Episode 103: Maritime Mysteries
Vilya thanks Caduceus for clearing her memories with a Greater Restoration spell. She give a brief recount of the history she remembers of her time before Rumblecusp and some of her observations since living on the island for the last 25 years.
The Nein debate whether they should try to take Vokodo out or cut and run with as many people as they can save. A quick phone call Message to Orly quickly tailspins the conversation. It seems like their forgotten foe the Dragon Turtle caught up with their scent and destroyed the Ball Eater in one awful crunch. Thankfully the crew is all safe in Vo with the rest of the villagers but the Nein’s plan of escape are on the bottom of the ocean.
Vilya suggests they fly to the edge of Heaven’s Falls and find shelter for the night. They hope to find some clues to Vokodo’s weakness at the waterfall since the false god has forbidden anyone to go near the falls. A quick three hour flight brings the Nein to the surreal waterfall that rushes upwards into the air. Beau and owl Jester scout their safety while everyone else sets up camp for the night. Caduceus checks in with the Wildmother to see if there’s any way to hide from Vokodo’s sinister influence while on the island but there is no respite for the Nein tonight. Jester also calls on the Traveler to ask if he knew what would happen if they came to Rumblecusp, and to her dismay he admits he did know…but he was always going to watch out for his number one. Caleb tries to calm the Nein’s feelings of uneasy and betrayal by magically painting the inside of their sleeping dome with dozens of images of their past adventures and lives together. Watching their dearest memories play out above them, the Nein sleep.
As the sun’s rays awake the Nein the next morning, half of the group realize they have been strongly affected by Vokodo’s influence. Fjord, Jester, Yasha and Caduceus have all awakened sans memories. Thankfully Vilya is able to Restore Caduceus and in turn all the others who had lost memories quickly regain themselves.
The Nein use the morning to explore the base of the waterfall looking for a clue as to why Vokodo may ban his followers from coming here. The base of the pool seems to contain a portal into the water plane that erupts as the geyser known as Heaven’s Falls. Yasha and Beau accidentally get sucked into the falls while investigating and end up being flung 150 feet into the air in a wild ride. Both survive, though bruised and embarrassed. Fjord and Caduceus both notice something possibly hidden behind the waterfall. With Jester helping to control the flow of the water, they uncover a secret dorway that leads to a dark cavern.
With a little creativity, the Nein all safely make it inside the cavern and discover it is filled with a dozen ships.The ships are from all over the world and look like they’ve been here for various lengths of time. As the Nein look for clues as to how these ships mighty have gotten here, Fjord and Caduceus explore deeper into the cavern. Caduceus notices the water here isn’t salty like the pool and waterfall, but fresh like the water in Vokodo’s lair. This must be a secret entrance into his lair. He must continue and find his way back to Vokodo. Fjord notices Caduceus is swimming dangerously quickly into the tunnel and tries to call him back. Caduceus refuses to listen and a struggle ensues. Caduceus blinds Fjord and escapes and Fjord desperately calls out to the rest of the Nein for help.
Another solid episode from Critical Role. I liked that it was a touch calmer than the last episode. Three encounters in one episode covered the bases form this encounter-free one. This session focused more on the mysteries behind the facade of Rumblecusp. Vilya and her backstory hit some emotional Campaign 1 nerves, especially during her description of her family for Caleb’s nightlight mural. The Traveler’s reveal that he knew full well what Jester was bringing Traveler Con into. The Nein’s discovery of what lies behind the waterfall! All capped off with Caduceus’ failed wisdom save against Vokodo’s lair hypnosis. So much to unpack this week.
Let’s just say, it feels so good to be vindicated in Vilya’s backstory. All the gentle heartstrings tugging as she realizes all she’s missed the last two decades. Plus that little heartbreaking stunt that Caleb pulled out during their night’s rest by projecting 100 episodes worth of memories and love and friendship for us all to see. Y’all got this stone-hearted writer a little teary-eyed. I will say, it feels like this scene was a bit of a turning point in the emotional narrative for me. I spoke a bit about missing the years long relationships that Vox Machina had and emotionally starting over with the Nein was hard in the beginning. This scene was the first time I realized just how emotionally invested I am in all these characters now. I always love it when fictional characters all of a sudden feel like old friends.
Next big emotional wallop was Jester’s conversation with the Traveler. I knew she’d been holding back all her feelings of betrayal, hurt, and fear from Artagan since he revealed himself, but it all sort of exploded out in this scene. Jester came in hot and accusatory and the tears came in quick when Artagan admitted he knew how dangerous Rumblecusp was. Jester must have felt so unsteady as she realized Artagan may not have her best interest at heart, even if he says he would have come to her rescue. Always the silver tongue though, the Traveler manages to calm some of Jester’s more fiery complaints and win her back over…at least for now. I can’t decide which way I want to see this story line go. Should Jester abandon Artagan-her lifelong dearest friend in her most lonely moments? or should she help reform him and see just how god-like he can become?
The whole middle part of the episode is reserved for the Nein’s waterfall frolicking, exploring, and general goofing around. I think we needed the lighthearted break between the shock of losing the Ball Eater and the discovery of the ‘butthole entrance’ to Vokodo’s lair. The humor in this episode was very…rear end focused, which is fair. There’s only so many times you can say planal fissure before things get dirty. Oh, We did get a rather nice reminder of Yasha’s personal journey when she unfurls her wings out in an attempt to save herself after flying out of the waterfall. She has little baby white feathers on her spectral wings!! where whill this story line end up? Is she looking to reclaim her full Aasimar bloodline? Is this a gift from the Storm Lord for her obedience and will to fight?
As a result of all this messing around at Heaven’s Falls, the Nein are able to uncover a new mystery that was hiding behind the waterfall. ALLLL the ships that everyone brought to the island have been sequestered away into this alcove. This mystery is used as a bit of a red herring this episode though, as Fjord discovers the real reason this waterfall is forbidden. The back entrance to Vokodo’s lair! As our sweet firbolg healer can’t resist Vokodo’s tempting call and gives us another heart wrenching cliffhanger.
I’m sue that the Nein will be able to save Caduceus. Matt wouldn’t dare kill Caduceus just after his year long anniversary with Critical Role. That would be too cruel. I guess we’ll have to wait and see if they can drag Caddy out of the lair before Vokodo seals them in or if we get to watch a big boss battle play out in Vokodo’s lair next week. Thursday can’t get here fast enough!
Don’t Miss It!
New episode of All Work No Play Unplugged coming at us Tuesday July 28th at 7 pm on Twitch. This episode will feature gorgeous guest star Laura Bailey!
Critical Role also released another Mighty Nein playlist. Taliesin put together a second collection of songs for Caduceus Clay. Find it HERE!