Sunday, August 14, 2022

‘The Witcher’ Recap: Season 2, Episode 8 “Family”

TELEVISIONNETFLIX'The Witcher' Recap: Season 2, Episode 8 "Family"

Blood is not always thicker than water, and the season 2 finale of Netflix’s The Witcher proves it. Sometimes, our true family are the people we choose are our family. The finale will make you feel a wide range of emotions — frustration, fear, sadness, etc. — but ultimately leaves fans excited for season 3. The season 2 finale is full of vengeance, plotting, fighting at Kaer Morhen and two monumental reveals, so lets dive in.

The Elvish Finale

Dara, it turns out, has been acting as a Redanian spy, communicating with Dijkstra about everything happening with Nilfgaard in Cintra. Because he decided to stop being a spy right before baby Fiona was murdered in her crib, Dara blames himself for the murder and assumes it was one of Dijkstra’s agents. Francesca, who is always empathetic to the elves, reassures Dara that her baby’s death was not his fault, though angry and grieving the death of her child, decides to leave Cintra for Redania to seek justice. Once in Redania, Francesca uses her magic to murder what can be safely assumed every single baby in the city. As Francesca seeks justice for her people and not just her baby, this will likely not be the last brutality we see from the elves.

Istredd is captured by the elves in Redania, and in a bid to save his life and help the elves reveals Ciri’s status as Hen Ikeir, or Elder Blood. Francesca’s hope is restored with this information, as she believes Ciri could be used to restore the elves to their position as the rulers of the Continent. The elves have officially joined the hunt for Ciri.

The North Muddles

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In the previous episode, Tissaia and Vilgefortz receive a visit from Dijkstra, who is seeking to warn them of Ciri’s power and the destruction it could bring to the world. Tissaia, recognizing that Ciri’s power would be too much for the Brotherhood to sufficiently handle, chooses to call on King Foltest, King Henselt, and Queen Meve to decide what should be done about Ciri. While the four of them agree that Ciri should be eliminated at all cost, as well as anyone who chooses to protect her, King Vizimir of Redania wishes to combine kingdoms through marriage so that he can assume control of Cintra and solidify Redania’s place as the strongest kingdom in the North. Essentially, the Northern kingdoms cannot come together to form one plan of action that works best for everyone, which will no doubt lead to back-stabbing and double-agents at play … if they’re not already.

Redanian Intelligence

One of the two big reveals of the episode (unless you’re familiar with Witcher lore through the books or video games) is that the owl everyone in Redania has been talking to is actually one of the oldest, most powerful sorceresses on the Continent, Phillipa Eilhart. Phillipa is the court mage for Redania and a polymorph, meaning she can change her shape to that of an animal, in this instance an owl. We learn that Phillipa and Dijkstra are indeed in cahoots together, which cannot bode well for anyone in their path.

Emperor Emhyr’s New Groove

The arrival of Emperor Emhyr means Fringilla and Cahir need to scramble to an excuse as to why things in Cintra have been going so poorly and come up with a way to impress the White Flame soon. The result is that the two spend a truly embarrassing amount of time telling Emhyr that it was always their plan to turn the elvish against Redania and thus killing the elvish baby was always in their plans. Unfortunately for the pair, Emperor Emhyr was actually the one who called for the baby to be murdered, so they spent all that time lying to his face for no reason. Emhyr has the pair carried off for their treason.

The second of the two big reveals of the episode (again, unless you’re familiar with Witcher lore) is exactly why Emperor Emhyr is so set on capturing Ciri and what he wants with her. In the final moments of the episode Emperor Emhyr turns to reveal his face … and he is none other than Duny, Ciri’s actual biological father.

Voleth Meir vs. Kaer Morhen

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Keeping Ciri distracted in the dark recesses of her mind with the friends, family, and home she lost so long ago back in Cintra, Voleth Meir wreaks havoc in Kaer Morhen, traveling the halls to murder Witcher after Witcher as they sleep. While Vesemir instructs the remaining Witchers to drink what elixirs they can to prepare for a fight against the Voleth Meir-possessed Ciri. Geralt arrives in time to convince Vesemir to try to coax the entity out of Ciri before resorting to killing the young princess. The fight is not going well, despite Jaskier and Yennefer providing jasper stone and the Witchers giving it mostly everything they’ve got.

Voleth Meir uses Ciri’s power to scream at the Witcher medallion tree, causing it to split in half revealing a monolith. The monolith inside shatters and activates a portal, drawing basilisks into Kaer Morhen. The Witchers are back to fighting with the arrival of the basilisks, taking an absolute beating as Geralt continues trying to coax Voleth Meir out of Ciri or reach Ciri, wherever she is. While Jaskier tells Geralt of the jasper stone, Vesemir takes the opportunity to attack Ciri/Voleth Meir, though it is to no avail as the wounds heal immediately. Geralt realizes they’re approaching this situation in an entirely wrong way as Voleth Meir reveals she loves to feel the hatred pouring from him.

Yennefer’s Sacrifice & Ciri’s Homecoming

Geralt, choosing to take a more emotional and gentle approach, turns his effort entirely to trying to reach Ciri, begging her to return to them and telling her that they all need her. Even Lambert, perhaps the most unlikely of the Witchers to, chimes in with a positive comment and plea to Ciri to return to them. Vesemir also joins in on the pleas, apologizing for trying to kill her. Yennefer finally joins the fight and, seeing what is happening, chooses to sacrifice herself (temporarily) to lure Voleth Meir out of Ciri. She slits her wrists, distracting the entity with her pain so the Witchers can continue repeating positive affirmations to Ciri to pull her out. Even Yennefer, historically selfish, uses a mind connection to tell Ciri to let her give her everything she has. Ciri, finally hearing Geralt and taking his words to heart as he tells her that they are her family now, chooses to leave her birth parents and the Cintra great hall to return to Kaer Morhen. This pushes Voleth Meir out, who takes sanctuary in Yennefer’s body.

The Wild Hunt

Ciri must tap into her power quickly to open a portal so they can expel Voleth Meir and be rid of her once and for all. Unfortunately, things don’t go exactly to plan and Yennefer, Geralt, and Ciri are all pulled into the portal as well. They reemerge into an unfamiliar red world, and Voleth Meir exits on her own vocation. The trio is fast within the sights of The Wild Hunt, who are racing toward them on horseback and beckoning for Ciri to join them. Ciri grips hands with Geralt and Yennefer, and the trio is teleported back to Kaer Morhen. Not only is the trio safe, but we also get the first real glimpse of Ciri’s teleportation powers and the fact that she can do so between worlds.

What Is Destined Cannot Be Avoided

Yennefer has her powers back following her sacrifice and Voleth Meir entering her body. Geralt, still hurt by Yennefer’s betrayal, tells her that he doesn’t forgive her but that she does need her. Yennefer and Geralt come to the agreement that they should train Ciri together, therefore solidifying the fact that the three are a family. The pair reassure Ciri that not only will they train her, but they will protect and help her as well. After all, what is destined cannot be avoided, and it shouldn’t be.

The Witcher season 2 is streaming now on Netflix.

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