The Legend of Vox Machina Season 2 opens with a bang, quite literally. But do all episodes hold up against the first season?
The Legend of Vox Machina has become a new favorite show of many a Dungeons & Dragons player. The raunchy and violent fantasy series, which is a Kickstarter-born adaptation of the streaming show Critical Role that stars a number of major voice actors, has already kicked off its second season, after the last ended with a cliffhanger.
The official synopsis for Vox Machina Season 2 reads: “In Season 2, after saving the realm from evil and destruction at the hands of the most terrifying power couple in Exandria, Vox Machina is faced with saving the world once again – this time, from a sinister group of dragons known as the Chroma Conclave.”
According to fans of the web show, this is likely to be the best arc that the series portrays. But do the first three episodes live up to the hype? Let’s get into it, but first a warning: Legend of Vox Machina Spoilers ahead!
Season 2 starts with a bang – literally
We’ll be talking about these three episodes in a general sense, as the quality remains pretty consistent throughout, despite each episode having a different job to set up the stakes of this season.
Episode 1 opens where we left off, with a conclave of Dragons attacking the city of Emon. The battle is certainly brutal, Vox Machina never holds back when depicting violence. People are eaten, burned with acid, frozen and shattered, and even the King of the city dies in front of his wife by poison. Like other Amazon shows such as Invincible, the violence may be excessive but it never feels like the show is just using it for shock value, as almost every death has an impact on the characters around them.
Unlike the first season, there’s not been much “fun” action yet, the battle lean more tense, though that may be more what viewers are looking for. But hopefully we’ll get a more light-hearted episode soon. We may need it, after the gut punch that was the ending to the third episode – and don’t worry, we’ll get to that.
The second episode does open up with a little fun action scene of our cast falling off a cliff, once again dropping us – literally – into the excitement. And there has been a fun variety of enemies so far, from dungeon traps to water creatures to beast hunters, giving each action piece something fresh to enjoy.
Vox Machina takes advantage of its ensemble
Shows with ensemble casts can often lead to certain characters being left by the wayside in favor of others. Thankfully, this hasn’t really been a problem for Vox Machina. True, you could argue that the first season was mainly about Percy, but you still felt like every character mattered, and this season is no different so far.
According to a foe they face, a main theme of the season will be about “letting each other down,” which certainly gives an intriguing sense of dread. And for the most part, each character arc has been set up effectively so far. Keyleth’s home and figures from Percy’s past are being hinted at. Grog’s arc of falling to Sylas’ sword influence is ominous, and props must be given to voice actor Travis Willingham, who still manages to emote through Grog’s borderline-silly voice. Actually, all the voice talent are still bringing it, as each manage to sell their respective storylines.
The only character that is arguably being left out emotionally is Scanlan. He does have a moment in the first episode, but it seems like the show prefers giving him quick episode arcs, rather than overarching plotlines – a character even says “No one cares about you, Scanlan.” Hopefully he’ll get something more in upcoming seasons; it would be a shame if he was just left to be the horny comic relief.
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Speaking of comedy, that’s likely the main problem area for this season so far. It’s not necessarily bad – though the raunchy humor will no doubt be down to personal taste – it just hasn’t been as prevalent as it was last season.
But when a main character full on dies, cracking a joke may be the last thing on anyone’s mind.
Episode 3 feels like a season finale
Season 2 wastes no time kicking up the stakes from Season 1. While the first season waited until the finale to risk killing off leads, the third episode goes ahead and does it. That’s right – Vex straight-up dies.
It was perhaps a response to anyone who throws complaints of main character armor at Episode 1 – the group’s survival of the dragon attack does seem unlikely – but voice actor Liam O’Brien effectively brings tears as Vax holds his twin sister in his arms. Their revealed backstory also adds to the tragedy. While flashbacks are not quite as nuanced or dramatic as they could have been, they’re certainly effective in showing why the siblings are so close.
Now, Vex probably won’t stay dead. It’s too early in the show, and it would contradict the source material. But for those who know said source material, and know who the figure that Vax kept seeing throughout the episodes is, it’s clear that getting Vex back won’t be easy.
The Legend of Vox Machina Season 2 Episodes 1-3 review score: 4/5
Many fans of the web series have predicted that this will likely be the best season of the show, if the source material is anything to go by. And so far, Season 2 is showcasing that, as it’s seeming certainly as good as it’s predecessor.
We’re holding back on the 5-star rating, because it seems likely that the series still has further to go. Again, there’s not been any really laugh-out-loud moments so far, and we’re yet to see a kick-ass triumphant battle ala their first win against a dragon. But it’s clear that this is just the beginning, and what a beginning it has been.
The Legend of Vox Machina is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video. To see when future episodes will drop, check here. As for more Vox Machina content, check here.