Critical Recap: Critical Role C2E129 “Between a Ball and a Hot Place”

Written by on March 17, 2021

Hello! Welcome to Critical Recap! I’m Dani Carr, the Critical Role Lore Keeper. Let’s dive into our recap of Critical Role Episode 129 Between a Ball and a Hot Place!


Beau, Yasha, and Fjord find themselves in the circular foyer of the Happy Fun Ball – a familiar sight to Beau and Fjord. They recall that the path of least resistance to the dragon room exit is through the red banner door to the study, and then through the stained glass window. Beau attempts to pick the lock on the door behind the red banner – after several unsuccessful attempts, Yasha breaks the door down. Unfortunately, this severs the door’s connection to the study, so the three are forced to leap across the broken ethereal expanse to make it to the entrance of the study.

The study’s bookshelves have been emptied except for three books. They look at the books, trying to parse out why Yussa left them behind. Two of the books are chained up, while the third seems unattached, with writing on the spine that none of them recognize. Beau tries to pull the book off the shelf, but its hidden chain is tugged, unveiling a golem behind a bookshelf.

Fjord, Beau, and Yasha race to the stained glass window and hit the gem, launching themselves through the glass and into the dragon’s cavern. Fjord charges both crystals with cold magic, powering the sphere that will return them to the others, but the golem gives chase, cutting him off from Beau and Yasha. Beau manages to stun the golem so that Fjord can pass, and the three make it to the sphere, touching it and vanishing from the room.


Veth, Caleb, Jester, and Caduceus, along with Yeza, Luc, and Marion, find themselves in a furnished cavern lit by firelight. It’s uncomfortably hot, and a river of lava divides the room. Jester examines a fireproof notebook, which is written in Infernal by Planerider Ryn, a member of the Arcana Pansophical. It talks about the connections between the planes and theorizes on possible cosmic events, both catastrophic and unique. Caduceus notices an opening out of the chamber, which Caleb plans to cork with the dome.

While Caleb works on the dome, Veth goes to the tunnel to take a look around and try to figure out where they are. The tunnel is long and very dark, but she finally finds the orange, hazy entrance. She returns to the others, wanting a buddy, so Jester accompanies her. The two 🎶 make their way 🎶 outside to look out on a land of broken and burning rock – the Plane of Fire.

Veth finds footprints going in and out of the cave that are about a year old. As she and Jester talk about their excellent detective skills and ponder opening a proper agency, a voice rings out, asking why they’ve disturbed the Sanctum and saying the Sanctum must be cleansed. They see that they are on the outskirts of a massive volcano and a humanoid figure made of flame is looming above them. It darts into the tunnel, set on cleansing the Sanctum.


The four members of the Nein contend with the fiery guardian as Marion, Yeza, and Luc take cover. Though Jester attempts to dissuade the creature and convince it that they mean no harm, it continues its efforts to destroy them. It’s a strange battle, as Caleb and Jester have very little left in terms of spell slots. Eventually, the guardian unleashes an inferno that engulfs the room, splitting itself into three smaller elementals. This inferno knocks Caleb unconscious, hits Marion (who is luckily fire resistant,) and hits Luc. The Nein are unsure what has occurred, but they hear Marion scream.

Time slows down for Veth as she runs across the lava, trying to get to her family. She shoots, unseeing, at the elementals, killing the main one. Caduceus casts mass cure wounds on the group, getting Caleb back to standing and giving Marion and Veth a boost. But the spell has no effect on Luc – as Veth runs up, she sees her son lying still. She lets out a scream of rage and fires at the two remaining elementals, killing a second one. Jester attempts to leap the lava to assist, but she misses the lip and falls, burning her feet. Finally, Cad’s spirit guardians destroy the last elemental.

Veth screams for Jester and Caduceus. Caduceus arrives and casts revivify, praying to the Wildmother and telling her that it is not Luc’s time. The spell takes hold and Luc breathes, opening his eyes. Veth and Yeza hold him, grateful that he’s okay. Yeza tells Veth to make sure that the Assembly pays for this.


Caleb casts the dome and Jester joins him. He numbly asks for her help with the silence collar he’s been working on. He plans to use the collar on Trent, telling her that he can’t let what happened today be for nothing. Jester delicately and accurately places the power source in the collar, connecting its arcane energy. Caleb thanks her, and Jester tells him not to blame himself for this – it’s on all of them, on their family that they’ve created, and they will make it better.

Marion joins them, having overheard. She tells Caleb about her own experiences with good and bad people, how the good people are easily misled to believe they’re at fault for the things the bad people do – this is how the bad people stay in power. Blame and guilt are tricky. It took her a long time to understand she was not responsible for the bad things in her life. Caleb listens as she tells him to remember the good that they do.

As the others sleep, Yeza checks in with Veth, who is blaming herself. She feels like keeping one family safe puts the other in danger and she doesn’t know what to do. She explains that there is no balance to anything they do and Yeza tells her she can’t take on the responsibility of trying to do it all. Yeza disagrees when Veth says she’s responsible for killing their son. It’s unfair for her to take on all the blame when bad things happen.

The Living City is a danger to their family, and though Veth doesn’t think the Nein can stop it, especially without her, she knows that someone has to try. If they are the only chance at ending this threat, then Yeza thinks there’s no other choice. But Veth is still conflicted about leaving her family. She apologizes for dragging Yeza into this, but Yeza believes that he dragged her into this. Veth didn’t get involved in the war because of belief in a side: she got involved because of Yeza and his work with the Assembly. So they can share the weight of that guilt and they can decide their future together.


The group gets a night of sleep but morning arrives and Team Happy Fun Ball has not returned. Jester sends a message to Fjord, which he receives just as they are about to touch the sphere. It‘s too fast for him to comprehend. The others realize that they need to plane shift before their friends arrive, or they’ll have too many people for the spell. Jester casts the spell, sending them to the streets of Zadash, a few blocks from the Evening Nip. Moments later, Team Happy Fun Ball tumbles out. Both teams update the others on what occurred while they were separated.

As they head to the Evening Nip, Jester sees Marion on the verge of a panic attack. She calls Fjord over, who offers his arm to let her walk with him. Fjord’s presence calms Marion, and she lets him guide her through the streets. Jester messages the Gentleman, warning him that they need his help and that Marion and the Brenattos are going to come stay with him. His response is one of…surprised acceptance. The Nein approach the bar and enter, finding the underground tavern undergoing a state of rapid cleaning. The Gentleman turns, locks eyes with his former beloved, and welcomes her.

That is it for Episode 129 of Critical Role!


  • I’d say I can’t believe that Jester successfully launched a full Parent Trap, but it’s Jester. This makes perfect sense.
  • Planerider Ryn’s notebook was interesting. An aberration of low level magical interference on Exandria. Will any of that come into play?
  • Poor Veth. Nothing about this has been easy on her. A hard decision awaits her and it’s impossible to know what she’ll choose to do.
  • Oh Mighty Nein.

Anyway, catch Episode 130 this Thursday, March 18th at 7pm Pacific on and on, or a week later on our podcast. Is it Thursday, yet?

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