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The Ending Of Arcane Explained

Adapting a video game into a film or television show is never an easy task, and history is littered with failures to prove it, so in making the "League of Legends" adaptation, "Arcane", Riot Games decided to keep the work in-house. The results are hard to argue with. "Arcane" contains some of the most stunning animation you'll ever lay eyes on thanks to French animation house Fortiche Studios, and that visual luxuriousness is combined with richly developed characters and a steampunk setting that never ceases to surprise.

Over the course of Season 1, we've followed a handful of characters in Piltover, the "city of progress," and in the neighboring slums of Zaun across the bridge. While the world of "League of Legends" contains over 150 playable characters, "Arcane" builds its first season around the tale of two sisters, Vi (Hailee Steinfeld) and Powder (later called Jinx) (Ella Purnell), while the other significant plot revolves around Jayce (Kevin Alejandro), a young scientist who has found a way to harness magical energy for practical use and rises to power in Piltover.

The grounded story of Vi and Powder keeps the show from feeling too much like a "Star Wars" prequel when the political intrigue kicks off between Jayce and the ruling Council of Piltover. The sisters are adoptees of Zaun's kindly leader, Vander (JB Blanc), and they run small heists together with other children until, in a twist of fate, Vander is killed by his old partner, Silco (Jason Spisak), who takes Vander's place as leader and adopts Powder. Vi, meanwhile, is captured by police and sent to prison.

Will the sisters reconcile, and will there be peace between the two cities? It all comes down to the events of the final episode, and there's a lot to unpack, so let's get to it.

A power vacuum in Zaun

When Vi makes it back to Zaun, she finds Silco in power, holding tight control of its seedy underbelly. Unlike Vander, Silco does not hesitate to use whatever means are necessary to keep himself at the top. Meanwhile, tensions between Zaun and the "topsiders" of Piltover are running hot. Meeting with Silco by the waterfront, Jayce is willing to broker peace with Zaun, even offering the underworld its own sovereignty. In exchange, he asks for Jinx so that someone can be held responsible for the recent violent attacks. Silco considers the offer but realizes he doesn't have the heart to turn over Jinx, who he thinks of like a daughter, and admits that he now understands why Vander got so soft.

Jinx, overhearing Silco's musings, assumes he has decided to turn her over, so she kidnaps him along with Vi and Caitlyn (Katie Leung). Vi wakes up in a dark room, where Jinx tells her that she, not Silco, is responsible for creating her, and then reveals Silco and Caitlyn are in the room, bound and gagged. Jinx quickly becomes overwhelmed as Vi and Silco try to convince her to join them. Overwhelmed, Jinx loses control and starts shooting, killing Silco in the process.

With Silco out of the picture and Jinx unable to control even herself, it's unclear who will take power over Zaun. Those who challenged Silco are already dead, and no clear successor is present. The most likely candidate seems to be Vi. After all, she's from Zaun and was raised by one of its former leaders. Now that she's back home with newfound connections topside, she's a prime candidate to lead the underworld and sort out the mess her sister created.

Speaking of which, let's talk about that insane cliffhanger.

The uncertain future of Zaun and Piltover

That lost gemstone stolen back in Episode 4 ends up being important. Jinx brings it to dinner but runs off with it after killing Silco and uses it to power a nasty looking rocket launcher. "We'll show them," says Silco's voice in her head. "We'll show them all."

Meanwhile, back in Piltover, Jayce initiates a Council vote to give Zaun independence. Just as the vote comes to the floor, Jinx, confused and traumatized from killing Silco, launches a rocket directly at the Council building and, right as the vote passes, it hits.

Unfortunately, that's where the credits roll. After multiple acts of terror by Jinx over the course of the season led Piltover to the brink of conflict with Zaun, this act of aggression by Jinx will no doubt plunge the two cities back into turmoil and will possibly instigate a full-scale war. It may also dash any hopes that the vote for Zaun's independence will be followed through on. Earlier in the episode, Councilor Medarda (Toks Olagundoye) is told by her mother that a similar war took place in their home city, which may be a clever bit of foreshadowing.

A tenuous future for the two sisters

"I thought maybe you could love me like you used to, even though I'm different," Jinx says to Vi after killing Silco. "But you've changed, too. Here's to the new us." While Season 1 of "Arcane" was all about Vi's attempts to find Jinx and repair their relationship, it seems like Jinx no longer wants that. She's not the Powder whom Vi helped to raise, but someone entirely new.

The show's writers have explained that the character of Jinx was inspired by Harley Quinn, among others, and that certainly comes across in the colorful, manic persona Jinx develops for herself. Vi, meanwhile, is a more classical hero, someone who does the right thing even when it's heartbreaking. It's unlikely she'll give up on her sister, but at the same time, she can't allow any more needless bloodshed, and Jinx seems hell-bent on chaos.

Vi and Jinx's relationship is at the heart of this show, given incredible depth by Hailee Steinfeld and Ella Purnell, and often what elevates it beyond feeling like it's trying to sell you a video game. These are deeply written characters, and whatever happens next, the only thing we can be certain of is that Season 2 can't come quickly enough.