Finales. Am I right? The things The Witcher Season 2 Episode 8 gets right, it nails, no question.
Stand-outs include: Voleth Meir’s possessing Ciri to the near-destruction of the witchers and Kaer Morghen; revealing Jaskier’s duplicitousness; Yennefer’s road to redemption through sacrifice; Philippa Eilhart singularly amazing transformation scene; Francesca’s misdirected vengeance on Redania; and Geralt’s “MINE.”
Unfortunately, the danger of introducing so many conflicts amongst the various factions of The Continent throughout the season means several unsatisfactorily concluded plotlines are left for a future season to pick up.
It’s a sad truth that the big Emhyr reveal was spoiled for me by the Witcher wiki-lore available online. Although adaptations have been known to deviate from established literary (or, in this case, video game) canon, Ciri’s presumed-dead father is indeed the White Flame himself.
It required a great deal of awkward script-shaping to keep the Nilfgaardian Emperor out of sight for so long. Even without being physically on the field of battle, one would expect to see the head of the force discuss strategy or send orders to the front lines.
The absence was felt and led to some easy theories on why he continued to be heard of but never seen.
Accepting that Emhyr — known better as Duny when he fathered and married Pavetta — is her father and the Nilfgaardian forces he sent into the North were simply there to reunite father and daughter, the question remains of why he kept his existence and identity hidden for so long.
And while he has inspired legions of Nilfgaardians to follow his orders with fanatical fervor for acts both just and fair, Emhyr var Emreis is not the same gentle knight, cursed with a hedgehog’s head, who agreed to repay Geralt by the Law of Surprise.
While receiving reports from Fringilla and Cahir, he denounces them both for lying to him about plotting to kill Francesca’s baby to spur the elves into aggressive action against the North.
And how did he know they were lying? He’d ordered the baby’s murder himself—all as a means to an end that would bring him his daughter, Ciri.
We are left not knowing whether Fringilla and Cahir survive their indiscretion or what Emhyr will direct his forces to do next.
With Nilfgaard in control of Cintra, Emhyr can set up a seat of power from which he could potentially pick off his enemy kingdoms.
But that’s strategizing for another season.
Tissaia’s presentation to the Brotherhood’s monarch members inspires them to put a bounty on Ciri’s head and anyone who protects her. While Tissaia knows that Ciri’s protector is Geralt, she may not have thrown in so wholeheartedly with the plan if she knew that Yennefer travels with her too.
Of course, Tissaia and Yennefer haven’t been in contact since Yennefer freed Cahir when she was meant to execute him and fled with him, leaving the Brotherhood’s ceremonial stage in flames.
Yennefer may have burned some bridges along with that podium.
Another season will reveal whether her working and personal relationship with Vilgefortz remains intact and whether she and Triss mended their fences.
Rience and Lydia are last seen conferring with their still-unseen employer.
(The Internet is vast and infinite, my friends. Witcher canon lore potentially holds the answer to that identity if you’re looking for it.)
Questions left unanswered here include whether the witcher mutagen did anything else to Lydia beyond disfiguring her face; how Rience continues to just go anywhere he likes; and whether mercenaries continue to work for them, considering their track record for getting their butts kicked.
Keeping in mind that Lydia found and released Rience from a Cintran dimeritium prison cell, but they probably didn’t stay in the Nilfgaardian-controlled city, I’d also like to know where her laboratory is and how her neighbors haven’t asked about her face.
Istredd reaching out to the elves isn’t unexpected, but the timing leaves a lot to be desired.
Will Francesca continue to wreak vengeance on humanity indiscriminately? Or will knowledge of Ciri’s Elder Blood rekindle her vision for a future for elves?
She and Yennefer weren’t great allies when they encountered Voleth Meir together. Will Yennefer’s presence help or hinder Francesca’s ability to trust Ciri?
Child of the Elder Blood, starry-eyed Daughter of Chaos, join our Hunt. Your place is among us. You are ours.
While I can be content with waiting on the “Continuing Adventures of Geralt, Ciri, and Yennefer,” I have an eye on the Wild Hunt and the other sphere Ciri was able to access.
Geralt had, until actually seeing them, poo-pooed every account of Wild Hunt sightings.
The almost scientific explanation of The Great Conjunction delights me in an unexpected way.
While The Witcher pays surface homage to medieval-esque fantasy adventuring genres, Istredd’s theory about the monoliths and Ciri’s ability to travel between spheres to worlds with different laws of reality feels like a sci-fi flex, and that’s all sorts of awesome.
Remember what you have. Magic. It’s lodged in you. Like a spiked arrow. It wounds you. Deeply. But it’s a strange sort of pain. Combined with bliss. Trust me. It’s all you’ll ever need. It’s everything.
The Witcher is a series with the potential to run longer than leshy roots and plumb depths of lore for infinite new adventures.
It is sustained by a core of family and belonging. It is inspired by the belief that we can always do better. It rises to the challenge of defining and dealing with the world’s monsters.
As I proposed in my review of The Witcher Season 2 Episode 1, the theme of monstrousness remains central.
Are monsters defined by their nature, their visage, or their choices?
Will the witchers ever be able to rid The Continent of its monsters? When that happens, will The Continent rid itself of witchers?
How will Ciri’s destiny play out? Can she save the elves and still call the Wild Hunt? Or will she save the elves BY calling the Wild Hunt?
Chronicle your impressions of the finale and its most significant developments in our comments below! Ask your questions! And don’t forget to toss a coin too!
Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.