The Legend of Vox Machina concludes in epic finale

The Legend of Vox Machina. Courtesy of Amazon Studios
The Legend of Vox Machina. Courtesy of Amazon Studios /

After four weeks, Prime Video’s The Legend of Vox Machina season 1 has come to an end. D&D live-play giant Critical Role’s first animated outing delivered three final episodes that wrapped up the Briarwood arc perfectly while setting Vox Machina up for their next battle in the already-ordered second season.

Episode 10, titled “Depths of Deceit,” began where episode 9 left off. Percy’s gun pointed at the forehead of a prisoner in the depths of Whitestone castle. The said prisoner was Anna Ripley, a recurring figure in the first campaign. In the more dialogue-heavy exposition, the series reveals that Ripley was a follower of the Briarwoods, helping them to find the Ziggurat, an ancient magical temple buried deep below Whitestone.

As the episode progressed, the shocking revelations kept viewers on the edge of their seats as Vox Machina attempted to catch up to the Briarwoods before they could unleash their evil plan onto Whitestone and Exandria at large. The most jaw-dropping reveal came when Percy’s gun, called The List, added another name – Cassandra De Rolo. Percy’s sister was a double agent, working for the Briarwoods, albeit unconsciously.

In episode 11, titled “Whispers at the Ziggurat,” Vox Machina proves their power and worth to both themselves and each other. The connections shown in this episode finally make good on the found-family dynamic that had been missing from earlier episodes. Vex’s unrelenting fight to save Vax from his compulsion-induced morality switch was a highlight in this episode. Laura Bailey’s incredible performance showed Vex’s desperation as she was forced to fight against her brother.

Besides the connection between Vex and Vax, episode 11 highlighted Pike’s connection to both Grog and Scanlan, showing her power as both a healer and a force on the battlefield. In addition, Keyleth’s takedown of Silas Briarwood was nothing short of incredible and allowed her to come full-circle in her story arc set up at the beginning of the season. She allowed herself to become the light Pike instructed her to become and dedicated herself fully to the group as she jumped in front of Vex to save her.

The season finale, titled “The Darkness Within,” continued the emotional beats set up in episode 11, strengthening the group dynamic even further as they fight to save both Keyleth from her act of self-sacrifice and Percy from his demons.

It was revealed that Percy had made a deal with a demon when creating The List all those years ago. His vengeance-fueled rage called to Orthax, a shadow demon who makes pacts of vengeance.

The “No Mercy,” side of Percy was actually the demonic influence of Orthax, who would feast on the souls of those Percy shot with his gun. It’s Cassandra who finally got through to Percy, and Scanlan exercised the demon by throwing The List into a vat of acid.

Vox Machina were declared heroes of the realm, but not before Sovereign Tal’Dorei relinquished his duties to the council, inspired by Vox Machina’s efficiency as a group. Though, Vox Machina’s problems are far from over. The final shot of the season featured a group of dragons descending upon Imon, potentially seeking revenge for the dragon our heroes slain in episode 2 of the series.

Worry not, while the series ended on a crazy cliffhanger, it’s already been ordered for a second season by Prime Video, so there’s more Legend of Vox Machina already on the way.

Overall, The Legend of Vox Machina had quite a daunting task upon inception. Campaign 1 of Critical Role is almost 400 hours long, and the Briarwood arc alone is over 60 hours.

Condensing those long hours of improv, character connection, world-building, and storytelling into just 6 hours in this first season is a feat worth celebrating as an accomplishment alone. But what’s special about The Legend of Vox Machina is that they not only accomplished it, they translated those hours incredibly well.

The character connections feel real and whole, the pacing evened out after the first couple of episodes, and the conclusion reached after the first season was extremely satisfying. After years worth of hype and astronomically high fan expectations, I think it’s safe to say that they were met and then some.

The talent behind Critical Role cannot be undersold, with the main cast being both incredible voice actors as well as producers on the project heavily involved in taking their epic adventure and adapting it to fit the animated series.

The character designs by Phil Bourassa, best known for his work in DC animation, captured the characters beautifully and they were then wonderfully animated by Titmouse Animations.

I cannot wait for the next season of the show and any other animated foot Critical Role decides to put forward. This may be looking too far into the future, but the Mighty Nein’s story is also ripe for the picking. We may be enjoying animated content from Critical Role for many years to come after the success of The Legend of Vox Machina.

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The Legend of Vox Machina season 1 is available to stream in its entirety, only on Amazon Prime Video.