The Witcher S01E08 – Episode Review – Much More
This is a review and recap of episode eight of The Witcher entitled, “Much More”. It was written by the showrunner, Lauren Schmidt Hissrich and directed by Marc Jobst. It was released on Netflix on 20th December 2019. The story is based on “Something More” from the book, “Sword of Destiny”.
The Witcher season one finale is a well put together Game Of Thrones’esq conclusion to the main story arc. It ties up all the loose ends, has an epic magic battle and leads nicely into two or three other possible story arcs for season two. There are a lot of highlights, some interesting co-incidences and possibly even (shock of shocks!) a justification for the silly number of times the word ‘Destiny‘ is used.
So, a summary of what it’s about. It’s about the convergence of three timelines and a how Nilfgaard was given a bit of a slap. We finally see how cool sorcerers are and how powerful Yennefer is. All the main players come together nicely (except alas, Jaskier who isn’t in this episode).
The previous episodes The End’s Beginning, Four Marks, Betrayer Moon, Of Banquets Burials and Bastards, introduced the main characters of Yennefer, Ciri and Geralt. The raunchy Bottled Appetites and the episode with dragons, Rare Species moved the story along towards these two final episodes of the season. The objective of the last two episodes was to explain the Nilfgaardian conflict with The Continent and get the three main characters together. This finale ties all that up nicely.
This episode rated the highest for the season by viewers after watching the show when it came out (the best litmus test). I’m not sure I agree with the rating, personally, episodes 5 and 6 were better for me, but it’s still a cracker and highly recommended.
A bit of background, but not much, honest!
Just to clarify, the first season is set approximately 10 years before the popular Witcher 3 game and the main events of the saga have barely been touched upon. The characters are well set up with the possible exception of Cirilla who is still only 17 years old (actually, my wife (big Witcher 3 fan) says that she is only 15 years old). I guess Ciri will be more erm….. ‘developed’ (the gamers will understand what I mean) in the second season..
In terms of the books, the first season is based on The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny. It’s noteworthy that the silver logos used for each episode (a lion, the sun, beasts etc.) all combine in this episodes opening credits to create the Episode 8 logo – a Witcher motif (above). Alas, the Witcher himself is hardly in the show – it’s good when he is, but this is mainly about Yennefer. She is ‘finding her feet’ and finally reconciling herself with her colleagues, mentor and sorcerers profession. When I wrote, ‘tying up loose ends’, that’s what I meant. Yennefer has been a bit lost for a few decades and now, she is less bitchy and more focused in this episode. She still has the ‘hots’ for Geralt but her passion for him is certainly on the back burner as you will see.
The scene cliffhanger from the last episode was from Ciri who was being attacked (and possibly worse), by a group of boys (one of whom was supposed to be a friend from Cintra).
The Witcher Episode Eight – ‘Much More’ Review
This amazing show opens with a scene of an old grizzled dude called Yurga piling up bodies. Geralt, the White Wolf arrives and looks at him quizzically. “Ill winds follow grave robbers.” he says confidently.
“If I was a robber, I’d be taking their belongings, butcher!” Yurga replies righteously and a little bit miffed at the presumption.
Geralt rises to the jibe, “If I was a butcher, you’d be amongst the corpses.”
The grizzled old dude explains to Geralt that he was on his way home when he came across the bodies and wanted to give them a proper burial. He doesn’t want them to be a feast for the crows. Geralt of Rivia explains that it’s not crows that he should be worried about. Yurga asks Geralt to give him a hand in moving the bodies but he is told by Geralt, to run instead. Whatever is coming, it’s certain to be unsavoury if the White Wolf shows concern.
He believes the bite is fatal and falls to the ground saying, “Fuck. Not a happy ever after, after all…… A fitting end.”
All Apocalyptic on Their Asses!
Ciri wakes in a clearing, she looks worried – a lot. The last we saw she was confronted by some vagabonds and robbers. It seems that she apparently went ‘all-apocalyptic’ on them (and the horse). Whatever she did, it rendered everyone dead. She had been unconscious but at least she was alive.
Zola, the kindly woman (who’s horse she stole in town when she ran off) has caught up with her and despite her loss, still feels for Ciri’s plight. Zola helps her to her feet and gently asks what happened. Ciri genuinely doesn’t know but tells her that they ‘came for her’. Zola supportively tells Ciri that they deserved what they got. She helps her up and takes her towards her home where she believes they will be safe.
Arrival at Sodden Hill
Yennefer and around 60 sorcerers and magical folk arrive at Sodden Hill ready for the fight against the Nilfgaard force. The reason that Sodden Hill is so strategic is that it is the only way the Nilfgaard army can get to the North from where they are. It’s a tricky uphill march through forest amd brush land.
60 against a tens of thousands of Nilfgaard soldiers doesn’t seem much does it? Especially considering they have their own fanatical mages and magic resources – and Fringilla and Cahir! But, Tissaia’s group are expecting two large military forces to arrive from Temeria and Kaedwen. Temeria is where Triss is based if you remember, and the King Faltest is still grateful to her and Geralt for saving his daughter. Both these kingdoms are close to Cintra and Sodden Hill and will engage Nilfgaard to defend their lands from invasion. It is hard to appreciate, but it is still only a couple of short weeks since the fall of Cintra.
No Really, Nilfgaard is Bad!
As the sorcerers set up in the keep, they are joined by local people who are determined and resolute in their preparations to defend their livelihoods against the invaders. Yennefer discusses with Tissaia and the other sorcerers the deceitful methods that Nilfgaard use to subjugate the masses.
It was a really interesting conversation after the way Istredd explained things in the last episode. Istredd pointed out that Nilfgaard is managing to keep it’s people fed and clothed – it provides. Yennefer’s point was that Nilfgaard take people down to the worst (living conditions and hope) then give them something to cling to “even if it’s shitty ale”. The reason they are here to fight is because it’s not just shitty ale, it could be much worse.
It was an interesting alternative view. Nilfgaard orchestrate chaos so that they can then be seen to be the saviours for the people. In this way, they can indoctrinate the masses with their fanatical beliefs and have it spread like an epidemic. “There’s nothing like a higher purpose to permit men to do the unspeakable!”
The sorcerers conclude that if they can hold Sodden Hill, they can effectively scupper the Nilfgaard invasion plans and help to save The Continent.
So Often Disappointing
Yennefer and Triss chat and it soon becomes clear to Yennefer why Triss is so confident that King Foltest will arrive with his forces. Triss explains how she met Geralt and how they saved King Foltest’s daughter. She appreciated the help of Geralt and tells Triss that she wonders what happened to him. “Something unpleasant, I’m sure.” She replies bitterly. “You should be wary of his kind,” she adds, “they’re so often disappointing.”
it’s evening by this time and all but a few preparations are left to be made before the battle starts. Yennefer is chatting with Tissaia and they talk about life and opportunities and motivations. It becomes apparent that Tissaia and Vengerbort will be hooking up later that evening if Tissaia has anything to do with it and Yennefer seems content to die if that is her fate. It seems she feels that after living three lifetimes, there is not much more to live for. Tissaia ads that she has a lot that she can still give.
Witcher Episode Review – Nilfgaard Prepares
Fringilla and Cahir talk to a belligerent field marshal about the forces that are amazed in preparation for the invasion of the Northern Kingdoms. He reports that 50,000 soldiers are on their way from Cintra and a further major force is on it’s way with a Nilfgaardian general still in transit.
Cahir is nervous about pushing forward until the full army contingent is gathered, he is also nervous that Cirilla may be far away and will have already crossed the river. Fringilla on the other hand is content to attack Sodden Hill without waiting for the general and is confident that her magics (and her team of sorcerers) can win against the Brotherhood of sorcerers in the keep.
Goin’ Over to Zola’s House
A teenage boy scoffs at Cirilla, the new addition to the family. He believes that his mother is a bleeding heart taking in strafes. He doesn’t have much sympathy for her but isn’t overly aggressive, just some teenage boy banter. His mother enters and clips him across the head for being unfriendly.
And so it Begins
Back at Sodden Hill, a fireball races over to where Yennefer is sleeping. She wakes just in time and diverts it to explode harmlessly in the sky. Meanwhile Fringilla watches ominously from a distance. Again she tells the sorceress next to her who notices regretfully the remnants of the last sorcerer – the one that fired the previous fireball. She conjures up a fireball and promptly disintegrated with the effort. The fireballs fired and dissipated as easily this time as the last by Yennefer.
The battle starts in anger and we see just how powerful the sorceresses can be. Alas, there are only 22 of them now since a large number left in the night. This was probably in fear at the thought of fighting the Nilfgaard army without the backing of the Northern kingdoms who were still to arrive.
Witcher Episode Review – Taken to the Farm
Geralt is rescued by the kindly dude who puts him on his cart to take home to recover. He hears the battle in the distance and hurries along. Geralt is delirious and is told to stay awake until they get to the farm. he might not wake otherwise.
Witcher Episode Review – The Battle Intensifies
In this episode of The Witcher, there is Much More magic than we have seen previously. It’s as though they were saving it all up for the last show. Seriously, I’m surprised they aren’t considered minor deities since they have the ability to kill whole groups of soldiers with the flick of a wrist. Very, VERY scary!
They choke the life out of whole groups of Nilfgaardian soldiers and special potions are used as chemical weapons and flung as bombs which are detonated remotely with magically accurate arrows. It goes both sides of course, Fringilla is able to talk over the minds of a couple of the mages, even the lovely Sabrina and a couple of children to sabotage the weapons store in the keep.
It’s clear that Fringilla’s magic is much meaner and nastier than the magics used by the sorceresses and sorcerers of Aratuza. Nilfgaard will literally sacrifice mages to create magic missiles etc. and makes them look much more dark and sinister. We seem to see a different Nilfgaard than the multi-layer villains of the last few episodes. Flat out evil actually!
Geralt is oblivious to the major battle underway a mile or two in the distance. He is still suffering from the monster bite and is feverish. Geralt manages to wake and scrambles to get a potion which he partly swallows before sprinkling the rest on his wound. He settles back into a troubled delirious sleep.
The old guy repeats his advice not to sleep but despite this Geralt drifts off into a troubled reminiscence of his childhood. In fact the point at which his mother gave him away to become a Witcher. She is an attractive redhead and it looks as if she cares for the young Geralt. Its a peculiar, troubled dream.
Witcher Episode Review – The Final Push
With all the nastiness of the Nilfgaard Magic, the Sorcerers Brotherhood, those that remain, are inventive and supportive of each other…. though it has to be said that they are beginning to struggle towards the end of the battle. Those that went out to take the fight to the Nilfgaardians (approximately 10 of them) have now all but perished and when Tissaia meets up with Fringilla, the beautiful villain (erm.. Fringilla I mean) gives Tissaia a bit of a lesson in nasty magic. She casts a spell silently and Yennefer’s mentor falls to the ground struggling to breath.
When Nilfgaard mages begin opening portals for archers to fire arrows through, it looks like the fate of the Brotherhood defence force is sealed.
Geralt and Visenna
On the Cart, Geralt is delirious and dreaming a troubled dream about his mother, an attractive red-head called Visenna. He is happy and carefree and his mother seemingly cares for him (nothing like Yennefer’s early childhood!). The son asks silly questions typically asked by 5 year olds and when his mother asks him to go and get water after stopping the cart on their way home, he finds that when her returns, the cart is gone.
A voice speaks to the young Geralt, he is Geralt’s new guardian a Witcher called Vesemir. This is a disturbing dream for Geralt. Leaving the loving environment with his mother was a harsh and as Geralt explains to his mother in another dream sequence moments later, only three in ten boys training to be Witchers survive.
Geralt asks her why she gave him up to be a Witcher but she replies that the answer wouldn’t give him what he wants. She adds that he shouldn’t ask any more questions ans the answers would hurt them both. “It’s time to move on, Geralt.” she concludes, “It’s time for you to find what you let go of. Find her.”
Geralt wakes and learns that he is only an hour or two from the Yurga’s house. Yurga feels indebted to Geralt for saving his life and, to Geralt’s annoyance and refusal, offers him the Law of Surprise.
Of Tissaia, Yennefer and Triss
For all the power displayed by Nilfgaard, it is Yennefer who proves to be the episode’s most able sorceress (not Fringilla, Tissaia or Triss). From the top of the keep at Sodden Hill she oversees the fight. It has to be said, she isn’t quite as confident as you might imagine but then again, her friends seem to be dropping around her and her nervousness is evident in her frequent requests to see if anyone can hear her. Some reviewers on the internet are perplexed at her sudden ability to direct the battle but frankly she didn’t direct much at all. She advises and helps with her observations but Yennefer the General, she isn’t.
Triss gives a valiant effort to re-build the gate that was smashed in the battle but even she succumbs to the advance and is knocked back with a flaming torch to the chest.
Tissaia is still reeling from the fight with Fringilla who foolishly left her for dead. As she recovers, she instructs Yennefer to ‘release her full chaos.’ Yennefer obliges and casts a firestorm of biblical proportions across the battlefield. She tries, where possible, to protect combatants on her side (such as Tissaia etc.) but the ferocity for the attack seems hard to survive – for anyone!
Soon after Yennefer’s fire demon act kills off the majority of the Nilfgaard force, King Faltest arrived with reinforcements.
Of Timelines and Confluences
There is a pretty good ‘gocha’ when we learn that the lovely Zola (kindly lady that saves Ciri) is non other than the wife of the kindly merchant Yurga! Alas, it’s all a bit frustrating as when Yurga arrives home, he is met by Zola but Ciri has already done another runner after a troubled sleep where she hears Yennefer’s name being called by Geralt. She runs into the woods.
For some strange reason, Geralt is aware of her proximity and he jumps out of the cart before Yurga can introduce Geralt to his wife. At this point, although Yennefer is a mile or tow away at the battlefield, she, Ciri and Geralt are now all inhabiting the same timeline.
Witcher Episode Review – And About Bloody Time!
Geralt and Ciri finally meet. Geralt is trying to focus in the distance and he suddenly noticed a frantic Ciri running towards him. Again, many reviewers got this wrong. Ciri does not only know Geralt, she was introduced to him by Calanthe when she was an adolescent. In fact he greeted her by saying, “Pleased to meet you princess.”
She recognised him from afar and ran into his arms.
“People linked by destiny will always find each other.” He says.
I have to say it was a very nice moment and I godda say Fraya Allen who plays Ciri looked like she had been looking forward to doing that scene all season – and frankly, so had we.
She looks up into his eyes and says, “Who’s Yennefer?”
And with that this season finale ended. Very cute and cool. I definitely had the feeling that I wanted to see more – which is always a good sign for me. Days after the show aired I was still thinking about it and talking about it to colleagues – I suspect that is one of the reasons that viewers and critics valued the episode so much.
As the credits play a song plays which seems interesting:
The call of the White Wolf
The call of the White Wolf
Is loudest at the dawn
The call of a stone heart
Is broken and alone
Born of Kaer Morhen
Born of no love
The song of the White Wolf
Is cold as driven snow
Bear not your eyes upon him
Lest steel or silver draw
Lay not your breast against him
Or lips to ease his roar
Cast not your eyes upon him
Lest he kiss you with his sword
Lay not your heart against him
Or your lips to ease his roar
For the song
Of the White Wolf
We’ll always sing
The Witcher Episode Eight Review – “Much More” Conclusion
This was a magical effects-heavy wind-up to the first season and it made a nice change from the monster effects that we had come to expect from the other episodes. Even though the monsters that bit Geralt were definitely special, they weren’t very cool as special effects.
Character moments were pretty good to. The main thing for me is that the lovely Sabrina managed to survive. Many of the other lovely sorceresses didn’t but at least Sabrina did!
Also, Zola and Yurga turn out to wife and husband and literally drive Geralt to meet Ciri. I thought the irony was terrific and an almost total justification for the heavy use of the word ‘Destiny’. I think the writers were chuckling a little when Geralt uttered his last line.
Also, there were a lot of ladies involved in the writing, production and direction of this series. I’m a big fan of the series, so I agree it worked well. But this definitely isn’t as epic as Game of Thrones. I think that’s more of a budget thing than anything to do with the ladies. If I am critical. it’s because there could have been a little more ‘gratuitousness‘ in some of the episodes. Some scenes seemed a little too well choreographed, tame and lame even. It would have been nice to have see some controversial stuff in such a highly visible show – perhaps that’s a bit too much of a male perspective or perhaps it was a missed opportunity.
The Witcher Episode 8 Review – I’d rate this a terrific 9.2 out of 10
The Witcher is likely to return to our screams for season two in late 2020 or early 2021 And we will be there to review each episode! Can’t wait!
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The Witcher is a Czech-American fantasy drama web television series created by Lauren Schmidt Hissrich for Netflix.
This Witcher TV Show Episode Review is copyright Tony Fawl and not for reproduction without permission.