The Witcher season 3: Every episode reviewed and explained

The Witcher season 3. Image: Netflix. Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia.
The Witcher season 3. Image: Netflix. Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia. /
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The Witcher season 3 is now streaming on Netflix. There’s a lot going on with Geralt of Rivia, Cirilla of Cintra, and Yennefer of Vengerberg in The Witcher season 3, so let’s get into it.

After waiting more than 18 months since The Witcher season 2, I didn’t have incredibly high hopes going into the season. I’ll be the first to admit that The Witcher has missed in the past. While it had its moments, The Witcher season 1 was too confusing. Season 2, on the other hand, was less confusing, but it felt like a bridge to where we are now.

The Witcher season 3 is so much better than the first two seasons. The story is incredibly complex, but the goals of the characters are clear. We all know what motivates Geralt, Ciri, and Yennefer. At the beginning of the season, the little family is together, physically, and working toward common goals: keep Ciri safe, teach her to harness her power, and stop those who wish her harm. There’s beauty in that simplicity.

Elsewhere, the Continent is in chaos after everything that happened in The Witcher season 2, which is where this season begins.

SPOILERS for The Witcher season 3 ahead!

The Witcher season 3 – Netflix
The Witcher season 3 – Netflix /

The Witcher season 3 episode 1 recap: “Shaerrawedd”

The Witcher season 3 begins with a professor and a group of men working for Rience the fire sorcerer. They’re asking a barman if he’s seen a Witcher and a girl. Geralt is standing outside waiting for them, and he slices them to bits. It’s good to be back on the Continent!

Geralt, Yennefer and Ciri are on the run after the events of the season 2 finale. They’re sheltering in places known to Geralt. He pays people for their discretion along the way. Although they’re all together and finally working toward common goals, there’s tension. Geralt has not forgiven Yennefer for her past actions. To gain Geralt’s trust, Yennefer writes letters every day to him, but Geralt refuses to talk to her. Yennefer tries to teach Ciri how to use her powers, but it’s not going well.

The group finally settles in the forest, with help from Yarpen. It’s a good place to call home. There, Geralt begins to let his guard down with Yennefer. Geralt and Yennefer and Ciri are all playing house. Finally, Yennefer and Geralt break the ice and start eating dinner together. It really is one happy family, but that’s all about to change.

Ciri continues to struggle with her magic, but Yennefer reminds her that magic isn’t everything. Yennefer admits that she almost lost them to Voleth Meir.

Rience is still after Ciri. He buys a monster, a jackapace, that tracks her down at the Belletyne Festival, Ciri’s first night out in a long time.

The elves continue to look for Ciri as well. Francesca gets into it with Gallatin, who just wants to find elves somewhere on the Continent. Instead, Francesca continues to keep the elves in isolation searching for Ciri, who Francesca believes will be able to destroy the world of humans and allow her to rebuild the Continent for the elves.

In Redania, Vizimir also wants Ciri to use as leverage against Nilfgaard, which is growing stronger. He’s fed up with Dijkstra not finding her. He puts Radovid, his younger brother, on the case. Dijkstra and Philippa are frustrated, and Phillippa agrees to do something in exchange for more power in their relationship.

At the Belletyne Festival, Geralt remembers Yen’s birthday. They talk about old times and why Geralt left. Yennefer asks him if he is still unsure of what he wants. We all know he wants Yennefer and to protect Ciri.  Ciri gets lost in a maze when the jackapace shows up. The giant armadillo monster nearly kills her, but Ciri holds it off with her powers, with Yennefer’s help. Geralt kills the beast. Unfortunately, this means they have to pack up and leave, but they can’t keep running from Rience. They hatch a plan to draw Rience out, with the help of Yarpen and Jaskier.

They hatch a plan to draw Rience out. Yarpen is meant to carry Ciri and Jaskier on his caravan, and he’s meant to spread the word to draw Rience to them, but they need Jaskier’s help.

Philippa threatens Jaskier. He was supposed to lead Ciri to Redania, but he hasn’t fulfilled his end of the bargain. Phillippa tells Jaskier that he’ll deliver Ciri in five days or Redania will kill the elves. Yarpen brings Jaskier into the plan as bait.

Geralt, Ciri, Yennefer, Jaskier, and Yarpen and his men make camp at Shaerrawedd, an ancient elven city. Yennefer shares the story of the humans’ arrival after the Conjunction, their multiplication, and the elves’ war against them. Geralt says he doesn’t like taking sides; he prefers to remain neutral to stay alive, which is an important theme of the first five episodes.

Meanwhile, Gallatin is at odds with Francesca, but Francesca agrees with Gallatin that they need to find a home together. They decide to make their next move the following day.

Ciri shares her vision with Geralt and Yennefer to unite the humans and the elves, since she’s half-elf and half-human. Ciri is looking for the reason that destiny brought them together. She wants to change the system on the Continent. She says she is “sick and tired of destruction and loss.”

Then Geralt spots something in the distance, and says they need to hide. Ciri draws out Rience, and there’s a battle. Rience tries to escape in a portal, but Geralt keeps it open to venture in and kill him.

While the fight with Rience is happening, Francesca and the elves arrive to take Ciri. The elves are caught off guard by Yarpen’s small army.

Geralt breaks Rience’s arms, exits the portal, and then goes crazy on those poor elves. They never stood a chance. Jaskier gets shot, but he survives, as do Geralt, Ciri, Yarpen, and Yennefer.

In their final scenes of this episode, Yennefer reveals that a powerful mage is helping Rience. She wants to bring Ciri to Aretuza to keep her safe. Ciri wants Geralt and Yen to stay with her. Geralt still doesn’t trust her. He won’t go with Ciri and Yennefer. He needs to kill Rience, but they need to go to Aretuza.

Ciri and Geralt say goodbye. He promises they’ll meet again soon. Yennefer and Geralt also promise to see each other again soon. Yennefer and Geralt both write each other letters. How cute! I think these three are meant to be! They belong together, so it’s almost devastating to see them split up so soon into the season, although I understand why it has to happen.

After they all split up, Jaskier agrees to help Redania. He tells Radovid and Philippa to win Ciri’s trust by killing Rience.

At the very end of the episode, we see Tissaia, Stregobor, and Rience, not together, but in sequence. Someone heals Rience’s arms. We also see Emperor Emyhr of Nilfgaard for the first time this season, who was revealed to be Ciri’s father during the final moments of season 2. He’s in Nilfgaard looking at some old portraits of his family, including images of his late wife Pavetta, Ciri’s mother. He then burns them all, except for one. It appears to be Ciri’s baby portrait.

Overall, this was a very satisfying season premiere for The Witcher season 3. It moved briskly, but we got enough time with Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri together to enjoy it. It’s also clear why they can’t stay together for long, not with all the threats that need to be dealt with around the Continent… and beyond.

On to the second episode of The Witcher season 3!