In the first three episodes of season 2, Vox Machina traveled far. Fleeing the burning city of Emon after the Chroma Conclave attacked, the crew took refuge in Whitestone before heading to Vasselheim. Refusing to help with the dragons, Vox Machina turned to the Slayer’s Take, whose sphinx patron Osysa sent them on a mission to obtain the Vestiges of Deliverance — artifacts powerful enough to defeat the Chroma Conclave. The retrieval of the first vestige, the Deathwalker’s Ward, led the team to the tomb of The Matron of Ravens’ champion. The armor was obtained, but at the cost of one of Vox Machina’s own. Will they be able to save Vex’ahlia? Read on for a detailed recap of episode 4, “Those Who Walk Away,” to find out!
Opening, we see an encampment at night. A familiar hand picks a door lock, and a much younger Vax’ildan sneaks in to rescue his sister Vex. The bandits — hunters of some kind, from the animal skulls around — left her unattended, and the twins manage to get out undetected. All is going well until Vex steps on a branch, alerting one of her captors. The twins dive into another dark, barn-like building to hide. Within, they find a bear, hurt and chained. Vex offers it comfort, but there’s little to be done for the poor thing beyond giving it a quick end.
“It needs mercy,” Vex says. “Whatever happens, it’s out of our control.”
The bear, it turns out, was a mama. In the corner is a tiny cub, small enough for Vex to carry, held in rope. She frees him immediately. Vax and Vex engage in a hushed argument over what to do with it. There was never any other option for Vex, of course — she’s keeping and raising the bear.
Young Vax and Vex make their escape, with baby Trinket in tow.
The Matron of Ravens
Back in the present day, Vax sobs as he cradles Vex’s body. Vox Machina all surround him, stunned and sorrowful. The Slayer’s Take members who trailed the team to the tomb, Zahra and Kashaw, reenter the room to find Keyleth begging Pike to heal Vex.
Pike tries, but there’s nothing to heal.
Despite Zahra’s reluctance — though she does seem shocked and even a little upset to see Vex dead — Kash runs forward and begins attempting a resurrection rite. Although there’s an impressive amount of golden, flashy magic, the spell doesn’t work. They’re inside the temple of the Matron of Ravens; this is death’s domain. The cleric’s gods have no authority here.
Percy can barely look at Vex’s body, wracked with guilt.
Frantic, the group makes suggestions and hunts for potions, but nothing helps. Frozen and helpless, Vax can do nothing but hang back with tears streaming down his face. Then, there’s a breeze, a lift in the air of the underground tomb that brings a few fluttering raven feathers with it.
As the Raven Queen appears, we see a thin, golden line connecting the twins. Vex’s soul lifts from her body — a detail only Vax can see — and the Matron reaches forward, preparing to sever her connection and claim her.
Vax is desperate. Yelling at the huge, impassive form of the Raven Queen, he begs to take his sister’s place.
“Take me instead, you raven bitch!”
At that, the Matron of Ravens finally turns her attention to Vax. She says nothing, just regards him, before turning back to the golden string that floats through the air between the twins. With one long, clawed finger, she breaks the thread. Vex’s ghost-like soul form drops back toward her body, and the Matron turns, silent, and sweeps past Vax, whispering voices and billowing feathers around her.
On the floor, Vox Machina sit desolately around Vex, totally unaware of what has transpired with Vax and the Matron of Ravens.
With a soft whooshing noise and a gasp, Vex jerks upward, breathing.
The group exclaim with relief, tears drying as their friend sits back up. Percy, though, takes a step back as Vex turns to him, asking what happened. Clearly feeling a lot of guilt for causing her death, inadvertent as it may have been, he fumbles through an explanation, telling her it was an accident.
Keyleth thanks Kash for saving Vex — or so they think — and he shrugs it off smugly. They owe him one, of course. Trinket nuzzles his way into the group, determined to check Vex out for himself.
There’s a high-pitched ringing sound, which pulls the group’s attention to where Vax had been sobbing while Vex was lost. Panning out, we see that he’s still there, but something has changed — Vax is dressed in the Deathwalker’s Ward vestige, the armor of the champion of the Matron of Ravens.
Percy immediately questions when Vax donned the shiny, feather-shouldered armor, but Vax admits he doesn’t know. Running over to Vex, he drops to his knees.
While the twins embrace, Scanlan quizzes Zahra and Kash on their whereabouts earlier, accusing them (quite rightly) of ditching Vox Machina. Kash and Zahra bluff their way through, claiming they did no such thing.
The group quickly stand and start making their way out of the tomb, with Kash and Zahra going ahead. At the back of the procession, Vax stops, looking back at the giant, black statue of the Matron in the temple.
“What did I just do?” he asks the empty room.
The New Champion
Ahead of Vox Machina, Zahra and Kash quietly converse. Zahra chastises Kash; they’re supposed to be on Take business, not making friends. Kash fires back that he couldn’t just let her die. He believes they should give up as Vox Machina got the vestige before them, but Zahra is determined to take it back. They just need to work out their next move.
Carefully watching for traps — if there are any remaining that Grog hasn’t triggered, anyway — Vox Machina press on. As they walk, a mural of the Calamity (the ancient times when the gods left Exandria) catches Vax’s eye. A vision begins for Vax; arrows fly through red-tinged air to embed in the stone beside his head. He turns, seeing a sprawling battlefield surrounded by gods and a large sphinx — Osysa’s mate. Up on a cliffside, Vax spots a large, dark figure of a warrior watching him.
Gasping back into reality, Vax is a few steps behind the rest of Vox Machina. Quickly, he catches up.
Zahra is still pushing to take the vestige from Vox Machina, and she has a plan for how to do it, using a mysterious amulet. She floats herself and Kash up onto a ledge, where they lay in wait for the group to catch them up.
Crimson magic bursts out of the amulet and solidifies in the air above Vox Machina as they enter the room. Long, red tentacles snake their way down from it. A creature has been released from Zahra’s trinket, a huge, monstrous beast with one giant eye and a nasty temper.
Vox Machina quickly recognize that something is wrong and begin to fight for their lives, dodging falling masonry from the beast’s massive, swinging tentacles. Vax notes that this doesn’t feel like the other traps, but that’s not much good to them right then. Percy fires at the creature, but his bullets only piss it off.
Vox Machina fight valiantly. Or, rather, they fail valiantly. Grog is the first to be petrified by the beast, while Zahra and Kash watch from above, arguing over whether they’re doing the right thing. Zahra claims she won’t kill them; Kash can un-petrify them once they have the Deathwalker’s Ward. Eventually, Kash reaches his limit and abandons Zahra up on the ledge, going to aid Vox Machina. Most of Vox Machina quickly follow Grog in being turned to stone — including Zahra, who seems to be losing control of the creature.
Vax escapes. Behind a pillar, his eyes white out as he has another vision.
The warrior on the hill in Vax’s red-tinged reality is Purvan, the last champion of the Matron of Ravens. He attacks. Vax fights bravely and desperately, beating the armor-clad warrior with his bare hands. It’s futile, but he keeps trying. Ravens caw in the distance.
As the last few members of Vox Machina are petrified, even Trinket, Vax remains hidden behind a crumbling pillar, lost in his vision.
Broken-fingered and bloodied, Vax draws himself up for another assault by Purvan. As he raises his fist, he sees a vision of young Vex from the beginning of the episode. She reminds him of her earlier words: “Whatever happens, it’s out of our control.”
Understanding, Vax takes a breath and closes his eyes. Purvan runs right through him.
Then, Purvan kneels. Before a healed Vax, he offers his sword.
“Hail, the new champion.”
The Matron of Ravens appears, activating yellow, glowing runes on Vax’s new armor before she sends him back.
In the tomb, the creature waits. But now, clad in the glowing armor, Vax has unnatural speed and dexterity, darting around the monster so fast that it’s one eye doesn’t stand a chance of following. With a shower of knives and some brilliant parkour, Vax takes the beast down while Kash, the only other person left who hasn’t been turned to stone, goes around and un-petrifies the team.
Vox Machina watch in awe as Vax spears the creature through its eye before turning to confront Zahra and Kash.
Zahra begrudgingly admits that Vox Machina were worthy of the vestige. They don’t get to argue about it much more, as Kash points out that they all need to get out of the tomb under the lake if they don’t want to drown.
With a little magic, the group are soon back on dry land.
Vax stands looking out over the lake, still wearing the armor of the Matron’s champion. Percy approaches him from behind, awkward but determined, and begins to make an apology. Vax warns Percy he’s not in the mood to hear it, but Percy forges on passionately.
Growling in anger, Vax silences Percy with a fist to the face.
Elsewhere on the snowy mountainside, Zahra and Kash are making their own apologies. Zahra gives Vex her amulet, the one she had the monster trapped in, and forgets the bounty that the Slayer’s Take had on her head.
Once the two hunters have departed back to the Take, Vex tests out the amulet on Trinket.
While Vox Machina all coo over the new item, Vax is off to the side, swept up another vision. This time, the red-tinted air forms a decrepit building. When Vax steps inside, he sees a man on his deathbed. Beside him, a woman weeps. While Vax watches, a giant, talon-like hand dips down to claim the man. The Matron looks up as Vax gets closer, looking straight at him. She reaches down and grasps the golden thread that had before joined Vax to Vex. Now, she holds the end of it, tugging at it and pulling Vax along like a puppet. He twists, only to be met by the gaping, rotting visage of a zombie-like humanoid. It screams.
Vax reenters the world gasping, his twin’s hand on his shoulder. She questions what’s wrong, insisting that he’s been acting strange ever since the tomb. Vax tells her about seeing the Matron and begging her to take him instead.
“We’ll figure this out,” Vex insists. “Nothing’s changed.”
“Everything’s changed,” Vax corrects, before pushing past her and walking away.
Zooming out on Vex, we see the scene as a vision in a glass ball held up in a woman’s palm. She smirks in satisfaction before lowering the orb, and we get a good look at her face. It’s Dr. Anna Ripley.
Ripley puts the ball away and begins walking, heading past a broken sign that reads “Westruun.” Ahead of her, the city is aflame. Overhead, a dragon soars.
Don’t forget to check back soon for a detailed recap of episode 5, “Pass Through Fire.”