Arcane Act Two proves that you can get more plot and character development out of fewer explosions, as long as you compensate with gunplay.
Arcane Act Two is the second arc of this Netflix animated series set in the world of League of Legends, and starring some of their most well-known Champions to boot. This arc, like the last one, consists of 3 episodes. Each episode lasts between 40-42 minutes long, so you might as well grab yourself a bag of popcorn. It’s going to be a pretty nice long ride.
Arcane is still the creation of Christian Linke and Alex Yee. Riot Games and Fortiche Productions are still the producing companies. And of course, Netflix is still the service streaming this series. At least, in the USA. Tencent Video is handling the streaming in China.
Since we’re not in China, that means that you can watch Arcane Act Two on Netflix. Exclusively on Netflix, which is not a free streaming service, I might add. So if you don’t already have a paid subscription, you’re going to have to cough up the cash for it.
Warning: spoilers for Arcane Act Two below. If you want to watch the post-timeskip arc for yourself, stop here, and come back once the voices stop whispering in your head.
Arcane Act Two: Plot Summary
It’s been some number of years since the last episode of Arcane. Jayce is now the star of Piltover as the inventor of magitech, sorry, “hextech”, and is all set to continue being the star at the local festival. Even as his partner, Viktor, is apparently receiving no credit, and is dying of some unknown illness. Unfortunately, a conflict between crime lord Silco’s gang (with Powder/Jinx now one of his top enforcers) and a rival gang over smuggling a new drug called Shimmer interrupts the festivities.
Jinx is going a bit kooky, by the way. Someone who uses explosives and an uncontrollable Gatling gun around allies is probably not quite sane, to begin with. Oh, and massacring a bunch of police officers to stage a heist of Jayce’s and Viktor’s workshop.
The resulting investigation though is squashed by the corrupt new police chief, Marcus, who apparently took over after he got his old chief killed by Silco, and is now thoroughly in bed with him. Figuratively speaking. New police recruit Caitlyn, suspicious of her chief’s intentions, decides to head over to the local Alcatraz to question a surviving member of Silco’s gang for herself. Bad news: Vi got to him first, apparently wanting to get revenge. Good news though: Caitlyn frees Vi to guide her through the undercity.
Vi and Caitlyn journey through the undercity, looking for Silco and Powder in this new episode of Arcane Act Two. Vi leaves a very distracted Caitlyn at a brothel with a pretty prostitute to search for herself. She finds Silco’s top enforcer, gets stabbed by her and is only saved from an untimely death by some fortuitous marksmanship by Caitlyn. Caitlyn gets the enforcer to flee, and half-carries Vi to someplace less dangerous.
Jinx is definitely losing it by the second episode of Arcane Act Two, by the way. She’s talking to hallucinations of the long-dead Mylo and Claggor. That’s never a good sign, especially when she’s messing around with a stolen magic gem at the same time.
Meanwhile, Jayce is getting into politics thanks to being voted into a new council seat by councilwoman Mel. He decides to start his career by rooting out corruption, which is bad news for the very corrupt police chief. It paints a target on Jayce’s back thanks to the illicit smuggling of the other council members though, so Mel gets him to dial it down a bit. Their relationship then evolves as they end up seducing each other and getting into bed. Unfortunately, things aren’t going as well for Viktor, who collapses in a heap of bloody coughing while working on a new bit of hextech. The hextech also drinks up his blood and turns…weird.
Hextech news updates in this last episode of Arcane Act Two. Good news: exposure to Viktor’s blood leads to a breakthrough in biological hextech. Bad news: Viktor is dying a lot faster now, so he likely won’t live to see the results. Slightly better news: Jayce decides to go all-out and make finding a cure for Viktor’s illness his top priority with this new hextech. Worse news: their professor Heimerdinger thinks this new hextech is Very Bad News and wants to destroy it. Maybe really bad news: Heimerdinger not only gets outvoted by the council, but he also gets forcibly retired.
Meanwhile, Caitlyn gets Vi to a safe place (Vi’s old home with her gang) and even gets some magic potion to heal Vi’s wounds. Unfortunately, Caitlyn also traded away her custom rifle to get the potion, which is Bad News when Silco and his Shimmer-enhanced goons find them again. Vi and Caitlyn collapse the old building to flee and then catches sight of a blue flare coming from a tall tower in the undercity.
Turns out, Jinx had been keeping that flare ever since Act One, episode 3; when Vi had handed it to her to signal her if things got bad. Jinx has also broken with Silco by this point, so is pretty receptive when Vi arrives to give her the hug she’s always wanted. Unfortunately, Jinx has still lost it, which means that Caitlyn’s presence (since she’s a police officer) is making Jinx lose it even more. This doesn’t help when the rival gang from 2 episodes ago shows up to try to kill Jinx. They fail, but they injure Caitlyn and Jinx, and kidnap Vi for some reason. How will Vi get out of this conundrum? Well, that’s what we’ll find out in the next Act, because that’s it for Arcane Act Two.
Arcane Act Two: The Good
The story, characters, art, and music continue to be great in Arcane Act Two. The time skip is a nice plot twist that ages up the characters and gives them more abilities to work with. It also allows for a more adult-oriented story. Not that the previous Act was kid-friendly by any means, but Act Two feels better by allowing for more exploration of adult relationships.
The art also continues to dazzle, with this distinct cel-shading animation that gives Arcane as a whole a unique and very nice look.
Oh, and the best part: no major characters died in this arc, so yay! Actually, speaking of characters, Caitlyn is definitely rocking to the top of my favorite characters list here and is a big reason why Arcane Act Two seems to be better than the previous Arc. Thus far, she’s the most heroic character in this series and is very likable on top of it. The building dynamic between her and Vi is just the icing on the cake for me. Hopefully, she survives the series.
Arcane Act Two: The Bad
This isn’t exactly a bad thing, but wow, is Jinx quickly heading towards unlikable territory in Arcane Act Two. It’s a bit hard to keep liking her after she goes on killing sprees and just shows a general disregard for the safety of allies, let alone her loved ones. The only thing that keeps her from sliding into Scrappy territory is how obviously unstable she is. Mentally, emotionally, you name it. You’d think it’d make her even more unlikeable, but it just makes her pitiable. She looks like she’s in denial of her past actions, and is trying to pretend that it didn’t happen. With an emphasis on “try”. Even going so far as to speak with Mylo and Claggor’s “ghosts” in fits of hallucinations. You end up feeling sorry for her instead of hating her in this arc. Let’s hope she gets a bit better in the next arc.