‘Critical Role’ 3×50: “Red Moon Rising” recap

Ready or not the red moon is here.

Critical Role’ recap: Campaign 3, Episode 50 “Red Moon Rising” Aired March 2, 2023

Planning for the Red Moon

The day has come for the Apogee Solstice: the magical leylines surrounding Exandria will snap with renewed energy, and the Bells Hells will have to stop Ludinus Da’Leth from blowing the gate around the red moon. Too bad the Bells Hells don’t know exactly when it’s going to happen? 3:30? Quarter to 10? It kiiiinnnnndaaa puts a crimp on their planning efforts, I say laughing maniacally.

Because, let’s be honest. What plan?

They decide on a bare-bones approach: Imogen, Laudna, Orym, Ashton and Chetney are going to be the ground team. They plan on using their stolen Ruby Vanguard robes to sneak onto the Tishten excavation site to find Planerider Ryn and Imogen’s mom while scouting (and probably creating a diversion). Meanwhile, Fearne, FCG, the Nightmare King and Captain Xandis will fly in on the sky ship. And then fly it straight into the Malleus key. 

But there’s a big catch. Fearne thinks she can turn into a giant bird to fly FCG to safety but it will be up Ira to save Xandis… Because a person called the Nightmare King is totally reliable. And then there’s the anti magic beam that is triggering every minute. The kind of beam that will make it impossible for Fearne or Ira to use their magic.


Ground Team go!

As a gentle sandstorm covers the valley, the ground team heads out for the excavation site, spotting a large tree on their way– one Keyleth can use to bring in reinforcements. But behind the tree, Chetney sees something that makes the ground team stumble. A sky ship bearing the religious markings of Vasselheim. And its in ruins.

Suddenly their plan feels very rickety. If an airship as decked out with arms as a Vassleheim warship can be taken down this far away from the Malleus Key, what chance does their ship have. I mean, yeah, the sandstorm is providing cover, but still…

Guards and warders

There was a definite ominous feeling over the Bells Hells when they headed away from the crash and edged toward the excavation. While they’re on the outside of the site the presence of guards gets heavier and heavier. Their disguises are enough to keep them hidden in plain sight for a while, but they’ve had one too many run-ins with their enemies to go unnoticed for long. 

When they get stopped for closer inspection, their luck runs out. Imogen is sooo close to talking their way out of it. (Truly, no one does haughty disdain like Imogen.) But they get spotted by the one person who survived the fight in Ebinold Kai’s house (3×44). The jig is up. A giant automaton is called and the battle begins.

The three humanoids go down almost immediately (and it really shoes how far the Bells Hells have come) but the automaton Warder is a completely different opponent. When Ashton and Orym are horribly burned by the Warder, Imogen hurls a Command spell at the automaton making it grovel. While its down Laudna finishes it off with a Shocking Grasp.

Unexpected Allies

Amazingly none of the other guards circling the site seem to have noticed all this happening. But that’s not to say no one noticed. An unseen hand wraps around Imogen’s throat, and pulls her inside a nearby tent. When she demands to speak to her attacker face-to-face, she is spun around and finds herself looking at a dark-skinned woman in blue robes with a staff strapped to her back…. It’s Buearegard from Campaign 2!!

After a tense moment where they try to suss out each others motives, they realize that they’re all trying to achieve the same things: stopping the Ruby Vanguard and Da’Leth. It’s what Beau and her people have been trying to do for the past decade. I say people because she’s not alone.

Caleb is with her too!!

Friends beneath the Red Moon

Caleb and Beau say that while they aren’t members of the Grim Verity, they have been working with them. (In fact, they were part of the Shadowfell Team that damaged the key.) They arrived here with Ryn and when she was turned to stone, they’ve been hunkered down on the outskirts of the site. It’s been difficult to do because the anti-magic beam is hamstringing Caleb’s magical abilities– and Ludinus knows they’re coming. 

The good news is that Caleb knows a lot more about how the key works. And they know the anti-magic pulses are coming from a series of mirror-like devices around the site. They all agree that if their other allies are going to be of any help at all, the anti-magic pulse has to be destroyed. So the Bells Hells will go one direction, Caleb and Beau will take the other. They’ll meet in the middle. 

As a crawler approaches, Beau and Caleb slip away. 

The sh*t is about to go down.

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

  • You guys! If Ira doesn’t save Xandis I will not be okay!!  
  • Awwwww. Fearne gave Ashton a goodbye kiss. That’s going to drive Ashton crazy forever.
  • Beau and Caleb are joining the Bells Hells!!! YEAH! And also, whew. Between Keyleth, Beau and Caleb the Bells Hells might just have a chance in hell of getting out of this alive.
  • I can’t wait to see Caleb, Beau and Keyleth in action. 

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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