[Ed. note: This post contains spoilers for episodes 1-8 of season 2 of The Legend of Vox Machina, and episode 60 of season 1 of Critical Role.]
House and household have loomed massive over the second season of The Legend of Vox Machina. That’s no shock — on the prime of the season, Vox Machina is pressured to desert the house they’ve cultivated exterior of Emon, pushed out by the rise of the Chroma Conclave. In episode 5, “Move By Fireplace,” Keyleth reunites along with her father and her folks, and is reminded of her mom’s legacy. Episode 8, “Echo Tree,” explores the various ways in which house and household can form folks — particularly, the way in which going house impacts Laura Bailey’s character, Vex’ahlia.
House has lengthy been a sticking level for Vex, who has seen each house she has ever had ripped out from underneath her, from her mom’s home in Byroden to her house with Vox Machina. Episode Eight takes viewers by means of two very totally different homecomings, as Pike (Ashley Johnson), Scanlan (Sam Riegel), and Grog (Travis Willingham) journey to Pike’s grandfather’s home and Vex, Vax’ildan (Liam O’Brien), Keyleth (Marisha Ray), and Percy (Taliesin Jaffe) are all trapped within the Fey Realm, on the lookout for the Fenthras bow. Inside the eighth episode, Vax and Vex return to their former home in Syngorn — and a meeker, extra unsure model of Vex emerges, as she is introduced face-to-face along with her father, Syldor Vessar.
When Syldor (performed with excessive haughtiness by Troy Baker) arrives on the scene, we all know what to anticipate from him. From flashbacks, we already know that the twins had a horrible childhood — in “The Sunken Tomb,” we see Syldor seek advice from his kids as errors on account of their half-elven blood. When Vox Machina meets Osysa the sphinx in episode 2, she calls out Vex, particularly, for “hopelessly looking for” her father’s love, lengthy earlier than they’re even reunited.
In one other fantasy story — and even for an additional member of Vox Machina — the coldness with which Syldor treats his kids could possibly be one thing that makes Vex chilly in return. However “Echo Tree” exhibits us how a lot Vex has grown across the thorny roots of her childhood.
As Vex and Vax wait for his or her father to reach, they’re greeted by Devana, Syldor’s new spouse — and their new half-sister, Velora. As an deserted daughter, Vex has no purpose to be beneficiant with Velora, particularly in a family that holds so many dangerous recollections. But, she kneels and removes her signature owlbear feather from her braid and locations it in Velora’s hair, greeting her warmly.
Picture: Prime Video
This suits with what we all know of the character, even in the event you’re solely a fan of the present and never the precise play. Vex’ahlia just isn’t on the floor somebody who’s in any approach fragile. She is daring, and self-confident, and unremorseful in regards to the issues she needs. She may also be prickly and cussed. Beneath her bravado, although, lurks a really massive coronary heart. Sufficiently big to rescue an orphaned bear cub, fierce sufficient to guard her brother and her buddies, and type sufficient to welcome a half-sister with open arms.
Even with an earlier second of reassurance from Percy to buoy her up, Vex continues to be noticeably uneasy all through her reunion along with her father. As they talk about Vox Machina’s position in dealing with the specter of the Chroma Conclave, Syldor scoffs at the concept the twins have achieved something of word. “The very thought of Vex’ahlia and Vax’ildan standing up for the higher good is, effectively, wealthy.” Not solely is Vex resigned within the face of Syldor’s evident dismissal, she later defers to his anger and even chides Vax when he makes an attempt to rebuke him.
It’s terrible to observe Vex wilt beneath Syldor’s snide feedback, particularly when it’s set in opposition to Pike’s far hotter homecoming along with her household earlier within the episode. As Vox Machina prepares to go away, Syldor presents the occasion with a decree that may permit them to maneuver by means of town, figuring out that they want secure passage with a view to retrieve the bow. As he does, Percy is fast to tell him that the scroll wants amending. “It’s Girl Vex’ahlia. Girl Vex’ahlia, Baroness of the Third Home of Whitestone and Grand Mistress of the Grey Hunt.”
Within the precise play, it’s an enormous second. Episode 60, “Heredity and Hats,” was filmed throughout a dwell present, and as quickly as Taliesin Jaffe, taking part in Percy, invokes the title, the room erupts. Laura Bailey reacts with seen shock as Travis Willingham grabs her shoulder in shock and glee. Within the animated sequence, although, Syldor instantly dismisses the gesture, tossing apart Percy’s kindness. And that’s when Vex lastly stands and fights again. “Don’t you dare speak to him like that! We got here right here looking for assist, and also you insult my buddies?” she exclaims. When Syldor smugly rebukes her, she continues. “We received’t fail, which is greater than I can say about you as a father.”
Relatively than apologize, Syldor calls for a show of worthiness from his daughter. “Present me that bow and I provides you with the welcome you suppose you deserve.”
The power of Vox Machina, particularly, has at all times been the discovered household side of their friendship (a mirrored image, in some methods, of the bonds that tie the Vital Position solid collectively and make the precise play so profitable). Vex’s household, all that she considers her household to be, is close by always — and so they settle for her for who she is and so they help her, which is way over might be mentioned of Syldor, whose prejudice blinds him to his kids. Although Vex has conflicted emotions about her outburst — telling Percy she looks like one way or the other “it harm me extra” — she nonetheless finds heat help she may by no means discover along with her father.
And so, when the occasion manages to come back throughout the Fenthras bow later within the episode, the corrupted archfey that possesses it makes the identical mistake that Vex’s father makes. He assumes her to be damaged, and makes an attempt to prey on her sense of unworthiness. “Being deserted by love might be liberating,” he says. “You’ve been a very good daughter. You’ve tried. However it can by no means be sufficient — you’ll by no means be sufficient.” He guarantees her the care and companionship her father by no means gave her.
For a second it seems to be as if it’d work: “If I may pull the blood of him from my veins and provides it again, I might,” Vex admits. It’s one other deviation from the precise play — in “Heredity and Hats,” Vex tells Syldor himself that she needs she may rip the blood of him away. In response, Syldor (performed by Matthew Mercer) provides a type of strangled apology, for the twins’ upbringing and for the bias he carries.
Picture: Prime Video
However the animated sequence has achieved an incredible job at permitting all of the characters within the present to face on their very own toes — particularly, they’ve been writing the ladies of the present superbly. And season 2 has targeted, partly, on how particular person characters derive their sense of self, and the way they reconcile the folks they’re now with the heroes that they need to turn into with a view to defeat the Chroma Conclave. After informing Vex of the methods he may make her complete, Saundor makes a request: He needs her coronary heart. In response, Vex pushes him away and informs him: “My coronary heart is another person’s.” It’s a small alternative, however omitting Syldor’s apology permits Vex’s self-acceptance to take heart stage, quite than Syldor’s response and half-measure, too-late kindness.
What Saundor and Syldor each fail to grasp is that Vex just isn’t alone. She just isn’t damaged past fixing, and he or she is definitely not unworthy — her buddies and her brother perceive this, even within the moments when she can’t. When she breaks away from Saundor’s compulsion, Vex chooses to imagine that not solely is she price loving, however that her personal coronary heart just isn’t past restore. She just isn’t so broken that she ought to stop herself from loving another person.
The combat with Saundor showcases Vex for all that she is. She is defiant and daring, even when Saundor shatters her bow. When she kills him, acknowledging that his merciless phrases have been lies, she does so with the arrowhead Percy gave her, the one he labored on whereas consoling her about her father. After which she claims the Fenthras bow, signaling the truth that Vox Machina is one step nearer to carrying out their objective, and is more and more worthy of the duty they’ve undertaken.
By the tip of the episode, Vex admits that she’s not able to face Syldor once more. Not due to some change in herself or worthiness evoked by her possession of the bow, however as a result of she lastly acknowledges that irrespective of who she is or turns into, he won’t ever see her otherwise than he already does. It’s a tough, horrible factor to acknowledge, nevertheless it means she’s now not contorting herself into the shapes she believes others need her to be in. She finds power not solely within the buddies she has made and the household that she has fought so laborious to construct and maintain, however in herself.