Netflix Review – The Witcher Season 2 (2021)

After a long wait, The Witcher Season 2 is finally released on Netflix as we follow monster-killer Geralt and co. through more adventures and trials.

Picking up where we left off, season 2 of The Witcher follows Henry Cavill’s Geralt and Freya Allan’s Ciri, the child princess Geralt is destined to protect, as they leave behind the recent battle of Sodden Hill. Meanwhile, elsewhere of the Continent Anya Chalotra’s sorceress Yennefer struggles as the aftermath of the battle has left her without her magic.

Now, I had mixed feelings about season 1. I thought the pacing was a little stilted and choppy and story not especially cohesive. This I chalked up largely to the source material for the first season being a collection of prequel short stories. However, despite this I still found the season enjoyable. The characters were interesting and well developed – especially Geralt and Yennefer who were the primary focus – the episodic arcs were entertaining and the world immersive. Perhaps because of the nature of the source material and the fact it was focused on establishing characters and relationships there was plenty of space for play which is what gave the series a spark.

Going into season 2 I was expecting more of a cohesive and directional story – season 1 had done the job of getting all the characters to where they need to be for the real story to start. I was wrong. However, I’ll start with what I did enjoy from season 2:

Henry Cavill.

It’s nice when the main character is the highlight of the show, it’s never a guarantee. Once again, Cavill shines as Geralt – his gravity and play of stoniness with a lot of heart is expertly executed. I do feel like, due to the writing, Cavill is under-utilised in this season but nevertheless he is the highlight.

There are some strong and interesting characters, Chalotra as Yennefer is still well-rounded and portrayed with a lot of heart – although maybe her character lacks some of the deep internal struggles and conflicts that were so intriguing in season 1. Joey Batey’s Jaskier brings some much-needed comic relief while Eamon Farren returns as the Black Knight – giving a performance that has so much potential but is once again so under-utilised it’s frustrating.

The Witcher season 2 has a lot of problems. Primarily, it is boring. It is so boring. The story plods along, for the first few episodes with no discernible sense of direction and then when a narrative line begins to take shape it’s so bogged down by lore that it makes no difference. Lore isn’t necessarily bad but in this case, we are given so little reason to care about the lore that it just serves to be wholly uninteresting. Then there were all the other characters with their politics which I Just don’t care about. The story doesn’t feel character driven, it feels like the writers need to get these characters from A to B without giving any convincing motivations.

And that is the real trouble. The focus is too much on the destination that they forget to make the journey entertaining. For me, episode 5 was a highlight, seemed to be a turning point where there was potential for interesting struggles but arriving at episode 6, the conflicts were poorly executed. It’s disappointing.

I will say that the set up for season 3 does seem promising – there is a sense of direction. However, that’s what I thought at the end of season 1 so whether it manages to pull it off is another matter. But, alas, season 2 was not worth the 8 hours I spent watching it.

★★


Fantasy, Adventure | USA, 2021 | Season 2 | 17th December | Netflix | Henry Cavill, Freya Allan, Anya Chalotra