Title: The Witcher, Episode Eight: Much More
Release Date: December 20, 2019
Streaming on Netflix
Created by: Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, based on the series by Andrzej Sapkowski
Running Time: 60 minutes
Much More: An Explosive End
We’ve finally arrived at the final episode of The Witcher’s first season, ironically titled Much More. Highlights to look forward to in the finale include Geralt and Ciri finally meeting up and a flashy Battle of Sodden Hill.
Spoilers below for episode eight of The Witcher.
Geralt: A Poor Showing
Yen spent the last episode caught up in flashbacks and memories, and Geralt will get his turn in Much More. Fortunately, it’s not as boring for him, and the flashes are quicker.
At the start, Geralt is looking through Cintra’s ruins for clues of Ciri’s whereabouts. I’m curious when this is supposed to take place because we saw during Ciri’s timeline in past episodes that the Nilfgaardians hung around Cintra for a good while after the sacking, but it appears abandoned now. It seems like a minor continuity issue. After he leaves, he comes across what looks like the encampment Ciri first visited, now littered with Cintran corpses. A merchant is hoping to bury the bodies, but Geralt knows they will attract necrophages, and urges him to leave.
Unsurprisingly, a hand shoots out of the ground to grab the merchant a mere moment later. A potioned-up Geralt saves him and more monsters—ghouls or alghouls, it would appear—show up to brawl. It’s a cool fight scene but makes Geralt look like a bit of a schmuck. He loses his sword about six seconds in and sustains a nasty bite (bad news, since the characters just established that “one bite will kill you”). As anyone who has played the games knows, ghouls are pretty low-level threats. Even disregarding existing canon, if all it takes to attract them is leaving some dead bodies lying around, they must be common. Get it together, G.
The merchant, Yurga, loads the injured, hallucinating Geralt onto his wagon and tries to keep him from falling asleep. Geralt wants to go to the Blue Mountains, which is the location of Kaer Morhen (where Geralt was trained to be a witcher), saying, “he’ll save me.”
That “he” refers to his mentor, Vesemir, who is confirmed to appear in season 2. A popular fan wish is for Mark Hamill to play the old witcher, and he may have been offered the role. Geralt told Calanthe in Episode 4 that Kaer Morhen had been destroyed, but Vesemir is still evidently there.
For most of the rest of Much More, checking in on Geralt involves him dreaming of his childhood, a tiny version of Villentretenmerth (the gold dragon from Rare Species), and the women in his life—Renfri, Triss, Yennefer, and his mother, Visenna. He eventually wakes to find the latter actually treating him and confronts her about leaving him with the witchers before falling back asleep and waking again with just Yurga there. Yurga implies that Visenna was simply a dream; however, it is stated explicitly that she was there in an analogous scene in the books, so it is probably safe to assume the same is valid here.
Yennefer: Unleash the Chaos
Yen starts Much More out with a bunch of other mages stuffed into a canoe like Washington Crossing the Delaware. Yen puts the number at 60, with Tissaia, Vilgefortz, and Triss among their ranks. Though Cintra is already ruined, they’re headed to Sodden Hill to intercept the Nilfgaardian army.
Despite implying that she wasn’t interested in fighting the last episode, Yen evidently decided to do so. Vligefortz asks her why, but she demurs. Seemingly a full half of the mages from the conclave came to fight. If everyone who votes a certain way is going to do what they want regardless of the outcome, it kind of makes one wonder what the point of a vote is in the first place, but here we are. Triss and Yen discuss Geralt and the Striga case—as a reminder because the permanence of everyone’s appearance makes it difficult to track, it’s been a full two decades since that happened.
Under Fringilla’s command, Nilfgaard starts off the battle by sending firey cannonballs fueled by the lives of their own people. This is how you know they’re the bad guys. They next send a guy in who trails huge swathes of fog over the battlefield, which is a pretty dope effect.
The 22 remaining (good) mages spread out to prepare for battle, with Yen taking a spot up in a tower where she can serve as a scout and report on Nilfgaardian movements to help the others coordinate.
The next series of scenes is formulaic: We see the known mages (Triss, Sabrina, Vilgefortz, etc.), and a couple of others each take turns showing off what they can do, devastating Nilfgaardian troops. However, between Nilfgaard’s overwhelming numbers and the ruthlessness of their blood magic, they come back to decimate the Northern mages.
That said, it was still excellent. Seeing how each mage would distinguish him or herself was great fun. Triss summons spore-filled mushrooms from the ground to choke foes, while a sorceress named Coral (a.k.a. Lytta Neyd) Force crushes some soldiers. Perhaps playing off his military experience and greater physical aptitude, Vilgefortz teleports in and kills enemies with an ever-replenishing stock of magical swords.
When it’s Nilfgaard’s turn to do some attacking, Fringilla opens a portal to the interior of the Sodden Hill keep, which begs the question of why she didn’t just do that from the beginning. Tissaia confronts her and receives a face full of Dimeritium powder for her troubles. Dimeritium is a metal that inhibits magic usage. People make chains out of it to bind sorcerers and bombs to stop the usage of magic.
The battle of Sodden Hill was great, but it wasn’t flawless.
The whole thing with Yen calling the shots was fine but would have been better if there had been some sort of explanation or lead-up. She’s never been a leader or said to be a tactical genius. Why is she in the tower coordinating the whole mage army? If the seeds for that had been sewn earlier, the payoff would have been more significant. Likely, it was just an easy way to keep her out of the action until Much More’s climax. Similarly, the box with the mind-control parasite worms came out of nowhere. If they had been mentioned at any point earlier, their inclusion would have been cooler.
Triss gets stabbed in the chest with a torch while trying to keep guards out of the gate, which fits in neatly for a couple of reasons: Canonically, it is notable that 14 of the 22 mages die at the Battle of Sodden Hill, including Triss (though she doesn’t actually). The severe injury provides her a feasible way to be thought dead. Further, Triss has a signature scar on her chest, and a bad burn should give her that.
Vilgefortz wakes up but ignores Yen and sets about slaughtering an injured Northern soldier. I predict that this portends his involvement as a significant villain in season 2. In the books The Tower of the Swallow and The Lady of the Lake, in particular, he is one of the most formidable foes Geralt faces, which is also referenced throughout the games.
As the mages’ last option, Tissaia gives Yen permission to let loose finally. She sends out torrents of flame across the entire battlefield, toasting everybody. It’s cool, but honestly, I think it was a missed opportunity. Dropping meteors or causing explosions of some sort would have created a more visually impressive, destructive-looking scene than a flamethrower.
Aaaand Foltest arrives with the Temerian army in time to survey the ruined battlefield. Great. Notably, as a regular man, he also hasn’t aged during the last two decades.
Ciri: Fortune Favors the Meek
Ciri wakes from her Source tantrum surrounded by dead and dismembered townsfolk. Unfortunately, Clip and/or Clop is dead as well. Zola, the curly-haired lady whom Ciri horse-robbed last episode, finds her and doesn’t seem angry about the horse or all that worried about the giant crop circle and fact that people all around have been torn limb from limb. She just expresses concern for Ciri and brings her home.
It turns out, that home is close enough to the Sodden Hill battlefield to see the fireballs Nilfgaard is launching. Zola just wants a daughter, so she’s willing to overlook the fact that this girl stole and murdered her horse. She tucks Ciri in and says goodnight. I’m on team Zola and hope she and Clip/Clop get a spin-off series.
While she seemed amenable to the adoption before bed, Ciri wakes up wanting to find Geralt. She takes off into the woods, but she was staying at the house of the merchant who saved Geralt—and just as an added benefit, offered Geralt the Law of Surprise apropos of nothing.
When Geralt pulls up and hears Zola tell Yurga that she found an orphan, he knows it’s Ciri because this dude has by now realized he’s living a ridiculous life, so and runs into the woods (nobody indicated that Ciri was there, he presumably just guessed). Ciri sees him, recognizes him for no reason, and runs to hug him. She asks who Yennefer is, and the season ends mercifully short of a birds-and-bees conversation.
Yen’s storyline did the heavy lifting this week, but it worked out because it was great fun to watch. All Geralt and Ciri needed to do was meet, which we’ve been waiting all season for them to do. The mages, meanwhile, gave us a visually impressive, action-packed episode that also advanced the plot. All in all, the first season of The Witcher ended on one of its best episodes.
Much More’s the Line of Episode:
Tissaia: Are you ready? To die?
Yennefer: Yes. I’ve lived two or three lifetimes already.
Tissaia: But you haven’t been satisfied in any of them.
Are you a fan of The Witcher series on Netflix? Let us know in the comments!
- The battle of Sodden Hill, which occupied the bulk of the episode’s runtime, was well done
- Different mages’ powers were realized in a creative, exciting way
- Seeing Geralt mother was a fun surprise
- I like Zola!
- We should be set up for a good season 2.
- Why was Geralt “laid low” by a pack of ghouls?
- I’m glad Geralt and Ciri finally met up, but the road there was cheesy
- Poor Clip (or Clop)
- The last time we saw Jaskier was more than a year ago when and he and Geralt broke up. Now we have to go the entire offseason without hearing from him. HOW IS JASKIER?
Nick Zazulia is a trained journalist and an untrained gamer who gravitates toward anything with strong customization and management, whether it’s an RPG or a sports sim. He believes that FFVIII is better than VII, Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis is criminally underrated, and dogs and cats are equally deserving of our love.