Review by Dan Skip Allen
Netflix has had a few popular shows for young audiences, such as Cobra Kai, Stranger Things, and The Witcher. The Witcher is based on a video game and book series. The show represents those two separate mediums nicely; but also stands on its own as an entirely different thing unto its own. Henry Cavill, as Geralt of Rivia, the title character, is quite the draw, however, that will only last for this third season. He's gone after this season, so season three has to deliver.
As we pick up season three of The Witcher, the three main characters — Geralt (Henry Cavill), Yennefer (Anya Chalotta), and Ciri (Freya Allen) — are on a journey through some random woods. The purpose of their journey is to keep Ciri safe. There are plenty of people trying to capture her and return her to her place or use her for nefarious reasons. Using a bit of sneakiness involving the bard Jaskier (Joey Batey), they figure out that a member of the Brotherhood is trying to take over the North.
The Witcher has always had a way of being entertaining. It's a show with some good genre sensibilities. One of those is the monsters the characters fight. This season has three nasty monsters Cavill's character has to fight. The creators are good at coming up with interesting and creepy-looking creatures for the world.
One of the things about The Witcher that has improved from Season 1 to 3 is the production value/design. It seemed a bit amateurish in season one, and now it seems Netflix has spent some money on this show. The look of it is much better. The sets don't look cheap. It seems like people have taken more pride in this series and put more effort into making it look better. Now, it'll never look as good as Game of Thrones, but it's better than it has been.
Another season this season is better than the previous ones is the writing. The scripts by Lauren Schmidt Hissrich and many others have been better than previous seasons. They have a more nuanced feel, where multiple characters have separate arcs, but also fit into an overall storyline for the entire season. Split into two halves, the first five episodes of season two do a great job of setting up the second batch of episodes.
The best episode of this batch of episodes is the fifth episode. It features a ball where all the main players except two are in play. They literally have a dance around this big ballroom where they are trying to manipulate and gain favor from Cavill's character. The games they play in this episode show how much the direction and writing have improved from season one to three. The various moving around and switching partners made for interesting television. This was a good change from all the fantasy stuff the show is known for.
There are just so many different hands on this season that it has me excited for the second half. Various subplots and character arcs make me intrigued by what's in the future of the show. The three main actors have come a long way from season one of The Witcher. Henry Cavill, which was the main draw going into this series, is now part of a true ensemble of actors who bring their best to the table. Add in better production design, creatures, and writing, and you have a good first part of season three of The Witcher.
The Witcher is now streaming on Netflix. Five out of eight episodes reviewed.