We’ve solely had two seasons of The Witcher on Netflix, however the present has already had considerably of an identification disaster. It began off with a bang, with a giant, bloody debut that confirmed precisely why the books and video games earlier than it have been so beloved. It was darkish but humorous, stuffed with motion, sexual rigidity, and all types of cool monsters — plus a superb Henry Cavill because the gruff and lovable Geralt of Rivia. Season 2, in the meantime, misplaced a few of that persona because it tried to inform a extra grand — and typical — fantasy story whereas additionally deviating considerably from the books. Issues received much more off-track with the prequel Blood Origin.
Now we have now season 3, which is being break up into two volumes and which can mark the tip of Cavill’s run as Geralt (the present will proceed with Liam Hemsworth within the lead position). The primary quantity doesn’t precisely get away from the epic story the present is attempting to inform — there are nonetheless warring factions and magical forces and questions in regards to the nature of the world itself — nevertheless it returns many of the focus the place it belongs: on the primary solid of Geralt, Ciri, and Yennefer. Extra importantly, the present is enjoyable once more, the place the large narrative beats don’t get in the way in which of all of the blood and jokes.
On the outset of season 3, issues haven’t modified all that a lot: everybody on all the Continent nonetheless appears intent on discovering Ciri (Freya Allan), a younger princess with mysterious powers that may very well be the important thing to uniting an unlimited, violent world. Kings, mages, elves — everybody needs to search out her for their very own nefarious causes. Regardless of this, she finds herself in a considerably cozy scenario residing with Geralt and Yennefer (Anya Chalotra).
They’re on the run, consistently shifting on the slightest signal of bother, however they’ve additionally settled into a snug sort of familial routine. They sit round sharing meals and washing dishes, whereas Yenn — who lastly has her magic again after being tragically defanged final season — tries to show Ciri easy methods to management her powers. After two seasons of nothing however dying and betrayal, it’s good to see the three residing a peaceful, completely satisfied life.
After all, that doesn’t final lengthy.
Exterior forces compel the little household unit to separate up. Yenn takes Ciri to the magic academy Aretuza in hops of each serving to her study and conserving her secure, whereas Geralt goes after Rience (Chris Fulton), a fire-wielding mage who’s after Ciri on the behest of a thriller benefactor.
There’s nonetheless a superb quantity of political maneuvering and treachery to maintain observe of. The remaining elves are divided over who to align themselves and one of the best ways to get revenge on humanity; the dominion of Redania — because of crafty spymaster Dijkstra (Graham McTavish) and his associate Phillipa (Cassie Clare), who spent most of season 2 as an owl — finds itself within the thick of every thing; the Brotherhood of Sorcerers is battling infighting; and the White Flame (Bart Edwards) continues his quest to unite all the Continent beneath his rule. That’s not even counting characters who discover themselves in utterly new conditions, just like the exiled mage Fringilla (Mimi Ndiweni), who’s now an always-drunk poison tester.
However fortunately, in contrast to newer forays into the Witcher universe, all of that background is advised concisely and entertainingly and sits largely within the, nicely, background. This lets the present convey its focus again to the primary solid — and this time, it does proper by these characters. Geralt stays a sullen but surprisingly lovable centrist as at all times, however Yenn has returned to being a strong, defiantly unbiased mage, and Ciri is coming into her personal and is lastly greater than only a damsel in misery whose energy is activated by screams.
This shift is maybe greatest exemplified by Jaskier (Joey Batey), who devolved right into a sullen rock star in season 2 however is again to being a free spirit who makes far too many jokes, often on the incorrect time. This time round, he has a rivalry with one other bard and a delightfully intense crush on a prince. He looks like Jaskier once more — regardless of the hair and eyeliner.
And whereas there’s a lot occurring, quantity one of many new season is actually about one factor: revealing who the brand new, huge unhealthy villain is. Getting there includes all types of typical witcher-y issues: numerous fights with terrifying monsters (together with one notably grotesque creature that wouldn’t be misplaced in Akira or Inside), fancy events stuffed with sexual rigidity, some really tousled betrayals, and Geralt being a smartass a lot to the frustration of the elite. However a variety of the enjoyable comes from sussing out simply who’s the key villain pulling a variety of the strings behind the scenes. The primary batch of episodes ends with a celebration, which you see from numerous views, forcing you — together with Geralt and Yenn — to sift by the lies, misdirections, and illusions whereas a band sings, “All shouldn’t be because it appears.” I used to be genuinely shocked with the large reveal.
The producers of The Witcher have mentioned the transition from Cavill to Hemsworth might be “fairly flawless.” However even nonetheless, this season is a vital sendoff for this model of the character — and it’s organising this model of Geralt with a significant showdown to exit on. On the identical time, this season can be a return of type of kinds, bringing The Witcher again to the issues that make it distinctive — it’s humorous, bloody, and horny. There’s even a shower scene, which is as Witcher because it will get.
Quantity one among The Witcher season 3 is streaming now on Netflix. Quantity two might be obtainable on July twenty seventh.