Within the finale of The Witcher’s third season — which additionally occurs to be the ultimate episode the place Henry Cavill will play the lead position — our hero, Geralt of Rivia, spends most of his time in mattress. This isn’t an exaggeration: after getting his ass completely kicked in a earlier episode, he’s caught recuperating in a forest, attempting his greatest to get wholesome so he can proceed his quest. It’s a weird selection that sidelines Geralt in what ought to, in idea, be an essential second for the collection, the character, and the actor. As a substitute of sending Cavill out on a excessive observe, the season simply type of… ends.
It didn’t need to be this manner. When it debuted method again in 2019, Netflix’s adaption of The Witcher proved to be a surprisingly trustworthy model of the story, one which was darkish and humorous on the similar time. Issues bought off monitor in season 2 when the present moved away from each the supply materials and its principal solid of characters, placing rather more give attention to political squabbling and worldbuilding than the primary trio of Geralt (Cavill), Ciri (Freya Allan), and Yenn (Anya Chalotra).
Season 3, which was break up into two volumes, was an opportunity to make things better. The primary 5 episodes gave the impression to be a very good setup for what promised to be an thrilling finale. Geralt was prepping for an enormous showdown with the brand new huge unhealthy, Ciri was lastly changing into unbiased, and Yenn had largely stopped making choices that made completely no sense. Quantity 2, which consists of solely three episodes, squanders virtually all of that potential.
The remainder of this submit consists of main spoilers for the primary three seasons of The Witcher.
Now, to be truthful, there’s an epic showdown as promised. The primary new episode contains a large battle at Aretuza, the house base of the mages, the place the dominion of Redania and a bunch of the final surviving elves seem to battle towards the magic customers for varied causes: Redania’s spymaster needs to purge disloyal mages from their ranks, whereas the elves are combating on behalf of the rival nation of Nilfgaard. The politics are complicated, however you don’t really want to grasp them to comply with this large battle during which many individuals die, together with one poor soul who actually explodes in bloody chunks.
Extra importantly, the battle units up the very best a part of the ultimate episodes: the long-awaited battle between Geralt and a traitorous mage, Vilgefortz (Mahesh Jadu), who’s revealed to have been pulling the strings all alongside. He’s additionally a badass fighter, with a magical employees that may warp between his fingers at will. Their battle is just not solely a strong piece of motion but additionally a uncommon probability to see Geralt truly lose to a a lot stronger foe. Like Wolverine, Geralt all the time appears to claw his technique to victory irrespective of the chances, however not this time.
And that’s the place all the pieces goes downhill in a short time.
The aftermath of the battle leaves all of our principal solid members adrift. Resulting from some magical teleportation brought on by her uncontrollable powers, Ciri finds herself in a desert the place she wanders alone together with her ideas earlier than finally being captured for the bounty on her head. This takes a whole episode. Geralt, in the meantime, was overwhelmed so badly that he needed to retreat to the forest house of the dryads for some magical therapeutic. This takes virtually a whole episode — the ultimate one, I’d add — during which he’s both mendacity in mattress or struggling to face up and maintain a sword. Yenn is flittering away within the background, tying up free ends with the few surviving mages from Aretuza. None of them are doing something remotely fascinating, which is an issue after they’re the narrative and emotional core of your entire present.
Alongside the best way, there are a surprisingly massive variety of deaths, a lot of which really feel sudden, as if the writers are pruning the solid for a considerably contemporary begin in season 4. The 2 precise optimistic issues the ultimate quantity does contain setting Ciri up for a way more lively position sooner or later and introducing a brand new companion for Geralt named Milva (Meng’er Zhang), an archer who helps nurse him again to well being and refuses to take any of his shit. Whereas Geralt tries to push ahead in his quest despite the fact that he can barely rise up, Milva consistently bests him, reminding him that if she had been the enemy, “You’d be lifeless by now.”
And thus, like Geralt, the season simply type of limps to a conclusion. There are a number of small revelations that can affect the longer term, nevertheless it’s startling how a lot these episodes get away from the strengths of the present. It’s not humorous, the motion is sparse, there are only a few monsters, and the core solid is given little to do. That is notably stunning for Geralt; even because the present continued its downward spiral, Cavill’s flip because the witcher remained a spotlight. It appears that evidently the present gained’t be acknowledging the ceremonial passing of the white wig from Cavill to Liam Hemsworth, so we would find yourself with a Fresh Prince situation.
Possibly a contemporary face will breathe some life into the present because it plods on for not less than a number of extra seasons. However Cavill’s exit wasn’t solely anticlimactic — it made me much less than ever in following Geralt’s endless quest.
The total third season of The Witcher is streaming now on Netflix.