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'The Legend of Vox Machina' Season 1, Episode 4 crafts a bottle episode worthy of a Thursday night

Episode 4 shows the aftermath of Vox Machina’s dramatic meeting with the Briarwoods. From festering old wounds to the birth of new ones, Vox Machina shows that demons of all types tend to find them regardless of house arrest.

Home is Where the Familial Trauma is

Episode four begins with Vox Machina being placed under house arrest by the Council of Tal'dorei. Following the climactic battle with the Briarwoods, Vox Machina comes to terms with their current situation as well as the dark (and somewhat smoky) Pervical de Rolo, aka Percy. Attempting to gather some more backstory from their aloof and edgy friend, Percy shows the party a secret exit from the house. Despite the passage being secret, the guards quickly find them. Separating them into pairs, Vox Machina is thrown back into the house as they brew in their newfound emotions regarding Percy’s dark and troubling past, unsure of how their friend is dealing with the events of the past couple of days as well as how the coming days are going to play out.

As the Briarwoods concoct a new plan to retrieve Delilah’s spellbook, Percy reveals more to Keyleth during their time together, showing not only Percy’s intellect as he constructs a new weapon, but also his drive for revenge. Meanwhile, Pike struggles to contact the Everlight, hiding her missing contact from Grog in shame. Grog and Pike share a moment of true connection, establishing their relationship as best friends, with Grog telling Pike she should try to apologize to the Everlight in a brilliant moment of kindness. The Briarwoods interrupt this heartfelt moment as Captain Jarett reunites with Vox Machina while wraiths of hungering shadows nip at his heels.

The party attempts to fight, having their weapons conveniently confiscated. They work as a team, keeping the sought-after spellbook from the wraiths’ spectral clutches. With Pike accepting her disconnect from the Everlight, she encourages Keyleth to be their light, empowering her to cast daylight to destroy the shadows plaguing their friends. In the wake of victory, the party unites behind Percy as they plan to set out against a growing tide of darkness in Whitestone.

Daylight in a Wave of Coming Darkness

Episode four dives into the characters of Vox Machina in classic bottle episode fashion. The Bottle Episode is a term regarding a TV episode or movie that keeps its characters in one location, allowing the conflict to revolve around, as if the characters were stuck in a bottle. This is perfectly exemplified with the members of Vox Machina beginning to open up and develop into deeper and more complex characters. We see this with Percy starting to open up about his trauma, Keyleth revealing how her mission as part of the Ashari forces her away from home unable to return until its completion, and Pike sharing her fears of failure and abandonment to Grog.

All of these developments are done while convincingly terrifying wraiths of shadow hunt the party with malicious intent. The episode uses darkness and quiet to its advantage, in both action and character moments. Using shadow to hide the murderous ghosts hunting the party, to the darkness that almost seems to cling to Percival de Rolo as he expands upon his childhood, hinting at deeper darkness clutching his soul. The animation continues to be on point with nothing but a stylish and heartfelt story unfolding before both Vox Machina as well as the viewer.

Featured image: IMDb

Graphic image: IMDb

Contact Elijah Wachs with comments at eawachs@bsu.edu