Review 4 (Arcane): 5 Times Vi was a Basic Character and 5 Times She wasn’t
She’s lovable all the same
There’s no debating Arcane’s explosive formula. The show clearly knows how to combine the right amounts of suspense, heartache, humor, and romance.
Additionally, Arcane’s Runeterra universe is filled with a multitude of complex, relatable, and unique characters that it’s no wonder fans can’t pick a favorite.
Sisters, Vi and Jinx are the top two contenders for the most iconic character in season one. However, Vi comes off as less interesting than her sister (maybe because she hasn’t been injected with an unidentified shimmer compound, who knows?)
In today’s review, we’ll be highlighting the 5 times Vi was a cardboard character and 5 times her character packed a punch.
1. Basic: Minor character development
Unlike several Arcane characters, namely Jinx, Jayce, Heimerdinger, Mel, and even Viktor, Vi’s development progresses slowly.
Who she is at the beginning of the time jump in Act 2 Episode 4: Happy progress day! barely differs from the version we see at the end of the season.
She’s still the same older sister with anger issues who has a grudge to settle. She’s still trying to reunite with her little sister, either literally or figuratively.
Not basic: Her anger issues
It’s no secret Vi is a firecracker with a short fuse. Case in point, all her fight scenes with Sevika. During their encounters, it doesn’t take long for Silco’s lapdog to rile her up with a few words about her sister and Vander. There’s even that one scene where she bumps into a guy and flips him off (classic Vi).
As much as watching Vi beat up a few Silco goons is fun, it’s worth noting where her real anger stems from — oppression, from the undercity, and topside.
We see the divide and discrimination between Piltover’s topside and Zaunians in the first three episodes, but we also witness the caste system in the undercity when Vi returns. The state of its residents and supporters hell-bent on making sure it remains so are enough to get anyone mad.
2. Basic: She has one mission
Vi’s journey throughout the first season can be summed up in a mantra:
‘Find Powder, Save her from Silco’.
And that is what fuels her for 10 years in prison, almost becoming an innate need. Everything else becomes a secondary priority, because her sister takes precedence and she stops at no length for her. She even convinces Ekko and Caitlyn, who are equally as strong-headed in their mission, to give her a chance to try to reach Jinx.
No matter the amount of bodies Jinx leaves in her wake, Vi believes she can save her, and feels completely responsible for who she’s become. She goes as far as telling the Piltover Council to do what they will with Silco, as long as they leave her to handle Jinx.
Not basic: Allying herself with Piltover
It was quite the turn of events in Act 3 Episode 8: Oil and water, when Vi approached Jayce with a proposition to take him to Silco’s shimmer factories, as long as she got to fight with him. This pleasant surprise also led to one of the most amazing fight scenes which we see Vi in her infamous gauntlets.
This also marked a shift in Vi’s perspective. It was when she realized she had to beat the cancer out of the undercity to truly save it, and that it was only possible with the help of Piltover (even though she didn’t mind dying to prove otherwise).
3. Basic: She’s a textbook good guy
For most of the show’s run, Vi is a textbook ‘good guy’. She’s brave, loyal, selfless, and a natural leader. She’s also the people’s champ, a loving sister, and a beloved daughter.
Case in point, she teaches the neighborhood kids how to fight, she constantly reminds Powder she has a long way to go to master her skills, and she attempts to surrender herself to the enforcers for the heist that went wrong in Act 1 Episode 1: Welcome to the playground.
Though her consistency is appreciated, and a breath of fresh air in a crime capital like Zaun, it does get stale when she keeps running into danger without caution for her safety.
Not basic: She can be vulnerable
Vulnerability is a rare trait in Arcane characters, and is often exhibited by unlikely individuals. Vi, is one of such characters and has displayed some of the more touching acts of vulnerability ever to grace our screens in season one, namely:
i) Act 2 episode Episode 6: When these walls come tumbling down — she lets Jinx know there wasn’t a single day that went by she didn’t miss or think of her in prison.
ii) Act 3 Episode 8: Oil and water — she opens up to Caitlyn about her childhood with Powder, and how she feels responsible for who she has become.
iii) Act 3 Episode 9: The monster you created — she tells Jinx what kept her going in prison was the thought of getting back to her.
4. Basic: She’s driven by few emotions
It’s no secret Vi is consumed solely by guilt and revenge throughout the show’s run. She leaves little room for much else. In her quest to find her sister, and rid the undercity of Silco’s tyranny for good, she’s willing to risk everything.
This characteristic tunnel vision leaves her unable to process other things, including her own trauma from being separated from her last remaining family member.
Not basic: She’s willing to break a few eggs
In Act 3 Episode 9: The monster you created, we see how far Vi is willing to go to stop Silco and bring peace to Zaun. When Jayce accidentally kills a child working in Silco’s shimmer factory, Vi tells him:
“You didn’t have a choice. He knew what he was signing up for.”
This shows that Vi is willing to get the job done any-which way, and has made peace with the casualties of this battle — a major change in her ideology.
5. Basic: Her sister is her Achilles heel
Since Vi’s life revolves around Powder/Jinx, it’s safe to say her sister is her Achilles heel. It’s evident in how much Sevika’s taunts about Jinx get to her, how much she hates hearing Silco talk about her sister, and how much she still tries to save her.
When Mylo lashes out at Powder, Vi comes to her defense. Also, when Ekko and Caitlyn are at the entry point of Piltover’s topside, Vi says she’s staying back to try to reach Jinx.
It’s worth noting that when Jinx decides to fully embrace her chaotic form, it breaks Vi’s heart.
Not basic: Placing the greater good over her sister
During Jinx’s attack on the bridge in Act 3 Episode 7: The boy savior, it’s clear to Vi that her sister is out of control. So when she had to choose between talking her down and saving Caitlyn, she choose the option liable to save Zaun. This, however, worsened things between the sisters.
Vi’s character may be stereotypical at times and lack complexity, but, she still remains the show’s rock and a constant in an ever-changing world of chaos. Fans can always rely on her to do what’s right and be the hero we need.
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