blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

The Witcher (2019) s02e07 – Voleth Meir

Lots gets done this episode. An almost unimaginable amount, given all the characters in play.

The episode begins with Henry Cavill apologizing to Adjoa Andoh for fighting in the temple (no fighting in the temple is one of the rules), but it’s not his fault; it’s bad guy Chris Fulton’s fault. Andoh forgives Cavill and suggests maybe he ought to pay that forgiving forward to Anya Chalotra. Cavill’s pretty sure Chalotra has kidnapped Freya Allan; he just doesn’t know why. So at this point, he does not know it was Allan who magicked open a portal and got them out of there.

Meanwhile, Chalotra and Allan escaped Fulton to find themselves in a less dangerous but still upsetting setting. Fulton tracked down some of Allan’s friends from the first season and killed them, horrifying Allan. Chalotra–indeed acting with malicious intent–lies to Allan about Fulton capturing Cavill in the temple fight, and now they’re going to have to go rescue him. From the city where the bad guys have been giving the elves refuge and where Allan ran from last season, and where she unintentionally unleashed a bunch of monsters when she escaped Eamon Farren. This episode’s going to be a backtrack for Allan’s arc and then a catch-up one for Cavill. Separately. I can’t remember if callback events happen in the previous season finale. It just feels late to return to them, like the last six episodes have just been transitory.

Back at the mage base, we find out MyAnna Buring is making the beast with two backs with Mahesh Jadu, who has assumed control of the Mage Brotherhood since we last saw him. Or I completely missed a scene explaining it. But Jadu’s the boss, Buring’s his lady friend, and Anna Shaffer has come back in a panic after discovering Allan’s a warrior princess with elven blood.

Then the action cuts to Mimi Ndiweni and her troubles hanging on to power. Farren and the human generals in the South are sick of the elves not wanting to fight and are convinced there’s a spy somewhere. So they’re indiscriminately killing elves. It had seemed like there might be some complicated morality at play with the South kingdom like they were trying to help the elves against the racist Northern rulers. But the Southern people are just as bad.

So there’s Chalotra and Allan, Buring and Shaffer, Ndiweni and Farren. And then Cavill and Joey Batey. There’s a great scene where Cavill busts Batey out of jail, lots of action, lots of solid jokes about that action.

Cavill and Batey have some catch-up before Cavill figures out Chalotra’s in league with the Baba Yaga (Ania Marson). Only they need fresh horses, and they happen upon some more season one returnees to get them.

There’s character development for pretty much everyone, usually an equal share—though Batey’s mostly just for laughs and then Buring co-opts Shaffer’s. The character arcs for Allan and Chalotra are the best, especially as Chalotra proves the most successful person yet at teaching Allan how to use her magicks.

The hard cliffhanger has Marson making at least one big move while someone else crosses a point of no return in Ndiweni’s arc too. Monumental ramifications. It’s an excellent episode for Ndiweni in particular. She and Buring have an interesting “even mages are misogynists” juxtaposing.

It’s real good. Very impressive they were able to do so much in the penultimate episode of an eight-episode season. Like, it hasn’t been lackadaisical by any means, but they did take their time a lot in the first half and made then maintained a busy, brisk pace for the rest.

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