The Witcher returned with the first volume of its third season just last month. After a long wait between seasons 2 and 3, the five episodes of vol. 1 were welcomed by The Witcher fans, looking for one more adventure with Geralt, Ciri, and Yennefer. If you were like me, those episodes were devoured way too quickly, and the craving for more set in, especially with the cliffhanger episode five ended with. Thankfully the month wait for The Witcher season 3 vol. 2 was much shorter, and it’s finally time to see how Henry Cavill’s final episodes come to a close.
Bringing these final episodes to life are directors Loni Peristere (episode 6) and Bola Ogun (episodes 7 & 8) and writers Javier Grillo-Marxuach (episode 6), Matthew D’Ambrosio (episode 7), and Mike Ostrowski and Troy Dangerfield (episode 8). Volume one did a fantastic job ratcheting up the tension and building towards the biggest showdown The Witcher series has seen. So did the second half of the season deliver? Let’s explore The Witcher Season 3 vol. 2 and everything you can expect from these three episodes.
[Warning: light spoilers and impressions from The Witcher season 3 vol. 2 are below!]
The promise of war
Volume 1 tore our heroes apart and brought them back together, all to save the world and protect Ciri. With every nation after Ciri for her power, both magical and status, the only conclusion was all-out war. A war that was not witnessed in the first five episodes, but was obviously building towards. Volume 2 picks up right moments after volume 1 and brings us the battle we’ve all been waiting for.
For those who maybe need a quick refresher, season 3 volume 1 ended with Geralt (Henry Cavill) and Yennefer (Anya Chalotra) attending the banquet which begins the conclave. Their goal at the conclave, with the exception of keeping Ciri (Freya Allan) safe, is to bring down Stregobor’s (Lars Mikkelsen) devious plans and alert the rest to his possession of the Book of Monoliths. However, after ‘foiling’ Stregobor’s plans, the two figure out that he’s only the patsy, there’s another pulling the strings for the looming war that is just around the corner.
Putting those pieces together lands the duo in trouble, and also out of reach of protection for Ciri, whose in more trouble than anyone could have guessed. What ensues from that moment on is pure adrenaline, as Yennefer and Geralt stop at nothing to return to Ciri.
The dynamics that continue to grow between Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri are the entire heart and reason to watch The Witcher. This series is about three strangers forced together by destiny and making a family with each other. The deep roots and bonds that they’ve developed are why I keep tuning in, the action and magic are just a bonus. While the relationship of all three with each other is important, the one between Yennefer and Ciri is definitely a focal point of season 3, especially volume 2.
Ciri fought against the bond that was growing between her and Yennefer, instead pushing for Geralt because she wanted the action that follows him. However by the end of The Witcher season 3 vol. 2 you come to understand just how deeply these two women care for each other. There’s one scene in episode 6 in particular that made me tear up. Part of me wondered if the shift in focus to Yennefer and Ciri’s relationship has something to do with the change in actor for Geralt. Focusing on the relationship that is staying present and strong might be a way to keep people invested, even with as big of an upset as losing Cavill.
The Witcher season 3 vol. 2 is a film in three parts
It makes sense that Netflix wanted to release these three episodes together because the story in vol. 2 felt like its own film. I could easily picture the almost three hours on the big screen. In fact, I would love to see it released in a similar fashion to Game of Thrones, which had some episodes screened on IMAX. Narratively, it felt like three pieces to the same picture, instead of singular chapters in a book. But if you’re looking at specific chapters, episode 6 is by far the best.
The action from start to finish in episode 6 was exceptional. There were a few scenes that caused my jaw to drop and give me chills. Lars Mikkelsen steals the show in one scene in particular, one I can’t wait for fans to talk about. I’m dying to talk about it myself. But the entire episode feels like a singular fight sequence, something I’ve come to expect from shows like Game of Thrones. The episode utilizes a wonderful blend of sword and magic fighting, although the magic really has the chance to shine throughout episode 6. This one episode is easily my favorite of the entire series.
There’s plenty of action in episodes 7 and 8 as well, however, you can tell that narratively episode 6 was the climax of the story, with the last two serving as the aftermath of it. They spend their time slowing the story down for narrative purposes, allowing the story to grow in the direction it needs to. This brings plenty of fantastic and integral character moments, ones that show how far each individual has come and how much growing they still need to do.
The good and the bad of Netflix’s The Witcher season 3 vol. 2
There is so much I loved about this second volume, some of which I spoke about above. The action is superb, however, I’ve never had a complaint about the action in The Witcher. The CGI was also good, though perhaps there was less of a focus on it with fewer big monsters. That being said, the FX of the magic in episode 6 looked stellar to me.
Performance-wise, this season belongs to Anya Chalotra, who is knocking it out of the park each and every episode. Yennefer has always been one of my favorite characters, having dealt with so much throughout her life. She’s cold early in the series, but that stems from being hurt. In this season viewers really get to see her thrive and open up in both romantic ways and in a motherly relationship with Ciri. She’s now living a reality that she didn’t know was possible and with that brings both pleasure and even more pain. Chalotra is eating the material up and providing the best performance out of anyone in the show. My hope is that she wins some awards for her role and is at least nominated, because she deserves them.
Cavill and Allan are also fantastic as Geralt and Ciri, with Henry Cavill his best performance as The Witcher. Having watched all of season three I’m incredibly sad to see him go and can only hope the show continues in the same trajectory with Liam Hemsworth filling his boots. As well, Jaskier (Joey Batey) continues to be a strong character and friend to Geralt. I look forward to every scene he is in and loved the story the writers set out for him across season three. Batey continues to charm the socks off everyone, including the viewers.
My only complaint with The Witcher season 3 vol. 2 is that the seventh episode slows down to almost a stand-still after the break-neck speed of episode six. The episode focuses on the emotional journey of Ciri and the burden on her shoulders. It’s a wonderful character piece, but the pace does drag slightly in the middle. Parts also felt like filler, which I don’t personally care for.
Overall, The Witcher season 3 vol. 2 is a strong ending to an even better season. The emotional journeys our heroes have endured are undeniably excellent television. With how this season progressed, I have high hopes for what’s to come as the show enters uncharted territory.
The Witcher season 3 Vol. 2 is streaming now on Netflix. Will you be watching it? Let us know on Twitter or in the Cosmic Circus Discord.