Episode 7 – Before a Fall: With the continent at risk from Nilfgaards’ rising power, Yennefer revisits her past, while Geralt reconsiders his obligation to the Law of Surprise.
A Sea of Black and Gold
We open episode seven with Ciri casually strolling into a random town. She attempts to steal something off a merchants table but he catches her. “Where do you think you’re going, thief?” the man asks. Ciri proclaims that she’s going to Skelige and the man laughs. A woman who overhears their conversation drops herself in as well. The woman tells Ciri that she shouldn’t travel by herself as it’s very dangerous to travel alone, to which Ciri responds that it’s just like everywhere else then as she meanders her way through the rest of the market.
We cut to Geralt as he stands atop a cliff overlooking a valley filled with Nilfgaardian soldiers. We then find The Witcher in the buttery of some castle, which I believe was within Cintra, as he waits to meet Mousesack. The mage finally shows and we quickly learn that this is a secret meeting, or so Geralt thought, about Ciri. Assassins descend upon the mage and The Witcher out of nowhere however and force the two to port away to some undisclosed location.
The Lion Cub of Cintra
Queen Calanthe and her crew are roaming the streets of Cintra and it appears as if they’re looking for new gear for the possible Nilfgaardian threat that looms outside their castle. Mousesack and Geralt walk up to the group to the chagrin of Calanthe, who thought that her assassins would have dispatched of Geralt. The Queen very passively-aggressively threatens The Witcher here while explaining that she would never give away her only heir now that Pavetta is dead. She asks The Witcher how much it would take to send him on his way and he tells her that he cannot be bought. “Money can’t undo The Law of Surprise”, but Calanthe does not care. Geralt then brings up that Nilfgaard is just outside her city walls and face an imminent threat. He also points out that he doesn’t want to keep Ciri, he only wants to protect her. So, after a brief moment of thinking, Calanthe appears to realize that Geralt will cause no harm to Ciri and agrees to Geralt’s Law of Child Surprise (or so we think).
We find Ciri still roaming the streets of whatever town she has stumbled across on her way to Skelige. She’s trading in her jewelry attempting to help find passage to the archipelago situated within the Northern Kingdoms. The woman who warned her from before shows up again and offers Ciri a ride to her home. She can stay with the woman and her family, but the woman just needs to go buy one more thing before leaving the village. Ciri notices that the woman has a horse and decides that stealing said horse is a better idea.
The Purity of Distraction
Geralt walks the halls of the Cintran castle on his way to visit Ciri. He walks into the room to meet her for the first time and we find out that Calanthe is attempting to pull a fast one on The Witcher. The Queen and the faux princess do a splendid job of selling their fear of leaving one another here, but Geralt looks as if he knows something is off. The fake Cirilla asks for her leave so she can go say goodbye to her friends and Calanthe obliges. As Geralt leaves the room he notices a secret door at the end of the hall that opens (which I think was Mousesack’s doing) and he decides to investigate.
The door leads to a tunnel that makes its way out the courtyard or market area of the castle. The faux princess runs up to a group of children, which is the same group we saw in episode one, playing knucklebones. As the fake Ciri says goodbye to the real princess, Geralt finally realizes what Calanthe is doing. He storms back into the castle and confronts the Queen. “First, you try to kill me. Then, you lie to me.” Calanthe says she is only trying to keep Cirilla safe, but then also goes to drag The Witcher and bring up how his mother discarded him as a child. Geralt had a nice retort to the Queen as she walks away (“You lecture me on a mother’s love yet offer up someone else’s daughter.”) and the King walks up. The Queen demands Geralt be removed from the castle, so he and Geralt begin the short walk to the outskirts. While Geralt is standing between the gates to enter and exit the castle, the king tells The Witcher that he needs to hear him say he won’t come back. Of course, Geralt says that if Ciri is in danger he will always come to protect her, which was not the answer the king wanted to hear. The portcullis doors slam closed and now The Witcher is Cintra’s prisoner.
Somewhere in the confusion of this timeline, Yennefer makes her way into a Nilfgaardian mining camp called Nazair. The guards ask her how long she will be within the camp and Yennefer interestingly answers by saying that she is not sure yet. Come to find out, she doesn’t know because she has no idea how Istredd (former flame from beginning episodes) will react to her proposition. She wants him to take her back so they can live out their dream way back from their younger days at Aretuza. They briefly make out, but Istredd pulls away. He admits that he spent years waiting for this exact moment, but that ultimately, Yen’s decision to pursue power rather than stay with him will never allow Istredd the ability to be with her again. As he walks away, a completely random man sits down at the table with Yen. He tells her that his name is Vilgefortz and that like Yennefer, his “papers” are also fake so they should probably leave the dangerous Nilfgaardian camp sooner rather than later. He warns Yen what Nilfgaard is doing with the mages they take in and that she should accompany him back to Aretuza. Vilgefortz then brings up Tissaia and that she mentioned how dangerous and unpredictable Yen can be (which is exactly what the brotherhood needs right now), but that Yen was also the greatest study Tissaia ever had. With a freshly boosted ego, Yen decides that going to Aretuza is the right move and follows Vilgefortz out of the bar.
The White Flame’s Path
Yennefer and Vilgefortz have arrived at Aretuza and our favorite purple-eyed mage now wants to talk to Tissaia. Vilgefortz tells Yen that Tissaia does not know that Yen is within the walls of her old school and that she misunderstood what he said earlier. Yennefer furiously walks away and makes her way down to her old room. She bursts in to find three young female mages chuckling at something. Yen looks as if she’s about to go scorched earth on these girls, but then dials it back a bit while she reminisces of her old room. She sees her pre-transformation self in the mirror before asking the young mages if they want to know what those herbs can really be used for.
Welcome to High Scores in Botany 101 with Professor Yen! She essentially shows the girls that the brotherhood isn’t telling them everything they need to know and that they need to think for themselves more. One of the girls then mentions that Aretuza is now accepting payments from wealthy families to allow their children into the sacred school, which infuriates Yennefer. Yen decides to bring them down to the Aretuza windmill (A.K.A. Creepy Eel Dungeon) where she starts rambling about, you guessed it, her lack of ability to create life. Tissaia appears behind them all in the room now and tells Yen that she’s already ruined one life (assumingly her own) and that she should stop there. This leads to a little bicker session between the two that is cut short when a mage meeting breaks out over what is happening in Cintra.
The mages find out that Nilfgaard has finally attacked Cintra, which ties Yen’s story into episode one now. The brotherhood appears to be split between helping the stubborn Cintran’s and letting them fend for themselves, but then Fringilla walks in. She explains why Nilfgaard is better now and that their only problem is with Cintra and Queen Calanthe (lies!). A random mage from the crowd yells at Fringilla about using dark, forbidden magic, and the mage responds by stating no magic is forbidden once you are outside the wall of Aretuza. While all fo this is going on we get a quick glimpse into the battle at Cintra where we find out GERALT WAS THERE THE ENTIRE TIME! Back to the mages, Fringilla thanks Yennefer for forcing her to go to Nilfgaard rather than Aedirn because it made her the powerful mage that she is today. They decide to vote on what to do and, unfortunately for Calanthe, it’s concluded that they will not send any help towards Cintra.
Post Cintra vote Tissaia and Yennefer have quite the chat. Yen’s former teacher tells her that Yen was right when she mentioned that Aretuza was all Tissaia had. She emotionally asks for Yen’s help and even says please, which tells Yennefer that Tissaia is desperately in need of her help.
The walls have begun crumbling back in Cintra and Geralt decides to break free of his cell. The next part of the episode jumps around quite a bit, but it was put together nicely as it showed everything from episode one again while also tacking on Geralt’s perspective of what was going on around him. We see Mousesack find the empty cell, we see Cirilla’s powerful scream yet again, and we even watch the Queen jump to her death one last time. If only she would’ve looked down before she jumped! She lands roughly twenty feet away from The Witcher and Geralt now understands just how bad things are up there. He turns back and makes his way through the castle, cutting down countless Nilfgaardian soldiers as he does. As Geralt reaches the Queen’s tower, he finds that Cirilla is gone but is unsure if she escaped or is in Nilfgaard’s possession.
We cut to Ciri in a field talking to her horse (ring any bells?). As she talks with the horse she hears some men walking up. Ciri notices one of them as one of her knucklebone partners from Cintra, but he is no longer a fan of the young princess now that he is not “forced to let her win.” The group of men begin roughing up Ciri, but then she dramatically drops to the ground. She begins reciting the >prophecy of Ithlinne. She finishes and the screen fades to black before we hear a heart-piercing shriek that comes from the wandering princess.
Be sure to watch out for the rest of our The Witcher reviews that will come out over the next few days. In the meantime, head on over to Summary.org to view the rest of our killer TV Show, Movie, and Gaming reviews. For more of my personal content visit DustyPosts.com.