Episode 10 of The Legend of Vox Machina starts to pull the rug-of-climax out from our band of misfit heroes. The episode delivers classic Vox Machina character moments alongside the best dramatic scenes the season has delivered so far.
Knife in the Dark Underground Lab
Episode 10 opens with Percival’s pepperbox nearly down the throat of Dr. Anna Ripley, a member of the Briarwoods cabal of murderers, taking part in the death of the De Rolo family. Remembering the torture brought upon Percy and Cass, it takes Cass stepping in front of him to bring him out of his revenge-filled brain. Cass convinces Percy that Anna is useful in the coming fight, leaving Pike, Scanlan, and Keyleth to worry about Percy’s worsening smoking problem.
Finding his soul wreathed in shadow and fire, Percy states there’s no time to fix it and they push on, letting a bound Anna lead them to the Briarwoods' lair. While a frightful rebellion is being waged at the castle gates, Vox Machina travels through the Whitestone catacombs in search of a ziggurat that Anna claims to have restored using residuum. They find themselves in the De Rolo family crypt, dispatching the royal family as they rise from their graves. The catacombs lead further into the earth, ending in a large chamber full of strange devices used to refine the residuum used in Dr. Ripley’s work. However, Percy notices a new name burned into the barrel of his gun: Cassandra De Rolo.
Before he can react, his beloved sister moves to trap the party, with enough time for Vax’ildan to slip past the closing door. Unfortunately for him, Sylas and Delilah appear behind Cass to congratulate her on her successful mission. The couple charms Vax, leaving the party to die in the chamber as acid begins to fill the room. Percy is ruined, watching his friends fail to stop the acid and break the door. Vex brings him back to the light, and the party begins to find a solution. Despite their differences, Dr. Ripley and Percy work together, guiding the party to finding the failsafe switches and they manage to stop the acid flow. Driven by a new sense of hate and anger, Percy and Vox Machina head off to face the Briarwoods one last time.
The Best Dagger in the Back is the Rapier
Episode 10 takes Vox Machina and throws them into the climax. The party now faces nothing between them and the evil enemy they have been pursuing all this time. Episode 10 also continues the show's impressive ability to render—somewhat difficult to imagine—Dungeons & Dragons moments into tangible drama. From spells to the environment, Vox Machina feels like a weekly episode of Critical Role brought together by smooth animation. The voice acting and animation continue to surprise, filling the show with life and character that despite the awesome action set pieces, remain to be the highlight of each episode. The action in Episode 10 almost feels like a filler, creating space between the next deepening character interaction. However the pacing and drama of the episode is not unwelcome, leading into episode 11 with a charged sense of purpose and revenge.