‘Critical Role’ 3×45: “Ominous Lectures” recap

The Bells Hells come face-to-face with Da'leth

Critical Role’ recap: Campaign 3, Episode 45 “Ominous Lectures” Aired January 12, 2023


The Bells Hells meet back up with Ashton outside of the Aydinlan Seminary. (But don’t worry, they left Laudna’s rat Pâté with Tuldus. Tooootaly safe.) But when they arrive, Ashton looks like a human man, clothed in chef’s whites and covered in food. Yeah. This sounds like Ashton.

Ashton tells them that they spotted an old “colleague” from Jrusar, Violet. Seems like she charmed Ashton into telling her all about the Bells Hells, and so Ashton helps her pull off a job as a favor to buy her silence. The disjointed story is probably the most Ashton way to have spent the past two episodes: random, violent and more than a little confusing.

FCGeasy bake oven

The Bells Hells decide to divide and conquer so they can grab some last minute intel from the Seminary before hopping to a different plane of existence. FCG, who has been feeling on edge, goes to find Professor Isham, a specialist on Aeormatons. The professor is blown away to have a chance to inspect FCG and recognizes that they are a Harmonious Aeormaton, a kind of peacekeeper that might have been altered during the Care and the Culling to be the murderbot we all dread and fear.

The best part of meeting Isham is the little pep talk he gave FCG. It was heartening to hear Isham tell FCG not to be limited by his creators intentions…. and you know, not to plug anything into their terminal unless they want to explode.

Seeming to feel slightly better, FCG asks if Isham can make a slight alteration to their chest plating. Hoping to bake some of Lord Eshteross delicious cookies, they ask if they could have a small slot installed where they could insure cookie dough and pull out… you know where this is going, lolol. 

Unexpected guests 

Imogen and Fearne head over to speak with Professor Sumal– a meeting that starts off ominously when they find the professor hiding in her office. Sumal, recognizing Imogen’s abilities, relaxes enough to tell them about her research. She says that Liliana and Otohan Thull are Exultant Ruidusborn– people who are able to interact with the Reilora (crimson beings that seem to live in the storm covered dreamscape).

Liliana was one of the few people who could speak with the Reilora, but Sumal could never get a straight answer about what exactly they are and what they wanted. It scared her enough that she ended the study, but that royally angered Thull. And earned her an enemy.

Thull isn’t the only one.

Right as Sumal was about to hand-over the missing pages of her research, her office door unlocks and swings open revealing an older looking elven man with long silver hair and fine robes.

Ludinous Da’leth. 

Da’leth in the flesh

Imogen and Fearne immediately warn Sumal to be on her guard, but it’s not enough. Da’Leth shoulders his way into the room like only a blue blood could. He flicks a spell at Sumal and orders her to hand over the files. Which she does, and then sits down like a puppet with cut strings. 

And then he turns to Imogen. 

He recognizes her– says she looks just like her mother (a kick in the gut if ever there was one). Imogen and Fearne both sit, understanding on a visceral level that they are completely outmatched. Da’leth could probably kill them with half a thought, and so their best bet is to try and talk their way out of this. Imogen says that she’s been looking for her mother which Da’leth takes in stride. He claims that he’s been working with Liliana for a long time– that she’s been integral to their plans and that Imogen should be proud. In fact, all she needs to do to find Liliana is to follow that northward pull. The same pull all Exultant feel.

Fearne makes a valiant effort to pull more information out of Da’leth, but he’s not falling for it. He knows full well that the Bells Hells have been talking to the Grim Verity. And while he doesn’t seem to take this personally (in fact he seems to find them somewhat pitiful) this is his life’s work and he wont see it tampered with.

It’s work that began when he witnessed the Divergence– the great exodus of the gods from the Prime Material Plane after the  ancient battles between the gods. Battles that nearly wiped all life off Exandria. 

And Da’leth was there? It’s almost beyond belief. With a paternal sort of smile, Da’leth turns and leaves as if there isn’t anything they could do that could harm him. Perhaps he’s even right.


Orym, Chetney and Ashton see Da’leth leaving the Seminary and know right away that something has happened. Bullying their way past the desk clerk, they collect Laudna and FCG and race to Sumal’s office where Imogen and Fearne are still waiting. There’s no more information left for them in Sumal’s office, only the terrible knowledge that they are facing an enemy who is completely out of their league. They need to act.


Ligament Manor

Summoning Planerider Ryn, they tell her everything about their encounter with Da’leth– including the fact that he now has a list of all known Exultant Ruidusborn’s and crucial information about Ruidus. That means there’s no more time to sit on the fence. They’re going to the Feywild to destroy the key there. 

Thanks to an assist from Planerider Ryn, the Bells Hells step through a portal and into the Harrowcall Fens, a lush marshland straight out of a Brother’s Grimm fever-dream. Its a disorienting place with moving trees and singing flowers whose very air seems to change Fearne in some instinctual way, making her less civilized. More wild. 

It’s in this unsettling landscape that the Bells Hells finally meet Grandma Morri. A hag in every sense of the word, Morri is an enormous creature with a giraffe-like neck and oddly oval face (at one point Matt Mercer described her as E.T.-like. Ick!) Hidden on her barrel chest is a second face– truly, its all nightmare fuel. Luckily both of Morri’s faces are thrilled to see Fearne, and she invites the Bells Hells into her home for cocktails.

So yeah, it’s a normal Thursday on Critical Role.

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 44 Highlights

  • I’m still really worried about FCG. They were so insistent on everyone behaving nicely to one another this episode, and they didn’t have any time to rest before jumping to the Feywild. Really hope they don’t go murderbot on Grandma Morri.
  • Imogen summoned a strange-looking crimson entity a few episodes back. Interesting that she was able to bring it into the real world, when Sumal insinuated they live in the dream world. I’m sure it’s a positive sign that we shouldn’t worry about at all.
  • Sooooo Da’leth was alive during the Calamity. Great. Just great. (Justice for Bolo?)

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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