Lots goes on this episode, including the return of a season one regular, the return of a season one guest player, and a new political intrigue subplot. Still, nothing’s more important than the Kevin Doyle guest spot. It’s the episode of “The Witcher” with Mr. Molesley from “Downton.” Everything else is secondary.
The episode opens with Henry Cavill training Freya Allan in the mountains. They’re running along in helicopter shots, and I really wanted Cavill to yell out, “This is the Quickening!” But alas, no. Allan will have a good character development arc involving Cavill and Anna Shaffer. Shaffer’s at the Witcher Winter Wonderland because Cavill wants Allan to get training for her magic. Allan’s still slightly distrustful of Cavill as far as her powers go, and the episode does a fine job getting them communicating. In no small part, thanks to the Shaffer’s presence, it helps to have another woman in the Witcher Winter Wonderland, especially one who doesn’t put up with their shit.
Otherwise, it’s kind of a bridging episode. Maybe for everyone but Allan, actually.
Anya Chalotra is still teamed up with Dollar Store Kylo Ren (Eamon Farren), trying to escape the north. They’re going to go to the southern city Farren’s troops captured, which has become a refuge for the elves all the northern kingdoms are rounding up for slaughter; Doyle’s one of the elves. But, only less important because it’s Mr. Moseley, Joey Batey’s the coyote. Batey, still stinging from Cavill ditching him last season—when is unclear, their friendship being one of the confusing parts of the Westworlded narrative structure—is nonetheless still a good guy, and he’s going to help the elves.
Even if he’s got to work with pseudo-nemesis Chalotra. Their bickering might be the most fun “Watcher” has had in season two. Everything else is serious and sad. Batey and Chalotra being cattish is very welcome.
It seems like a done-in-one cameo for Batey until the third act makes it more consequential and potentially derails Chalotra’s arc. It’s very effective and balanced. The episode very nimbly trades Farren for Batey for Chalotra’s sidekick.
The political intrigue involves foppish king Ed Birch, his advisor Graham McTavish, and their pet David Bowie from Labyrinth owl. McTavish is trying to convince Birch to invade the city in the south and take it from Farren’s guys. But first, they’re going to need some intelligence, so they’re going to send Wilson Mbomio (Allan’s elf friend from season one) as a spy.
There’s also a contrived reason for Shaffer not to tell Cavill about Chalotra being alive, some more hints at Allan’s unique heritage and powers, including her blood probably being magic, and then a big team-up for Cavill for next episode.
The episode—“Mr. Moseley from Downton is on the Witcher”—gets a lot done, most of it successfully. Some very good acting from Allan, Chalotra, and Shaffer. And Batey’s return is well-executed.