The 6th episode of Netflix's The Witcher sees the show firing on all cylinders at last. Geralt and Jaskier go on a dragon hunt and run into Yennefer.
An amiable if mysterious old knight named Borch Three Jackdaws, flanked by his bodyguards Téa and Véa, hires Geralt for his team to track a green dragon. Jaskier tags along hoping for a story to inspire his next ballad about Geralt. The local king is offering a reward for killing the dragon. The other teams vying for the prize include a gang of Reavers, a salty gang of dwarves… and Yennefer and a knight. The Reavers are assholes. Reavers in fantasy stories are always assholes. Geralt would have turned down the job if Yennefer hadn't shown up on the other team. He agrees so he can be near her again.
Borch Three Jackdaws is an interesting old guy. He's actually the most interesting character in this story. He looks like he has his own share of adventures with Téa and Véa that we'll never hear about. Geralt and Jaskier make friends with him easily and enjoy his company. He sees immediately that Geralt is still besotted with Yennefer, who does her best to ignore him. It's been long enough since their first meeting to meet up and break up several times. They bicker as only lovers who have gotten under each other's skin can. Borch can see Geralt hasn't gotten over her.
"The Witcher": These Aren't Your "Game of Thrones" Dragons…
There's a fun revelation about how dragons work in the world of the witcher. They're not just dangerous, they're magical, they're intelligent and they can talk. Geralt talks about the what types of dragons are out there. Green ones are common. Black ones are rare. He thinks gold dragons are a myth, which sets up Chekov's Gold Dragon for the quest's payoff.
The heart of the episode is Geralt and Yennefer grappling with their relationship. She wants to use the green dragon's egg to cure her infertility. Geralt doesn't believe that would work. This leads to another of their fights that keep driving them apart. What really drives them apart is when Yennefer figures out that Geralt used his last wish with the Djinn to bind her life to his. That's the kind of creepy thing a stalker does, and she lets him know how she feels about that by breaking up with him, seemingly for good this time.
Wait – Why Does Yennefer Fight With A Sword?!?
The one false note this episode is when the big fight starts, Yennefer unfathomably fights with a sword. She's a sorceress – her magic is more dangerous than any sword. Yennefer was never a swordswoman in the books or the game. She used magic as casually and breathed, and ruthlessly.
Ciri Still Being Dragged Along By Plot
Ciri's storyline continues to be all plot. She and Dara follow the doppler impersonating Mouserack but get increasingly suspicious when he can't seem to answer basic questions about his own history. I thought they said last episode that dopplers also telepathically steal the memories of the people they mimic. Did the writer's room already forget this basic detail from an episode ago?
Ciri and Dara escape, but get separated and she gets grabbed. She comes to in the nearest town with Cahir, the Niilfgardian black knight watching over her. He treats her with care – he knows about her powers and wants them to fulfill some kind of apocalyptic prophecy. Except that's not Ciri but the doppler, who's pissed off that Cahir lied to him. They fight and the doppler gets away. Cahir kills everyone in the tavern just in case the doppler is one of them. He's one of those fanatics who thinks he's the good guy of the story. Fringilla shows up and says Ciri is the key.
Back in the woods, Dara finds Ciri and helps her escape. When she insists on running into danger to find out what's going on, Dara pulls a Captain Sensible and takes off on his own. He correctly guesses that following her would get him killed, so he's all "peace out".
Six episodes with two to go and we're no closer to Ciri acquiring a personality. The biggest problem with her plotline is she's been a plot device and McGuffin and I doubt that's going to change by season's end.
There's also still a bit too much telling and not enough showing in Geralt and Yennefer's love story. They only just met last episode and here they're breaking up. Then again, the books did the same thing – Geralt and Yennefer meet at the end of The Last Wish and this episode adapts one of the first stories in Sword of Destiny. Henry Cavill and Anya Chalotra sell the angst of the relationship well here.
Two episodes to go. Let's see how they wrap this up.