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The Witcher

The Witcher Season 3 Volume 2

Goodbye Geralt, you shall be dearly missed.

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After a somewhat brief delay we're back with The Witcher Season 3. I know why Netflix likes to split its bigger hits into two parts nowadays, but from any creative perspective it makes no sense. Even the showrunners for The Witcher weren't informed that the latest season would have this month-long break, which didn't allow them to plan for it nor work around it.

And so, just before The Witcher Season 3 Volume 1 fades into memory, Netflix hits us with another three episodes. Yep, only three, just to really hammer home that there was no point in the batch idea at all. Disregarding that pointless concept for now, let's dive back into the Continent and pick up where we left off.

The Witcher

Following on from the cliff-hanger ending of episode 5, Geralt begins this second volume with a knife at his throat as chaos reigns at Aretuza. Redania is attempting to neutralise the Brotherhood, assisted by some of its members. I can't really give much more of the plot away without veering towards spoiler territory, as a lot of big things happen towards the end of Season 3, things which book fans will have been anticipating for a long time. The execution of those things is up to interpretation, but while I find that not everything sticks the landing, for the most part we largely follow the same events at Tor Lara and onwards, which feels like for the first time in this show that I can actually say it's sticking to the source material, even if it still can't manage to do that material justice.

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There are still inconsistencies in The Witcher and problems which hold it back from being a show worth recommending, keeping it in the lane of a perfect thing to waste time with if that's what you're looking for. Something that is better than some shows out there, but not good enough to stand where it should. It is one of the great Netflix examples of content over creativity, something that is there and gone in about a week as we look forward to the next series. I've already gone over my many problems with The Witcher in the Season 3 Volume One review, so to spare time I'm going to try and just go over the new issues that crop up and the serious offenders that plague the show still. Beginning with the latter, the dialogue still feels cheap and lazy, without any sense of self, nor any nuance. It makes sure that the viewer knows everything that's going on by smashing them over the head with awkward exposition that leaves you asking nothing and wondering about little else. Even characters who keep to the shadows are often shown in private meetings, so that the audience is left feeling as if they're being treated like children. There are no moves behind our backs, leaving a sense that you're going through the motions as you watch. For some, this might make the viewing experience easier, more digestible, but I like to be challenged by shows, to think about what the use of certain words mean, but in The Witcher I find none of that. Moreover, it feels like almost every character is given the same voice. Performances help to know who's speaking, but in the lines themselves it is difficult to see a sense of identity in these characters.

The Witcher

Speaking of the performances, actually, I found these to be a bit of a double-edged sword in Volume Two. We're introduced to a couple of new and important faces in the latter half of this season, and some of them really don't hit the mark. This isn't a complaint that they don't look like their book or game counterparts, but I just found the overall performances of Milva and Falka in particular to be rather wooden. Of course, there's an element of letting this play out, but it's not a good first impression to say the least. Falka - who is meant to be this terrifying figure of the world's past - fails to intimidate and therefore can't be taken seriously, while Milva's delivery has me disinterested in a character I know we'll spend a lot of time with moving forward. On the other hand, our regulars such as Yennefer, Jaskier, and Tissaia keep up strong performances, even with some weaker material. I found myself liking Triss a lot more this time around, and there are sparks of the mad, maniacal villain in Vilgefortz, too. Henry Cavill as Geralt only makes me wish he'd stick around, as I fear this show truly will go off the deep end without him.

Other things that frustrated me this season were the elves and mages. The experiment the show has done with giving us much more focus on the elves has failed miserably. I find myself caring less and less about their plight as it seems there's no actual plot happening there and they're only the faction that just keeps getting the boots to them. Mages in The Witcher are still struggling with major consistencies. Are they powerful, or not? Well, it depends on the show's needs. One moment they can teleport with fire all over their hands, while the next they're failing to fight a soldier two-on-one.

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The Witcher

As I've said before, these flaws do not make The Witcher the worst show on earth, as some would have you believe. Its action remains solid throughout and now we're getting to the main story of the books, perhaps there is hope we'll get something a bit more consistent. The multiple false endings of the final episode don't necessarily point in that direction, but even if it continues on its middling road, it is a perfectly serviceable show.

The Witcher Season 3 Volume Two was more watchable than Volume One, but only just. It still suffers from major issues and I can't help but feel as if this series could have been so much more. Still, strong performances, action that is well-choreographed and shot, as well as better adherence to the book plots help to pull this out of the gutter where the truly trash TV dwells.

Elves and Mages

05 Gamereactor UK
5 / 10
overall score
is our network score. What's yours? The network score is the average of every country's score

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