‘Critical Role’ 3×49: “The Aurora Grows” recap

The Bells Hells call for aid, but let's be honest. They're more A-Team than Avengers. Hope its enough to kill a god-killer.

Critical Role’ recap: Campaign 3, Episode 49 “The Aurora Grows” Aired February 16, 2023

Beneath the Aurora

As the Bells Hells fly away from Imogen’s hometown, toward the Tishtan site and all their enemies, Orym notices something off about the sky. It’s still daytime, but there’s  a floating wave of sparkling energy surrounding them. It’s an aurora, just barely visible in the daylight, but a bloody portent of what’s to come. The countdown is on.

They have to confront the reality that they are waaaay outgunned. They need allies, but who can they call that can get here in time? Dozens of people are considered: Granny Morri, Ira, Hexum, the Greenseekers, the Nobodies, the list goes on. But the knowledge that they don’t have a really plan still weighs on them. (Well, some of them more than others.) It’s Chetney who suggests a last resort: send a ground team to save Imogen’s mom and Ryn while they crash the ship into the key.

In the end, they call Ira Wendegoth first. Imogen messages the Nightmare King, asking him if he want’s to play. And boy does he! He’s currently back with the Calloways, and the Bells Hells arrange to pick him up. They also ask Imahara Joe to make a bomb for them (as one does, lol) and ask Milo to contact the Nobodies (mixed results there.)

Last ditch efforts

There’s still a lot to do before bed. Orym uses the message rock to call Dorian, but bad news for all of us Robbie Daymond fans. Although the aurora seems to be visible where he is, Dorian is too far away to come back in only a handful of days. And ominously, he mentions that things are getting dark here. (Dark?! WHY, DORIAN?)

Imogen also takes a beat to reach out to her mother. But any hope that they can make Liliana their plant in the Tishtan camp are immediately dashed. Liliana isn’t interested in stopping anything. More than anything she’s obviously tested the cool-aid, and she wants Imogen to do the same thing. She touches Imogen’s forehead and an image of the lattice breaking enters her mind filling her with a sense of total freedom. Imogen once again waivers. Are they doing the right thing, by stopping Predathos?

The others give a resounding yes. Even if the Ruby Vanguard thinks they’re creating a better world, they are doing it the wrong way. You can’t just go around killing innocents to secure your better tomorrow. Is Imogen convinced?

She says yes, but it’s hard not to make Jean Grey/Dark Phoenix comparisons. 

Midnight meetings

An obviously agitated Ashton heads out on deck with a bottle of alcohol, but they aren’t alone. Laudna goes with them and the pair have a bit of a heart-to-heart beneath the increasingly creepy aurora. Ashton is obviously in crisis, suspended in a state of loving and hating the Bells Hells. Working through their trauma is not going to be an easy feat, and certainly not something they can do in the few days before a big fight, but it was nice seeing them open up to Laudna. Perhaps soon they will be able to realize that the Bell Hells aren’t simply helping them out of obligation, but because they are friends and that’s what friends do.

Too bad not everyone in the Bells Hells is feeling the friend vibes. Fearne and Orym have a little midnight talk about contingencies. Namely, what happens if Imogen goes to the dark side. In the end, and with much regret, Orym says he can do what he can to distract Imogen. But it’ll be up to Fearne to take her down. I loved this, because we can all see how tempted Imogen is by her mother and Ruidus and the power on the table. Also it was hilarious to see Liam and Ashley having this conversation with Laura sitting between them.

Car pool lane

Days slip by quickly and all too soon, the Bells Hells are back on the outskirts of Bassuras meeting up with the Nightmare King and the Calloways. Ira hasn’t been idle since they last saw him. Though there isn’t much trust between them all, he does say that he’s been spying on the Tishton Malleus Key when he can (I say that because every minute– on the minute–a light flashes from the tower emitting some kind of Anti Magic field.)

Ira also confirms what the keys are meant to do (sort of). The keys are meant to focus the energy of the solstice and funnel it through the lens. And though they don’t say it outright, all signs are pointing toward the energy breaking the cage around Ruidus. Ira, with the aid of the Moontide Crown, is game to join the Bells Hells. But how much help this strange Fey creature is going to be remains to be seen.  

For now, its time to go.

Storms and hope

The last remaining days of travel are far from easy ones. Storms chase the sky ship and they are electrified by the strange magic of the auroras. And while the Bells Hells are able to dodge a massive Fire Bird, their sky ship is damaged along the way. And worse, they were blown off course. They will now arrive with little time to spare. 

But they (hopefully) won’t be alone. Orym’s master, Keyleth, reaches out to them via a really cool message-bloom. The issue they were combating in the Earth Elemental Plane has been dealt with, the rift healed, but not before their leader shouts that the Vanguard will prevail. Worrisome to say the least, but it gives Keyleth the push she needs to bring in reinforcements.

Tomorrow they will try and rendezvous with the Bells Hells. The group spends the rest of the night saying goodbyes (or deep in their cups, in Ashton’s case) and trying to get their emotional affairs in order. 

Because the solstice is here.

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 49 Highlights

  • Eeeeee. So the Ebinold Kai is still trapped in the fire plane…. and will be until they can save Ryn. And who knows what’s going on with the Shadowfell Team. 
  • Alright, I’m dyyyyiiinnnggg to know what’s going on with Dorian and the EXU crew!
  • Ohhhh man, this campaign is starting to feel like a villain origin story, but not of Predathos or Thull or even Da’Leth. But, Imogen… and I’m here for it.
  • Loved that FCG got to message Dee, the individual who found and sold them. Dee confirmed that there are more awakened automatons in the world. 

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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