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Well.

Wow.

I’ll come out and say it. Arcane’s Act 3 — comprised of Arcane Season 1 Episode 7, Arcane Season 1 Episode 8, and Arcane Season 1 Episode 9 — was not the ending I expected.

Probably because it’s not an ending, and that’s more than okay. No one, but NO ONE, was prepared for an online multiplayer battle arena game to produce a season of rich and intriguing animated narrative at this level.

Shooting to the tops of Netflix charts worldwide, Arcane has been a juggernaut of a phenomenon.

That being said, I may still be in shock from how the season closed out.

I mean, SHE KILLS THEM ALL. In the final moments of Arcane Season 1, Jinx launches a HexTech juiced explosive device directly into the Piltover Council chamber.

I didn’t imagine that, right? Everyone else saw what I saw, right?

To be sure, we didn’t see the explosion. But Jinx is awfully good at making explosives. What are the chances that the device doesn’t detonate? Slim to none.

If it does, as it is likely to do, that’s the end of Mel, Jayce, Viktor, AND Caitlyn’s mom.

And the irony that this act of war dots the “I” on the unanimous vote in favor of peace is not lost on me.

Woah. Yeah. This is going to take some time.

Backing up to examine Episode 7, “Boy Savior,” I was feeling pretty clever, having predicted that Ekko was the Firelight Leader after Arcane Act 2.

Having Vi reunite with Ekko was great, but seeing the Firelight haven he’d helped create was even more inspirational.

Ekko, all grown up, is a diligent and honorable leader with an eye to the future while firmly grounded in the lessons he learned from Vander and Vi.

It’s not enough to give people what they need to survive, you have to give them what they need to live.

Ekko

I love that he connects with Heimerdinger. Those are basically my two favorite characters kicking it together under that gorgeous tree.

Heimerdinger: How were you able to accomplish so much so quickly?
Ekko: You’d be surprised what you can pull off when your life depends on it.

There’s a significant shift in the animation of Act 3 fight scenes to emulate the video game action. Surprisingly, seeing Little Man Ekko and Powder face off in mock sparring as their adult selves prepare to fight to potential death was way more emotional than I could have predicted.

Viktor’s reunion with Singed is less joyous.

Singed himself is a living reminder of the dangers of unfettered experimentation. (Are there any gamers who want to fill me in on what is physically wrong with him?)

I must warn you. If you take this path, they will despise you. Love and legacy are the sacrifices we make for progress.

Singed

And yet, I can’t see him as a villain. He does horrible things to innocent creatures, but I get the sense that he truly believes that he is serving a greater good.

The Shimmer that he gives Viktor leads to Viktor’s first time running, and that was exhilarating and heart-warming. However, the obvious signs of corruption on the HexCore were darkly foreboding.

Sky’s tragic demise resets Viktor’s moral compass.

About that; does he ever TELL anyone that she’s dead? Doesn’t she have family or friends who would be wondering where she is?

Nonetheless, it’s the wake-up call he needs, even if he cannot destroy the HexCore himself.

(Of course, if he’s been blown up, that unsupervised HexCore could spawn a lot more problems down the road.)

Another thing I didn’t expect was for Mother Medarda to show up and make Mel’s life (and Jayce’s, too) so complicated.

I was also pleasantly surprised by the flashback to Mel’s childhood. Despite the character’s impressive political acumen and her romantic ties to Jayce, I’ve viewed her mainly as a side character with the potential to complicate situations.

Mel: Kino says war is a failure of statecraft.
Matron Medarda: Your brother thinks he can talk his way out of anything. He fancies himself a fox among the wolves. But, mark me, child, if you want to last in this world, you must learn to be both the fox and the wolf

Introducing Noxus principles into Piltover’s landscape feels like a narrative on-ramp to future conflicts.

Having her mother offer her a place at her side now that her brother’s been killed by this nameless, wronged rival also appears to be long-range planning for House Medarda.

Caitlyn continues to impress me with her skills, determination, and choice of love interest.

I’m pretty sure I didn’t need to watch her standing in the shower for several minutes but, then again, I’m probably not the target audience for whom that scene was produced.

We tried. Okay? It wasn’t enough. Topside and bottom. Oil and water. That’s all there is.

Vi

(Who else was impressed with how her mom kicked in the bedroom door? Looks like Caitlyn came by her military abilities honestly.)

Ultimately, Caitlyn’s most admirable quality is not her acumen with weapons or her articulate speech. Despite her privileged upbringing, she sees the world for how it is and wants to make it better for everyone.

Jayce has a bit more trouble with that, although he does get things done better than his fellow Council members.

You’ve always been a part of this. You just never had to look it in the eye. One dead kid? There’s hundreds more where he came from, thanks so Silco and thanks to people like you who stuck their heads in the dirt.

Vi

Seeing him fighting at Vi’s side was discombobulating. Even after seeing him working at the forge, I still associate him with academia.

His hammer also seems like a strange combination weapon to wield in battle.

We lost ourselves. Lost our dream. In the pursuit of great, we failed to do good.

Viktor

One thing is clear. Jayce is at his best when Viktor is at his side.

I observed in Act 2 that Silco’s affection for Jinx was a liability. Here, that dysfunctional relationship bears the fruit of the deadly variety.

Is there anything so undoing as a daughter?

Silco

You could almost feel sorry for him if he wasn’t such a psychopath.

And this brings us full circle back to that shocking final scene in this final act.

Tracking it back from Jinx firing on Piltover, she decided to do it after Silco died. Silco died because she shot him full of holes. She shot him because he was going to shoot Vi. He was going to shoot Vi because Vi was somehow bringing back Powder.

I thought maybe you could love me like you used to. Even though I’m… different. But you changed too. So here’s to the new us.

Jinx

As tragic as it is, Caitlyn is probably right when she tells Vi that Jinx is too far gone to save.

So, what happens now? Where do we go from here? How loud does the community need to get for Riot Games to greenlight another season?

Where did this show rip your heart out and stomp on it?

Who do you need back if and when they launch a Season 2?

See you in the comments! I feel like we’re going to need to talk this out.

Source: TVfanatic.com

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