Arcane’s act two ending explained

Everybody wants to be my enemy.

Image via Netflix, Riot Games

Riot Games’ first animated Netflix series, Arcane, ventured into its second act this weekend and provided fans with an even better look at some of the characters becoming the champions we know them to be in League of Legends.

Rather than focusing on Jinx and Vi’s familial struggle like the first part of the show, act two took a step back and put the spotlight on the champions residing in Piltover: Caitlyn, Jayce, Heimerdinger, and Viktor. While Vi and Jinx certainly were not absent from these events, the relationships between these Piltover-dwellers were more fleshed out following the time skip introduced within this act.

Yet as the act drew to a close, the futures for these characters remained more uncertain than they appeared at the end of act one. Between being kidnapped, fighting imminent death, and succumbing to madness, the characters we have come to know over the past six episodes of Arcane have a lot to venture through before they team up in the climax of the series in act three.

Nothing more than a jinx

The Powder we knew at the start of Arcane is long gone. In her place is Jinx, a girl that has evolved due to the torment of her past, yet struggles to let it go. The crazed fire in Powder’s eyes following the destruction she caused at the end of act one grew exponentially. Eventually, it took over her entire body, resulting in the long, braided, tattooed, multiple-gun-wielding criminal fans know.

Act two ends with Vi and Caitlyn finally encountering Jinx, a shell of Vi’s former sister. Though the reunion between them is touching at first, Caitlyn’s presence signals danger for Jinx since Sevika warned her Vi had joined forces with a Piltover enforcer.

The voices inside Jinx’s head—a staple of her character throughout this act—began to take over. Her trust in Vi, which she had momentarily regained, began to dwindle, much like how Jinx lost her trust in Silco after he lied about Vi’s whereabouts.

Before Jinx has the opportunity to create mass destruction as she did in the airship and the Piltover building earlier on, the Firelights once again show up to crash the party, seemingly targeting Jinx herself. When Vi notices Jinx’s new violent nature in action, she begins to frantically call out to her sister, leaving Vi open to being kidnapped by a Firelight member. Jinx barely had time to react, leaving Jinx and Vi separated once more to close the penultimate act.

This Jinx is the one fans were waiting for. The animation style of Arcane emphasizes this inner turmoil that has afflicted the girl once known as Powder, constantly flickering between frames showcasing her instability. Yet what has been confirmed from act two is that this lack of control stems from the trauma induced by the unintentional killing of her friends and father figure, as well as Vi’s rejection. Each time Jinx succumbs to her torment, different scenes pop up on the screen, including flashbacks of the explosion at the docks and the flickering of the name “Vi” all around. Jinx even creates fake copies of her friends within her base to keep her company—ones that can’t die—as an attempt to hold on to this piece of herself that Silco has desperately been trying to get rid of. She seems to achieve Silco’s goal during her confrontation with Vi.

Yet Jinx faces another dilemma at the end of the act. Once again separated from her sister, yet this time out of Silco’s grasp, she’s free to make her own decisions. Act three will reveal if she’ll decide to rescue Vi, chase after her missing crystal, or take a different path.

“But you’re so sweet, like a cupcake”

Caitlyn, who just a few episodes before struggled with the limitations of her youth, finally cemented herself as an officer within the Piltover enforcers by the end of act two. She also showcased a budding friendship—or maybe even more—with Vi.

The two struggled to maintain common ground while venturing through the streets of Zaun in search of Silco and Jinx due to the restraints Caitlyn and Vi had for one another. The divide stemmed from the lack of understanding regarding their two drastically opposing lifestyles, but the rift between the two shrunk during their time in the undercity.

Though not entirely understanding Vi’s plans nor how to traverse the undercity, Caitlyn steps up to search for a way to tend to Vi’s wound, even going as far as to trade her rifle for a potion that could save her new friend’s life. The two create coordinated mayhem to escape Silco’s grasp when he ambushed them in a part of Zaun that housed to the people “the topsiders don’t want to think about.” As they escaped, Vi spotted the blue flare she gave her sister in act one.

The second part of Arcane also gave viewers a better look at Caitlyn’s status in Piltover, where being from a noble house does not guarantee the luxuries it would seem to bring. Caitlyn is consistently ridiculed by her fellow officers as not belonging in their ranks, as well as tampering too heavily in places she doesn’t belong—which may bring the downfall to Marcus’s corrupt scheming with Silco.

This sense of curiosity is what drives Caitlyn, enabling her to have a chance encounter with Vi and learn about the secrets about Silco that the Sheriff of Piltover had been hiding from the city.

Caitlyn’s whereabouts at the end of act two are unknown. She and Jinx remain after the attack by the Firelights, though only Jinx is left standing as the credits roll. At this point, Caitlyn had damaged the relationship with the acquaintances she had in Piltover to embark on this private investigation. She also lost Vi—and their blossoming connection—to the kidnappers, leaving the Piltover enforcer all alone with no support system on the streets of Zaun. Vi warned her the undercity was “going to eat her alive.” With Silco on her trail and no way to defend herself, her situation looks bleak.

The (mad) scientists reunite

While Jayce assumed the role of Councilman and kicked Heimerdinger off the Council, Viktor’s infatuation with Hextech grew to alarming rates—all the while his life expectancy continued to plummet. 

Viktor discovers the duo’s newest creation—which he calls the Hexcore—reacts to organic matter, but any organic matter it helps flourish almost immediately decays. Jayce believes this might be the way to save his partner’s life after Viktor struggles to fight the effects of the fumes he was exposed to while living in Zaun. Heimerdinger, on the other hand, perceives the Hexcore as a grave danger to all of Runeterra, seeing a vision of the power of Runes and relating it to the power the Hexcore contains.

Heimerdinger acknowledges Viktor has changed in some capacity, seemingly corrupted by the potential he believes the Hexcore—and, by extension, Hextech technology—has. Yet Viktor refuses to abide by Heimerdinger’s warnings.

The last episode shows more about Viktor’s childhood, discovering he could not participate in the same activities other children around him did due to his frailty. Instead, he took a liking to his inventions.

His curiosity results in him meeting a stranger in a cave, working to keep a mutated monster alive. Later, he returned to the cave only to discover the man refused to let the creature die, forcing it to live in pain. 

After the confrontation with Heimerdinger, Viktor returns to the stranger’s laboratory. The creature is still holding on to life inside a large tube. In front of it stands the bald, neck scarf-wearing champion League players love to hate: the Mad Chemist, Singed. Viktor admits he finally understands what Singed attempted to achieve with his mutation experiments, seemingly offering himself as a subject for the Chemist. Viktor presumably wants to prolong his life so he can continue his research on Hextech and make a mark on the world.

With both the Hexcore and Viktor’s famous robotic arm now present within the show, Viktor’s transformation into the robotic man League players are familiar with seems imminent. Viktor’s clear obsession with Hextech’s capabilities in Arcane aligns heavily with what has been established in his League lore. Based on his arc, he may ultimately cement himself as another villain that the series’ protagonists—especially Jayce—will have to overcome.