The Witcher: Season 3 Review

The Witcher – Season 3
With monarchs and mages seeking to capture Princess Cirilla (Freya Allan) for their own ends, monster hunter Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill) and powerful witch Yennefer of Vengerberg (Anya Chalotra) take her into hiding. But a need to learn more about Ciri’s untapped powers soon draws the trio back into danger.

by Amon Warmann |
Published on

Streaming on: Netflix

Episodes viewed: 8 of 8

If ever a series needed a “Previously On…” recap, it’s The Witcher. The sprawling universe that has been established in the first two seasons feels just as expansive as ever in its third run of episodes. But where in the past the multitude of characters has felt unwieldy, this time around the various plotlines are finally beginning to converge on one another. Combine that with the strong backbone of Geralt (Henry Cavill), Yennefer (Anya Chalotra), and Ciri (Freya Allan), plus the best small-screen fantasy action this side of Game Of Thrones, and you have a season that feels close to the best version of the show.

The Witcher – Season 3

Ciri remains the hot commodity in The Witcher’s world, and it’s sometimes a bit difficult to keep track of all the factions, their names, temporary alliances, and why they want the Princess. Not all the characters and their schemes earn your full investment, but there are some standouts. Prince Radovid of Redania (Hugh Skinner) is a franchise newcomer who makes his presence felt, playing the drunken fool to mask his cunning and ambition. In addition to keeping you guessing, he also helps unlock new layers for Jaskier (Joey Batey), who offers much more than comic relief and catchy songs this time and is better woven into the larger story. Elsewhere, some infighting amongst elves and the re-emergence of Nilfgaardian military leader and Black Knight Cahir (Eamon Farren) is intermittently interesting but feels like the least urgent storyline of the season.

In his final go-around in the role, Cavill showcases everything that makes him perfect in the title role.

Thankfully, when those arcs drag, proceedings pivot back to the winning trio of Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri. The first episode of the season shows them as a family unit, and watching them bond as Geralt and Yennefer play parent to a never more innocent-looking Ciri is both precious and heartwarming. There’s an additional emotional charge to their scenes together, borne from their shared history and Yennefer’s betrayal in Season 2.

The Witcher – Season 3

It’s a shame that doesn’t last longer, but it’s not a backbreaker, because their individual storylines are just as compelling. Ciri is tenacious not just in battle – though Allan’s growth as an action heroine is impressive – but in standing up for her morals, even when the consequences could be dire. Talk of fate versus will has always been at the heart of The Witcher, but it’s rarely felt as potent as it does in emotionally fraught conversations between Ciri and Yennefer. Speaking of whom, Vengerberg’s finest witch has her own substantive mini-arcs this season. Just as the growth from selfishness to selflessness is palpable, so too has Chalotra grown as an actress across the three seasons, marrying vulnerability with fierceness.

And then there’s Cavill’s Geralt. As ever, he’s at his best when he’s in the thick of the action, convincing as a slayer of monsters and men. The fluid long takes that combine swordplay with bursts of magic are skilled and varied enough that they never get boring – one particular fight midway through the season is a series high – and the CGI baddies range from ugly beasts to a flat-out disturbing monstrosity reminiscent of The Rat King in The Last of Us Part II.

Away from the action, Geralt is slowly learning that neutrality gets you nothing, and that there are consequences to political inaction. And in his final go-around in the role, Cavill showcases everything that makes him perfect in the title role, cutting a commanding (and at times, pleasingly wry) presence throughout. Given more dialogue than he’s ever had previously, he wrings more humour and emotion out of Geralt’s typically gruff line deliveries than you might expect. The degree to which Cavill will be missed won’t be fully quantified until season four rolls around, but one thing is for sure – Liam Hemsworth has some monster-sized boots to fill.

With plotlines finally beginning to coalesce, this is the tightest, most action-packed season of The Witcher yet. It's definitely still worth your coins, and your time.
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