In Episode 5 of Netflix's The Witcher, Geralt and Yennefer finally meet for the first time in an adaptation of "The Last Wish", the climactic title story of the first book. This is supposed to be the start of their epic, tempestuous, messy romance.
I Dream of Djinnie
Jaskier comes across Geralt fishing for a bottle with a djinn in it. Djinns are dangerous – that's why they're imprisoned in bottles. Geralt wants to use the Djinn's three wishes to grant him a good night's sleep. Jaskier reckons that's a rather over-the-top way of getting some sleep. They get in a dumb fight that breaks the bottle and releases the Djinn, who attacks Jaskier and leaves him slowly choking to death.
Geralt rushes Jaskier to the nearest camp for help. The doctor, an elf named Chireadan, tells him Jaskier's problem is magical and beyond medical science. They need a mage or sorceress to cure this. The closest sorceress is in town but she's scary and dangerous. Geralt takes Jaskier there anyway and finds the mayor mind-controlled and naked. The sorceress also has a roomful of naked mind-controlled people having an orgie. This is why everyone is afraid of sorceresses – they're often arrogant, spiteful and mean. They will mess with you just for kicks. This sorceress certainly is. Her name is Yennefer of Vengerberg.
"The Witcher": The Start of a Dysfunctional Romance
There's a lot of angry-flirting between Geralt and Yennefer. They unnerve each other. They take a bath together. She agrees to help Jaskier – and Geralt wakes up in jail. Yennefer had used him to go on a rampage against the people in town who wronged her. Now he's going to take the fall.
Yennefer cures Jaskier but her real agenda is to make him use the wishes to summon the Djinn so she can take control of it. She plans to use the Djinn to cure her infertility. Geralt rushes back to stop the ritual from killing her. What he does binds her to him sets the path for their dysfunctional relation for years to come. And of course they start bonking like bunnies.
Cavill and Charlotra act the hell out of their scenes, but I'm not sure they have any real chemistry. I personally didn't feel it. But then I had a cold when I watched it, so I wasn't feeling much of anything at the time.
Meanwhile, in Ciri's Story Corner…
The Niilfgardian black knight has hired a doppler, ie a shapeshifter, to impersonate Mouserack, Cintra's court mage and Geralt's friend, to lure Ciri out of the forest and into Niilfgardian hands. Fringella, a sorceress who trained at Azuleta with Yennefer, is now Niilfgard's battle advisor. She has joined a fanatical faction called The White Flame, whose agenda seems to start with destroying Cintra for a larger strategy at play. She's perfectly willing to kill her fellow mages and sorceresses, which means she's gone rogue.
For an episode that's supposed to be important – Geralt and Yennefer meet for the first time – this didn't completely work for me. Geralt and Yennefer's romance felt a bit rushed, as if it was imposed on the characters rather than naturally. The rest of it, Geralt's banter with Jaskier and the world, are still fun, but the romance didn't really work for me. Maybe I had too many expectations from the books and saw all the parts that were skipped to rush to Geralt and Yennefer getting together.
Well, three more episodes of The Witcher to go. Let's see if the season brings everything together and sticks the landing.