The Base Violence Necessary for Change
Episode 3 of Arcane Season 1 begins with Vi preparing to hit back against the Enforcers. Only, Vander answers the door and catches her off-guard. He tells Vi he loves her and implores the girl to look after her family. Now, the play here is for Vander to sacrifice himself to save the Lanes but there’s more at stake here.
As Vander is taken outside by Grayson and Marcus, our mad scientist, Silco, lurks up alongside his new pet, the mutated Deckard. They make short work of Benzo, who was supposed to take Vander’s place in his absence. They also knock out Vander for his troubles, as Vi is forced to watch this take place with horror from the cellar.
Meanwhile, Viktor convinces Jayce to break into Heimerdinger’s laboratory and take the crystals back from the Enforcers. Given the Council need proof that these work, Viktor is determined to try and find that proof and prove them all wrong. “Our hextech dream.” Jayce agrees.
That night, they break into Heimerdinger’s study but one of the Councilor’s, Medarda, shows and notices them. Hearing Jayce and Viktor’s pitch, she decides to give them a chance. “Impress me, or I suggest you pack your bags.”
Well, Viktor and Jayce set to work doing just that and begin experimenting on the crystals. Only, they’re not alone. As Heimerdinger returns to his workshop, rapping on the barred door, the crystals seem to stabilize and prove that these experiments can work. Interestingly, they seem to have the same affect on Powder too, who finds herself experiencing flashes of the past.
In the wake of the attack in Zaun, Vander is dragged off to Silco’s lab. He has plans of getting back against those in Piltover, demanding respect and uniting everyone under one umbrella – the nation of Zaun. Now, that earlier sequence at the start of the episode holds more context. The drowning was actually Vander’s doing, and he was on the verge of killing Silco. Silco saw trhis as a betrayal and a swift knife blow to the arm is enough to break free and scramble to safety. Having ingested the river toxins though, Silco is far from healed.
Silco doesn’t have any hatred or ill-will toward Vander anymore though, instead wanting to team up to hit back against those who would wrong them. Vander though, wants none of it.
The thing is, Silco is smart. While Vander is held captive, Vi and the other kids enact a rescue mission to bring him back. They task Powder with holding down the fort, calling her a liability and that this is way too dangerous for her.
So Vi, Mylo and Cragger sneak in through an open window… and walk right into a trap. Surrounded by his goons, Silco stalks toward Vi and the others, determined to make short work of them. Vi though, takes up her father’s gauntlets and prepares to hit back. And hit she does. With ferocious blows, she makes short work of each goon while Mylo is tasked with picking the locks and opening Vander’s chains. Only, unbeknownst to them, Powder happens to be watching from afar.
As Deckard enters the fray, he overpowers Vi, throwing her across the bridge. Retreating, Vi locks the door and holds it tight as they try to formulate an escape. Powder though, uses one of her homemade bombs, with a glittering blue crystal inside for good measure, launching it inside. The ensuing explosion is frighteningly impressive. Mylo is impaled and thrown against the wall, with rubble falling down on him. Craggor is wiped out while Silco and his entire stock are ruined. The mad scientist is saved at the last second by one of his subordinates, while Deckard survives too.
Vander valiantly fights back but it’s no good. Silco sneaks up behind him and stabs the man in the back, an echo of their earlier skirmish in the water. Killing the barkeep, Silco utters “I knew you still had it in you,” coldly before walking away, intent on finding Vi.
Vander though, uses a vial of purple poison that turned Deckard and saves Vi’s life. It’s his last act of selflessness before passing away. Only, when he doe Powder arrives excitedly down the alleyway and tells Vi that the bombs worked. Only, she suddenly realizes the extent of the devastation she’s caused. “Mylo was right, you’re a jinx.” Vi says coldly as Powder cries, tears streaming down her cheeks. Mylo’s goggles stand out as a reminder of the bloodshed.
While Vi is taken away by Marcus and drugged, Powder finds herself in the venomous grip of Silco, who decides that Vi is no longer his sister. Blinded by rage, Silco uses that to his advantage and uses her as a weapon against the others.
The Episode Review
Wow, what a great episode. For the first two chapters of this three-episode stack, we’ve been gearing up to some big action and this 40 minute episode dos not disappoint. The dual storylines between Jayce and Viktor alongside Vander and the others trying to thwart Silco words well to give a much more action-orientated episode.
The animation has been outstanding in this show so far and whether it be the dancing flames at the end or the rain-soaked, pained facial expressions that complement the dialogue, Arcane is a real treat for the eyes.
The plot itself is really good too and while it can be a bit tropey in places, especially the idea of two siblings squaring off against one another, the characterization is well-handled for the most part. With plenty of sacrifices and some shocking deaths to boot, the ending leaves things wide open for where the next episodes may go.