The Witcher (2019) s01e03 – Betrayer Moon

I didn’t even realize Freya Allan’s princess on the run character was missing from the episode until she shows up for the cliffhanger setup. Because Anya Chalotra’s B plot is so compelling; also Henry Cavill’s A plot. The monster plot is decent this episode. But Chalotra’s story is all about her getting to her “enchantment,” when they remake mages into their ideal whatever before they go out and serve on royal courts. Things don’t go well for Chalotra or mentor MyAnna Buring’s plans for the future.

What’s even more impressive is how Chalotra manages not to get drug down by the exceptionally weird sex scene with beau Royce Pierreson. “Witcher” gets its nudity this episode and it’s weird at best, more likely icky. Like… I think it’s supposed to be empowering slash sexy with Chalotra’s CG-ed hump during the sweaty sex. It’s an “okay, they did that” moment, but unclear why they did it. Especially given the enchantment means Chalotra gets her bones magically broken into the perfect form.

She makes the show so they’ve got leeway.

On to Cavill and the A plot. He’s monster hunting a “shtriga,” which in “Witcher” world is a monstrous babe born to a cursed mother. This monster has already taken out another witcher, who—it turns out—are not all blond so how did everyone know Cavill was a witcher in the first episode. The distinct armor maybe? Funny how a show with so much exposition never has the right exposition.

After some beefcake—the first Cavill beefcake (had to make sure the wife was paying attention) in the show (but no bum even though the woman he’s with is uncomfortably topless)—Cavill goes to budget Ironforge where some dwarves hire him to take on the monster.

Wait, wait—there’s also the “look at his scars” sequence with Cavill, which isn’t particularly good but always got to remember… Return of Swamp Thing never gets credit for coming up with that sequence.

So it turns out the monster is the daughter of king Shaun Dooley’s (dead) sister, who his general (Jason Thorpe) loved from afar and there’s all sorts of twisted history and jealousy and whatnot. Dooley doesn’t want to kill the niece, monster or not, and has his own mage (Anna Shaffer) trying to come up with a better solution. Cavill teams up with Shaffer to try to save the monster, which culminates in a big fight scene where Cavill really should have called “Martha.”

Some more backstory on “Witcher” world, including how three worlds collided—humans, elves, and monsters (I think, I’m sure on the first two, not 100% on the monsters)—but the novels are from before Warcraft so I guess Warcraft ripped off “Witcher”?

Good performances from Thorpe and Dooley help the A plot. Shaffer’s a good foil for Cavill, who seems to be getting a new sidekick every episode. He also has power up potions he guzzles before fights, which really makes it feel like a video game adaptation.

Some bad makeup, but also some really good makeup… a nice Tim Burton “homage” dance sequence… magical creatures can lose consciousness… all sorts of things going on.

“Witcher”’s kind of a low all right, but Chalotra’s performance definitely makes it worthwhile.