Episode #3 – Betrayer Moon: “Geralt takes on another Witcher’s unfinished business in a kingdom stalked by a ferocious beast. At a brutal cost, Yennefer forges a magical new future.”
A Monster in the Shadows
A teenage boy is laying in bed, rasping away at a man standing in the shadows. “A Vukodlak. I swear Witcher, that’s what got me.” As the man steps forth from the darkness, we anticipate to see Geralt, yet this is a new Witcher we have not met. He states his price, 3,000 Orens, and heads out to slay the Temerian beast that is ravaging this poor town. He follows the beast into a meat cellar stuffed with hanging pigs. His eyes are black from the potion he drank to see in the dark, but this doesn’t help the Witcher at all. Within seconds, the unseen beast slays the man by an apparent shredding of the torso and we immediately cut to Geralt.
Our main Witcher has apparently been on a prostitute bender over the last few days. As she scours his body for scars and guesses what they’re all from (thanks to Jaskier songs) she mentions something of one of Geralt’s “friends” stealing a good chunk of change from the neighboring village. The barkeep/pimp then barges into the room asking for payment. As Geralt doesn’t have any more coin after his stint locked in the room, he must leave Roach as collateral until he returns. The barkeep points him towards Tamaria and Geralt sets out as the intro sequence fades in.
Rebellions and Sorcery
Upon Geralt’s arrival, he finds a group of disgruntled miners, one of whom is the dead boy’s father from the intro scene. He offers to do the job his fellow Witcher failed to do for a third of the price as a gesture of goodwill from one guild to another but is sent packing by the Kings Guard as soon as they agree to terms. As he is being escorted out of Temaria, another of our main staple Witcher characters, Triss Merigold, is introduced as she knocks the Kings Guard unconscious. She tells Geralt that she wants him to complete his quest, and then asks him to follow her. They end up in a cellar where Triss has apparently been holed up. She walks Geralt over to three bodies and offers him 2,000 Orens if he can tell her what killed the men. He almost immediately shoves his hands within the dead Witcher’s body cavity and notices that both the heart and liver are missing, and only a Striga has such a specific meal plan.
We portal back over to Aretuza where Yennefer and Istredd are doing the deed in front of a crowd of other conjured mages. I’m not entirely sure what the point of this was but if I had to guess it would be to build confidence or learn to deal with distractions. Once they’re done, we get a little more background information about the Brotherhood of Sorcerers. They’re an organization tasked with providing mages to sit at court for any kingdoms in need, and Yennefer desires to be placed at Aedirn. There is another reason Yen wants this position though, and that is to be granted permission to have her body remade by Tissaia’s “makeover” mage. Yennefer and Tissaia go visit this mage’s work area where Tissaia has Yen picture the most powerful woman she can imagine, and this is what she wants Yen to think about when she has the chance to be remade.
Kings and Deceit
Triss and Geralt make their way to visit the King, who isn’t very happy that Geralt did not leave when told to by his Kingsmen. Geralt explains that they are actually dealing with the rare Striga, but this angers the King even more. To put the icing on the cake, Geralt then accuses King Foltest of having an incestual relationship with his sister, which gets him banished from Temaria for good.
Back at Aretuza, the leaders of the Brotherhood of Sorcerers are meeting to discuss the final court placements for their graduating mages. Tissaia is touting Yennefer for her dream court seat at Aedirn when Stregobor, who is the mage from episode one if you recall, drops the bomb that Yen is a quarter elf. This is a big deal as the people of Aedirn are not huge fans of elves, and results in Yen being assigned the dread Nilfgaardian post.
Geralt is sitting outside the castle where Foltest’s sister lived before her death as Triss walks up behind him. “You were told to leave Temaria,” Triss whispers, to which Geralt replies, “But come on… these views.” This was an incredibly comedic line sprinkled into a somewhat very serious episode so far. Geralt tosses a rock up near the guards and they scurry off in fear of the creature, which allows our characters to sneak into the castle. They eventually make their way up to the Sister’s room where Triss finds some letters in a hidden drawer of a music box that proved Foltest and his sister were, in fact, doing the incest. However, while in the room, Geralt also smells another person’s scent on the sheets and it belongs to the King’s army commander. Geralt and Triss head to the man to interrogate him in hopes of finally hearing the truth and to their surprise, Ostrit admits to cursing the abomination that could destroy the throne.
Till the Rooster Crows… Thrice
Yennefer and Istredd have it out as they both blame one another for sharing personal details with their head mages. Istredd is upset that Yen missed the initiation, but he tells her that everything is fine and that they can still stay together and travel the continent. “That’s not my destiny. It’s slow suicide.” Yennefer proclaims as she angrily leaves the room. As everyone parties and dances at the graduation/initiation ceremony, Yen makes her way down to the makeover mage and taunts him into transforming her body without the approval of the Brotherhood. It will cost her though, as she has to sacrifice the ability to have any children in order to become beautiful.
Geralt is confronted outside of the castle by King Foltest. After a brief discussion, the king pleads with Geralt to do his best to save the princess. He admits that he will try his best, but he has been in this situation before and had no choice but to kill the creature. He heads into the castle and up to the bedroom from earlier. Ostrit is tied to the bed where Geralt plans to keep him as bait for the Striga. The Witcher tries to pull any information about the curse from the man and eventually gets what he needs, but it isn’t what he wanted to hear. Geralt will need to keep the Striga out of her crypt until dawn when the rooster crows three times. Soon after we see the crypt open and Geralt prepares for an all-night battle that he was not anticipating. He runs from the room leaving Ostrit behind. The Striga heads there first and savagely kills the man before heading back out to find the other intruder on her grounds.
The Battle for New Life
Next ensues a brilliant work of production. While Geralt is fighting the Striga in epic fashion, we continuously get shots of Yennefer undergoing her transformation. Both are enduring excruciating pain as they battle their respective “demons.” The Striga was a masterpiece and one of the more creepy creatures I have ever witnessed in a television show. Also, for those of you who don’t already know, this scene is almost identical to the opening sequence for the original Witcher video game. As we cut back and forth between Geralt and Yennefer, we see Geralt succeed in keeping the Striga out while Yen fights through the pain of her transformation and become a hunch less, stunning woman. As the princess comes to at dawn, she is no longer Striga, but she is still part beast. She bites Geralt’s neck and our hero passes out after losing a good amount of blood. As he does, we jump back over to Yen, who strolls back into the initiation ceremony and absolutely stuns everyone, especially the King of Aedirn.
We end the episode with our first scene from Ciri of the episode. She awakens to voices calling her name. She stands and begins walking through the forest and finds herself out in a field of the dead, yet she continues aimlessly making her way to the voices. Dara, or rat boy as Ciri referred to him in episode one, wakes up to find Ciri gone and takes off in hopes of finding her. He makes his way out of the forest and into the death field where he sees Ciri about to walk into a forest of darkness. As Dara nears her, an arrow comes hurtling from the forest and strikes him in the shoulder. He falls to the ground, writhing in pain, as Ciri continues being drawn into the forest and the screen fades to the credits.
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