Piltover is a city-state in which heroes and villains are not separated by good or evil, but rather by arcane power. In this world of conflict between magic and science, two groups struggle for control of the continent’s most advanced technological civilization: the Order of Zaun on one side; Piltover’s ruling council on the other. As temperamental as it can be at times, Piltover is home to some interesting characters who will have you hooked from first page to last!
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Arcane Characters: Piltover’s Young People
“We neglected to do good in our quest of grandeur.”
Jayce Tallis is one of my favorite characters from Netflix’s Arcane. I also feel he is one of the series’ most underappreciated characters, which I discovered to my surprise. One of the most talked-about scenes is in episode 7, “The Boy Savior,” when two characters meet after a long time apart. It has a high-octane tune, stunning and distinctive images, and a watershed moment for both characters. I believe Jayce appears in not one, but two scenes that match that epic battle. In episode 2, “Some Mysteries Are Better Left Unsolved,” the first occurs. The performance lets the graphics and music speak for itself as it reveals a significant aspect of Jayce’s past. This is the scene that confirmed my feelings for Arcane. Jayce and his mother are about to perish until a strange, veiled wizard uses runes to rescue them. This sequence is stunning, a sight to see, thanks to the soaring soundtrack and spectacular graphics. But it’s more than that; it’s the birth of a fascinating personality. After focusing only on Vi and her siblings in the first episode, this episode digs into Piltover’s elite and examines the distinctions between the two groups. Piltover may be a high-tech, forward-thinking metropolis, but that doesn’t mean its residents are without issues. One of the reasons I like Jayce so much is because he hasn’t been sculpted by tragedy. Jayce is one of the few positive backstories in Arcane, having been motivated to do good by the wizard. He’s also one of the few topsiders who really wants to aid the Undercity’s residents. His motive and premise are wholly uplifting and aspirational, which is exactly what a program with so many damaged individuals trying to survive required. This raises the issue of whether Jayce will allow the challenges he confronts to alter him, to sap his desire to serve others.
We’re forced back into the present, namely Jayce’s present, after witnessing what he went through and experiencing his infatuation with the arcane. While Vi and the kids broke into Jayce’s house, Piltover’s enforcers and council still blame him for the explosion. The structure was demolished because Jayce had deadly magical stones in his possession for his experiments, which were forbidden due to their mystical nature. Professor Heimerdinger, an old monster who has observed personally the damage inflicted by the arcane, has little compassion for the young man’s desires. Councilor Bolbok, a mechanized living form (from what we’ve heard), explains that practitioners of the magical arts almost wiped off his people. Jayce is expelled from his studies by the council, who deems him fortunate to be able to stay in the city. This is when Viktor enters the picture. Viktor is Heimerdinger’s right-hand man and a charming character in his own right. When no one else accepts Jayce’s ideas, he believes them. Even Jayce’s mother, who has seen the mage’s power firsthand, wants him to go. However, the two men band together and master the tools of Piltover’s future glory. On my initial viewing, I believed Viktor was up to something nefarious. He’s a scrawny, cunning guy with a distinct accent from the rest of the cast. Viktor is his name, and he’s a scientist prepared to perform what the rest of the city believes unethical and harmful. I’ve made my case.
Viktor, on the other hand, is a perfect illustration of Arcane’s exploitation of our preconceptions and popular cinema jargon against us. In a program full of them, Viktor shows to be one of the most human and relatable characters. His relationship with Jayce is real, and the two men’s differences benefit them both. The idealistic Viktor encourages Jayce to unashamedly transform the world since neither of them could have mastered the mysteries of the arcane on their own. Viktor has a better understanding of how this new magical technology may be used in the real world. Viktor, who grew up on the outskirts of town and is forced to live with a terrible condition, is acutely aware of the hardships that the inhabitants of Zaun face. Viktor’s adventure is just stunning as the two build HexTech and find some of its applications. We receive a flashback of Viktor’s upbringing, much like Jayce. In the Fissures, we witness him trying to keep up with his toy boat and unable to play with the other kids. We get further flashbacks regarding Viktor’s introduction to Silco’s scientist Singed in episode 6, “When These Walls Come Tumbling Down.” We watch how their relationship deteriorated as Viktor started to see Singed as a monster, only comprehending him as an adult. They use a perverted version of HexTech to preserve Viktor’s life, and it’s only because to their efforts that Viktor is eventually able to flee. As Viktor outruns the actual ships in the port, a magnificent visual scene rich with significance unfolds. It’s a startlingly emotional success, a breakthrough, as his body finally catches up to his soul.
Viktor’s life, unlike Jayce’s, has been marked by tragedy and adversity. His body is physically coming apart, and only the madness of a maniac and an unpredictable, unstable substance can save him. This kind, sympathetic young guy, who used to rage against Singed’s maltreatment of Rio, is now prepared to go to any length to keep alive. I appreciate how Arcane never explicitly states how much of Viktor’s motivation is driven by self-preservation and how much is driven by his desire to assist others. After all, his job isn’t finished, and there’s always room for improvement. Mel Medarda is an important character in Viktor’s and notably Jayce’s narrative. Jayce is quickly captivated by this lovely, mystery councilwoman. Even in the midst of his trial, with the council mainly opposed to him, he is taken aback by such a young and handsome councilor. Mel, like Jayce and Viktor, is part of the next generation of Piltover giants with the power to perpetuate or reform the city’s inequalities.
Mel, like Viktor, was first unappealing to me. She has the appearance of a femme fatale, using her strength and beauty to subjugate others. Anyone under her control, from the impressionable Jayce to her other council members, is just a gift or gesture away. Without Mel’s permission, Jayce and Viktor would not have been able to acquire the equipment needed to test their hypothesis. This was done with some self-interest in mind, however it’s unclear if she had any humanitarian motives. Jayce’s first major test of character comes when Mel uses her power to make him a councilor and then establish friendships for him. Jayce is more concerned with aiding the people of Zaun and Piltover than with political maneuvering and commercial deals. But these are Mel’s tools of the trade, her armory of weaponry. Jayce seems to be just another of these tools at first, but things change when Mel shows real interest in him and treats him as an equal. What a turn of events! In any seriousness, the way Arcane peels back the layers of characters is incredible. Vi and Caitlyn’s relationship has gotten a lot of attention, but I fear Jayce and Mel have been lost in the shuffle. Jayce actively makes Mel a better person, and their connection is evident. “Oil and Water,” the eighth episode, does a lot to humanize Mel. We’re given to a flashback of her mother Ambessa teaching her about the ruthlessness required to govern. It’s simple to see how someone like Mel might come from a family when your mother is prepared to murder a kid in front of you to prove a point. Then, in the present, her mother comes in Piltover, and we witness Mel’s desire to shield Jayce and, by extension, Piltover from Ambessa’s corrosive influence.
Despite the fact that Viktor is from the Fissures, it is Caitlyn, a young adult from Piltover, who becomes the most involved in Zaun’s suffering. Caitlyn has had a lucky existence, even more so than Jayce, who seems to have had a more middle-class background. She grew raised as the daughter of a councilor, and her family was clearly well-off, since Jayce’s schooling was funded by them. In Arcane, her narrative is about realizing how horrible things are. Caitlyn had the opportunity to examine her ambitions and motives as a kid. The flashback scene in which she competes in a shooting battle against Grayson is fantastic. Following the event, the enforcer informs Caitlyn of her wish to utilize her abilities to defend the Piltover residents. She then inquires as to Caitlyn’s goal. Scenes like these are my favorites because they encourage us to interact with the art by asking questions rather than delivering answers. Caitlyn, what sort of person are you? What makes her tick? Before the time leap, we see Caitlyn and Jayce have a sibling-like closeness, and I’m pleased it continues that way. Anything more would be disturbing, given that she is a youngster and he is in his early twenties. Caitlyn’s bond with Vi is also vital to her understanding of the Undercity as anything more than a hive of filth and villainy. Caitlyn immediately realizes as an adult that she wants to become engaged and assist others directly. Her parents, on the other hand, want her to work in a secure government job like her mother, who is a councilor. Caitlyn is ready to act as soon as the chance arises to safeguard the Piltover citizens, even if it means putting herself in danger. Is she, however, prepared to put her life on the line for the people of Zaun?
This is the second installment of a series.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Who are the heroes in Arcane?
A: The heroes in Arcane are the chosen few who have been given powers to protect their world against an evil force.
Who is Mel brother Arcane?
A: Mel is a character in the video game, Arkanes Prey.
How old is Silco Arcane?
A: Silco is a 17-year old wizard.
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