The Witcher Season 3 Premiere Review: A Fun, Bloody Start To Cavill’s Send Off

The Witcher season 3 premiere is worth the wait, though the story could use a more selective focus.

By Michileen Martin | Updated

witcher premiere


Henry Cavill’s final season as Geralt of Rivia is here and if The Witcher Season 3 premiere is anything to judge by, it will be a fitting send-off. “Shaerawedd” reunites us with the impressive cast of Netflix‘s best fantasy series with as much action, horror, and drama that can be packed into a single episode. If there’s any weakness to the new season, it’s that the cast of characters has grown so much — with so many major players of the Continent involved — that it can get a little confusing in spots.

The Witcher Season 3 premiere opens with Geralt, Yennefer (Anya Chalotra), and Ciri (Freya Allen) on the run. Everywhere the trio goes they are followed by agents of one of the many forces looking for Ciri. In spite of Geralt giving each host a hefty bag of coin with a reminder that the money is “For your discretion,” their location keeps finding its way into the wrong ears.

witcher premiere
Yennefer and Ciri in “Shaerawedd”

As the heroes go from one hiding place to another Yennefer works to train Ciri in her emerging magical abilities, while also attempting to win back the love and trust of Geralt. As they run from one hideout to the next, Geralt finds letters from Yennefer pinned to his door, though he stubbornly refuses to answer them, or mostly to even talk to her. The witcher remains angry over her betrayal the previous season.

After a run-in with a beautifully rendered monster who seems to be the product of a union between a demon and a giant armadillo, the trio of heroes decide to go on the offense. It all culminates in a battle between Elves, Dwarves, humans, a distracted mage, and of course Geralt. Cavill’s entry into the fray is one of the most exciting action sequences in the series, with the witcher tearing through Elves seamlessly with blade and magic like something right out of the video game, but a lot cooler (and with way fewer ground rolls).

witcher premiere

Yennefer and The Witcher have something of a farewell at the end of the premiere episode, and it made me curious if the involved parties already knew Cavill was leaving. While we already know Liam Hemsworth will take over from Cavill in Season 4, the episode ends with the sense that this is the beginning of the end for this Witcher.

The only thing holding The Witcher back is a big world filled with a lot of powerful people who, I’m ashamed to say, I can’t always remember. In spite of a “last time on The Witcher” sum up preceding The Witcher Season 3 premiere long enough to put any episode of Dragon Ball Z to shame, I found myself utterly confused more than once while watching the first two new episodes.

Perhaps the most confusing moment came at the end of The Witcher Season 3 premiere episode. “Shaerawedd” ends with a very royal and powerful looking man — who doesn’t appear in the rest of the episode — burning paintings for some reason, and at the last moment deciding there’s one painting he doesn’t want to burn. You get the sense you’re supposed to be overcome with some kind of feeling at the scene, but I simply could not remember who the hell he was.

Now I’m sure I could figure out who he is easily enough, but forgive me if this is an old-fashioned idea, but I think if I have to consult a fan-run wiki to feel whatever it is you want me to feel in a particular scene, there’s been a failure, and it ain’t mine.

The second episode, “Unbound,” creates more problems of this sort, with the plot bouncing around to more areas of the Continent to return to old characters and be introduced to new ones. A lot of the confusion could be solved with simple prompts to let the audience know where on the Continent the scene has moved to, but for whatever reason, The Witcher doesn’t bother with that kind of detail.

witcher premiere

Overall, however, The Witcher Season 3 premiere doesn’t disappoint. I hope as I continue to watch the new episodes, that the twin faults of my memory and the creators’ lack of reminders doesn’t pull things down too far. At the very least, it would be nice to see them correct these issues for Season 4, provided anyone bothers watching once Henry Cavill hits the road.