Critical Role Campaign 3 Episode 2 Review

Critical Role Campaign 3 Episode 2 “Trial by Firelight” was an episode that was bookended with great content; I found the middle sequence to drift a bit into “going on for too long” territory, but overall, Episode 2 was very good.

Campaign 3 Episode 2 C3R3 – Recap, Reaction & Immediate Review Video.

Before we even get into the Campaign 3 Episode 2 review, we are greeted by the Critical Role cast in their Halloween costumes, of each other! They were all fantastic. Picking a winner…I’d give the edge to Laura Bailey (as Robbie Daymond) and Robbie Daymond (as Matt Mercer).

critrole campaign 3 episode 2 trial by firelight review reaction halloween costume funny moment recap video
Who had the best Critical Role Halloween Costume in Campaign 3 Episode 2?

Jumping into Episode 2, proper, the party enters the encounter with Lord Ariks Eshteross, teased at the end of Episode 1. Essentially, a boss battle, the party, nor Lord Eshteross, holds nothing back. We’re treated with a display of our character’s abilities, some seen for the first time.

Lord Eshteross Fight Highlights:

  • Ashton “flickering red and blue” and using “Chaos Burst” — sharing that Ashton has “multiple” forms of Rage, as Ashton is a homebrew Barbarian.
  • Bertrand Bell runs away from the battle and over to a fireplace where he grabs a glass of brandy, only to later throw the liquor-filled glass at flaming Eshteross…only to roll a 1 and hit Fearne in the head.
  • Laudna unhinged her jaw to use Unsettling Presence – a Hollow One trait.
  • Dorian getting knocked out and revived, only to log-roll over to Orym for a level 2 cure wounds.
  • Lord Eshteross walks through Orym’s blade in his foot (badass).
  • Ashton’s antics
    • Talking trash as he runs away from Eshteross
    • Ashton throws a knife right at Bertrand after the fight had been called off.

After Eshteross calls off the fight and acknowledges that Bertrand’s companions have some skill, the party asks some questions and is ultimately, offered a job from Eshteross.

We learn that Bertrand Bell used to work with Lord Eshteross, but abandoned the mission he was on, causing one party member to die, and the rest to leave. Completing future jobs could bring the party a decent amount of coin and a path to forgiveness for Bertrand Bell.

The party wishes to talk the offer over back at the Weary Way Tevern before giving Lord Eshteross an answer, but not before Orym gets the first whisper of the campaign from DM Matt Mercer!

Back at the tavern, the party gets to know each other a bit more before deciding if they should work together with Lord Eshteross.

Campaign 3 Episode 2 Character Background Highlights Include:

  • Bertrand has been part of these “test fights” with Eshteross, and has indeed, fought in some of them.
  • Fresh Cut Grass does not have a divine source; as a cleric — “It’s just something I do” (healing).
  • We Meet Laudna’s pet rat, Pâté de Rolo — a puppet made from the skull of a raven affixed to the body of a dead rat. Laudna’s voice changes to that of a Cockney accent during her ventriloquism performance…and seems to have a mind of its own.
  • More Laudna background:
    • Laudna mentions she is from Whitestone. When she left, went “far away and never looked back”.
    • Laudna became a bit of a recluse after her time in Whitestone; Just me and that “voice” in her head, as Pâté de Rolo, mentions.
    • She knows of Vox Machina and the de Rolo family.
  • Bertand Bell knows Vox Machina, being in the group himself, for a short time, years ago.
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Fan art of Lord Eshteross’s test, by Lap Pun Cheung.

After agreeing, the group circles back to Ariks Eshteross and are given details about this “preliminary test” before a contract will be written up for ongoing work.

Dayal Hall is a privately funded learning center in Jrusar, a long-time symbol of opportunity. Lord Eshteross’ estate has been seeing to the supply of goods to Dayal Hall, but lately, there have been signs of theft. The group is to go to his storage warehouse, Prudaj Textiles, and investigate what they have uncovered.

The group stands to gain quite the amount of coin for this endeavor:

Per Person:

50 Gold, as an advance.

150 Gold for delivering a satisfactory conclusion

350 gold if the source has been dealt with (assuredly, prevented from continuing)

We spend the majority of the next two hours in and around Prudaj Textiles. First moving inside for the investigating phase, followed by the more interesting stakeout phase.

Inside Prudaj Textiles, goes on for a bit too long. A lot of walking around the shop creating distractions, while peering into the thoughts of the employees, and the shop owner, Danas (not Dennis), before we find some broken crates that have the remnants of some brumestone, a very rare stone that was used to keep the flying cities during the Age of Arcana, floating; which is now mined for airships.

After a barge-in by Fearne, and some decision-making during the stake-out phase, the group decides to send in an invisible Orym to look around after hours.

We end Episode 2 with Orym, having no dark vision, left in complete darkness; sword drawn, while Fearne bangs on the back door, and Laudna sends him messages.

Critical Role Campaign 3 Episode 2 Review Positives:

  • Fearne Calloway – Fearne is hilarious, chaotic, and quite scary. She makes quite a few “jokes” about killing people. She’s basically a giant, curious cat, looking to have fun.
  • The battle with Lord Eshteross – Battles in Dungeons & Dragons isn’t my favorite part of watching Critical Role, but I’m a sucker for a great boss battle. The encounter with Ariks Eshteross does not disappoint. Highlights include:
    • How badass Eshteross is.
    • Bertrand Bell’s antics.
    • Ashton in general.
    • Laudna’s powers
  • Orym – I have to give it to Liam O’Brien, I have warmed up quite a bit to Orym in Episode 2, considering Orym was my least liked character from Exandria Unlimited, this is a big positive for me.
  • Laudna/Pâté de Rolo – Pâté de Rolo is amazing! Both from the entertainment aspect and that it shows how dark Laudna’s past must have been that she has at least 2 other voices in her head.
  • The Cliffhanger – Orym is left in a pretty bad situation, while Bertrand and Imogen follow Danas.
  • The Cast’s Halloween Costumes – They were AMAZING!

Critical Role Campaign 3 Episode 2 Review Negatives:

  • The action really slowed down to a bore for me, while Imogen, Orym, and Fresh Cut Grass were inside of Prudaj Textiles. I understood what was going on and why it needed to happen, but we were just there for a bit too long before anything was found…or Fearne burst in.
  • Campaign 1 Tie-Ins – this negative is pretty specific to me, as I have yet to see Campaign 1. I’m just a bit left in the dark with the references to Vox Machina, and the de Rolo family. I’m still working my way through Campaign 2 (Episode 72), and I almost want to rush through it so I can start Campaign 1.

Critical Role Campaign 3 Episode 2 | The Trial by Fire gets a 4/5.

My initial score from my C3RC Recap Reaction & (immediate) Review video, I went with a 4/5. I mentioned that I was around a 3/5 during the Prudaj Textiles sequence, but it was bumped up to a 4 due to a stronger ending. I still agree with this after my re-watch of Episode 2. The positives far outweighed a sequence that went on for a little too long.

What did you think of Critical Role Campaign 3 Episode 2? Let me know in the comments!

I have some theories about Ashton Greymoore & Fresh Cut Grass – take a look and please share any theories of your own!