Friday, January 28, 2022

‘The Witcher’ Recap: Season 2, Episode 1 “A Grain of Truth”

In the second season premier of Netflix’s hit series The Witcher, the episode picks up where the series left off, in the aftermath of the Battle of Sodden Hill. The episode catches audiences up with Geralt of Rivia, Ciri, Yennefer of Vengerberg, Tissaia, Cahir and Fringilla.

Where We Left Off

Following an eerie beginning in a mostly-abandoned village and a mysterious monster attack, we rejoin Tissaia and Vilgeforge on the battlefield of Sodden Hill as the pair survey the many, many dead bodies littering the ground. Tissaia searches only for one: Yennefer of Vengerberg. The pair come to the conclusion that Yennefer is dead following her use of fire magic to win the battle, passing the information on to Geralt of Rivia, who has wandered onto the battlefield in search of Yennefer. Riding his faithful steed Roach alongside him is Geralt’s destiny herself, Princess Ciri.

Where Do We Go From Here?

As the war continues to rage on in the Continent, Geralt knows the Continent is no longer safe for himself or Ciri, as the pair are both different and unsafe as a result. The idea of being different holds throughout the entirety of the episode, with the fear of being labeled as a monster simply for being different by those who do not understand present in multiple characters. As audiences know, the world of The Witcher is not so black and grey, and there are many monsters, both human and not, throughout the course of the series’ events.

New Family and Old Friends

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After Ciri and Geralt bond next to a fire because they both have trouble sleeping due to nightmares, the pair set off in search of a safe place to stay. The pair end up in the manor of one of Geralt’s old friends — Nivellen. Nivellen is nearly killed by Geralt before revealing his identity due to his new beast-like appearance. Nivellen divulges to the pair that he has been cursed by a priestess following his past misdeeds, which he says was raiding a temple. However, his very rough exterior and coarse diction don’t keep Geralt and Ciri from staying with the boar-like man and enjoying the spoils of his magic, such as conjured foods and alcohol.

Hell Hath No Fury Like Tissaia and Yennefer

Tissaia, reeling from the heartbreak of losing Yennefer, is getting her revenge through the torture of Cahir. While torturing Cahir, Tissaia explains to the man that “It is not in my nature to be cruel, but you have taken someone from me that I care for deeply”. Tissaia isn’t the only sorceress feeling scorned currently though, as we also find out in this episode Yennefer did survive, and she is stuck with perhaps the last person she wants to be stuck with — Fringilla. As the season unravels, however, the pair may yet have to find a way to work together as the rest of the camp is attacked and killed, leaving them alone.

An Evening With Friends Monsters

While Geralt and Nivellen play a knife-throwing drinking game, Ciri is visited by Nivellen’s cat in the bed she has retired to for the night. Only, Nivellen lied, and Vereena is certainly not a cat, but a beautiful young brunette woman with erratic movements and unsettling eyes. Geralt has already figured out that the monster who attacked the village can fly and is immediately on the hunt. It turns out Vereena is actually a bruxa, a powerful type of vampire whose true form is that of a giant bat with sharp fangs and claws.

Geralt discovers Vereena feeding on Nivellen and the first monster fight of the season ensues. The fight scene is intense and frantic, showing Vereena changing forms between woman and bat several times. In the end, Nivellen impales Vereena with a stick, followed by declarations of love between the pair before Geralt decapitates the vampire. As it turns out, Nivellen and Vereena were in love, both able to ignore the things that make them outsiders to the rest of the world for one another. Vereena’s death cures Nivellen of his curse, which he reveals was truly cast upon him because he raped the priestess of the temple. After pleading for Geralt to kill him to end his suffering, Geralt tells him to do it himself since he is mortal now. Geralt and Ciri leave the village to head for Kaer Morhen, leaving Nivellen to a life of loneliness.

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The Witcher season 2 is streaming on Netflix now.

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