The Witcher, a well-known franchise, is back on Netflix. Returning for a third season after The Witcher: Blood Origin, which was poorly received by fans of the show and the books. Netflix has once again chosen to use its two-part structure for this season of The Witcher. This is a structure that I tend to hate as there is always a month way between the ‘seasons’. Season 3 Volume One is already streaming now on Netflix and Season Three Volume Two will be streaming on Netflix, on July 27th. While this may not be the final season of The Witcher as it has been renewed for a fourth season, this is the final season for Henry Cavill who stars as Geralt of Rivia. From Season Four onwards, Liam Hemsworth will be taking over from Henry as Geralt. This caused a great uproar when it was originally announced and some people may still not be in favor of it but we can only wait and see where Liam will take us when Season Four arrives.
The Witcher is based on a book series of six novels and 15 short stories, all which are written by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. The entire series revolves around the witcher, Geralt of Rivia. Netflix’s adaptation of the book series roughly revolves around the same thing. Witchers are given supernatural abilities from a young age to battle wild beasts and monsters. Geralt may be the main character in The Witcher but during season three, Yennefer and Ciri seem to be more of a main character than Geralt himself.
This seasons starts where the last one leaves us off, we see Geralt, Yennefer and Ciri on the run from some bounty hunters. On the run, Ciri still continues her training in fighting and magic from Yennefer. This was a great start to the season and set it up well. The season always tended to be better when all three of these characters were together on screen or when Yennefer or Ciri were with Geralt. Sadly this doesn’t stick throughout the season, they eventually split up and this where it starts to go downhill for me. While the start of this season did seem lovely, seeing Ciri with her new found family. It’s hard to forget that Yennefer did betray them in Season Two and it just seems like the show forgot itself. While there are mentions of the betrayal and there seems to be some distance between Geralt and Yennefer, it barely lasts the whole episode and seems to be resolved quite quickly.
The season’s main focus is centred around Ciri on the run from these people who are hunting her and for the most part, it’s confusing. Just like previous seasons of The Witcher, the way its all structured ends up making the storyline that’s taking place feel very convoluted when it should be simple to gather. It’s sad to see because it feels like if you haven’t read the novels which came before, then you’re not going to be able to gather 100% what’s going on. The show seems to always go back and forth between Geralt and Ciri, and the political state of the world. It didn’t help the show and only made it seem like a mess.
The action that took place when the season did have some was beautifully choreographed and we were met with some one take scenes that were seamlessly integrated into the fights. There’s a scene midway through Vol. 1, where Ciri runs away from Yennefer and looks for Geralt. During this scene, the wild hunt seem to find her and begin to chase her down. Miraculously, Geralt comes to the rescue and saves her. This scene felt insanely rushed as characters just suddenly appeared where they needed to be. Older seasons of The Witcher were good because they went into extreme detail, this season misses all of that and takes the only realism left in the show out of it.
In the fourth episode, Geralt, Ciri, and Jaskier are attacked by a monster on a ship. The fight showcases Ciri’s growth and reminds us of the monster hunts from the first season. Ciri’s journey in this season is a highlight, as we see her facing challenges and realizing she is just a young person going through a lot. The final episode is visually stunning but messy, with too much back and forth and little plot advancement. It becomes repetitive and doesn’t contribute much to the overall story.
In contrast to Volume 1, Volume 2 represents a complete turn of events. The story picks up just where it left off, and it doesn’t slow down throughout the first episode. This pace is expected when watching The Witcher show, even though there are instances when there is no other option but to slow down. The story is more effectively told because it is clear what is happening. The best battle in the entire series is in Episode 6, and it features unforgettable moments. Every character has their chance to shine, and this episode also features big trouble for Geralt. At times, the suspense of not knowing how it would all turn out was intense.
Ciri owns Episode Seven; she occupies the entire runtime of the episode. We watch her as she has hallucinations and goes through her own tribulations. She undergoes a significant character arc in this episode of the show, making it one of the more compelling times to watch her go it alone. The episode featured the best cinematography this season, in addition to a fantastic storyline and advancement for Ciri. The stunning and fascinating cinematography makes this episode stand out from the rest of the series as being the most distinctive. A few shocking revelations are made in the hour-long final episode, which neatly sets up everything for the next season.
This season had its share of highs and lows, but the performances were the one constant. This season, Freya Allen gives her all in her role as Ciri, and it’s clear that she’s developed alongside the character. Anya Chalotra revealed a different side of Yennefer than we are used to seeing; she was more openly vulnerable in her relationships and with her sentiments, which Chalotra was able to convey effectively through her performance. In some parts, Joey Batey’s portrayal of Jaskier steals the show. It’s his strongest take on the character yet, and he manages to keep the hilarity in the show while also keeping it grounded. Finally, Henry Cavill demonstrates why he was selected for the role of Geralt. He embodies the character so well and you can see the love he has for the character and show with his performance. Liam Hemsworth has some big boots to fill, especially if he is to able to hold the same on screen chemistry with co-workers Anya Chalotra, Freya Allen and Joey Batey.
Overall, The Witcher Season 3 has its up and downs and struggles to find its style most of the time but by the end, it’s an enjoyable watch that has you wanting another season. The Two-Part structure does hurt the show and the season would’ve been better watched by its viewers if it was released all at once. The structure is a practice that should be dropped by Netflix and they should go back to their original ways of just dropping the entire season or they could release the episodes weekly like their international shows.
The Witcher Season 3 Volume 2 is streaming now on Netflix.