***SPOILERS FOR CRITICAL ROLE’S VOX MACHINA CAMPAIGN AND THE LEGEND OF VOX MACHINA SEASON 2***
I hope you all are doing well and staying healthy! I have actually been recovering from a cold and that has cut into how much writing I’ve been able to do. I think it’s because of the fluctuation between cold and hot where I live. Like last week we had summer weather and now this week they are calling for cold and snow. Hopefully I don’t get sick again! Anyway before I talk about this week’s Weekly Blog topic I want to quickly cover all the things I’ve published in the recent weeks. Like I said, I was recovering from a cold and then I got super busy trying to catch up with everything I let slip when I was sick. So I wasn’t able to write as much as I wanted. But I did manage to publish some stuff here and there so let’s talk about that.
On February 5th, I published a Weekly Blog talking about the book “All The Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr. This was a book that was recommended to me since I am a huge fan of “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak and there are definitely some comparisons you can make between the two. I will say that both of them are great. I encourage you to read the Weekly Blog about the book where I dive deep on the plot of the book and everything I enjoyed about it, but the long and short of it is that I really enjoyed All The Light We Cannot See. I loved the different perspectives the book gives on a Nazi occupied France. The characters are great. The plot is great. And the book sticks the landing. All around I definitely recommend reading the book. Beware that the Weekly Blog includes some major spoilers so go read the book and then read my Weekly Blog about it. Over the past few weeks I have also published a variety of Poems. I wrote the Poem “Artificial” which speaks to the harmful effects of AI Art and the fact most of it is stolen and a bastardization of actual art. I published Valentine’s Day Haikus for Valentine’s Day. Only three this year because it was done a bit last minute right when the cold was hitting. But I think I got the message across. Show yourself some love and show the people around you some love. The world is a terrible place sometimes so if you can take a moment and add a bit of love and light to the world, go ahead and do it. I also published a Poem titled “Quiet Serenity.” This one is about finding yourself in a calm moment. Even if it’s just 5 minutes in the middle of a busy day. Sometimes it’s nice to take a minute and breathe, really focusing on staying in the moment and enjoying a bit of calm. Lastly I published the latest chapter of my Dungeons and Dragons inspired series, “Dealing With The Dead.” The group of adventurers were attacked by Elvish freedom fighters who were after Juniper’s dragon companion, Piakol. However during the fight, Tak was possessed by dark magic which led to a rampage, killing the Elvish fighters and almost the group. Now the group must deal with the fallout and the dead bodies before they continue their journey North. If you have not checked out any of those pieces I highly recommend you do. And if none of that seems to pique your interest, I have over 750 published pieces on the website so I’m sure you can find something you will want to read.
So speaking of Dungeons and Dragons and adventuring parties, it’s time to talk about this week’s Weekly Blog topic which is The Legend of Vox Machina. Now about this time last year I wrote a Weekly Blog about season one of this show, but season two was just released so I’m going to talk about it. Now it’s no secret that I’m a fan of Dungeons and Dragons and Critical Role. I’ve talked about Critical Role many many times. I watch their weekly episodes on YouTube, I buy their merchandise, I read their comics and their books (Just finished The Nine Eyes of Lucien and might talk about it in a future Weekly Blog), and I loved watching their animated series. Season one of The Legend of Vox Machina brought the Whitestone Arc of Vox Machina into the animated world and I really enjoyed it. It really hit all the major moments I loved from the streamed show and even added to it. But when it was announced that there would be a second season about the Chroma Conclave Arc, I lost it. I love, love, LOVE the Chroma Conclave Arc. I think it’s some of the best of Critical Role and maybe the best in fantasy writing. There are so many amazing moments that happen and I wanted to see them animated. So what did I think of the second season? Well let’s start at the beginning.
Last season of The Legend of Vox Machina ended with the dragons descending on Emon and this season picks up right where the last one left off. Now this moment is a moment I think about a lot when it comes to Vox Machina. The absolute panic that the cast has during the streamed show is potent. Four ancient dragons descend on the capital city and might as well be the end of the world for Vox Machina. I think the animated show does a fantastic job of capturing that fear and panic. And the dragon designs. Let me talk about them! Last season one of my few complaints about the show was the 3D modeled Brimscythe. I thought it felt out of place next to the rest of the animation. This season does its best to remedy that. First I feel like the dragons are all so well designed. There are still a few moments where the differently animated dragons kind of stick out in a bad way, but overall it is a big improvement over the first season. The other thing I think this season improves upon compared to last season is the style of humor. There were definitely moments in the first season where it seemed like the show was being crude just for the hell of it. Maybe Amazon was trying to make them ride the coattails of shows like The Boys and Invincible. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to say that the streamed show didn’t have its adult humor. I mean Scanlan did have blue poops he used for scrying. I just feel like this season used this humor to highlight instead of distract in the first season. I especially want to shout out Scanlan/Sam and Grog/Travis this season. Most of my laugh out loud moments came from Grog. Grog was great in the streamed show, but sometimes came off as one note. With this show, they really let Grog/Travis shine and gave him some absolutely hilarious moments. Grog has a more subtle humor that pairs well with Sam/Scanlan’s more bombastic jokes.
Speaking of what the show does right, I love it that the show really uses its episodes well and gives time for each character to shine. The Whitestone Arc was very Percy focused and it gave small moments to everyone else. But this season, each character gets their own episode to be in the spotlight. I loved all the stuff between Vax and the Raven Queen. I loved Keyleth’s “passed through fire” moment where she becomes a fire elemental and closes the gate to the plane of fire. I loved Vex’s fight in the feywild against Saundor to get the fenthras bow. And I loved Grog dealing with strength by overcoming the influence of Craven Edge and taking on the herd. All of it was just so good! Obviously some things were changed around timeline wise to make it all fit into the show, but I think they handled it well. It’s no easy feat taking hundreds of hours of streamed game and making it into an animated show with 25-30 minute episodes. Even smaller changes like connecting Anna Ripley to Umbrasyl and giving the legendary sword, Mythcarver a greater purpose then it had during the streamed game. All of that was great. The only change that I didn’t care for was Kamaljiori’s trial. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Scanlan’s power ballad about love that is present in the animated show, but I liked the dungeon crawl and trial that happened in the streamed show. The quest to figure out the sphinx’s name was super cool and I wish they could have kept it. Maybe the cast and crew of the show thought it would be too similar to the dungeon crawl through the sunken tomb or it wouldn’t be concise enough to fit in the dragon fight which is totally understandable.
Speaking of which. That sunken tomb scene. I knew it was coming and it hit me hard anyway. Then that moment with Vax. “Take me instead you Raven Bitch!” Fantastic! No notes! The fact that so many iconic lines from the animated show are pulled straight from the show where these voice actors were just playing a game of D&D and coming up with banger lines on the spot. No wonder some people thought the streamed show was scripted. Then the fight between Kamaljiori and Umbrasyl. That was another change that I really enjoyed because it set up Mythcarver being the reason that Anna Ripley knew where the vestiges were instead of just figuring it out off screen. Or at least I’m 99% sure that’s where the show is going with it because we haven’t seen it in the animated show but it just makes so much sense. I’m just so excited for season three of the show. I really thought that the Chroma Conclave arc was going to be two seasons and that this season was going to end with the fight against Vorugal, but with all the recent announcements from Amazon and Critical Role (Mighty Nein Animated show hype!!), it seems like the Chroma Conclave Arc is going to be three seasons long, which I love. Again, this was my favorite arc and there are so many upcoming things I am excited about. Give me as many episodes and seasons as possible!
Finally, let’s talk about the last two episodes of season two. The fight against Umbrasyl. This was a fight that I remember very little about when I watched the animated show. I remembered the giant trap that Percy sets up and I remember Scanlan using dimension door to get him and Vax inside the dragon, but that’s about it. I completely forgot about Umbrasyl becoming invisible and the whole chase into the mountain. This fight in animated form was so cool. The show does a great job of showing how powerful the vestiges of divergence are. Vax with his Deathwalker’s Ward and Boots of Haste all wrapped up in one, Vex with the Fenthras bow using all sorts of cool arrows, and Mythcarver being used more than once and actually getting the kill against Umbrasyl. All of it was super cool. Again, I liked that each character got a moment to shine and that the killing blows were given to characters that made sense narratively instead of Grog just killing everything because that’s what barbarians do.
Overall I really really enjoyed The Legend of Vox Machina season 2. It took everything I loved about the original campaign and turned it into a fantastic animated show. I had a few small gripes here and there, but overall I am very happy with the show and I’m very excited for season three and beyond. I am so glad that these wonderful nerds are able to make the show they love and that it seems like Amazon is putting some major money behind bringing more Critical Role content to their streaming service. Season three is probably a year away at least, but in the meantime I can daydream about more Vox Machina, a Mighty Nein animated show coming in the future, and possibly a movie. I really hope we get either Dalen’s Closet or EXU Calamity as a movie. Both would be excellent choices! Now if you’ll excuse me I’m actually a few weeks behind campaign three of Critical Role and I need to catch up so I’m going to go do that now!
Thank you so much for reading that Weekly Blog all about The Legend of Vox Machina season two. I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts about the show even though a lot of those thoughts are just about how much I loved it. If you read all of this, hopefully you know what Critical Role and Vox Machina are, but if not, I highly recommend you check out the animated show on Amazon Prime Video. I know that a lot of people just finding out about Critical Role don’t have time to go back and watch the hundreds of hours of the streamed campaign. So that’s why a show like The Legend of Vox Machina is perfect. Get the major points of the campaign told to you as an animated show that will only take a few hours to watch instead of days. Go check it out! But before you do that, if you liked this Weekly Blog, feel free to give it a Like. This lets me know what sort of stuff you all like reading so I can write more of it. Hopefully you enjoy me talking about Critical Role because that’s definitely going to continue. Want me to talk about The Nine Eyes of Lucien or my thoughts about campaign three? Let me know! Also let me know down in the comments below if you enjoyed The Legend of Vox Machia season two. What parts did you like? Love? Hate? Which parts did you enjoy more than the campaign and what parts do you think they missed? Let me know all of your thoughts about the show down in the comments. Finally, if you really enjoyed reading the stuff I write, then please Follow me here on WordPress. I am trying to build a positive and creative space on the internet and I want you to be a part of that. I’m nearing 900 Followers and I would love to hit that milestone all thanks to your love and support for the things I write. All of the support really makes my day so I can’t say thank you enough!
Thanks again and I hope you have a wonderful week!
Header Photo Credit to The Rotten Tomatoes Page for The Legend of Vox Machina Season 2
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