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Critical Role: Episodes 54 and 55 Review

By: I.Am.No.Man.

 

Episode 54: In The Belly of the Beast

 

Summary: Vox Machina take on Umbrasyl, the Hope Devourer, the black dragon in the Chroma Conclave. Percy tries to invent a trap for the dragon, Keyleth and Vex make battle plans with Zanror and the goliaths. Vax and Scanlan come up with a rather hare-brained scheme to teleport inside Umbrasyl and set the Immovable Rod into the dragon’s stomach to try and hold him in place (15:45). Grog investigates the prison dungeon nearby looking for weapons, but instead finds an old wizard friend from long ago, and a young woman, named Amelia (who Grog discovers they’ve been looking for all along).

The morning of the third day of planning dawns. An intricate plan involving a stone golem, a treasure pile, and a buried goliath army is put into action.

Why to Watch:

The action in the last half of the episode is amazing. If you’ve ever played Dungeons & Dragons you know ancient dragons are no joke. Vox Machina’s creativity and ingenuity spares them a much more difficult airborne dragon fight. If you’re into action scenes and gory descriptions of death and destruction, the last half of this episode is for you.There’s also a super intense, edge-of-your-seat cliffhanger where “this” happens…

Highlights:

Slight technical difficulty that results in the cast hilariously reenacting the intro (4:52)

Grog’s solo Prison Break mission (48:20)

Pike’s ‘mom face’ when Grog says he wants to be dragon bait (2:08:30)

Umbrasyl makes his appearance (2:39:00)

Scanlan takes on Umbrasyl (2:54:50)

Tiny Vax! (3:02:30)

Scanlan and Vax find themselves in a tight situation (3:08:55)

This is why you don’t poke a dragon (3:25:00)

Scanlan’s plan in action, also… drowning is fun (3:37:42 and 4:02:20)

Vex tries to save her brother (4:11:00)

Umbrasyl takes flight, The “Oh Shit” moment (4:20:55)

MVP of the Session

Scanlan and Vax for taking the fight up close and personal. Their initiative turns are the most creative and humorous of the fight.

Lowlights:

Video quality issues: Talesin skypes in from Hawaii and the sound and video has some bad quality issues.

Slow Story Pace: The action doesn’t really start until about two hours in. There’s a lot of talking, and planning, and preparing for a fight that can be boring to some viewers that like action packed episodes.

Long Run Time: This session is 4 and ½ hours long. That’s a bit much for one sitting, a whole hour longer than an extended cut of Lord of the Rings. Skip ahead to about the 2:38:30 mark to get to the fight.

Episode 55:Umbrasyl

 

Summary

The fight continues! Grog hangs on for dear life while Scanlan and Vax try to think of a way to escape death by dragon innards. Vox Machina find themselves in Umbrasyl’s lair for an incredible last stand against The Hope Devourer.

Why to Watch

Grog’s action scenes are incredible, lots of fury, battle-rage, and gore. Scanlan fists a dragon, which made me laugh so hard I could barely breathe. Tiny Vax experiences a second birth and Grog gets smarter. For fans of Wizards of the Coast, Chris Perkins (one of the creators of D&D) guest stars as Shale, the Goliath warrior from Grog’s Herd of Storms. The final battle with Umbrasyl is well worth the 4 and ½ hour run time.

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MVP of the Day: Grog, for taking on Umbrasyl face-to-face and encouraging some enticing, gory fight scenes.

Highlights:

“Intestines are my favored terrain” 22:41

Scanlan the Snake 24:20-27:11

An awkward tiny birth 36:20

I would like to fist the wound 38:16

The Fisting part 2 48:40

Oh Shit 54:30

The shittiest parachute of all time 57:05

Grog the Eagle 1:01:15

Vax and the Raven Queen 1:05:32

Shale the Goliath (Chris Perkins) 1:11:25

Into the Dragon’s Den 2:16:30

Jenga 2:25:20

Umbrasyl’s wrath 2:39:20

Right up the butt 3:12:15

Bigby’s hand part 2 3:25:50

No Mercy Percy!! 3:29:30

The onslaught 4:03:40

Lowlights

Story Progression: The middle of the episode slows down a bit after the tense opening fight. The first two hours and the last dragon fight fly by, making this 4 and ½ hour session fly by pretty quickly.

Volume Warning: Marisha Ray (Keyleth) gets particularly loud and screams a couple times, blowing out the mics. The “how do you want to do this?” moment at 4:06:57 is also extremely loud, but worth the ear drum damage.

Review

Episodes 54 and 55 are two of the more exciting episodes of Critical Role thus far. I think the only ones that really come close have been the guest star led episodes at The Slayer’s Take when half of Vox Machina and some new friends take on a young white dragon (Episodes 18 & 19). Everyone worked really well as a team and came up with some hilariously creative ideas to take down Umbrasyl. No one really tried to power play, or take control of the fight. Chris Perkins, as Shale, was a fun addition to the fight, though he had more success as a character actor than an actual help during battle. It will be exciting to see where Vox Machina take their adventures next. Will they find all the Vestiges of Divergence? How long do they have before Thordak, The Cinder King, retaliates for the death of one of his Chroma Conclave?

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