The Firelights Gang Cements Ekko As Zaun's True Hero

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Arcane's first season finale, "The Monster You Created," now streaming on Netflix

Arcane has pitted plenty of rivalries, with the unique motivations of each character pitting them against one another at various points over an assortment of conflicts -- both personal and for the future of their respective cities. However, among them all, one stands out as the show's closest thing to a genuine hero. Arcane features plenty of morally-flexible and varied characters, but Ekko has proven himself to perhaps be the most purely heroic person yet introduced in the show.

The Undercity of Piltover -- otherwise known as the city of Zaun -- is one of the primary settings of Arcane. Trampled upon by the higher-ups in the prestigious city, the citizens of the Undercity have largely been abused and forgotten by the people who live privileged lives above them. The leaders of the Undercity have typically either been former idealists, like Vander -- whose attempt to revolt lead to widespread death and resulted in him arranging a tense peace with the Enforcers, or criminals, like Silco. Since taking over control of much of the Undercity following Vander's apparent demise, Silco has increasingly enriched himself and pushed the city closer and closer to trying to take their own independence, regardless of the potential bloodshed it might bring to the two cities.

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However, in the background, the Firelights have become a powerful and potent force. Targeting Silco's forces and resources, the Firelights have proven a formidable wildcard in the conflict between Piltover and the Undercity. Leading the group is Ekko -- a fan-favorite champion from League of Legends, and one of the most overtly heroic figures in Arcane.

Introduced as a child in the first three episodes of the series, Ekko fully reveals himself as the leader of the Firelights to Vi in the third batch of episodes after years have passed, taking on an important role as the leader of the resistance movement against Silco's forces. In the ensuing years, he's become a far more formidable figure, picking up a speed and fighting style that he lacked as a child and transforming into a genuine figurehead who fights for the future.

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As the leader of the Firelights, Ekko has effectively become one of the closest things the morally-grey Arcane has to a fully-fledged hero. Alongside the rest of his band, Ekko has done his best to protect his remaining friends and family, becoming something a leader. The other Firelights celebrate his return back to the Undercity, and he's become something of a figurehead for the group.

He's committed himself to helping others and honoring the people who've they've lost by painting a celebration. He's also effectively become the kind of leader that Vander held himself up as, uniting various people of the Undercity together, and he's done so without even making a bargain with the Enforcers, as Vander was forced to. Instead, Ekko just leads by example, fighting against Silco's forces and making the Undercity a better place.

Given his willingness to work with Caitlyn and his acceptance of Heimerdinger, it's clear he sees hope for the future and can fight to reach that ideal tomorrow. Ekko has essentially turned himself into one of the purest heroes in the series, fighting for others and resisting the darker ambitions of someone like Ekko while helping create a home for the people of the Undercity to call their own.

With Arcane confirmed to have a second season in the works, it's clear that Ekko might be the key to solving the crisis in the newly announced Zaun, helping cement the bridge between his people and the ones from the city above to create a better future, leading to peace in the chaotic city. He might be the most purely heroic figure in Arcane -- and will likely get to continue that thread going forward.

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Brandon Zachary (4204 Articles Published)

Brandon Zachary is an Associate Writer with Comic Book Resources and has written for CBR since 2018. He covers breakouts on comics, film, television, video games, and anime. He also conducts industry interviews, is a Rotten Tomatoes certified film critic, and knows SO MUCH about the X-Men. For requests, comments, or to hear his pitch for a third Avatar series that incorporates robots, you can contact him through [email protected].

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