Caleb leads the Nein through the portal in the wardrobe into a magnificent nine story tower. He’s been working on this for a very long time. The Nein can see glittering stained glass windows depicting the nine schools of magic, and following Caleb’s levitating lead they discover dozens of fantastic new rooms.
Each member has their own spacious room customized with lovely details to make everyone feel completely at home. Caduceus has a nature centered space with a quaint tea room and beetle terrarium. Beau, a sweeping suit with training room and full size above the bed mirror. Fjord relishes in his nautical themed room, complete with a swinging hammock for a bed. Jester’s of course is modeled after her room in Nicodranus with plenty of wall space for her art. Yasha’s room is resplendent with roses and a recreation of Jester’s flower mural from their home in Xhorhas. Veth’s room is the perfect space for her family to visit if they please, and also has an adjoining area where she and Caleb can continue to tinker on new ideas.
The rest of the tower is filled with the usual, army of Fey cat servants, three story libraries, a well stocked buffet of delectable treats, a salon bursting with comfortable amenities, and a room of requirement for… well anything they can think of. This feels like the start of many new grand adventures.
After the Nein all settle into their rooms, or finish wandering the nooks and crannies of the catty underbelly of the tower, Caleb wanders off to the 8th floor alone. Whispering a password, “Fort, doch nicht vergessen” (gone, but not forgotten), the entry way opens into a dark, ominous room. A large stone block with three wooden chairs with leather restraints rests in the center. There are metal tools coated in a sickly green dust littering the area around the chairs. Caleb, eerily quiet, stares into this memory then decides this is where he will spend his night. Alone, on the floor, in the hay.
The next morning, the Nein decide it’s time to visit Zadash. With a quick pit stop in Nicodranus to pick up Veth’s family, Caleb brings the Nein to the Cobalt Reserve in the city center. He and Beau decide to hang back to do more research on the Tomb Takers while the rest of the Nein pop into see Pumat.
Pumat is thrilled to see his favorite customers and has some new items to offer them. Fjord picks out an Ioun stone of fortification for Caleb while the others paw through the potions, cloaks, and trinkets. Veth commissions a new endless flask of alcohol, though this iteration will be something a bit more palatable. Caduceus gets a magical enhancement to his shield. They will be back to pick up their commissions at the end of the week!
The Nein take the rest of the evening to visit The Gentleman at the Evening Nip. He is surprised to see them but clears his schedule to spend time with his daughter and her companions. They question him a bit more about Cree, his tabaxi friend, and he can only offer the information that she left in a hurry a couple months back and hasn’t been heard from since. He never looked into her background with the Tomb Takers, though Caleb and Beau have discovered that this is a mercenary group formed about 7-8 years ago and has possible ties to Vess DeRogna and Eiselcross. They thank the Gentleman for his time and bid their goodbyes.
It’s time to scry on Cree and see what she’s up to. Jester finds her in the middle of a blizzard, possibly with more companions, but it’s too hard to tell. The Nein wonder if Eiselcross is experiencing any blizzards right about now. The Nein are rather split on what to do next, with some members wanting to visit Molly’s grave to have Caduceus ask his remains some questions, and others wanting to jump straight into scrying on a possibly resurrected Molly. Another quick scry from Jester does not bring any promising information on Molly’s gravesite.
Caleb takes the initiative and bamfs the Nein to Molly’s grave and sets them to digging for his body. Several feet down, and the Nein begin to wonder if his body is no longer where they left it. Veth finds Molly’s beautiful, though now weathered coat 20 feet away from the grave. Jester listens to the nagging feeling in her gut and scrys on Molly’s body.
Interesting, Jester’s scry spell leads her vision far north from his grave site. In a very familiar looking blizzard, a determined and grinning purple tiefling walks towards an unseen goal. Molly is definitely back, but where is he and more importantly…who is he.
What an incredible episode! I was left in a stunned silence when the episode ended. That’s pretty miraculous seeing as I usually am left wanting if there’s no fight or looming threat hanging just off screen. Even the first hour and a half of Caleb showing the Nein his tower completely held my attention. I felt like the blind man in the scene from Amelie, seeing a vibrant world through fresh, excited eyes.
It wouldn’t be a Liam centered episode without a little pain and suffering tossed in with the happiness and friendship. After all of those gorgeous descriptions of each room and communal area, adorable moments spent doting on his friends, Caleb had to slap us in the face with those hard emotions when he opened the door to the 8th floor. Instead of spending the night in the luxuries he offered his companions, he spent the night sleeping on the floor of what we could only assume to be Trent’s torture chamber. This scene stung the heartstrings for sure. Caleb’s come a far cry from the broken, fearful man on the run, but he will never let us forget he still suffers in silence.
The second half of the story picks up the pace a bit. The gang travel back to Zadash for the first time in a long while. It was a nice breath of fresh air to visit friendly faces again. We got to see Pumat and the Gentleman in the same episode! Beau and Caleb’s research led to another frothy and frantic conspiracy theory deep dive that was a joy to watch. Matt has a poker face of steel to be able to sit through Marisha’s rantings with a stony straight face. I seriously hope that most of these threads that have been sniffed out lead to where we think they’re going. I know we’ve seen some really unbelievable coincidences in this campaign so far but Molly/Nonagon/Nine Eyes tattoos and the Vokodo vision are just too similar to pass as coincidence.
Finally, the moment we’ve been talking about for 80 episodes, the return of one mysterious purple tiefling with a penchant for rising from the grave. I always try to keep a smidge of disbelief around any particular story line or fan theory just to keep emotional disappointment down, but secretly I was THRILLED to know that Mercer really did bring Mollymauk/Lucien/Nonagon back! I wasn’t ready to truly believe we had finished with his story line. 20 odd episodes were not enough to dig deep enough into all the delectable story lines hidden in Molly’s amnesia. Watching Taliesin’s face during this scene, and all the previous Molly conspiracy theories is an absolute treat. There’s going to be a lot of explaining to do when the Nein finally catch up to their old companion. And we have to wait TWO weeks! Thursday can’t get here soon enough.
Don’t Miss It!
Talks Machina is back this week! Get ready for another social distance deep dive with Brian W. Foster and his guests this Tuesday, September 29th at 7pm.
Critical Role is taking a brief (hopefully) one week hiatus due to unexpected “adulting” that came up. Stay tuned to their social media accounts and online newsletter for more details.
The brand new Critical Role Foundation is smashing fundraising records for fantastic causes. The cast have been working hard to put together the power of the Critter community for a good cause! Donate HERE to support their current charity The Native Youth and Culture Fund. Do what you can to help leave the world better than we found it.