The Witcher’s season 2 is worth tossing a coin
Since its release in 2019, Netflix's The Witcher has been a treat for long-time fans and newcomers alike. Taking the streaming platform by storm, the series successfully builds upon the already impressive popularity of Andrzej Sapkowski's book series and CD Projekt Red's video game trilogy.
Higher expectations preceded the show's second season, given the wild success of season 1 and the prequel animated film. The Netflix continuation of Geralt's tale delivers on those expectations in spades. Overcoming the previous season's weaknesses in terms of confusing timeline-hopping and poor CGI and props, the latest season offers a more linear look into the show's primary characters - Geralt, Ciri and Yennefer, without shying away from exploring other intriguing plot threads. Minor spoilers ahead as we review the latest season.
As Season 1 draws its curtains with the destined meeting of Geralt and Ciri, Season 2 picks up right where the audience was previously left with the white-haired duo. The growth of both the characters since then is what drives the story forward in Season 2. While the portrayal of Geralt by Henry Cavill is characteristically brilliant, the show shines even brighter through Freya Allan's stunning performance as Ciri.
From the singed battlefields of Sodden to the icy mountains at Kaer Morhen, the burgeoning father-daughter dynamics are always a delight to watch - seeing the witcher transform from gruff monster slayer to protective mentor while the fearful princess grows ever more determined to protect herself and others. But character growth wasn't limited only to the destined father and daughter this season, with Yennefer, Fringilla and surprisingly Cahir getting their own self-discovery arcs.
While the now powerless Yennefer finds a long road ahead of her, running from captor to captor and forging unusual alliances, everyone's favourite bard returns like a lover scorned with his new hit single (penned keeping a certain witcher in mind). Like the previous season, Joey Batey provides much needed comic relief to the more slow-burn pacing of season 2, though fans might be left wanting from the scarcity of Jaskier over the first six episodes.
Keeping up the balance between palace intrigue and classic Witcher-style monster-slaying isn't something Season 2 falls short on either. The fights this season provide plenty of adrenaline rush pitting Geralt against Leshens, Basilisks, Mages and of course humans. While some may prefer the brutally balletic action from last season's clash with Renfri, Henry Cavill doesn't falter in his execution of this season's slow-motion, close-up brawl sequences either.
Although the second season exceeds the first in terms of better sets, props and CGI (that seem straight out of the game) and adding layers to characters and their plot threads, it does lose momentum at certain points. The first season created quite the climactic build-up to the Witcher and his Child Surprise finally finding each other, but this season severely underplays the fated meeting of Geralt, Yennefer and Ciri, an intertwining of destiny that has been teased since the very last dialogue of Season 1.
With a greater focus on expanding and fleshing out the world of The Witcher, the story sometimes sidelines the titular character, though that comes in exchange for a deeper dive into the Continent's politics, Nilfgaard's true intentions in the North, the origin of the Witchers, the prophecy of the Elder Blood and even a first look at the enigmatic Wild Hunt.
The lack of another earworm-worthy tune, more of Jaskier's charms and iconic Witcher bath scenes aside, the latest chapter in Geralt's tale doesn't fail to thrill. With plenty of easter eggs from Nightmare of the Wolf, the return of characters from Sapkowski's books (Nivellen from The Last Wish and Rience from Blood of Elves) and Netflix's own twists to keep even long-time fans and readers at the edge of their seats, Season 2 of The Witcher well deserves a tossed coin.