The Witcher (2019) s02e01 – A Grain of Truth

Despite “The Witcher” taking place in a world of magic and monsters, they don’t come up with a cool way to explain why Freya Allan’s all of a sudden got brown eyebrows this season. This episode picks up immediately after last season’s cliffhanger, with Henry Cavill and Allan finally united and trying to find Anya Chalotra. MyAnna Buring’s also trying to find Chalotra, who tapped into the fire magicks to defeat the bad guys last time, and everyone sort of thinks she spontaneously combusted from the effort.

So fire, lots of fire, potentially could’ve singed Allan’s eyebrows, made them visible. Instead of the transparent blonde they were the entire last season. Allan’s aged a little between season filming, no doubt, but with the different eyebrows—it takes a while to get used to her new look. Especially since the season one recap has a bunch of the transparent blonde eyebrows.

After finding out Chalotra’s presumed dead, a stoically mourning Cavill heads toward the Witcher winter palace, Allan in tow. It’s where Witchers go to chill and prepare for a summer of monster hunting. It’s unclear. Especially since the episode opens with a group of travelers stopping in a small village and being picked off by a flying monster. When Cavill and Allan show up in the town, it plays like it’s their destination. But apparently not. Luckily Cavill’s got a friend nearby, and so he takes Allan into a Beauty and the Beast adaptation.

Kristofer Hivju—Tormund from “Game of Thrones” but beastly most of the episode—looks like a warthog man but has a bunch of fun magic and is old friends with Cavill. He doesn’t know anything about the village being empty, also ignore he’s apparently got something living in his attic.

Meanwhile, Buring is back at the Mage Fortress trying to figure out how to get prisoner Eamon Farren to talk. Buring’s upset about Chalotra being dead and will make Farren pay. Except, of course, Chalotra’s not dead; she’s really being held prisoner by Farren’s mage pal, Mimi Ndiweni.

The main plot with Cavill and Allan getting more and more suspicious at Hivju’s, even though he seems trustworthy, is pretty good. It’s maybe not the best adventure for Allan and Cavill if you just binged the first season and were waiting for them to get together, but it’s a well-executed Beauty and the Beast riff. Agnes Born plays a mysterious woman Allan encounters—who knows Allan’s got magic too—and she’s good. It works out, mainly because it finds a good balance for Cavill and Allan.

It’s good because the other plots go nowhere. The Buring plot goes nowhere, while the Chalotra one at least gets to be the cliffhanger. Though they could’ve introduced her being alive and done the cliffhanger as the cliffhanger. The plot’s nothing in between, except a little banter between Chalotra and Ndiweni.

It also doesn’t help for the first half of the episode; I kept trying to see if they were Westworlding the timelines to gin up the narrative like they did last season. They aren’t, and they don’t draw attention to it, but it does imply this season of the “Witcher” will be less manipulative than the first.

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