In the first episode of The Legend of Vox Machina’s second season, Vex’ahlia (Laura Bailey) nails exactly why Vox Machina are such extraordinary heroes: “We’re all frustrated and scared, but the fight’s not over.” It’s that conviction, that determination to fight against all odds that propels Vox Machina and their Legend through a second season filled with guts, glory, and heart, culminating to create a satisfying continuation that still captures the spirit of Critical Role while elevating its source material to new heights.
The Legend of Vox Machina Season 2 picks up exactly where Season 1 left off, with a horde of dragons descending upon the city of Emon in Tal’Dorei. When the city falls to those dragons, known as the Chroma Conclave, it’s up to Vox Machina, newly minted protectors of the realm, to seek out various mythical weapons known as Vestiges in order to defeat them. Picking up the threads from Season 1, The Legend of Vox Machina continues to follow twins Vex and Vax’ildan (Liam O’Brien), Ashari Keyleth (Marisha Ray), bard Scanlan (Sam Riegel), nobleman Percy (Taliesin Jaffe), cleric Pike (Ashley Johnson), and kindhearted brute Grog (Travis Willingham) as they settle into their group dynamic while attempting to overcome their toughest battles yet—scaled or otherwise.
Overall, The Legend of Vox Machina is an impressive feat, but never more so than in this second season, which is truly a masterclass of adaptation. Like Season 1, the new season aims to dilute over 80 hours of tabletop gameplay into just 12, 30-minute episodes (all of which were available for review), while also relaying information learned across the panels of comic books and scribed in the pages of novels. When there’s so much information to be learned and so much canon to get through, a show like this could become a highlight reel, one that sucks the heart out of the original story in favor of showcasing the most awe-inspiring moments. However, with each member of the Critical Role cast acting as executive producers, there’s a fearlessness that keeps this series from falling into that trap; unafraid of making changes and knowing the importance of character-first storytelling, The Legend of Vox Machina flourishes in its return to the small screen.
If Season 1 was about bringing Vox Machina together as a cohesive unit, then Season 2 is about each member’s individuality in relation to that new found-family, as each character uses the strength of the party to push through their own jaunts of personal growth. Vex and Vax, in particular, are a highlight of the season, with Bailey and O’Brien’s twins often acting as the emotional center of each episode. Though in contrast to Season 1, which often spotlighted Percy and Pike due to their personal connections to both the A and B plots, every party member gets to shine this time around, and it’s a joy to watch each character inch ever closer to the mythical heroes they will one day become.
Despite its grander swings into more serious storylines throughout, The Legend of Vox Machina is still as vulgar as ever (every single episode I learn something new about Scanlan that I just can’t unsee), and the humor present in the first season returns tenfold. Emotional resonance and dick jokes have always been a hallmark of the Critical Role brand, and the second season of this show does not deviate from that one bit.
Courtesy of animation studio Titmouse, The Legend of Vox Machina is stunning visually once again, especially as the 3D-animated dragons take up a larger role within the story. With an even clearer anime influence and a style that feels uniquely Vox Machina (even with Phil Bourassa’s signature character design), Season 2 is a visual delight, in all its bloody, raunchy glory. As our heroes venture beyond the bounds of Emon and Whitestone, the vast world of Exandria comes to life in vibrant and wondrous ways. And in addition to stellar voice performances from both the principal and guest cast, the music of this season also—for lack of a better word—rocks.
For existing fans of Critical Role, The Legend of Vox Machina’s second season acts as a welcome return to Exandria beyond the tabletop sessions, especially with numerous Easter eggs and winks woven throughout the episodes specifically for those hardcore “Critters.” However, if you have never dared embark on the 1000+ hour journey that is watching all of Critical Role’s actual play content, then catching up on Prime Video’s Vox Machina is a must. The series manages to balance those call-outs for seasoned fans, while still remaining perfectly accessible to the average viewer, whether as a gateway into Critical Role’s larger world, or simply as a fun fantasy adventure to keep up with week to week.
The Legend of Vox Machina, in all its violence and vulgarity, most importantly never forgets its heart, and the series’ commitment to telling those meaningful stories alongside its badass fight sequences and crude humor make it feel refreshing and unique still in its second outing. There’s a sincerity to these heroes that makes them feel both relatable and grounded, yet still larger than life, and their adventures—no matter how silly or violent or heartfelt—remain the stuff of legend.
The Legend of Vox Machina Season 2 returns with three episodes Friday, January 20th on Prime Video, with subsequent three-episode batches airing weekly.
Anna Govert is an entertainment writer based in middle-of-nowhere Indiana. For any and all thoughts about TV, film, and the wonderful insanity of Riverdale, you can follow her @annagovert.
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