The Witcher (2019) s02e02 – Kaer Morhen

The episode opens with Anya Chalotra having a domestic bliss dream about Henry Cavill. Last season it seemed like “Witcher” was setting up Cavill, Chalotra, and Freya Allan as a surrogate family unit—seemed might be too strong a characterization, but there were definite tones. The dream sequence is very… lovey-dovey. Very unlike “The Witcher.” It goes to a nightmare, sure—a horrific one—but the sentimentality’s interesting.

Chalotra wakes up to discover she and her former classmate, now enemy Mimi Ndiweni are being held prisoner by elves. There’s a bit with the elves before elf magic boss lady Mecia Simson shows up. It turns out Simson, Chalotra, and Ndiweni are all having similar dreams, which will lead to a pretty good episode for them. Simson’s strong, and Ndiweni’s excellent. It’s the first time Ndiweni’s really gotten to do anything on her own—albeit while held prisoner by elves—but she’s real good.

Their plot will involve a Baba Yaga house and a “be careful what you wish for” deal with the proverbial devil. It’s good. And a lot more sympathetic than the A-plot with Cavill and Allan, who finally arrive at the Witcher Winter Wonderland. It’s a keep in the side of a mountain, where all the Witchers get together and get drunk and train and make potions.

Well, if Cavill had his way, they’d be doing those productive activities. But we find out immediately Cavill’s not a Buzz Killington because he’s a Witcher; he’s just a Buzz Killington. The other Witchers are all a barrel of laughs who really want to drink and carouse and make slightly creepy comments about Allan.

Except for Basil Eidenbenz, Cavill’s best friend, who’s just straight up intimidating to Allan.

Kim Bodnia’s the boss Witcher, who rescued all the mutant kids back when and trained them to be Witchers. Cavill clearly models himself off Bodnia, while everyone else is rambunctious.

The plot is ostensibly just Allan and Cavill’s first night in the keep, where Allan’s got to learn not to expect luxury even though she’s a princess (and even though she rarely had any in the first season), but then a monster makes an appearance.

The episode’s been awkwardly foreshadowing the monster the entire episode and how it’s going to appear and why, but it’s still an effective sequence. Cavill and Bodnia have to save the day while Allan’s got to maintain composure. Rather good effects for the show, which often has wanting composite shots. They can do plant monsters just fine, it turns out.

The episode feels very much like the setup for season two—without any apparent Westworldling—with Cavill and Allan figuring out what they’re going to be doing (training her to fight). Then Chalotra’s got her surprise arc of the season.

It’s an all right episode, though the majority of the other Witchers—those with lines, anyway—being a gaggle of jokey, drunken bros is surprising. It seemed like a solemn calling, but they’re just jackasses for the most part. The Chalotra and Ndiweni material is the best.

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