Critical Recap: Critical Role C2E97 (The Fancy and the Fooled)

Written by on March 4, 2020

Hello! Welcome to Critical Recap! I’m Dani Carr, Production Coordinator and EAE (Emotional About Essek.) Let’s dive into our recap of Critical Role Episode 97 The Fancy and the Fooled!


Nott expresses her desire to change back to Veth before seeing Yeza, but first, the Mighty Nein head to the docks to see the Balleater. The harbor is filled with Dwendalian ships, all preparing to leave in a few days. Caleb notices one ship, The Wind of Eons, bearing the Cerberus Assembly’s flag. The Nein arrive at the Balleater, reacquainting themselves with Marius and Orly, who welcomes Fjord back as Captain Tusktooth. Orly recommends informing the Martinet Ludinus Da’leth that they are coming along, so they head to the Wind of Eons.

They meet with the Martinet on the deck of the ship, along with Lord Uludan, a human Archmage, and the elven Lord Thain. Though they don’t recognize him, Lord Thain seems nervous around the Nein. They inform the Martinet of their plan, giving him their ship’s name. Lord Uludan invites them to a party at the city palace and they agree to attend. Jester reveals that her mother is the Ruby of the Sea, who is invited as well. They ask about the beacon and are promised an inspection before departure. The Martinet then asks to speak with Lord Thain privately. Beau wants to hear that conversation, so Caleb sends Frumpkin to spy on them.


The Martinet comments on Lord Thain’s discomfort, and Thain is revealed to be Essek in disguise. Essek didn’t know the Nein would be here and feels ill at ease. The Martinet reminds him that overseeing the exchange of the assets takes precedence and soon they will never have to see each other again. Essek comments on how they’re in too deep — he has gone to great lengths to cover his tracks and keep people safe. He wants out as soon as this is done. The Martinet is surprised by Essek’s warmth for the Nein, and the drow tells the elf to try having friends sometime. The Martinet tells him to do his job and they depart.

The party returns to the Balleater to discuss the betrayal of their friend. Caleb feels foolish for being led astray, though recognizes Essek’s conflicted state. Jester wants to message Essek while talking to Lord Thain at the party. Beau recalls their previous conversation and thinks that Essek gave away the two beacons so that dunamancy could be studied without the Dynasty’s influence. They agree that they want to give Essek a chance to explain himself and his actions.


The Nein gather the components required for Nott’s spell and head to the Lavish Chateau. Nott avoids seeing Luc and Yeza and Jester happily reunites with her mother. The sapphire shows off her new tattoo and informs her mother of the Traveler’s real identity. The party reassures a worried Marion that they are still taking care of Jester and that she’s the real power in her partnership with the Traveler. Marion confirms that someone who looked like the Traveler used to come to the bar and Jester is relieved he was never a client. They invite the Ruby to the party at the palace and she agrees to go, knowing that her daughter will be there supporting her.

Marion allows them to use her bathtub and they fill it with the clay and gem dust. Nott isn’t ready, but she chooses to go ahead anyway. She exchanges kind words with everyone, telling Caleb that he is her second love — he tells her that he loves her too. He begins the spell and over the hour of casting, the clay seals around Nott and heats to a shattering point, destroying the bathtub. As the light fades, there sits Veth Brenatto. Veth the Brave. She reunites with Yeza and Luc, who are ecstatic to have her back in her true form.


Preparations begin for the party, with Jester and Caduceus commissioning fancy evening wear for everyone. Caleb meets with Yussa and trades the ownership of Willi the Golem for the spell globe of invulnerability. At the fish market, Beau and Yasha exchange some innuendo-laced flirtations while Fjord tries to ignore them. Finally, it’s time for the party. Everyone is pleased with the clothes that the clerics got them and Jester helps her mother cope with her nerves as they leave the Chateau. After they arrive, Lord Sharpe grossly flirts with Yasha. Jester, who had been trying to avoid him, stands up for her friend. She casts charm person on him and locks him out on a balcony again, mirroring the actions that got her banned from Nicodranas in the first place.

While mingling, Fjord speaks with Captain Deremi of the Blue Heaven, the elite ship of the Dwendalian Armada. Unfortunately, Fjord learns little from them and comes off looking foolish, due to his oversized captain’s hat and his vessel’s name. Caduceus casts true seeing and tongues on Beau, causing her to, in essence, trip out. She can see through Essek’s disguise and sees a disguised dragonborn partygoer. She and Fjord speak with the dragonborn, who is a former member of Draconian royalty. He sneaks away before they uncover much else.

Jester keeps Lord Thain close, talking with him throughout the evening. While Marion sings, Veth puts a paralyzing potion in Thain’s drink. Jester pulls the paralyzed Thain out of the room, and everyone but Beau and Fjord follow. The paralysis wears off and he tries to excuse himself, but Caleb puts manacles on him, which he teleports out of. Caduceus tells him to stop, using command. The firbolg tells him they just want to talk and Thain agrees to speak with them.


They take ‘Lord Thain’ to the Balleater, below deck. Dropping the disguise, Essek apologizes, telling them that they were not part of the plan. He explains his ambitions; his hopes to expand dunamis, his lack of trust in those who might uncover the power first — how he gave the two beacons to the Empire under the belief that their research would lead to breakthroughs. When the Nein presented one of those beacons, he decided to stay close to them, to keep them from the truth. But that plan backfired — he did not count on actually becoming close to the Mighty Nein. On becoming their friend.

Regret is a feeling he was previously unfamiliar with, but he regrets this betrayal and the part he has played in the war. Caleb sees so much of himself in Essek: he too was a fool. He knows that the Nein changed him and he believes that the Nein can change Essek. They are offering him a chance to fix his mistakes and find the better part of himself. Essek does not believe he can be redeemed. But Caleb kisses him on the forehead, saying “Maybe you and I are both damned. But we can choose to do something and leave it better than it was before.”

Essek tells them that the correct, stolen beacon is being returned to the Dynasty and that the Empire will continue their experiments on the one uncovered in Pride’s Call. They are attempting to put back the pieces that they broke that started this conflict, to keep those who want the war continued at bay. The Nein want Essek to prove that he is serious about rebuilding trust and Essek says he has more allegiance to them, his friends, than to either country. Veth tells Essek that he was a broken man with bad intentions on an incomplete path who has somehow found a heart. Just like them. And she welcomes him to the Mighty Nein.

That is it for Episode 97 of Critical Role!


  • Holy. Shit. Y’all. Nott is Veth! Essek is a traitor! I am emotional!
  • When the group thanked Yeza for sharing Veth with them, he reminded everyone that Veth is her own person. And thus, won my heart forever.
  • There was a whole to do about Fjord and Beau getting lost before the intervention – luckily Jester cast Sending to guide them.
  • Those were some intense Molly echoes in Caleb’s interaction with Essek. I love seeing that dear flamboyant tiefling continue to influence the party.
  • This Essek situation is incredibly complicated. Will they truly be able to redeem someone like him? Does he truly want to be redeemed?
  • Oh Mighty Nein.

Anyway, catch Episode 98 on Thursday, March 5th at 7pm Pacific on or a week later on our podcast! Is it Thursday, yet?

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