We’re almost halfway through The Witcher’s second season, and so far we’ve seen a softer, gentler version of Geralt as he takes Ciri under his wing and begins her Witcher training. We say goodbye to Eskel in the most Witcher way possible, and Ciri runs a gruelling gauntlet. But the star of this episode is Yennefer of Vengerberg who, true to form, watches the world burn around her.
Vesemir and the rest of the Witchers are devastated at the loss of Eskel, who became a Leshy mutant. He’s spent considerable time dissecting him in the hope of finding a reason as to how this could have happened, but Geralt calls time on the investigation—not least because Lambert seems pretty pissed with what they’ve done. They take Eskel to a cave to lay him to rest. I say rest, what I mean is: Wolves are going to come and eat him, because that’s how badass the School of the Wolf is. They say their goodbyes and return to Kaer Morhen, where Ciri is training.
Lambert mocks Ciri training with a stuffed dummy, and much like in previous episodes, she remains defiant and asks to be trained properly. Lambert is only too happy to oblige and takes her to a training obstacle course where she’s beaten and bruised by various bits of potentially deadly pendulums, sharp spinning objects, and wobbly platforms. She keeps going and going until at the last jump, she falls, which Geralt notes. There’s a turning point in their relationship here as Geralt realises he needs to push her harder, whereas Ciri is still struggling with the idea of perfectionism and letting others guide her. A normal father-daughter relationship with various bastard uncles, then.
“What is lost”
Written by: Lauren Schmidt Hissrich and Claire Higgins
Directed by: Sarah O’Gorman
What’s interesting is that we finally get a look at how Geralt is starting to understand her power. He uses Ciri to guide them to the Leshy that killed Eskel, as she described being physically and mentally “pulled” by it. The battle is short-lived, however, as a new monster appears and kills the Leshy—a Myriapod. It has the skull of a wolf, ram horns, a segmented centipede body, and way too many eyes and claws. It’s said to be born of stellacite, making it a new and deadly monster on the continent—and it’s definitely connected to Ciri’s destiny. Just what the continent needs at a time like this: a new breed of monsters.
Back at Aretuza, Yennefer makes a sudden appearance just as Tissaia is about to officially declare her lost. She still hasn’t made any progress with Cahir—a magical barrier in his mind is preventing her from finding out what the Nilfgaardians are up to, but she’s about to have bigger problems. Alongside Vilgefortz, Tissaia’s making a bid to overthrow Stregobor, who decides Yennefer is a traitor and attempts to torture her for information. Tissaia intercepts them, and they decide now is the time to oust him, whereas Stregobor demands that Yen behead Cahir to demonstrate her allegiance to the Brotherhood.
Meanwhile, Istredd contradicts Stregobor’s story about a sorceress called Falka who wielded fire magic—she’s one of the reasons it’s forbidden, really. He also compares her to Yen, saying that given the chance, Yen would burn down Aretuza and wreak havoc on the world. Istredd defends his old flame, not before Stregobor shows us his scarred stumps where his hands were burned off by Falka—or so he says. We also get to see Triss who, for whatever reasons, has flame-red hair now and scars on her body from Yen’s fire spell. She’s far less confident this season, almost needy in a way—and before long, she’s sent away from Aretuza on a special mission.
We see the beginnings of the mistrust of the Brotherhood by the Northern kings in this episode, as Foltest makes an offhand comment. We know that soon in the Witcher timeline that sorceresses will be removed from court as they’re deemed untrustworthy and too powerful. The kings aren’t wrong—Istredd has defected somewhat to Nilfgaard, keen on uncovering secrets and helping elves even though both are now the enemy. And it’s no wonder that, in the end, Yen decides she’s had enough of being told what to do and decides she won’t kill Cahir, escaping with him instead to Velen. A sorceress has gotta do what a sorceress has gotta do to survive, even if it siding with a Nilfgaardian. In lieu of another spell, Yen knocks over various objects and sets the site ablaze.
Geralt of Trivia
- The wolves eat all of Eskel, including the Leshy stellacite bits.
- Something about Stregobor’s story just doesn’t add up