I see you are back here for one last ride for this Season of Arcane. After Monte and Herko did a masterful job reviewing the last two acts, I have the pleasure to conclude this article series in style.
Before you read, you can expect spoilers here and there or everywhere in this article, as this is covering the end of the Season. I don’t expect you to read an article about Act 3 if you haven’t watched the first two already, which you should in order to understand how it all ends.
Without further ado, let’s get started, shall we?
If you are a fan of Ekko I hope you are ready to welcome him back to our band of lovely kids transforming into big grown-ups that need to handle responsibilities taller than they are (but everything is taller than Ekko, so that’s not hard). If you have seen the previous Act, this wouldn’t take you by surprise that much, as the mysterious masked leader of the Firelight group has a similar weapon to the one he is using in the game and is using a hoverboard which is Ekko’s trademark means of transportation in both League and Runeterra. Above all, the Firelight insect appears to be connected to him indirectly through Jinx in the original soundtrack Enemy, where she is letting one escape from her mouth in a sequence of shots including the two. Pretty sneaky, Rito. Preeeetty sneaky.
What I do find questioning is how easy Ekko can be won over. He is starting with a “We have been hurt by Piltover and we won’t concede one more inch” attitude. But all it takes is Vi to hug him, tell him she is on his side and vouch that Caitlyn can be trusted to change his attitude to “Oh, yeah. I should go into enemy territory and give them the Gemstone based on pure faith. Why didn’t I think about that one before?”. And this is a constant we have seen throughout the series: one’s mind about their strong ideals can be changed just by presenting one sole argument or one person needs to show up and vouch that the idea is correct. Just take Mel convincing Jayce to “persuade” the other Councilors or Heimer persuade him to not talk about their new inventions and you will understand pretty easily.
While the bridge ambush scene makes sense it is kind of thrown in there; we don’t know who leaked the information or who made Markus show up at the perfect time. What we are reminded of is that Markus is this one-dimensional character that would do anything for his daughter, including killing a subordinate like Caitlyn and dragging other Enforcers into this endeavor. At least we are getting to witness a full display of Ekko’s Z Drive and an epic battle scene between him and Jinx. “How did he build the Z Drive?” or “Was it just a prototype meant as a last resort if things went ugly?” are questions that are yet to be answered.
While the Vayce (Jayce + Viktor) romance has been completely ruled out, the fans’ favorite love relationship is being solidified:
Caitlyn is pledging to be the only one taken hostage by Ekko so Vi can be freed;
A wounded Caitlyn is taken back to her room by Vi where they later share a moment of peace and Cait is caressing Vi’s face;
Cait is asking Vi “What about us?” when she is sent away by the Council – a moment which she can’t get off her mind and is reoccurring in the shower scene;
Vi is not denying their romantic relationship when Jinx is calling her “your girlfriend” and instead is trying to defend her.
One other long-awaited moment for everyone is Vi finally getting her Atlas Gauntlets from Jayce and the two seem to partner for a short time to put Silco’s business of producing Shimmer to an end. However, Jayce is reminded once again he has the stomach, brain, and heart of a scientist and peaceful man and can’t stand violence and murder. Fortunately for him, the great animated fighting scenes are coming once again to the rescue to save his behind as Vi and hetakes take on the goons of a Shimmer Factory.
Silco is probably one of the few characters that… well, stay in character until the end. Even though he has been thrown in there at the beginning as the baddie we needed for this story to make sense, his sense of justice and principles are rather grey than fully dark. His strong principles are still unwavering even in the face of his crime under lords trying to get rid of him for good or when he is presented with the opportunity to finally get independence and safety for Zaun, but all at the cost of turning in Jinx, which he will not accept until his last dying breath. If you had any doubts regarding his feelings for Jinx as a daughter, this last Act is going to put them all to rest.
Except for Jinx, every sacrifice needs to and will be made for the only truth: the benefit of Zaun. But in the end “what is truth but a survivor’s story?”
Speaking of characters that stay in character, Viktor is another fan favorite that is staying true to himself. His struggle to survive or at least make others’ lives better through the development of Hextech has made us sympathize since the beginning. While Silco is doing everything for Zaun, Viktor is doing everything for the sake of science and people. But when the danger of science is bound to threaten the people… he still cannot decide between the two. Hopeless and willing to die, he is being similarly saved by Jayce he saved Jayce.
Mel’s background story feels like being forced in these last episodes. Yes, we are finding out that the Medarda are initially a Noxian family and her mother is so power-hungry that she is willing to use her own exiled child to weaponize the Noxians through Hextech to deal with their internal war, but it’s just about that. A minor implication with a bit too much screen time in my opinion.
There is no love for Yordles, as Heimerdinger is an almost forgotten character in this last part. And it makes sense: people do not care about his wisdom for preventing conflicts and leading to a better future; they are just selfish and eager for self-profit. They are all turning on him and his sole option is to exile himself in Zaun to repent for his sins of neglecting the cries of those in need. An abrupt end for the founder of Piltover.
As about the cherry of the series (as the cupcake has already been taken by Vi), Jinx is going completely nuts in this last Act and feeling betrayed by her sister, being bombed on a bridge, and being brought to life from the brink of death throw the weird shenanigans of the evil doctor Singed and Shimmer does not help with that at all. She is more psychotic, crazy, and unstable and not even Vi can make her come to her senses, even though she chose to save her and kill Silco in the end. But the innocent Powder is now lost for good and her final speech: “I thought maybe you could love me like you used to” is taking care to make it clear. Wellll… that and bombing the Council Room. But hey… Fishbones is getting some screen time and we find out he is not just a regular rocket launcher but rather a rocket launcher powered by Gemstones.
For a series about the story of the two sisters, Jinx and Vi, the story is taking on too many narrative threads. This wouldn’t have been a bad thing in general, but you cannot cover them all when you are limited to only nine episodes. And giving Jayce more screen time than any of the other characters does not help – I am really surprised he wasn’t married and with kids by the end of the series the way they kept building him up.
I am being given a Game Of Thrones-esque vibe where everything has been portrayed greatly in the first two Acts and this last one comes in and ends it all abruptly. As I said, it is to be expected when you only have nine episodes to work with.
Enough about disliked things as the series can pack a serious punch and that’s not because Vi is here to do it.
It shines through the great animation style that has been chosen by the studio. In addition to this, Jinx’s psychotic moments are perfectly portrayed adding graffiti-like neon paintings scrambling all over and the cartoonized battle between her and Ekko is a solid 10/10.
Tied to the animation aspect are the fighting scenes that are an absolute masterpiece to watch, especially in this last act. The combination of fast-paced animation and the music that is dropping the beats on the keyframes and action deserves nothing but high praise. I enjoy the “we need to end this where it all started” idea they went for the fights as Savika and Vi are settling it where they first encountered each other, at The Last Drop, and Jinx, Vi, and Silco are finishing their business in Silco’s initially facility that has been blown to pieces by Jinx.
The soundtrack has been nothing but fire from beginning till the end and it cannot be otherwise when you are employing people like Imagine Dragons & JID or Bea Miller to do your intros. Did I mention they are sequencing their songs perfectly during fighting scenes? Yes? I don’t care. I’ll say it again.
If we, and by “we” I mean “I”, had to rate the overall experience of the Arcane show I would give it a solid 7.5/10. That is until we are getting a new season, as they blew the ending wide open and anything but announcing a second season would do a disservice to the amazing work Riot has put in to make Arcane happen.
Thank you for reading our reviews and I hope to welcome you to another one, once they (have to, otherwise I will Riot!) announce a new Season.