‘The Witcher’ Review: Season 2 Faces Geralt with the Challenge of Being a Father

'The Witcher' Review: Season 2

When the first season of The Witcher was released on Netflix way back in December 2019, nobody knew what to expect. Netflix was betting on being a success, but months prior, the ending of Game of Thrones had left audiences around the world with a sour taste in their mouths. The ending of that show was a complete disappointment, and even its high production values could not save it from being doomed in people’s heads. 

The Witcher then came with the hopes of filling that space left by Game of Thrones, and unexpectedly, it kind of did. The show was a huge success both in terms of critics’ appraisal and with audiences around the world. This level of success was an automatic renewal for a second season, and it is finally arriving on Netflix with a batch of eight new episodes. Does it hold up against the second season?

From the first few episodes of the show, it is clear that the production values of the series have gone up quite considerably. The environments, costumes, lighting, and visual effects are all better overall. Even the design of some magical creatures seems more inspired than before. With a full two-year gap between seasons, it is nice to see that the time was well implemented in all the creative aspects of the show. 

'The Witcher' Review: Season 2 Faces Geralt with the Challenge of Being a Father

The showrunner, Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, has also opted for a more linear and straightforward approach to storytelling. The first season executed its story by jumping between different time frames without any indication. This approach confused a good size of the audience and decreased their enjoyment of the season. However, this time, things feel a lot more precise and clear when it comes to the timelines. 

They might have simplified the timelines, but the sprawling scale of the tale is still massive, as we jump between different settings for most of the season. We focus on the characters of Geralt and Ciri, as they arrive at the witcher home of Kaer Morhen, an ancient keep, now mostly in ruins, that serves as a secret headquarters for the witcher wolf clan. There, Geralt starts training Ciri in the witcher ways.

The other main focus is the character of Yennefer. Who, after the bloody battle that closes the first season, gets trapped in the political machinations of the mage council, the kings of the northern kingdoms and the invading forces of the Nilfgaardian. From these two main points of view, Yennefer is still the more interesting and nuanced of the storylines, as it throws a lot more fascinating things at the audience. 

If the Yennefer storyline is the most fascinating of the bunch, it is because Anya Chalotra just kills it in the role. She manages to give Yennefer a sense of being powerful and yet, vulnerable at the same time. It makes you feel for the character, and that traps the audience in the spell of being invested.

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Henry Cavill, on the other hand, is the big name actor in the show, and his Geralt is just as good as it was in the first season. Most of his interpretation comes from the games. At least in the way he presents himself and the voice he manages to use throughout the whole season, which sounds very similar to the voice that actor Doug Cockle uses in the games; rough and raspy. Cavill also manages to open up to tenderness every once in a while, which is appropriate as the character now faces the challenge of raising Princess Cirilla, from a lost puppy to maybe the first female witcher. 

Freya Allan plays Ciri and this time she has a lot more to do than just hide and run, as she did in the first season. Her story arc also becomes clearer and hints at the most mysterious and cosmic aspects of the show. It is really well done. The chemistry between her and Cavill is appropriate, and it develops really fast into the father/daughter relationship they are supposed to have. 

The rest of the cast does a fine job, especially on the side of the elves and mage characters. However, the new witcher characters, monster hunters just like Geralt leave a lot to be desired. Important characters like Eskel and Lambert seem to be miscast, and don’t offer the impact that such characters need to have. Things go better for the character of Vesemir, the oldest witcher alive, who serves as a father figure for the rest of the group. Kim Bodnia does a very good job with the role, and he’s also the closest to the depiction of the character in the games. 

Another minor quibble, It seems only Geralt has special witcher eyes. Everybody else has normal eyes, and it might sound contradictory, but it feels weird.

All in all, the progression of the story and the character development is really good and makes for a very strong season of television. The Witcher might never reach the highs of a show like Game of Thrones, but if this is the scale the show wants to work with, it doesn’t matter if they keep being consistent with the quality. 

SCORE: 9/10

  • Hrvoje Milakovic is co-owner of Fiction Horizon and a big cinephile. Apart from that, he likes to read comics, play games and collect action figures. He has been featured on LifeWire, Yahoo and IMDb, to name a few.