Review: The Witcher Season 2 Premiere Episode Is Building To Something Bigger
Netflix’s original novel adaptation of The Witcher was a massive success for the streamer. Based on the books, which eventually became highly popular games, the franchise is now embarking onto another medium, with TV and movies. After the success of season 1 of The Witcher, Netflix went all in on the franchise, planning to invest a lot of time and effort into building the brand into something amazing. But going back to the original live-action series, the new season promises a lot more to come. So, check out my non-spoiler review of The Witcher season 2 premiere episode, to see where the new season of the first series is headed.
Please note: this review of The Witcher season 2 premiere episode will discuss some season 1 spoilers. Read on at your own discretion.
The Witcher Season 1 Recap
Hey! This guy’s alive! | Image via Netflix.
The first season of The Witcher was, interesting, to say the least. The storytelling approach featured three arcs for the three main characters, happening over three different timelines. But none of that was clear at all until well into the halfway point of the season. The Witcher was one of the first-ever shows, that I found, that did not dumb itself down to make it more palatable for a wider audience. The story, how it was told and the world-building were all layered and complex. But everything was there for audiences to figure out on their own. No pesky exposition or laying it all out for everyone. So much so that important details were just mentioned in a word or a look, but revealed so much more about the world and its dynamics.
The Witcher was very well received, potentially for this reason, but also due to the amazing performances. King of the Geeks, Henry Cavill himself cast as the monster-hunting Witcher Geralt was a stroke of genius. Anya Chalotra’s Yennefer was a revelation. While Freya Allen’s Ciri was a force onto herself. Season 1 followed the separate stories of these characters, culminating in them all meeting up by the end. Season 1 ended with Geralt finally meeting his destiny in Ciri, but Yennefer’s fate left more uncertain. The adrenaline and stakes roll over into the new season, as The Witcher season 2 premiere episode picks up exactly after those events. Like, immediately after!
The Witcher Season 2 Premiere Episode Gets a Running Start
Picking up where we left off. | Image via Netflix.
One of my bigger complaints about Netflix’s, or any streamer’s, binging model of television, is that we marathon a show, and then have to wait over a year for its next season. Strangers Things, for example, is a show where a lot happens every season. But after more than a year, we return to a time jump for the characters too, with a new setting, new dynamics and a new story. So often, it’s difficult to remember the previous season’s events. This is probably why Netflix is also great at releasing fun recap videos. But it makes it challenging for everyday viewers to follow the show season to season. And having to rewatch every season before the next feels impractical for the everyday casual viewer.
Since The Witcher season 2 picks up immediately after the events of the season 1 ending, it’s much easier to get right back into the show. The same emotions, anxiety, tension and anticipation carry over, no matter how long the break was, and we’re right back into the joy of seeing Ciri and Geralt finally uniting. Having seen Yennefer in her vision, the first episode of season 2 features Geralt and Ciri searching for her. We’re led to believe that she’s gone; lost in the battle at Sodden. But we know better. Especially from the trailers. So Geralt and Ciri move on a find refuge at the house of a nearby friend of Geralt’s.
There’s A Weird Beauty and the Beast Angle to This Witcher Episode
Story time within story time. | Image via Netflix.
At the friend’s house, Geralt discovers that his buddy has a curse on him, making him a walking-talking Boar. But one who can do magic too. During their stay, they discover Nivellan (Kristofer Hivju), the friend, is hiding a secret worse than his curse. What follows is seemingly one of the more procedural monsters of the week style episodes, that I don’t know will connect to the larger series. But as season 1 taught us, everything in The Witcher connects to the story. So I’m sure elements of this episode will return. Especially given how it ends.
Strange enough, the premiere episode of The Witcher season 2 seems more like an establishing story, allowing us to breathe after the high adrenaline events of the battle from season 1. It’s also one where Ciri and Geralt are just figuring each other out. Geralt knows Ciri is different, and Ciri has still to figure out what he plans to do with her secret. But it’s not all tense, as they both seem to also acknowledge that she’s his destiny and he will protect her no matter what.
Where Does the Netflix Series Go from the Premiere Episode?
She’s alive! | Image via Netflix.
It’s hard to see where things are going in this premiere episode of season 2. It was clear in season 1 that the overall show was going to culminate in a found-family aspect for the three characters. But it looks like, while season 1 focused on the characters, season 2 will finally give us more of the conflict in the world. Don’t get me wrong, season 1 did a great job of establishing the world along with the smaller stories, but it happened in the background. The world-building was in service of the characters. But in season 2 we may finally hear of who or what the White Light is that Fringella (Mimi Ndiweni) has such faith in. We’ll know why Nilfgaard is hell-bent on conquering the continent.
We already know that Geralt is returning to Kaer Morwen, the home of the Witchers that we saw in the prequel anime, Nightmare Of The Wolf. So how will they factor into this larger world and its still, yet-to-be-revealed story? And most importantly, when will Yen, Geralt and Ciri become the happy family that we all need them to be!? These are the burning questions I have after The Witcher season 2 premiere episode.
The Witcher season 2 premieres on Netflix on December 17, 2021.
What are you most excited to see from season 2 of The Witcher. Let me know in the comments below.
Featured image via Netflix.
Shah Shahid is an entertainment writer, movie critic (so he thinks), host of the Split Screen Podcast (on Apple Podcasts & everywhere else) and filmy father on a mission to educate his girls on decades of film history. Armed with uncontrollable sarcasm and cautious optimism, Shah loves discussing film, television and comic book content until his wife’s eyes glaze over. So save her by engaging him on his own blog at BlankPageBeatdown.com or on Twitter @theshahshahid.