REVIEW: The Witcher Season 2 Episode 8: Family

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And now we come to the end of season 2 with episode 8, Family. Voleth Meir, the Deathless Mother, has possessed Ciri. Luckily, there’s no retread of the Eskel plotline where the Witchers are unaware of the possession. She kills a few in their sleep, and then they’re onto her.

the witcherCiri is trapped within her own memories, but the memories are pleasant ones, keeping her distracted so she doesn’t try to force her way out. She sees a chance to redo the events of the first episode, where she keeps her grandmother Queen Calanthe waiting, but everything is brighter and more vibrant than it was in that episode, a nice use of colour and lighting.

Geralt tries to bargain with Voleth Meir to take him instead of Ciri. I understand the impulse, but given the ever-growing list of people trying to get or kill Ciri, and the amount of power she wields without understanding, Voleth Meir had no real reason to even consider it.

She shrieks and breaks open the medallion tree, which has a monolith inside it, and from it burst forth several basilisks for the Witchers to fight. The hidden monolith is another one of those things about The Witcher that ignores logic in favour of drama. This is just a risk: everyone’s suspension of disbelief will come at a different time.

I also wondered, during this fight scene, where Yarpin Zigrin and his dwarves vanished to. They were supposed to deliver Ciri to Kaer Morhen, and they did so between the end of episode 7 and the beginning of episode 8. They would have been both useful and interesting as a separate faction in Kaer Morhen. In a season as serialized as this had been, it seems odd to drop such a plot point that was only introduced in episode 7, and wasn’t strictly needed there either.

The battle with the basilisks goes badly for the Witchers, and it draws even more ire out of Vesemir. The show hints at a Vesemir-Geralt battle, as both try to protect their wards. It sidesteps it instead, by forcing Geralt out of the scene via basilisk, and when Vesemir does go to hurt the possessed Ciri, she heals almost instantly. Ergo, there’s no need for that battle—a different tactic is clearly necessary.

familyGeralt and the other Witchers realize—with an assist from Jaskier and Yennefer—that they need to remind Ciri of the importance of being a part of their world, rather than the imagined, utopian one Voleth Meir has placed into her mind. This isn’t quite enough, and Yennefer, who knows she feeds on pain, cuts her wrists to draw Voleth Meir out. This is her atonement and sincerely, a fantastic capstone for Yennefer’s arc this season.

The epilogue to this episode is quite long, going between the various factions and showing what their plans are going forward, and each one of them seems to be some variation of ‘capture or kill Cirilla.’

So that’s it for The Witcher Season 2. Some great moments, some head-scratchers, some amazing monster design (The Bruxa! The Leshi!) several solid action sequences and two all-time-great ones. I’m looking forward to season 3, even as I know I won’t be getting the monster of the week I’d like.

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Ryan is a mid-30s nerd, married, with two kids. Also two cats–Cathulhu and Necronomicat. He likes, in no particular order, tabletop gaming, board games, arguing over books, ancient history and religion, and puns. You can find him as unconundrum on reddit.