Episode 70: Causatum
After last week’s emotional wrecking rollercoaster, it was so great to have an episode like Causatum. While the episode carries a general raw emotion throughout, there are many shining moments that open up so many future possibilities for the Nein.
Jester starts the episode out by scrying on Yasha and finds things worse than anticipated. Apparently Oban has been revived with Yasha’s help and they are setting out to attack the nearby town. Jester unleashes all her built up grief and anger and anxieties over the situation. Props to Laura Bailey’s acting skills for laying her heart out on the table. Most of the table physically tried to get closer to her and console her as Jester questioned her friendship with Yasha. As hard as it is to say goodbye to Ashley, this moment really cemented Yasha’s absence in the story. It will be very interesting to see how the rest of her story plays out.
The Nein know they must return to the Bright Queen and discuss the events of the past few days. Tensions run taut between the group as they try to decide who to support in this war. Some of the Nein are still not trusting the Bright Queen’s true intentions and wish to withhold information to give the Empire a fighting chance. After watching Vox Machina navigate similar situations, it is refreshing to see both the familiar and the different in the way the Nein interact. I particularly enjoy watching Travis take part in serious discussions for a change. Skeptical Fjord will always play devil’s advocate for the group.
While all the background drama is happening, Caduceus takes a quiet moment to learn more about the broken sword he has been collecting. He learns that the sword is called Dwueth Var the Star Raiser. Forged by Sehanine and the Wild Mother in the great Calamity. He knows that he must try and find the forge from his visions and remake the blade that was broken. The Nein agree to help Caduceus find the forge but ask for more information about why he is so sure this is where he should go. In one of the loveliest role playing scenes so far, Caduceus retells a fantastical legend lore type story about the history of his people. He comes from an ancient line of temple guardians of the Clay family. There are two other temple guardian families with the names of Dust and Stone. Their families are sworn to the Wild Mother and the Raven Queen to watch over and protect the realm. Caduceus hopes that the Dust family still watches over the kiln in the mountains, and he hopes to find more answers about his family’s fate there as well. The more I learn about Caduceus’ character, the more desperate I am for his story arc.
While the Nein are with the Bright Queen, she mentions that their information led to the capture of a Scourger. Caleb asks to meet the Scourger, just in case it was someone he knew. The Bright Queen agrees, and they are led to the cell where the female scourger is being kept. Caleb tries to question the woman, but she is in rough shape and in no mood to talk. He manages to slowly persuade her to open up, and eventually asks if she knows the name Bren. For a brief moment there is an inhale of recognition, and Caleb wonders if his friend Astrid is here in front of him. But the woman’s smile turns cold and calculating and she reveals she is not Astrid, but she has heard of Bren and is surprised to see him there before her, working for the enemy. Caleb begins to panic, realizing he has given much away. This interaction was another one of my favorites this episode. Caleb is still struggling to cope with his past, his old identity, and his place in this war. His few moments of losing his cool, and his words basically telling the Scourger to rot in hell were a real eye opener to his state of mind. All the little hints and irresistible threads that Matt leaves for each player are so satisfying to explore.
In the quick final scenes of episode 70, Beau and Jester reach out to Dairon to make sure they are ok. Dairon quickly responds and asks to meet with Beau in person. They give Dairon quick directions, and before they know it, Dairon is sneaking into Beau’s room in the middle of the night. Episode 71 picks up with their interaction.
Episode 71: Family Gathering
Beau expects Dairon to be pretty angry about her involvement with the Bright Queen, but it seems that Dairon has more pressing matters to deal with. They explain that they are trying to gather as much information as possible for the Colbalt Soul and each side is looking for the double agents that are plaguing the war. Beau is relieved to hear that they may have some goals in common and offers to help as much as possible. Dairon then goes on to ask for Beau to get high level clearance and introduce higher up contacts to extract information from. Beau instantly gets unsettled, worrying that too many people will be put at risk if they get that involved. They agree to take Dairon on as a ‘housekeeper’ and introduce them to Essik and continue information gathering. It’s a reluctant truce, but a truce nonetheless.
Caleb is able to magically return the Nein back to Nicodranus through the portal in the fancy wizard’s tower. After a less than polite intrusion into his home, the Nein learn that there has been news of Abyssal Portals being opened here in the empire as well. This proves that the war is arbitrary to the true battle being waged.
Many happy reunions take place back at the Lavish Chateau. Jester and her mother share a sweet moment. Nott and Yeza also reunite with their son Luc for the first time. The Nein relish in the tender moments shared between families and decide to take the rest of the night off to relax at the beach.. Jester also retrieves a long lost package from their friend Calianna and reads the endearing notes and thoughtful trinkets she has sent. It’s a bright moment after so much emotional turmoil. But, this is Critical Role and the happy-feel-good doesn’t last forever. Fjord is sucked into another vision. Uk’otoa has regained his control over Fjord again, this can only mean bad things for poor Fjord. Caleb and Nott also have a rather emotional conversation about Nott’s future in the party. How could a mother leave her husband and child again? But Nott still seeks to return to her original body, and asks Caleb if he can help. He is still unable to achieve the level of magic needed to help her, but pledges to do his best to help her.
The day of relaxation ends far too soon and the Nein must return to business. Nott shares a tearful moment with Luc and Yeza, who both want her to continue adventuring and come home safe to them soon. Caleb takes Luc aside and shows him the magical sigil that they will use to return home soon, telling him that he and his mother are still connected to each other and are never too far apart. This was another one of those sweet story moments that made this episode a memorable one.
The Nein quickly jump back to Rosanna, pick up Essik, who then attempts to teleport them to Caduceus’ volcano. After a slight terrifying hiccup of being trapped inside the stone of the mountain, the Nein are safely deposited at the base of the volcano. Who knows what the Nein will find here. We only have to wait until Thursday to find out!
It’s been great to have a couple of fast paced, story packed episodes these past few weeks. For a minute there, I was worried that the Nein would be stuck in Xhorhas forever. The Nein is really becoming a tight knit family and all their little interactions and quiet moments together are adorable. I am more than thrilled to finally be getting the Caduceus story I’ve been dying for. Caleb is also getting some pretty interesting threads thrown his way. Beau is still a mysterious enigma that maybe, eventually, we might crack. Thursday can’t come soon enough.
Don’t Miss It!
Critical Role has been very busy this summer! Talks Machina was a rebroadcast of the San Diego Comic Con Panel. It will also pop up on Youtube soon if you missed it live. The cast also did a live read of issue 2 of Vox Machina Origins during the panel!
Gen Con 2019 is fast approaching and Critical Role will be doing a live show there on August 2nd! Don’t miss the Talks Machina panel the following night.
After recovering from all the bloodshed and horror of the past few weeks, Yeehaw Game Ranch will return on August 6th. I have no idea what kind of story they are building to on that show, but I know you surely don’t want to miss out on the fun.
Between the Sheets will also return in August, featuring an interview with The Amanda Palmer! I have to say, after listening to her album once she was announced, I can’t wait to see her interview.