The Witcher Season 3, Part 1 feels like the payoff to a lot of buildup and when it comes to Geralt, Yennefer and Ciri, every second we get in the first half of the season is absolutely worth it. Everything else – except a Jaskier who is as charming as ever, and who fits within the dynamics of the main three perfectly – is a little superfluous, especially the White Flame and every second of the Elves, but it’s hard to care about that when the found family dynamics are working as well as they are.
But The Witcher’s failings are sure to catch up to the show in Part 2. The politics are at times confusing, at times incredibly naïve. Yennefer can just come back to Aretuza like nothing, Tissaia and the entire Brotherhood says one thing in Season 2, a different one in Season 3 and we’re supposed to look the other way because, eh …pretty people, fun clothes and convenient storylines? That’s not even going into how the show telegraphs Vilgefortz as the villain, or wastes Robbie Amell in a plot that is not just nonsensical, but also boring.
Thankfully, there’s enough in Part 1 to ignore the politics of it all. The first episode is basically fanfiction come to life – the good kind, with Yennefer and Geralt writing literal love letters to each other as Geralt’s anger thaws and Yennefer and Ciri figure out how to build a family, even while Geralt tries to resist the pull. The rest falls into place very easily, because the show that spent three seasons getting these characters to this point suddenly is out of subterfuge. It’s now found family time.
Father and Daughter, Mother and Daughter …
The best moments of the season come from that lack of subterfuge, and a lot of them are grounded in people outside the main dynamics pointing out what is obvious – Geralt, Yennefer and Ciri are a family. But there are also quiet moments of Ciri coming to Geralt for advice, fighting monsters together, but also apologizing to Yennefer after their fight, training with her, and of course, moments of Yennefer and Geralt finding their way back to each other.
We’ve already seen a lot of the bond between Geralt and Ciri, and Season 3 allows the bond between Yennefer and Ciri to start to form, and it does so in a way that feels natural, and organic. It’s not just because they are women, or because they both have magic, much less because Geralt wants them to have a relationship, Yennefer and Ciri truly learn to care for each other as people who have found something in common. Their relationship is theirs and will be forged by them, and them alone. Geralt will, if anything, look at them sideways in approval.
Fate and Choice
Geralt and Yennefer have always stood on the precipice of making the choice they make once there’s Ciri in the middle, not to bring them together, but to remind them that they really do work better as a unit. She isn’t a catalyst, as much as the thing that makes them believe what they have is worth the leap of faith. Because the rest …the rest has always been there. The love has always been felt, even if it had never been confessed. They both just had to make the choice. To stay. To fight by each other’s side. Not to run away.
And now, they’re not just fighting for each other. They’re fighting for Ciri. For a legacy that is more than about themselves. Sometimes we make the choices and sometimes the choices are made for us, but in the end, all that matters is how we respond, and Geralt and Yennefer have already decided how they will: together.
Best (Worst?) Uncle
Jaskier is both the best and the worst uncle of them all in this season, and his dynamics with Geralt, Ciri and Yennefer are very much what they’ve always been. In fact, we get to see less of the Yennefer dynamics we got to spend so much time last season on, in favor of more time spent with Geralt, and more time spent on Jaskier’s romantic life, which would be all good if it weren’t for the fact that he really needs to learn to pick his moments.
Sometimes, you’re babysitting, and you shouldn’t take your eyes off your surrogate niece, Jaskier. Yennefer asked you one thing!
Overall, the first part of Season 3 builds up, with a very strong first episode, and an outstanding fifth episode that feels like the best this show has been since Season 1. But three characters that work do not make a show, and with only three episodes to build up an exit for Henry Cavill that makes sense as the show leads into Liam Hemsworth playing Geralt of Rivia in Season 4, it’s hard to tell whether the things that made The Witcher work in the first five episodes can be replicated in the last three and whether they are sustainable in the long term. For the sake of the show, and Yennefer and Ciri as characters, one hopes they can be. But it’s hard to be sure. And therein lies the issue.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of The Witcher Season 3, Part 1? Share with us in the comments below!