my thoughts on Critical Role, feel free to give this Weekly Blog a Like. You can also leave a comment down below with all your thoughts about Campaign Two as a whole or your feelings  around the finale. Did you like it, love it, hate it? I’d love to hear your opinions on it. Honestly I just need more people in my life that I can talk about Critical Role with. You can also Follow me here on WordPress. I’m building a community of creative and positive people here in this small corner of the internet and I’d love it if you would join said community. I really do appreciate all my readers, new and old, and I am constantly overwhelmed by the support that gets sent my way. Following me here on WordPress helps my audience grow and lets you know when new pieces I write get published. 

Thank you again and I hope you have a wonderful week!

-Allen_The_Writer


Header Photo Credit to Grace Berrios on Tumblr
https://lassflores.tumblr.com/

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