June 24, 2024


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Legend of Vox Machina Does Witcher’s Season 1 Dragon Twist Right

The Witcher season 1’s dragon twist was criticized for being too obvious. The Legend of Vox Machina drops a similar surprise but… better.

Chalk up another glorious victory for The Legend of Vox Machina, as Critical Role’s animated series beats The Witcher in the dragon twist stakes. In The Witcher season 1’s “Rare Species” episode, Geralt and Yennefer embark upon a dragon hunt commissioned by mysterious adventurer Borch. Once they near the beast’s den, however, Borch reveals he was the dragon all along. Many viewers called out The Witcher‘s dragon twist for being too obvious, and season 2 even referenced this criticism during Jaskier’s ill-timed port rant, when a dockhand-turned-critic complains, “I spotted the dragon reveal a mile away” – an echo of tweets aimed The Witcher‘s way in late 2019.


The Legend of Vox Machina crafts a similar scenario in its own debut season. As a pre-Briarwood introduction to Vox Machina and their native continent of Tal’Dorei, The Legend of Vox Machina‘s merry mercenaries hunt an unknown monster preying upon local townsfolk. The beast in question is soon discovered to be a mighty blue dragon, but when Vox Machina finally confronts it in episode 2, said blue dragon is revealed as the true nature of a transformed General Krieg, Tal’Dorei’s military commander voiced by a fiery David Tennant.

Related: Why Grog & Pike Are So Close in Legends of Vox Machina Season 1

Here, we have two major fantasy TV shows releasing on rival streaming networks (The Legend of Vox Machina on AmazonThe Witcher on Netflix), both dropping twists whereby a dragon is surprisingly unmasked as a human character hiding in plain sight. But then why does The Legend of Vox Machina‘s dragon twist prove considerably more potent than The Witcher season 1’s? The decisive difference lies in how The Legend of Vox Machina actually anticipates the audience may work out the truth for themselves.

General Krieg in Legend of Vox Machina

The Witcher season 1’s “Rare Species” presents its big Borch twist as a revelatory “aha!” moment. There are no explicit breadcrumbs to guide viewers toward the truth, and the audience isn’t supposed to deduce the dragon’s true identity ahead of time. Because The Witcher intends fans to share in Geralt and Yennefer’s surprise, the fact so many spotted the dragon reveal a mile away (chatty dock workers included) harms the episode. There’s a lot riding on keeping Borch’s secret under wraps, and any The Witcher viewers who figure out the “Rare Species” dragon twist in advance will walk away from the adventure underwhelmed.

The Legend of Vox Machina‘s dragon twist succeeds by not being quite so… twist-y. When Vox Machina first investigates the mysterious monster up in the mountains, Vex (the group’s resident tracker) notes human footprints heading toward where the dragon emerges. Though Vox Machina doesn’t put the pieces together here (having a massive dragon divert your focus will do that), the clue clearly signposts that the dragon is a human character viewers have already been introduced to. The question then is exactly who among Sovereign Uriel’s advisors is the sharp-fanged impostor. Vex’s suspicion over leather-skinned creep Sir Fince means it’s almost certainly not him (the ol’ Serverus Snape misdirection in full effect), and when Fince breaks into Krieg’s mansion, the true culprit becomes apparent. Alas, the red flags were already there for David Tennant’s character. Krieg coyly asks Vox Machina how they survived upon returning from the mountains, and he’s always looking toward Vex whenever her dragon-sense begins tingling.

By aiming to be a proper M. Night Shyamalan-style rug-pull, The Witcher‘s dragon reveal hinges entirely upon keeping viewers in the dark, which it largely fails to do. On the other hand, The Legend of Vox Machina invites its watchers to figure out the mystery with a trail of cunning hints, so if fans are already two steps ahead of Vox Machina by the time General Krieg transforms, that’s all part of the fun. Viewers who guessed correctly will feel like they played along with the episode, rather than outsmarting it and developing the urge to post “saw that coming” tweets.

More: Legend of Vox Machina Is A Fantasy Version Of The Boys (& That’s A Good Thing)

The Legend of Vox Machina streams Fridays on Prime Video.

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