The Witcher season 2, episode 8 recap: Family matters


The Witcher second-season finale is upsetting, frustrating and exciting—everything you want in a finale, really! There are also two big reveals near the end. Well, it'll be a surprise if you're not clued up on your Witcher Lore—those in the know will have already guessed who's coming. This episode really hits home that family is often who you choose to be with, rather than solely blood relatives. Again, we see so much placed on Ciri's young shoulders, and again, she proves she's much stronger than she looks. Lambert is also less of a prick in this episode, which is the biggest shock of all.

Before we get stuck into what Ciri and Geralt are up to, let's get what I believe to be objectively the most gut-punching moment out of the way. Spurned by the loss of their child, Francesca and Filavandrel decide to leave Nilfgaard. It's revealed that Dara has been a Redandian spy, communicating with Dijkstra about what's been going down. Dara decides he doesn't want to do that anymore just before the baby is killed, and ultimately blames himself for her death. Francesca reassures him it wasn't his fault, and they leave for Redania, her hatred for humans restored. Once there, she wanders through a village and burns a mark into every baby, before killing them in one fell swoop. It's an awful scene that ends with several babies screaming before a deafening silence, eventually filled with the cries of mothers. Francesca seeks justice for her people, not revenge, and this won't be the last time we see brutality from her.

Episode details

Episode 8

“Family”

Written by: Lauren Schmidt Hissrich

Directed by: Ed Bazalgette

★★★★★

In the North, Tissaia and Vilgefortz receive a visit from Dijkstra, who tells them of Ciri's power in the previous episode. Tissaia feels that the child is too powerful even for the Brotherhood, so she convenes with King Foltest, King Henselt, and Queen Meve to decide if they should kill the girl and any and all who protect her, which puts Geralt and the Witchers right in the line of fire. King Vizimir over in Redania, however, wishes to combine their kingdoms through marriage so that he may have control of Cintra and have Redania become the most powerful Northern kingdom. Basically, it's all getting a bit double-agent and dangerous in the North. At least with the Nilfgaardians, they're upfront that they're about to murder you.

the witcher season 2

(Image credit: Netflix)

The list of those hunting Ciri grows longer while she, newly possessed by Voleth Meir, goes around Kaer Morhen killing Witchers. Voleth Meir sees in Ciri that she misses her family more than anything, so takes her to the grand hall, where they find her grandmother and Mousesack. This keeps Ciri distracted and happy while Voleth Meir uses her body for her bidding. Vesemir instructs the Witchers to take what elixirs they can, while Geralt persuades Vesemir to try it his way first: to coax the entity out of Ciri to leave them both alive.

Yen recruits Jaskier for potion-making duty, which does as well as you'd imagine. He's tasked with bringing Jasper to Geralt, a stone that helps you right wrongs. Keep in mind that Voleth Meir feeds off hatred and despair, as it'll be important later. Voleth Meir then screams at the Medallion tree which reveals a small monolith inside. It shatters and opens up a portal, through which two Basilisks emerge. The Witchers take an absolute battering while Geralt tries to get through to Ciri, but it seems hopeless. Vesemir eventually attacks Ciri/Voleth Meir, but her wounds heal. Jaskier manages to tell Geralt about the Jasper stone just as Voleth Meir reveals she loves the hate pouring from the Witcher, just as Geralt realises they've been going about this all wrong.

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Proving once and for all that Witchers do have feelings, Geralt tells Ciri that she needs to come home, that they all need her. Even Lambert chimes in with a sort of positive comment! Yen sees what's happening then realises that she can sacrifice herself—temporarily, anyway—to lure out Voleth Meir and save Ciri. She slits her wrists, and the Witchers continue their positive affirmations, pulling Ciri out of her dream state with her family. Eventually, Ciri leaves the grand hall and returns to Kaer Morhen, with Voleth Meir entering Yen's body. Ciri opens a portal, but before Yen can expel Voleth Meir, they're thrown through it.

They reemerge in a strange red land, and Voleth Meir just floats away. That was easy! But before they can get their bearings, they see a band of horsemen heading toward them. It's the Wild Hunt, and they're asking Ciri to join them. Before they can get too close, Ciri clings to Geralt and Yen and teleports them back to Kaer Morhen. For the first time, not only do we get to see that Ciri can teleport, but that she can travel to other worlds. That's some big news right there. Yen and Geralt agree that Yen will train Ciri and together, they will protect her. Hurray for family!

the witcher season 2

(Image credit: Netflix)

Over in Redania, Istredd is captured by the Elves and finally reveals Ciri's existence as Hen Ikeir, meaning Elder Blood. Francesca realises that Ciri could help them restore elves as the true rulers of the continent, so yet another party is seeking her. And finally, the two big reveals. In earlier recaps, I wagered that the owl everyone keeps talking to is none other than Phillipa Eilhart and I was right! Phillipa is Vizimir's court mage and a polymorph, meaning that she can transform into an animal. She is hella old and one of the most powerful sorceresses around, so it'll be a treat to see how her character is developed in season 3.

Phillipa and Dijkstra are in cahoots, which is bad news for just about everyone. In Cintra, Fringilla and Cahir wax lyric to Emperor Emhyr that they always planned to turn the elves on Redania and that they ordered the murder of the baby. That's all fair and well, except it was Emhyr who ordered the murder, and the two are taken away for treachery. But what does the Emperor have to do with Ciri? Those who've been paying close attention will recognise his voice and dark hair—he's none other than Duny the hedgehog man, her father. 

And that does it for the second season. Hopefully we won't need to wait two years for season 3, because I cannot wait to see what's in store for our heroes. Good luck on the Path, Witcher. 

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