‘Critical Role’ 3×38: “Dark Balance” recap

Allies rise and fall on Critical Role, Episode 38, “A Dark Balance”

Critical Role’ 3×38 recap: Campaign 3, Episode 38 “A Dark Balance” Aired October 20, 2022


The Bells Hells awaken on the floor of Pike’s home, desperate to know if they succeeded in severing Laudna’s connection with Delilah. Pike is hopeful, but they’ve defeated Delilah many times before. The only way to find out, is to find out…

Orym, FCG and Imogen step up to help with the ritual. Orym tells Laudna that she deserves to be more than a footnote in Delilah’s story, and the soft words carry a note of defiance that seems to resonate with Laudna’s soul. FCG goes next, saying that the Bells Hells cannot continue without her, so they command her soul to return.

The spell fails and terrified–and on the verge of heartbreak– Imogen steps forward. All she can do is beg, beg Laudna to come back. Imogen loves her, and their time cannot be over yet. But neither Sam nor Laura rolled well during the ritual. Laudna’s return isn’t impossible. But it’s difficult.

It all comes down to one roll…


At first it doesn’t seem like the ritual worked. Laudna doesn’t appear to be breathing… but then she never really did. Pike smacks Laudna across the face and our fun-scary goth girl shoots up from the floor. Alive. (Or as alive as she ever was.)

Very disoriented, Laudna comes back to herself, but she’s obviously afraid to be back in Whitestone. (Although being surrounded by Whitestone guards and riflemen surely didn’t help.) Seeming slightly numb she stumbles outside and sets eyes on the Sun Tree. 

The sight of it, whole and growing, brings tears to her eyes. She wraps her arms around it, and though it wasn’t explicitly stated during the episode, I suspect the Sun Tree is Laudna’s new patron. 


After dinner, the Bells Hells tell Percy and Vex everything that they’ve been up to. From the Residuum they found with the Paragon’s Call to the strange lattice-like structure around Ruidus. 

Percy knew that Residuum shipments were going missing, but the idea that the Cerberus Assembly is behind it? Well, it’s daunting to say the least. Percy also suspects that the enchantment around Ruidus is similar to the magic of the Divine Gate (the magical gate that separates the Gods from the world). But why there would be a gate around Ruidus is anyone’s guess.

Or maybe it’s Imogen’s.

Ruidian Nightmares

That night, the Bells Hells sleep beneath the Sun Tree, but it’s far from restful. Imogen dreams of the red storm, only this time, FCG is with her. FCG’s presence seems to stabilize Imogen and for the first time she seems to almost enjoy the dream.

Until she sees a figure in the distance. Could it be Eshteross? They try to catch up with him but to no avail. The storm clears and they are surrounded by stars, and Imogen is certain that they are on the moon.

Returning to Eshteross

The Bells Hells are anxious to get back to Jrusar–especially after Imogen’s dream. Don’t forget, the last person she saw walk into the red storm was Bertrand Bell (Critical Role, Episode 3). The night he died.

Portalling back to Jrusar, they rush to Eshteross house, and Chetney (invisible) goes inside with Laudna’s newly animated familiar Pâté. They go inside and find the house in disarray. All the carefully set traps have sprung and an ominous bloodtrail leads upstairs.

Chetney finds Eshteross in the bedroom. Face down on the floor. Blood everywhere. Not sure if they are truly alone in the house, Chetney searches the room quickly. He finds a sheaf of letters, including one for the Bells Hells.

Reading fast, Chetney finds that Eshteross has left them a bequest– his sword, his airship and enough money to hire the ship’s crew for a whole year. It’s the kind of gift any adventuring party would love to have. 

But I can’t help but mourn the loss of Lord Eshteross. 

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 38 Highlights

  • The ritual was agonizing!! I was absolutely terrified because the dice were NOT cooperating. 
  • Fearne trying to steal Pike’s holy symbol was peak Ashley shenanigans lololol!
  • Speaking of Fearne shenanigans, I cannot believe that she persuaded Percy to give her a little pop gun for Mister
  • NOOOO not Daddy Eshteross!! I know I predicted that he was going to die like twelve times, but still… I’m sad. 

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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