All Monsters Are Human: Our Review of ‘The Witcher Season 3 Volume 1’

Posted in Netflix, TV, What's Streaming? by - June 29, 2023
All Monsters Are Human: Our Review of ‘The Witcher Season 3 Volume 1’

The Witcher is a video game series where the titular character chooses a companion and kills monsters. But Netflix’s show bearing the same title is not an adaptation of the games but of Andrzej Sapkowski’s short stories. I neither play video games nor read so the only knowledge I have is what I get from the Netflix series. Most people watch it or dismiss it because of Henry Cavill, but the show’s first two seasons are good because of him. The first half of every season is a monster of the week show, where Geralt (Cavill) senses that half of these monsters don’t deserve his sword. The second is him protecting his Child Surprise, Princess Cirilla of Cintra (Freya Allen). All of this is happening with the occassional musical number from Jaskier Dandelion (Joey Batey) or his rival bards.

Geralt and gang return not to Season 3 but Season 3 Volume 1. Netflix is staggering this new season’s release, sometimes for worse but mostly for better. After briefly separating, Geralt and Ciri are back together. And with them is Geralt’s on again off again lover, mage Yennefer of Vengeberg (Anya Chalotra). Yennefer is balancing teaching duties while playing politics against a sorcerer named Vilgefortz (Mahesh Jadu). Because of Ciri’s raw magical abilities and royal blood, they’re always on the run. And they occassionally need the help of Jaskier to bait the monsters that are after them. The show has a lot of people in the running for villains. They include Sigismund Dijkstra (Graham McTavish) and his right hand woman Philippa Eihart (Cassie Clare). But there may be someone else that Geralt and company need to watch out for. Someone else making half-elven mages disappear.

Ciri figures a lot in season 2, as she encounters monsters and half-monsters as sometimes sees herself within the creatures she encounters. The same goes for the first volume of this season, where she sees the way other humans treat monsters. In one of the episodes, she corrects someone and tells him that he’s keeping a wyvern prisoner. Again, she may see herself within that wyvern, but she’s also learning the right lessons from Geralt with how she manouvers that situation. Her spidey sense with monsters is getting better even with her impostor syndrome. But season 2 was able to juggle her story with others in a way that feels lacking in this volume. One of my favourite characters in the show is Fringilla Vigo (Mimi Ndweni), who acts the hell out of the two scenes that the volume gives her.

Fringilla’s best friend Cahir (Eamon Farren) fares slightly better, as he tries to placate both the elves and his Nilfgardian king. The King tells Cahir that Frigilla is dead and I choose not to believe it. I choose to believe that it’s just part of the soft focus fever dreams Cahir’s having recently. But of course, the volume comes back to its core trio, which I understand that it has to do so. But sadly, the volume ends with an episode about a ball / conclave that’s part of Yennefer’s plans. They return to Aretuza, where Yennefer went to school with her fellow mages. The ball feels like Rashomon fanfiction. I’ve read better dialogue in A03. It uses that storytelling to do an anticlimactic reveal. Just like Fringilla, I hope the second volume clims out of whatever dungeon it’s in.

Watch the first volume of The Witcher‘s third season on Netflix.

This post was written by
While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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