A Review Of Arcane From Someone Who Doesn’t Play League of Legends – Act II

Since this is literally in the middle of an ongoing show, this will be a spoilerrific post. You can check out my relatively spoiler-free review of the first act here to see if you’re down for the rest. With that said, let’s get down and dirty with Act II of the stellar Arcane.

Happy Progress Day!

Since you couldn’t see my live reactions of “HOLY SHIT, HOLY CRAP, THAT’S AWESOME”, I’ll try and talk about the stuff I loved about each episode and break down my thoughts.

First of all, Powder has finally transformed as the iconic Jinx, that girl you see in all those League promotional videos. I didn’t watch any trailers for Arcane, so the descent that Powder goes through to become Jinx was a fresh experience for me. Her first appearance in this episode is just amazing, and sets the tone for her character immediately.

Powder has become a ruthless and manic killer, Jinx. It would have been easy to write Jinx as an immediate “Joker” character who revels in chaos for the sake of it, but that’s not all there is to her. It’s clear from her reaction to the pink-haired firefly that she is still an immensely scared little girl inside. Her violent happy-go-lucky persona is just a facade for her to cope with her trauma. This is brilliantly portrayed through stylistic flashes of her memories. The neon graffiti being a clear indicator of how she feels about them now. It’s not subtle, but it’s Jinx, nothing is ever subtle.

Whenever we are in a Jinx POV, there are also random flashes that skip scenes forward, almost as if Jinx is “blacking out” and isn’t really aware of her actions.I have to give massive props to Ella Purnell for her portrayal of Jinx. Her voice gives off the impression of someone who’s hurting and is doing her best to hide it. There’s almost a raspy and tired quality to her voice that gives you an idea of how much stress Jinx endures minute to minute. In a strange turn of events, Silco has become a father figure to Jinx, a dark analogue to Vander.

Right after a scene where we see him roughly reprimand one of his people, we are treated to a Silco who is gentle in his treamtent of Jinx. Despite her quite clearly messing up the plan, he doesn’t ever raise his voice. Silco even trusts her enough to INJECT SHIMMER INTO HIS EYE, WHAT THE HELL-

So yeah, that’s a thing.

Up in Piltover, Jayce has future’d the hell out of Piltover, which was already future’d the hell up in the first place, which makes it even more impressive. Of course, he couldn’t have done it without his not-boyfriend, Viktor.

Unfortunately, Jayce has gotten embroiled into politics thanks to not-Rihanna, and now he must play the Game of Thrones council to his own ends, which leaves Viktor behind.

League of Legends arcane mel fenty beauty collab
Not joking

Meanwhile, Cait has become a cop, which is unfortunate, because she’s a cop. Luckily, she’s also a cool detective and finds clues on who to find for the zepellin attack. Marcus, who is definitely not corrupt, assigns her to the graveyard shift as punishment for doing actual policework instead of beating on poor people like everyone else. This comes back to bite him as Jinx, who is pouty after being reprimanded by Silco, basically commits an act of terrorism to steal one of Jayce’s magic hex orbs.

It is rightfully treated as a serious scene. I like how Jinx’s acts of violence in this episode are not shown as quirky and fun, like the music video “Get Jinxed”. Jinx is portrayed as the unstable maniac she is, and her apathy towards murder shows us just how far she has fallen.

Cait takes matters into her own hands and decides to look for clues, and it leads her to Vi, who is super hot now.

Everybody Wants To Be My Enemy

This is the buddy cop episode! Cait and Vi go on a misadventure to find Silco, and the sexual tension is literally tangible.

Seriously, this episode is unbelievably gay, it’s amazing. This is basically a fish out of water episode for Cait, as she is wholly inexperienced with the seedy underbelly of Zaun. Vi is the street smart one who “guides” her through the city, but she doesn’t actually care about Cait’s goals. She’s more concerned with finding her sister, and her clues lead her to Imagine Dragons?

Though I guess in this universe, they’re just Dragons?

Vi gets into a SICK fight scene with Silco’s right hand woman (literally only right handed) and she ends up getting stabbed, but not before getting a lot of good punches in.

Meanwhile, up in Piltover, we see how not quirky Jinx’s attack on Piltover was with a somber funeral, headed by Marcus.

I love this scene because it shows us how much of a monster Jinx has become (yes, I know I keep saying it, but I just love how Arcane handles this matter seriously instead of making her discount Harley Quinn). I like how Marcus mirrors Grayson now, but in a much worse state. Where Vander and Grayson operated on a relationship built on mutual respect, Silco intimidates and bullies Marcus into silence. It’s interesting to see that his aggressive attitude towards Zaun as a youth has now turned him into the very thing he hates.

Meanwhile, Jayce is literally going through that Darth Plagueis the Wise Scene with Medarda. No seriously, the vibe of both scenes are so weirdly similar. Both involve politically powerful people “corrupting” the good nature of young men who bristle under the authoritative rule of an unresponsive council in a theater with beautiful music playing on the stage.

Squid Lake Theory: Hidden imagery within Star Wars Episode III reveals the  face(s) of Darth Plagueis : r/FanTheories
It’s like poetry, it rhymes

Much like Anakin, Jayce caves into Medarda’s thinking and plays the political game, even at the cost of his integrity. Meanwhile, Viktor is dying and can’t find out how to solve the Hexcore problem,which leads into the single weirdest sequence in the show so far.

As Viktor is coughing blood and figuring out the Hexcore, the scene is intercut with Jayce performing oral sex on Medarda.

This is borderline experimental

I can’t tell yet if I like this scene or not, but it is definitely a striking visual. It also burns down any chance of Jayce x Viktor, so RIP to that ship.

Finally, back to my favorite character in the series, Jinx! She revisits their old hideout, and it’s an intensely upsetting scene.

There is so much visual storytelling here, so instead of harping on about them, I’ll just show you the coolest ones I found.

The neon graffiti not just being random scribbles, but literally “Vi” over and over
Vi’s doll having an X over its eye, meaning Jinx still thinks she’s dead
Jinx thinking her sister is a monster for leaving her, and associating the color pink with intense trauma
How Jinx is still subconsciously trying to be like her sister….
…and still falling short.

Stuff like this is why Arcane is so good at visual storytelling. They go by fast, but you retain enough information that it sticks with you.

Overall, a solid episode, weirdly sexual with some great character moments.

When These Walls Come Tumbling Down

Episode 6 doesn’t have the same “HOLY SHIT” factor that Episode 3 did as an act closer, but it’s still a solid character episode. I won’t talk too much about this episode though as a lot of this stuff is clearly building up future plot points. Here are the few things of interest for me:

We get some young Viktor backstory where he meets a strange old man in a cave who is breeding mutants in a happy cave full of fauna.

Then the cave becomes dark and toxic the last time we see it, which just about sums up Viktor’s character arc this episode.

Cait and Vi almost die in a Shimmer addict pit.

They make it out and Vi is very happy about it-

Jinx signals for Vi with the flare she never used-

You feel the sins crawling on your back

WE GET A REUNION!

And yeah, that’s about it. Episode 6 is a lot of buildup towards Act III, and it does that very well. There isn’t much to talk about because this episode is mostly following up on previously established plot points. I’m not here to just recap stuff that the show already blatantly tells you, and my most favorite stuff was kinda already in Episode 5.

Conclusion

Overall, Arcane continues to impress. There are no signs of the budget even remotely close to being gone. Every episode continues to be high quality in writing, visuals, soundtrack, yada yada, it’s great. I’m honestly impressed at how little Arcane is stumbling. If this show sticks the landing, I may just call it my show of the year. Until then, see you next Saturday!

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