Exandria Unlimited Episode 4 is a tale of two halves. Much like Episode 3 “A Glorious Return“, this Critical Role mini-campaign episode was just, okay.
We rejoin our party on a road trip traveling south from Emon. They enter the Feywild and we see one of this mini-campaign’s best narrative moments, yet.
1st half of Exandria Unlimited Episode 4:
One of my issues with Aabria’s DMing is that she tells characters how they are feeling or what they are doing. An example in Episode 4 — Fearne feels a calling from miles away, and even physically, pulls the wagon she is driving off the road. I understand that this Exandria Unlimited party has been total chaos up until now, but telling characters how they feel or what they physically are doing, just seems like the wrong route to take.
There is no breadcrumb trail; the loaf is just shoved right into a character’s mouth, and they are told that they: chew, swallow, and enjoy the bread.
I am being harsh, I know. I can give the Railroading a bit of a pass, because it does lead to some of the best stories Exandria Unlimited has offered, thus far. And had it not been done, this party would have just went camping, drank, and probably someone would have put on the Circlet.
But I digress, the storyline of an evil, future version of Fearne, who seems to have put on the Circlet and killed the rest of the party is a great hook. The addition of Fy’ra Rai, a new PC, is a welcome addition to the cast, as Anjali Bhimani has great energy, and seems to be great at roleplaying (I love Fy’ra’s voice).
2nd half of Exandria Unlimited Episode 4
Following the fight, we have another interaction between an unconscious Opal and her sister, and patron, Ted. This scene was…fine. I’m not really a fan of Opal, but essentially this was needed for Opal to receive her warlock powers back. It was a decent backstory to their relationship.
Fast-forwarding a bit; the party arrives at Opal’s hometown of Byroden. This, unfortunately, is where the episode lost me. Don’t get me wrong, it was very entertaining; Matt and Robbie are having a blast roleplaying a pageant show. But, why was the hook of the first half of the episode just, pushed aside?
Let’s look at what the party has encountered thus far:
- Woke up together with no memory
- Forced into thievery
- The Nameless Ones
- The Circlet
- The Fire Ashari
- Evil Fearne & the Feywild
- Pageant Show
I’m starting to feel like Critical Role expected Exandria Unlimted to pull in a large, first-time audience, so Aabria was told to make everything fun and exciting — to hook the viewers. Sure, the different set pieces are fun and exciting enough, but they aren’t tied together with any sort of narrative glue. The party (and viewers) is just hopping around from set piece to set piece, because, well, Aabria created them. Okay, we’re done with the Feywild, next we have to do the Pageant show because that’s what was planned for this episode.
Is the story just done with Poska? Looks like she may have just been the catalyst to give the party the Circlet, so they could have this encounter with evil Fearne. I may be looking for depth where there isn’t any. It’s just frustrating because there are some really, really good things about Exandria Unlimited beneath the surface, I just don’t think we’re going to explore more than poop jokes and side quests.
Exandria Unlimited Episode 4 | By the Road gets a 3/5
I struggled with this review score. As an episode, it’s pretty great, overall. It kept me interested, had a great narrative hook, and even had me laughing at this party’s shenanigans. Knowing that this is limited to 8 episodes is really playing a factor in my enjoyment, though. We’re halfway through and I can’t imagine all of these hooks pay off. Maybe it was supposed to be a much longer campaign and we end with a tot total party wipe? That would certainly be interesting.
What do you think about Exandria Unlimited Episode 4? How about the first half of this Critical Role mini-campaign, in general? Let me know in the comments. If you have yet to watch By the Road — check it out, below!
Read my review of Episode 5!