‘Critical Role’ 3×35 recap: Pyrrhic Return

Campaigns collide, but can Keyleth save the day on Critical Role?

Critical Role’ 3×35 recap: Campaign 3, Episode 35 “Pyrrhic Return” Aired September 22, 2022

Returning home

Flying through the skies above the Hellcatch Valley is anything but relaxing for the Bells Hells. A sandstorm hits the ship, tossing nearly the whole party to the ground where they face (and escape) a monster before they manage to return to the ship. 

But far more fraught for the Bells Hells, is the question of what to do next. The clock is ticking on whatever Otohan has planned. And the solstice is fast approaching– a fact made very clear by the involuntary almost-transformation Chetney went through beneath the moons. But can they go on without Laudna?

It’s Ashton who provides the vehement answer. “We leave nobody behind.”

They spend the rest of the trip sending messages to anyone who might be able to help: Jiana Hexum and Keyleth (and by the end of the episode, even Delilah), but no clear answers are found.


The first stop once they reach Jrusar is to see Lord Eshteross. Their aged patron is ready for Otohan to come for him. He’s reduced his staff and his house is filled with traps should Thull come calling. ironically I’m more worried about Eshteross know that we’ve seen all the traps. It felt a little bit like a Chekov’s gun moment– like it’s only a matter of time before Eshteross will need that protection.

Eshteross is saddened by Laudna’s death, but he’s no magic worker, and he doesn’t know where they can find a spell strong enough to revive her. He does have a friend who could provide transportation, though. And the Bells Hells know that Keyleth is in Vasselheim, the oldest and most religious place in the world. Maybe they should travel there to meet her?

They decide to wrap up business in Jrusar, and find a way to reach Keyleth.

A long night

The Bells Hells head up to the core spire to turn Armand Treshi in to Mistress Sashadrei. Although she is happy to see her bounty fulfilled, she doesn’t seem all that interested in the Bells Hells warnings of coming danger. The presence of the Nightmare King is worrying, but she seems all too eager to dismiss the any indication that the Cerberus Assembly is working with the Paragon’s Call. But then, if there’s anything we know about Jrusar, it’s that just about anyone can be bought. 

Heading to the Spire by Fire for the night, Ashton approaches FCG and Imogen, asking them if they would take a deep dive into Ashton’s memories. Ashton knows they are missing time around the time that they ran afoul of Jiana Hexum. They are wondering if something happened which allowed them to come back from the brink of death. Something that could help Laudna? It’s certainly worth a shot.

Mirrors and mirrors

It’s fitting that one of the most creative uses of detect thoughts results in the trippiest scene of the episode. Traversing Ashton’s mind is no simple journey from point A to B, and as they push deeper, Imogen and FCG are separated.   

FCG watches the past from Ashton’s perspective as Milo frantically tries to save them. Milo pours a potion of possibility into Ashton’s head and as they do, FCG finds themself in Ashton’s body, trapped in glass. And in constant pain… the way Ashton is in constant pain.

Imogen is trapped in space, but she’s not quite alone. She sees flashes of Ashton– but not her Ashton. Rather all the Ashton’s that could have been. And interestingly, not all of them are the earth Genasi individuals that Imogen knows. Which begs the question of exactly how Ashton became Genasi? 

In the end, it takes a command spell from Imogen to wake Ashton, jarring both Imogen and FCG out of their mind and back into the real world.


As the Bells Hells decide its time to find Keyleth, Keyleth finds them. She teleports into Jrusar and for the first time, and meets Orym’s new friends. And sees Laudna– the woman who was killed to send a message to Keyleth and Vox Machina

Keyleth opens up another portal, and ushers the Bells Hells through.

Whitestone awaits!

Watch Critical Role Thursdays at 7pm PST on Twitch and YouTube! Check out last week’s Critical Role recap here, or watch me talk about all the highlights and theories here!

Critical Role Episode 35 Highlights

  • Loved that it was Ashton who put into words their unwillingness to leave Laudna in death. Perhaps a gut reaction to the way the Nobodies once left Ashton to die?
  • Interesting to note that Delilah was getting weaker when Imogen sent her a message. Is she really weakening? Or is she just trying to put Imogen’s feet to the flames as a way to get her moving.
  • I found it really poignant that Ashton revealed how they are always in pain. A reminder that while the world is filled with magic, it all comes at a cost.
  • The potion of possibility reminds me sooo much of the Luxon Beacons from campaign 2. I really think that the Cerberus Assembly must have found a way to distill the beacons into the potions. 
  • Alright ya’ll! Put your guesses in the comments. What Vox Machina characters do you think we’ll see next episode? Who are you most hoping to see? 

Greta Kelly

Greta Kelly is (probably) not a witch, death or otherwise, but she can still be summoned with the Horn of Gondor or the promise of a ride in the Tardis. She loves all things fantasy and is the author of THE FROZEN CROWN and THE SEVENTH QUEEN, and her third book, THE QUEEN OF DAYS will be out in 2023. Find her on Instagram or Twitter at @gretakkelly to geek out about literally anything.

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