Welcome to the recaps of The Witcher Season 2 for Grimdark Magazine. I’m Ryan, and I enjoyed the first season of this show a lot. I haven’t read the books so a lot of the plot points will be coming at me for the first time.
Yennefer’s plotline in this episode felt a bit of a low-point to me, to be honest. Her plotline with the political machinations of the other sorcerers at the Council of Mages has never been a particular interest of mine; this isn’t a series I enjoy for politics. That said, the reintroduction of the slimiest wizard, Stregobor (Lars Mikkelsen) offers some enjoyment.
At the end of episode 2, Yennefer had realized she could no longer do magic, so her returning to a place where people would expect her to do magic constantly seemed an odd choice for someone as consistently as practical as she is. It could have made sense if she was pushing people for answers on regaining it, but she kept it largely private instead.
Ciri, on the other hand seems to finally be coming into her own. Her plotline in Season 1 was also not my favorite, but now that she’s training to become a Witcher, she’s gaining more agency and more interest. Her plotline here is simple. She’s being taunted by Lambert, another Witcher, about how she’s weak and shouldn’t be trying to be a Witcher, and her defiant personality makes her try even harder, even as she gets bruised and wounded in her attempt to do it. This section was my favorite of the episode, as the other Witchers slowly come to start watching and largely seem pleased with her tenacity.
Afterwards, Geralt points out that she’s not a Witcher, and can’t heal as quickly as they do. She does have other talents, though, like a sense that she’s being pulled. He uses that ability to help track her to the monster that was responsible for the death of a witcher in episode 2. What happens is the most perfunctory monster fight in the series thus far, as the monster that killed the person we should care about is immediately killed by a different monster that Geralt then has to face.
I suppose I can understand not wanting the same kind of monster two episodes in a row, but this sequence felt very sketchily plotted. Geralt had been feeling guilt over the other witcher’s death earlier in the episode, so taking out the monster that killed him would have some sense of catharsis. Instead we got a large insect.
The show does make the wise choice to centre Ciri in the fight. To Geralt, this is just another day and another monster, but Ciri is not used to any of this. The sequence where she keeps looking for it and cannot see it but constantly hears it was effective, but fundamentally it felt like the wrong way to end this episode.
I am looking forward to seeing Ciri get trained more fully, as she’s never been more interesting to watch than this episode.