The Witcher After Yennefer

Elsewhere and in another time, Cirilla (Freya Allen) is chased by Nilfgaard soldiers and must hide herself in the woods. She shows a sharp instinct for survival and a strong desire for companionship, and she immediately falls into step with a young boy named Dara (Wilson Radjou-Pujalte). Dara is a new character created solely for The Witcher show, meant to serve as a sounding board for Ciri’s otherwise lonely escape, but Radjou-Pujalte plays him with a sweet charm that make it obvious why Ciri would trust him so immediately.

She also runs into civilians of Cintra, who have become bitter refugees harboring resentment against Calanthe. Ciri is forced to contend with how the villagers view her beloved grandmother, and as she learns more about the dubious choices Calanthe made, Ciri realizes just how out of the loop she’s been kept.

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Ironically, Geralt (Henry Cavill) ends up with the comedic relief story of the episode, as he runs into a struggling bard called Jaskier (Joey Batey). The latter is a character fans love or hate with no in-between, as he’s crass and clingy but clearly well-intentioned. Together, they embark on an episodic adventure that sheds light on the racial and inter-species tensions in the world of The Witcher once they meet Filavandrel, the ‘king’ of the elves.

The war against humans that he speaks of is intriguing, and his past heartbreaking, but neither are followed up on this season. However, there are subtle callbacks throughout: Istredd teaches Yennefer of the horrors humans have visited upon elves, and she then reveals that she’s half-elf, believing it’s part of the reason she in unlovable. Then there’s Ciri’s new friend Dara, an elf who extends protection to a human. Once more, the leads are bound together without even meeting.

Jaskier also offers to rewrite Geralt’s story in the form of song, making theirs a mutually beneficial relationship even if Geralt would rather ignore his new best friend. They’re in a buddy cop comedy of their own, which only becomes funnier when they run into Torque the Sylvan (Amit Shah). The supposed devil that Geralt was paid to kill this episode is actually a rather kind and highly intelligent creature who would rather exchange barbs with the Witcher than battle him.

Opinions on the show are already remarkably divided, but the strength of The Witcher is undoubtedly Lauren Hissrich’s grasp of the characters and commitment to telling their individual stories. If said characters call to you, then keep watching; if not, then there’s plenty of other shows in the stream.

Season one of The Witcher is currently streaming on Netflix.