With the Mage’s Conclave under attack and things looking dire, Geralt (Henry Cavill), Yennifer (Anya Chalotra), and Ciri (Freya Allen) find themselves separated as they search for a way out of the dire straights they are soon confronted with. But as each faces their own struggles, the one thing that keeps them going is knowing the others are still out there in The Witcher Season 3 Volume 2, directed by Bola Ogun and Loni Peristere, with writing by Javier Grillo-Marxuach, Mathew D’Ambrosio, Mike Ostrowski, and Troy Dangerfield.
Picking up where the last episode left off, we see the situation unfold as the agents of Redovia continue to round up the mages. With accusations of traitors with Nilfgaard in their presence, the mages soon find themselves divided. There is a brief sequence before all hell breaks loose where the show manages to build an exquisite amount of tension in the air. It’s allowed to linger just long enough to command the scene and is greatly augmented by the first of Cavill’s many, brilliantly acted scenes. As Geralt talks through the moment, he does so with a calm that is unnerving as he lays out the situation for both sides of the confrontation. The scene comes to a head when Tissaia (MyAnna Buring) decides she has had enough and lights off the powder keg that the gathering has become.
While it looks like this opening battle is going to go smoothly for the loyal mages, The Witcher Season 3 Volume 2 sees the situation slip from their grasp when a contingent of elves arrive, still looking to exact vengeance for the murder of their queen’s child. This sees the fight spiral into a full-scale battle with swords and spells drawn and cast to grisly effect. The battle is brutal for both sides, and lives are cut short in graphic fashion throughout the ordeal.
While it’s easy to focus on the many eye-catching spells that get slung during these battle sequences, the series also continues to deliver the high level of armed combat it has become known for. While Geralt’s swordsmanship continues to shine the brightest, more so than in previous seasons, the White Wolf feels simply like the first among equals as other characters are allowed to parallel Geralt’s skills to stunning effect thanks to moments of brilliant fight choreography.
While the battle rages out of control, Geralt and Yennifer attempt to get Ciri safely off the island. As the situation develops in unexpected ways, we see the family forced to splinter apart for various reasons. While each of these separations is poignant, as the threat forces concern that the trio may never be together again, none hit as hard as Yennifer’s goodbye to Ciri. Given Yennifer’s failings earlier in the season, seeing her and Ciri’s tearful goodbye means all the more now that they have managed to move past her near betrayal. Both actors deliver the moment to powerful effect, but the highlight is when Charlotra’s shaky voice finally utters, “Goodbye, my daughter.” This moment feels momentous for the pair, as it cements them together as a family they choose.
Once the conflict reaches its zenith, The Witcher Season 3 Volume 2 moves onto its middle episode that turns its lens solely on Ciri. Now alone and lost, she must struggle with both the physical hardships of the conditions she finds herself in, as well as the emotional toll recent events and her expected future have put on her mind.
This episode delivers a fantastic exploration of Ciri. As she struggles through repeated failures and setbacks, Allen delivers her character’s strain and weariness superbly. Given how much of the episode is her all alone, she manages to carry the scenes skillfully. As her mind begins to break, she is confronted by ghosts of the past that question her and her worth. These moments are emotionally brutal, as the strained teenager barely has the energy to stand let alone confront an emotional assault. However, the tipping point for Ciri during these confrontations wraps up the sequence with a bang. The moment one of her tormentors takes their abuse a step too far sees Ciri lashing out with a raw fury that is both deserved as well as cheer-worthy. Seeing her stand alone, with neither Geralt nor Yennifer there is a fantastic moment for her development.
Once the narrative sets Ciri aside, The Witcher Season 3 Volume 2 spends the bulk of its last entry catching up with Yennifer and Geralt. While both have their own individual struggles to face, Geralt must recover from grievous wounds inflicted while trying to escort Ciri to safety, and Yennifer struggles to help put the Brotherhood back into some semblance of working order, they both share the same burden of feeling like they have failed Ciri. Despite all the other, more pertinent problems the two face, it is always clear that Ciri’s unknown status is always the foremost concern on their minds.
This final episode also spends some time catching up with the major players looking to wrest control of the continent. The plans that are laid out and schemes that are set in motion set up some great narrative groundwork for what is to come next.
Between its epic battles, tender emotional moments, fantastic character growth, and ever-evolving plot, The Witcher Season 3 Volume 2 delivers the best episodes of the series to date. The fantastic way the cast plays off each other, as well as Cavill’s skillfully subtle performance as the titular Witcher leaves me with heavy concerns about how the show will continue without him when it returns for The Witcher Season Four.
The Witcher Season 3 Volume 2 is streaming now on Netflix.
The Witcher Season 3 Volume 2
Between its epic battles, tender emotional moments, fantastic character growth, and ever-evolving plot, The Witcher Season 3 Volume 2 delivers the best episodes of the series to date.