It’s old home week on “The Witcher,” with Anya Chalotra getting back to the Mage Fortress just as MyAnna Buring has finally come to terms with Chalotra’s presumed demise. We also find out when Buring tortured Eamon Farren in the season premiere, and they cut away… they cut away from Buring not finding anything out because Farren’s got a magic brainwashing shield. It’s a month later, with absolute dipshit Lars Mikkelsen suspicious because Chalotra’s been gone so long.
Mikkelsen’s a cartoonishly broad villain, which doesn’t play well off anyone else. I can’t remember if it worked better last season, but here he seems silly playing off very serious Buring, Chalotra, and Royce Pierreson. Pierreson’s back from last season, too—it seems like the reason no one was around the last time they were at Mage Fortress was budgetary, not because the characters had an excuse to be anywhere else.
Chalotra’s got some okay bonding scenes with Buring and Anna Shaffer, but she’s got a deep dark secret, which the show’s heavily implied for the audience, and Buring lays out in dialogue about halfway through. Chalotra’s going to have a strange plot arc this episode, getting involved with Buring and Mahesh Jadu’s political machinations. It’s a lousy arc for Buring, who gets progressively less sympathetic as it plays out.
At the Witcher Winter Wonderland, Henry Cavill and Kim Bodnia have been trying to figure out how a plant monster could breach the walls of their fortress. Though when they do establishing shots and show the broken down sections of the fortress, it doesn’t seem like they should be so surprised. It’s a decent investigation arc for Cavill and Bodnia, which also has them bonding over (surrogate) fatherhood.
But all Cavill’s focusing on helping Bodnia has meant he’s not paying attention to Freya Allan or her training. Or Witcher Paul Bullion deciding he’s going to bully Allan and see if he can get her to hurt herself out of trying to be a Witcher. It shouldn’t be hard since Cavill establishes he and the other boy Witchers are all fast-healing mutants, and Allan’s just a regular human who’ll die.
The show keeps at the training sequence long enough to make it an athletic achievement arc for Allan, right before she and Cavill go monster hunting, and she’s able to stay alive, no matter what occurs. The show also gets around to addressing Allan’s secret magical powers and Cavill knowing about them, which is nice they’re not dragging that bit out. It’s a nice sequence for Cavill and Allan, who haven’t done much bonding because they’re at Winter Wonderland.
There’s also some catchup with evil mage Mimi Ndiweni and elf mage Mecia Simson, who are teaming up to take on the good guys. The show seems to be laying the groundwork for the good guys actually being a bunch of racist shitheels, so… potential twist.
The Allan and Cavill material makes up for Chalotra finding herself in a wanting arc. Chalotra’s okay; it’s just the story. Some very good direction from Sarah O’Gorman throughout. It all works out thanks to Chalotra’s plot getting an actually surprising conclusion with a lot of character agency. Not Mikkelsen, who seems like he’s auditioning to play that villain in “The Smurfs,” but otherwise.
It’s a good episode.