Episode 80: Folding Halls
Critical Role is back! After a week’s break, the Nein dive back into trying to untangle the web of many story lines and end up falling down a rabbit hole. With the group still struggling to process their defeat against Oban, Yasha, and the Laughing Hand, and their royally embarrassing shenanigans at the Cobalt Soul, they retreat to Nicodranus to ask an ally for help.
The group has a lot of information to process while they cope with their brush with Oban. Another evil companion will most likely be freed. Yasha is still under Oban’s spell. Dairon also reveals that she has been able to get some valuable information from higher ups in the Dynasty, but at the cost of possibly being followed or targeted by the Bright Queen’s forces. While the Nein do a panicked perimeter search of the Xhorhouse, Fjord discovers that someone close to the Bright Queen is consistently scrying on the Nein. Feeling rather skittish, untrusted, and ignored, The Nein decide to try and reach out to their powerful wizard friend Yussah back in Nicodranus. Maybe if they can convince Yussah that the forces of evil are quickly growing out of hand, they can actually help defeat Oban.
Arriving in Archmage Yussah’s tower in Nicodranus, the Nein quickly discover that Yussah has gone missing. His goblin butler brings the Nein to a room with the Happy Fun Ball that they gave Yussah several months ago. Yussah has been obsessively exploring the hundred or so levels of the Happy Fun Ball, spending days and weeks at a time inside. The Nein agree that the situation is dire enough that Yussah’s emergency contact should be called and adult supervision is needed.
In the absolute highlight of the episode, Yussah’s ally arrives and it is none other than Allura Vysoren, a beloved and powerful friend of Vox Machina from Campaign 1! We’ve had several easter eggs and odd mentions from Campaign 1 but this is our first real interaction with an NPC from the old days. Liam brought it up almost immediately, but from a Metagaming perspective, having Allura as your emergency contact is a big ‘good guy’ plus for Yussah. It was fun to see the cast’s reaction to Allura’s entrance. Sam quickly turned the moment from happy nostalgia to bald faced reality when Nott promptly forgets Allura’s name and begins poking fun at Matt with joke names.
The rest of the second half of the episode revolves around the Nein following Yussah’s cryptic map to try and decipher where he may be trapped. They travel through a deadly jungle garden room with a Froghemoth beast that eats Nott and Caduceus whole, and to add insult to injury, little motes of light that send a painful shock into anyone who uses magic. The Nein manage to navigate their way through the jungle and find a doorway that should lead to another tower. Just as they are about to step through though, a dangerous looking clockwork golem appears near the Nein and turns its glowing runic face like a tracking beacon onto the Nein.
Nothing good can come from that golem! The episode ends with the Nein looking out over a dark void filled with arcing lightning and floating islands with a distant metallic tower looming in the distance.
This is one of those weird episodes where not a lot really happens, but somehow the episode is packed with story lines. Dairon and Essik seem to hint that there is a double agent high up in the Dynasty. And the missing Dodecahedron that the Bright Queen claimed was stolen by the Empire may have actually been stolen by a Dynasty insider. Possibly someone trying to spark the great war between the two nations. The Nein have also been under near constant surveillance, hopefully just while they have lived in the Xhorhouse, but possibly longer. It makes the grey lines between good and bad very blurry. Beau also had a clutch moment realizing that one of the chambers in the Happy Fun Ball, called the Permaheart, may actually house the cursed heart of the Laughing Hand. Beau recalls that the Hand’s heart was locked away on a different plane, and now the Nein are quickly making their way there. I have no idea if the heart will lead to good or bad, but I do know that the path there will not be easy.
Don’t Miss It!
Travis Willingham’s Spooktacular dropped on Youtube last week! For a joke Kickstarter stretch goal, it was an incredibly fun 11 minutes. Plus, there’s the bonus of seeing some of the cast dressed up ad Travis’ worst nightmares.
Three new and returning shows are premiering during this month on Critical Role’s Twitch channel. Pub Draw with Babs Tarr returned on Wednesday, October 16th. UnDeadwood with Brian W. Foster premieres Friday, October 18th. And the long anticipated Mini Primetime with Will Friedle premieres Wednesday, October 30th. If the spotlight trailer is any indication of how brilliant the show is, you won’t want to miss it!