Tensions are flaring between the elves and the Nilfgaardians in Cintra, or Xintrea, as the elves call it. Cahir seems intent on kickstarting hostility between them, even as the elves welcome the first pure-blood elf in some time. Rience portals in on Triss and Vesemir and is seemingly repelled, but has managed to swipe the vial that could make more Witchers, and contains Ciri’s blood.
But the real meat of the episode is at the Temple of Meletite. Geralt takes Ciri there while looking for answers. It’s the place he was taught how to sign. And it’s clear from his relaxed stance in there—different from nearly everywhere he’s been except, perhaps, Kaer Morhen—that this was always a place of comfort for him.
Nenneke, the woman who runs it, is the most benevolent, generous, and wise person we’ve seen on this show. It’s always great when a show so filled with sadists, schemers and scoundrels can bring in someone so good, as a counterbalance, without it feeling like we’ve stepped into a different show.
And then the show brings all three of our major characters together, for the first time since the show began. Ciri, Yennefer, and Geralt all meet—the former walking in on the latter characters kissing. Geralt had, until last episode, assumed Yennefer was dead after Sodden.
As was hinted at in the last recap, though, Yennefer’s not there for Geralt, or just by happenstance. The trade she offered to get her magic back is to bring Ciri to a shattered door outside Cintra. She had no idea who Ciri was, or that she was Geralt’s Child of Surprise, but she made a deal with a powerful entity and she cannot back out. She’ll happily play the long-lost lover to Geralt, and it’s genuine, but there’s always more behind the surface.
This is followed up with one of the best action sequences the show has done. Rience comes after Ciri in the Temple of Meletiti with a host of soldiers. Rience goes after Yennefer and Ciri while the soldiers delay Geralt. It’s not tense like the fight against the Bruxa in episode 1, or the Striga back in season 1. It’s just Geralt versus a lot of mooks, which the show has done before, but never to such excellent effect. It shows just how improved over regular humans a Witcher really is. The combination of signs and his improved speed and reflexes make it a brutal, perfect combat sequence.
He is, however, delayed just long enough for Yennefer to ‘rescue’ Ciri. Ciri trusts Geralt, Geralt trusts Yennefer, and Yennefer uses that to convince Ciri to flee with her, getting the young woman to open up a portal and step through just as Geralt reaches them.