The Witcher Season 1 Episode 1 Recap
The time has finally come for the premiere of the Henry Cavill (Mission: Impossible – Fallout)-starring adaptation of the acclaimed fantasy novel series The Witcher, and what an exhilarating game of morality-balancing and deceptions did Geralt of Rivia have to play.
Hunt for the Kikimora
The pilot opens with Geralt in a swamp area fighting against a spider-like creature known as a kikimora, with the monster attempting to drown its hunter while he tries to reacquire his sword to continue the battle. After grabbing his weapon and cutting free from the monster’s grip, Geralt arises out of the water and kills the creature. Before he heads into town to try and receive a reward, he finds a deer nearby wounded by the creature and kills it offscreen to eat.
No One Likes Witchers
Geralt heads into the nearby town of Blaviken with the hopes of selling the kikimora corpse and stops in the tavern while waiting to meet his contact. While trying to order some beer from the bartender, he is refused service by the man as well as harassed by other customers in the tavern, who would rather see him dead than help him out. However, another customer in the bar named Renfri (Emma Appleton) shuts down the bartender and keeps the peace in the tavern, siding with the monster hunter and buying him two beers.
The Alderman’s Daughter
After having a brief chat with Renfri, Geralt is found by his contact, Marilka (Mia McKenna-Bruce), the daughter of the alderman to whom he’s trying to sell the kikimora to, however, she clarifies her father was looking for a graveir’s corpse, as kikimoras are good for thinning out population. Despite this hitch in his plan, she offers to take him to the town’s wizard Master Irion, as he’s willing to pay for jobs that will get him supplies for various elixirs.
Choose No Evil
After being escorted to the tower of Irion, Geralt meets Master Stregobar, the sorcerer of the town who reveals that Irion has been dead for over 200 years and originally built the tower. Stregobar continues the legacy of Irion by taking his name as his own while out on the town and has hired Marilka to bring Geralt to him for a very specific task: killing Renfri. Stregobar discusses the Curse of The Black Sun, in which any woman born during the first full eclipse in 1200 years is cursed to bring about the return of the demon goddess Lilit to exterminate the human race. Stregobar has found other women born under the Black Sun and tried to cure them, but they all died due to internal mutations, and Renfri is supposedly the last of the cursed women and has killed various animals as a young girl and gouged the eyes out of her maid with her comb and killed one of Stregobar’s men with her signature brooch. While Stregobar still concedes killing her is an evil task, in order to prevent bringing about Lilit, it is the lesser of two evils and tries to convince Geralt of the same, but the witcher chooses to abstain and when given the choice between two evils, he’d rather not choose at all.
A Rebel Princess
While Geralt is having his meeting with Stregobar, audiences are introduced to the kingdom of Cintra and its teenage princess Cirilla, who often partakes in what are seemingly rebellious activities including dressing as a peasant and playing with the local children and speaking out of turn with her grandfather King Eist Tuirseach (Björn Hlynur Haraldsson) as her grandmother Queen Calanthe (Jodhi May) knights local soldiers. The King and Queen discuss the possibility of Cirilla becoming queen of the kingdom should it fall to Nilfgaard, their southern neighbor with whom they are warring.
Two Sides to Every Story
While resting in the forrest on the outskirts of town before journeying elsewhere, Geralt is visited by Renfi, who revealed she used to be a princess before she was attacked by Stregobar’s goon, who raped her, robbed her and let her go, losing her royal title as a consequence. She tries to get Geralt to side with her and kill Stregobar for her, claiming it is the lesser evil, much to his dismay as hearing that sentiment for the second time. Geralt declines her request and asks she leaves Stregobar and finally live her life rather than become the monster Stregobar and various townsfolk want her to become.
The Battle for Cintra
As Cirilla is kept locked up in the castle under protection from Sir Lazlo (Maciej Musiał) and sorcerer Mousesack (Adam Levy), Queen Calanthe and King Eist head into battle against Nilfgaard and despite some heavy blows made against the enemy forces, the Cintran forces begin suffering heavy losses and Eist is killed by Cahir (Eamon Farren), a Nilfgaardian officer. Calanthe returns to the castle gravely wounded and the kingdom begins falling to the enemy, with Mousesack protecting the castle with a force field to prevent invading forces from entering. However, this only lasts for a short time and the 100 Cintran citizens in the castle are brutally killed by the Nilfgaardians. Cirilla is told by Calanthe to escape and find Geralt, as he is her destiny.
As he has a conversation with his trusty horse Roach, Renfri returns to Geralt to once again try and convince him to help her kill Stregobar, before choosing to accept his invitation to leave town and let him spare her and seduces him, with the two spending the night together. In his sleep, Geralt has a vision about Renfri and that her desire to kill Stregobar is too strong and that she has returned to the marketplace in search of the sorcerer, and he races back to stop her. He is confronted by a dozen of the townspeople from earlier and defeats them easily in battle, with Renfri emerging from the shadows holding a blade to Marilka’s throat. She and Geralt engage in a sword fight, with both sustaining minor injuries from each other’s blades before he is forced to stab her in the throat with her own dagger. Stregobar arrives and attempts to take Renfri’s body back for an autopsy, to which Geralt refuses, and Stregobar turns the crowd against the witcher, convincing them he murdered the group in cold blood. He leaves the town, taking Renfri’s brooch with him.
While Cirilla attempts to escape the city, Calanthe leaps out of the window and kills herself as other notable members of the kingdom still in the castle consume poison to kill themselves before they are killed by invading forces. As she and Sir Lazlo ride out on a horse together, he is shot and killed by Cahir and she is taken captive by the officer. During his journey back to his country with the princess in tow on the back of his horse, she awakens to see her city and castle burning down and it awakens a power in her to screech to the point of causing him pain, bringing down a nearby tower and creating a rift in the Earth, allowing her escape to find her destiny, Geralt.