blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

The Witcher (2019) s02e05 – Turn Your Back

I neglected to mention there’s a scene last episode with Joey Batey defending his popular song’s use of deceptive timeline chicanery (oh, if they’d called it Westworlding). It’s only important here because the first scene in the episode doesn’t resolve anything from last time; it instead introduces an evil mage, Chris Fulton. Fulton was imprisoned by Jodhi May, Freya Allan’s warrior queen grandma from last season, and since she’s dead, he’s going to get out. As long as he agrees to hunt down Allan.

It happens at some period before Anya Chalotra meets up with Batey again (from last episode) because we return to that scene and find out not everyone on the Continent thinks Batey’s good at the barding thing. It’s a nice funny in what’s going to be a wry episode; Haily Hall gets the script credit. There’s a lot of wry one-liners.

And pronounced grunting from Henry Cavill. “Witcher: Season Two” does really feel like the scripts know what works in the show and leverages accordingly.

So when Batey goes missing after helping Chalotra and her elf friends to safety, it’s going to turn out Fulton’s got him and is going to torture him for information. But, of course, Batey doesn’t really have any information because Cavill dumped him last season, and he’s no longer in the know. Chalotra’s big decision at the cliffhanger was either staying to help Batey or escaping (since she’s on the lamb). Turns out she stayed. Even though it takes about an entire scene to confirm it.

The episode pairs off characters—Chalotra and Batey, Cavill and Royce Pierreson, Allan and Anna Shaffer. Chalotra and Batey have to escape not just Fulton—who’s a fire mage, which complicates things—but also the local authorities. Cavill and Pierreson are investigating fallen monoliths and new monsters, discovering a bunch of world-building backstories. For example, everyone thought the planet resulted from three different worlds colliding; it turns out there might just be giant teleportation devices. Plus, Cavill and Pierreson get to talk about Chalotra—though Cavill doesn’t explain the reason Pierreson’s love will forever go unrequited is Cavill and Chalotra’s love spell—and so “Witcher” is not going to drag out Cavill knowing she’s alive until the season finale.

Another difference from first season.

Speaking of first season, Shaffer takes Allan on a magical flashback to her life pre- “Witcher” war and drama. Only there aren’t any big first-season cameos. Jodhi May’s supposed to be there but just from the back of the head. Otherwise, it’s all about Allan seeing her parents, Gaia Mondadori and Bart Edwards, again. They’re actually back from the first season (I had to check). And lots of scary magic, which breaks Shaffer’s spell and puts her in danger.

Given the only reason they’re doing the magical mystery flashback tour is because Allan wants Kim Bodnia to turn her into a Witcher so she can unlock hidden memories, and Shaffer wants to save Allan from being injected with a potentially fatal mutating agent.

The cliffhanger is Chalotra finding out what the Baba Yaga (Ania Marson) wants her to do in exchange for getting back her magic: hunt Allan too.

There’s also some check-in on the politics stuff with Mimi Ndiweni and Mecia Simson realizing it’s nice to have a partner in power right before Eamon Farren gets back from the enemy lands. Farren’s immediately a dick, and everything Ndiweni worked for is in danger.

Iffy opening with the threat of more Westworlding, and the character names are way too similar and way too indistinct, but a strong episode.

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