my mind is just a void and what it’s filled with is the time that ashley johnson dressed as travis willingham but playing fearne calloway openly flirted with old man bertrand played by travis willingham dressed as sam riegel and told him she quote “had to settle down sometime”
Y’know, I find it really moving how Matt and Travis gave genuine dignity to Bertrand’s death.
It’s an odd thing to say about Bertrand Bell, a throwaway joke character with more bravado than braincells who ended up getting unceremoniously shanked in an alleyway. But I felt that the joke suddenly stopped in a way that reminded everyone - actually, he’s a person, he’s dying, and that’s important.
There’s the way Bertrand stopped being a joke at the moment he drew his rapier. Travis could have chosen to play it for laughs, to have Bertrand try to run and get cut down. One last useless screw-up. But instead Bertrand holds his ground, draws his sword. I think that’s close enough. I have you at a disadvantage. Having bravadoed his way through seventy-plus years, he’s not going to stop now. It’s useless, because he’s old and he’s drunk and he’s been through one fight already today, but he chooses not to run or to go quietly. He makes his stand, because... well, for the same reason he went to find the Windowed Wall in the first place. Sometimes you just have to hold up your head.
And that was the moment when I remembered - yes, this man was an eighteenth-level fighter once. Whatever he might have pretended to do, he really did go through Pandemonium to retrieve Grog’s soul, he really did battle a corrupted Empyrean, he really did fight a horde of bugbears single-handed to get Percy’s arm. Bertrand lived a life, and it wasn’t the life he pretended it was, but he did things, and he could have done more.
Except he couldn’t, because Travis always planned for him to die here, before he could be the hero he pretended to be. Idk, to me that sudden realisation of the fact that he could never have fought with this party, gained back all those fighter levels, bragged about things he’d actually done... that suddenly felt like a goddamn tragedy.
There’s the narrative framing of it, with Matt bookending the scene with Imogen’s dream. At the moment Bertrand dies, Imogen’s dream turns cataclysmic. Like her powers sensed the death of the man who only a few hours ago was making ridiculous attempts at subterfuge with her. Like the universe responded to that loss. And the last thing that a member of the party sees of Bertrand Bell isn’t him drunkenly stumbling into the night, it’s him walking, dignified, into the storm.
And that final ‘Lieve’tel’? Yes, it’s Travis being a troll, twisting the knife and making Liam’s day, but it’s also a reminder: there were people who mattered to Bertrand. Whatever shape his and Lieve’tel’s relationship took after Pandemonium, she meant so much to him that her name was on his lips as he died. He was a person, he had a life, he had at least one person he cared for deeply. And he died, and that matters.
Tl;dr: Matt and Travis played Bertrand’s death in a way that acknowledged that, out of universe, he was always totally disposable... and that in-universe, he was never disposable at all.
We regret to inform you that this old man your friend? Sir Bertrand Bell said he knew you and was once a member of Vox Machina. He’s dead now. We regret to inform you he has passed away. Uh here he is. And his personal effects.
[ID: A tweet from Laura Bailey @.LauraBaileyVO which reads: “Meanwhile... back in Whitestone... #CriticalRoleSpoilers” There’s a video attached of Laura, her hair in a long braid, looking beyond the camera while addressing an imaginary person off camera. Full transcript below. /end ID]
Laura, as Vex: “Percy darling, were you expecting a package? There’s someone here, it’s... it’s a big box, it’s a—oh. Oh no.”
[ID: A tweet from Sam Riegel @.samriegel in reply to Laura’s tweet which reads: “Can you create a TikTok channel that is just Vex doing mundane Whitestone shit?” /end ID]
[ID: A total of four tweets from Matthew Mercer @.matthewmercer which together read: “A little look under the hood for Ep 3…#CriticalRoleSpoilers Sooooo that was fun! Another little bit of a glance at what led to the end if tonight’s session: Travis wanted his C3 character to join in a little bit down the road (not unlike many classic JRPGs), but it led to an issue… I wanted Travis at the table and present for the first episode at least or more! When given the option to create a character, he was inspired to bring Sir Bertrand Bell back for this purpose, and we discussed the means of his exit. Travis proposed the “grim end”, but agreed he would not know how or when and such, we anchored Bertrand into the story and watched where things went! Do not fret… Travis will return in the near future with his “true” C3 character, and it is gonna be a BLAST to see the paths collide!” /end ID]