The Legend of Vox Machina adventure begins! After a record-breaking Kickstarter, the Critical Role animated series entered production. After almost two years, it finally premieres today on Amazon Prime!
Before we begin this recap, a few details to address. First, The Legend of Vox Machina makes a few changes to Critical Role canon. Some events might be moved around or skipped. Just know that going in, Critters. Second, these recaps will contain SPOILERS. Check out our The Legend of Vox Machina review to avoid spoilers.
Still here? Then nock those arrows and replenish those spell slots because it’s time to sit around and watch some misfit adventurers played by some nerdy-ass voice actors!
Appropriately for a cartoon inspired by Dungeons and Dragons, The Legend of Vox Machina begins with our narrator (Matthew Mercer) describing the magic-filled world of Exandria. For fifteen years, the continent of Tal’Dorei has been at peace. But now, an evil beast known only as the “Terror of Tal’Dorei” has arrived. A group of brave heroes answered the Kingdom of Tal’Dorei’s call to be promptly slaughtered.
Right off the bat, we can see that The Legend of Vox Machina isn’t shy when it comes to violence. This show has Invincible levels of blood and gore. (Though I suppose it is apropos for all those detailed HDYWTDT kill descriptions?)
We cut to the Council of Tal’Dorei. General Krieg (David Tennant) pleads with Sovereign Uriel Tal’Dorei III (Khary Payton) to deploy the Tal’Dorei military instead of mercenaries! Sir Gregory Fince (Tony Hale) suggests capturing the Terror as a weapon against Tal’Dorei’s enemies. Arcanist Allura Vysoren (Indira Varma) argues they cannot capture the Terror of Tal’Dorei if the Council doesn’t know what type of creature it is! Sovereign Uriel agrees with Allura, refusing to send his troops until someone can identify the true nature of the threat.
Fince complains that there are no more mercenaries to send, but Sovereign Uriel angrily orders the Council to bring him SOMEONE worthy!
Cut to the titular Vox Machina! Percival de Rolo III (Taliesin Jaffe) watches in embarrassment as Vex’ahlia (Laura Bailey), Vax’ildan (Liam O’Brien), Pike Trickfoot (Ashley Johnson), Keyleth (Marisha Ray) and Grog Strongjaw (Travis Willingham) chug mugs of ale in a drinking game. Scanlan Shorthalt (Sam Riegel) is away from the party, … err … let’s say “hosting a private performance for a feminine companion”?
A half-orc mercenary named Agar (Mercer) insults Keyleth and mocks Vox Machina for failing their last job (saving a cow from a burning barn). When Agar grabs Vax and calls them all pathetic out-of-work losers, Grog chops off the half-orc’s hand which leads to an all-out bar brawl!
I suppose it speaks to the combat skills of these Critical Role heroes that they manage to damage and kill their opponents, despite being so drunk (and continuing to drink). Vax casually robs the other tavern patrons, while Keyleth laments that a fight always breaks out whenever they go out drinking. Vex’s pet armored grizzly bear, Trinket (Mercer), even joins the fray. When Percy is thrown through a wall, he interrupts Scanlan and his romantic partner.
Upon returning and seeing the chaos, the changeling Tavern Keeper (Mason Alexander Park) shouts at them all to stop! It’s bad enough that Vox Machina has destroyed their tavern, but that is their daughter in bed with Scanlan! When Vex reveals they don’t have the money to pay for repairs (as Vax hides his stolen loot), the Tavern Keeper throws Vox Machina out onto the street.
Keyleth announces that they are officially banned from every inn and tavern in Emon. Percy complains that finding work would be easier if Grog hadn’t decapitated their last employer! (Grog apologized to the dairy farmer’s head.) Vex emphasizes that they only have the three silver pieces that Vax stole to their name. Vox Machina has debts to pay, so they need a job ASAP.
Scanlan feels bummed out by the group’s moping, so the gnome bard leaves to go relieve himself in an alley. Scanlan notices a notice posted by one of the Arms (the Emon guards). He excitedly shares it with the group. In return for protecting the kingdom from the Terror of Tal’Dorei, Vox Machina can earn justice, glory, and money! And Scanlan’s pants fall down. Well, the money part is guaranteed, at least?
Vox Machina (still filthy and disheveled from the night before) arrive at the Palace of the Sovereign. The palace guard (Logic, credited as “Bobby Hall”) attempts to turn them away but eventually agrees to let them in. However, Trinket is to remain outside.
They struggle to get the Sovereign’s attention until Grog’s belch interrupts the Council meeting in the throne room. When Sir Fince calls Vox Machina “drunken buffoons”, Scanlan sings about the legend of Vox Machina: summarizing the group’s members for Sovereign Uriel (and any in the viewing audience unfamiliar with Critical Role).
Sovereign Uriel consults with his Councilors and General Krieg is the only Council member to advocate for the “curious” adventurers. The rest of the Council urges him to assign another group to deal with the Terror of Tal’Dorei. Lady Kima of Vord (Stephanie Beatriz) instead proposes Agar’s Assassins, but an Arm of Emon reveals that Agar had his hand chopped off in a tavern brawl. Oops.
While they are waiting, Vex looks up the dais towards the throne and suddenly winces in pain but she doesn’t share it with the others. Left with literally no other options (and because Uriel likes the idea of an armored bear), the Sovereign offers to hire Vox Machina. In exchange for killing the Terror of Tal’Dorei, Krieg offers the group everything contained within a large golden chest. Of course, Vox Machina takes the contract.
The last reported attack by the Terror was at the Shalesteps, so Allura transports the group by skyship to the nearest village. Vex confides in Vax that she felt something in the throne room. A presence she hasn’t felt since… However, Scanlan interrupts, and Vex tells him to mind his own business.
Vox Machina sees the devastation to the countryside below. Allura shares that the Terror of Tal’Dorei has already razed three villages and countless miles of farmland If Vox Machina doesn’t stop the Terror, Emon (and the entire Kingdom of Tal’Dorei) will starve. Vax insists that Vox Machina is only in it for the money. Allura drops them off at a hill just outside of the village and Scanlan asks if she’ll come back to pick them up, but the skyship quickly takes off. Of course, she is coming back.
As Vex questions a local fisherman, the fisherman’s wife asks Pike for a blessing to protect their home from the Terror. Not knowing any such divine spells, Pike says an improvised prayer and assures the wife that the Everlight will ensure they survive. The fisherman’s son and daughter (listeners of Critical Role’s All Work No Play podcast will know these two as “Keanu” and “Romper Stomper,” respectively) are amazed by Vax’s coin tricks. Vax gives the boy one of their only three silvers. The children share that the other night during a storm, they heard something big with wings flying over the village. They claim it knocked over the tree on the nearby hill, but nobody believes them.
When Vox Machina investigates the tree, Trinket finds a footprint nearby. Though the track is too muddy to identify, Vex can tell it flew off, following the coastline. They follow the tracks, but then they suddenly shift from a monster to a person.
Vex suddenly winces in pain again and declares that the terror is nearby! Something rustles in the nearby bushes and Vox Machina readies for battle. But, a lamb hops out and Grog mocks Vex’s ranger skills. However, Vex continues to cry out in pain. Suddenly, a giant claw crushes the lamb. As the mist clears, there is no mistaking what the monster is by its dramatically frilled ears and blue scales. The Terror of Tal’Dorei is a blue dragon!
The Legend of Vox Machina takes a deadly turn as they scramble for cover. The dragon breathes lightning at them and Percy suggests they flee. However, Grog charges at the dragon and is quickly knocked unconscious. The rest of the party leaps into battle as Vex snaps a shell-shocked Keyleth out of her daze. The half-elf druid casts Call Lightning. Unfortunately, the blue dragon is immune to lightning. Pike casts Shield of Faith to protect the group, so the dragon breathes lightning on the cliff behind them. The adventurers are buried under rock as the satisfied dragon flies away.
After a brief pause, the rocks shift to reveal Keyleth saved the party by shielding them with her Grasping Vines. “So this is what rock bottom feels like,” Percy sarcastically groans. Grog is badly wounded, but Pike uses the last of her divine magic to heal him. The party debates whether to continue with the contract. Scanlan and Grog feel they don’t owe the Council of Tal’Dorei anything but Pike wants to continue helping the people in the Shalesteps.
Vex finally reveals a painful secret from her past. When she and Vax were children, a dragon destroyed their hometown. She became a ranger so that Vex could avenge her mother’s death. Vex studied dragons to the point where she has a Primeval Awareness of whether one is close or not. She reveals that she felt that same presence when they were in the throne room. Scanlan scolds her for waiting until now to tell them! Vex apologizes but concludes that one of the Council members must have been in close contact with the dragon. It’s the only way Vex could have sensed a dragon’s presence there.
Vax realizes what Vex is implying: one of the Council is working with the monstrous Terror of Tal’Dorei. Vax casts the deciding vote and Vox Machina chooses to walk away from the job.
It starts to rain as they return to the village and discover that the Terror slaughtered all the villagers. Vax runs to the fisherman’s hut to find the family dead. They then hear a pained groan underneath some rubble. Vax screams for Pike as he finds the bloodied and electrocuted fisherman’s son. Pike tries, but she just doesn’t have enough spells left today for healing.
The boy dies and the blood-covered silver drops into Vax’s hand. Wracked with guilt and self-anger, Vax mutters that Vox Machina should have stopped this. He is interrupted by Scanlan strumming his lute. The bard needs a good rhyme for “dead dragon” if they’re going to slay one. Keyleth is still terrified out of her wits, but she’s also in. Grog and Percy also vote to kill the Terror.
Pike says it’s official: they’re doing this. Vex, the lone dissenting vote, grumbles that they’re all going to die horribly. Vax corrects his sister: they’re going to die gloriously. “And we’re going to kill a fucking dragon.”
And that concludes the premiere of The Legend of Vox Machina! What did you think?!? Can the party really kill a dragon? Is a member of the Council of Tal’Dorei really in league with the Terror? Find out in our next recap, and keep watch on the skies for more from Geek Girl Authority on The Legend of Vox Machina, Critical Role and more!
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