Episode #4 – Of Banquets, Bastards, and Burials: Against his better judgment, Geralt accompanies Jaskier to a royal ball. Ciri wanders into an enchanted forest. Yennefer tries to protect her charges.
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Toss that Coin to Your Witcher
We open episode four with Princess Cirilla’s continued wandering through the Brokilon forest. She hears some indistinct whispers coming from the trees ahead and happens upon a massive glowing orb of light. Out of nowhere something whizzes by her head snapping Ciri out of her trance. Almost instantaneously, she is surrounded by strange Amazonian-esque women. Cirilla mutters that she’s lost and unaware of how she made her way this deep into the forest. The forest women’s leader then appears as if she walked directly out of the orb and begins asking Ciri some questions. The most important fo which is her name, to which Ciri replies, “Fiona.” She clearly wants to keep her identity a secret as she is unsure if these women are allies or foes, yet in the end, she follows them even further into Brokilon anyways.
We cut to a filthy man describing the fate of the “White wolf”, which is a fitting name as The Witcher dons that luscious head of silvery white hair. The man continues on with his story, explaining how a massive Selkiemore has swallowed Geralt whole and that he fears the beloved Witcher has finally met his fate. Jaskier the bard chimes in that all of this detail is great, but that Geralt will be fine. As the man and the crowd begin to yell and argue the tavern’s door flings open to reveal none other than Geralt himself. He is covered in Selkimore (and apparently some sheep) blood and smells quite awful Jaskier notes. A “toss a coin to your Witcher” chant breaks out as Geralt and Jaskier begin chatting about a job that the bard has for The Witcher.
This is where one of the first clear hints at a massive time-lapse comes into play as the job that Jaskier needs Geralt for involves a betrothal for the lioness’ (Queen Calanthe) daughter. If you were paying attention to the first few episodes, you know that Queen Calanthe daughter, Pavetta, had perished in the unfortunate sinking of her ship. So the mere fact that we are now traveling to her wedding hints that we are at least 14-15 years behind here than we are with any timeline relating to Ciri. Jaskier convinces Geralt of his help and brings him upstairs to get ready, where he once again notes how filthy he is.
More Lore and Destiny
The Bard and his Witcher arrive at the betrothal where Jaskier explains to Geralt that he essentially needs him to keep himself under the radar. Unfortunately for the bard, Geralt is noticed immediately by the mage, Mousesack, and pulled away. This should have been another clear indication of a time-lapse as we witnessed an older Mousesack die/vanish toward the end of episode one. We quickly learn from the mage of all the suitors that are attempting to gain princess Pavetta’s hand in marriage, yet the Queen has already made a backwoods deal to marry her to the nephew of one of the lords in attendance. Queen Calanthe then enters the room and begins a schpeal on where she was and why she is covered in blood before walking to her daughter and telling her that she doesn’t want any of her wet works during this occasion.
We hop back over to Fiona, or I mean Ciri, within the Brokilon forest. In these next few scenes with Ciri, we get a bunch of book information that is carefully sprinkled into the show, the main being the ever so brief conjunction of spheres. I won’t dive into any of that detail, so if you’re interested in that visit the witcher wiki. Cirilla talks with the forest people, who we learn are Dryads, briefly before they bring her to Dara (Rat Boy) who is lying on the ground in agonizing pain. He still has the arrow sticking out of his shoulder, but not for long. One of the Dryads yanks it from him and pours some sort of salve into his wound, and that liquid ends up being the waters of Brokilon. Apparently these waters are beyond sacred, and both Ciri and Dara will need to drink them to test their intentions while in Brokilon. A little later Ciri also reveals herself as Princess Cirilla to Dara who is not even the least bit happy by this news. He’s upset because her grandmother slaughtered so many elves, including his family, during The Great Cleansing.
Back at Pavetta’s betrothal in Cintra, two drunk men are arguing about details of Manticore as Geralt sits back and laughs. Calanthe is made aware of The Witcher’s presence and asks him to clarify and end the squabbling. Geralt looks as if he wants to make the two men feel like the biggest idiots of all time, yet he catchers Jaskier’s eyes pleading him to not start any trouble. Geralt admits that there could have been some sort of rare subspecies of Manticore, even though we all know that can’t be true. This leads to the Queen asking Geralt to sit beside her during the feast, and totally gave me the impression that Calanthe was trying to mount Geralt in another tub scene if you catch my drift.
A Witcher (Not) for Sale
As Geralt sits next to Queen Calanthe the two begin talking “what-ifs” if some sort of fight broke out. Obviously, the queen would have to stay out of it as she’s “bound to uphold an artifice off decorum and… fairness,” but she would hope that Geralt would step in and squash any potentially arising beef. He, of course, says he must stay out of anything as well which leads to more steamy banter from the queen. “As Queen I could command it,” she sultrily whispers to Geralt. She definitely wants some witcher action, right? Soon thereafter, we begin getting marriage proposals, but more importantly the Nilfgaardian proposal. The man touts that he is one of five brothers with no sisters so his strong seed will impregnate Pavetta with an almost guaranteed male heir. The crowd laughs and Calanthe quickly joins in by absolutely bashing this man and Nilfgaard as a whole. He storms out, and to me, this has to be a key force behind the destruction of Cintra later on in the story.
As the queen prepares to hear more proposals, we jump to our favorite mage, Yennefer. As she sits next to the queen of Aedirn discussing how miserable and unmeaningful her life has turned out over the last thirty years (which cements that Yen’s time-lapse probably happens before anything else we’ve seen up to this point in the show), their carriage comes to an abrupt halt. The next thing Yen knows, there is some sort of sword or blade penetrating the cabin. Yennefer takes a gander out of the small side window and sees that the guards that are accompanying them are all being slaughtered. The two promptly exit the carriage and find an assassin waiting for them, and he appears to be controlling some sort of sword-legged crab spider that was responsible for the murder of all those innocent men just a few seconds ago. Yen, the quick-thinking mage that she is, throws her hands out and creates an incredibly dope snow portal for the two (plus the lone surviving guard) to port through. It appears as if they escaped the assassin and his pet monster until… they don’t. Yen ports them again, this time with an awesome sand portal, and realizes that they are most likely being tracked by something the queen is wearing. The assassin shows up again and now Yennefer flaunts some of her true power. She holds the monster-beast in some sort of time slowing spell as she opens a portal for the queen and her child. Here is where we see the true toll of magic on those who practice as Yen looks beat down and exhausted. Yet again the assassin shows up, but this time Yen ports herself to a random mountainside for a reason I do not know.
Back at the betrothal party of the year, a ruckus breaks out near the door as a knight comes rushing towards the queen’s table. He begs pardon for his tardiness but Calanthe isn’t having any of what he’s saying. She ridicules him for leaving his helmet on, to which he replies that he mustn’t take it off until the 12th bell rings. Eist is also having none of this knights mischief and smacks the helmet off the top of his head. To everyone’s surprise, the man has some sort of hedgehog face that he insists is part of a curse. The Queen is fed up and orders Geralt to slay the vile creature. He declines and instead ends up defending the cursed knight as it seems to be the right thing to do. A massive fight ensues and good ol’ Eist ends up defending the hedgehog man as well since destiny is clearly more important than looks. The queen steals a sword from one of her guards and joins in after a while to put an end to the fighting.
The Sacrifices We Make
The Queen of Aedirn is back with the assassin and his spider creation now, and she is offering up her child as a sacrifice to keep herself alive. This ends poorly for her as the assassin mage chucks a knife that slits her throat wide open. He sends his sword-legged spider over to finish the job, but that’s when Yen comes porting back in. She dispatches the spider with ease (maybe the mountainside had some sort of special healing/power) and then casts some sort of black gas spell at the assassin. She grabs the child and attempts to port off one last time but the assassin is too quick. He gets one final dagger toss off and the blade goes right through Yen’s shoulder and into the baby. As she lands in the water near a beach she realizes that the baby is dead and it looks as if she attempts to bring it back to life. It does not work, but one can only imagine the toll it would’ve taken on her body if it had.
Pavetta yells at her mother as we find ourselves back in Cintra. She knows this man as Duny and has met him already. She told the hedgehog man to stay away, but clearly destiny had its mind made up already. The knight claims that he was cursed as a child but after saving Calanthe’s first husband he was granted the law of surprise. Calanthe is shook by this news and refuses to give up her only daughter to such a hideous monster. Eist, Mousesack and Geralt all mention how this is clearly destiny’s wish, and that if she ignores destiny’s call it will unleash its wrath upon everyone. Calanthe hands over her sword to Eist and looks as if she is going to accept this fate for her daughter. However, as she nears the man she whispers in his ear, “here is your destiny,” as she rips a dagger from her waist and plunges it towards the hedgehog man’s throat.
Pavetta shrieks and flings everyone near the knight off towards the outer walls of the room. The Princess then begins whispering something in Elder to her Duny and the two begin floating up into the air. Geralt and Mousesack attempt to penetrate the mini tornado that has now encased Pavetta and her knight, but both fail at first. Geralt is flung back against the wall again, but this time he opens and throws back one of his Witcher potions. Mousesack seems to get through enough to distract Pavetta on his second attempt and this allows Geralt to get a sign off towards the floating couple. It lands as it needs to and the princess and the knight slowly fall back down to the ground. Eist looks at Calanthe and asks her if she now believes in destiny before the queen stands and walks over to her daughter. Queen C is ecstatic that her daughter has the gift that her grandmother had and was beginning to think it had skipped her generation as well. She then proclaims that she will mary Pavetta to Duny and that anyone who has a problem with it can face the consequences.
Destiny Can Go What Itself?
As Calanthe gives her blessing, the curse over Duny breaks. He coughs and spazzes for about two seconds before a dashing young man appears and runs back over to Pavetta. Geralt smirks and turns to leave, but the young knight calls out for him. As Geralt saved his life, he is know owed something from Duny. The Witcher claims he wants nothing, but Duny insists that he take something. Thinking he is clever, Geralt decides he will take the law of surprise just as Duny did with Calanthe’s first husband. He starts rambling about how he will be long gone before this surprise occurs and that Calanthe has nothing to worry about. Yet, just as our white-haired friend is about to tell destiny to eat it, Pavetta vomits and reveals that she is pregnant. Of course destiny would do this, am I right!?
We skip back to the present now for probably the first time since the end of episode one. A wavering Nilfgaardian flag stands outside of Cintra now and we see soldiers flipping dead bodies all throughout the streets. One soldier stumbles across Calanthe’s corpse and immediately calls over a sorceress. For those of you who didn’t catch this right away, this was the same sorceress (Fringilla) that was originally set for Aedirn before Yen underwent her transformation at the end of episode three. She motions for another mage to come over and he quickly cuts off a piece of Calanthe’s arm skin. The mage begins convulsing before Fringilla and she proceeds to stab him in the stomach. She watches as his guts slowly fall to the already blood-soaked ground. She then states that she knows exactly where the queen’s cub is and that the Nilfgaardian army will now be making its way to the Brokilon forest.
We end the episode with Cirilla once again. She is told to sip the Brokilon water but nothing happens. The Dryad leader then acknowledges that the tree is calling out to Ciri and that she must drink directly from the source. As the Dryad cuts the tree some luminescent green fluid leaks down into Ciri’s hands. She slurps it up and is immediately transported to some sort of dream state desert. She spins and looks puzzled at first, yet as she makes her full rotation she notices a massive glowing tree behind her. Her eyes widen as she stares at the magnificent tree, and then it whispers, “where are you, child?” as the screen slowly fades to black.
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