The Witcher season 3 volume 2 review: A flawed season gets worse

I wish I could un-toss my coins

Henry Cavill as Geralt in The Witcher season 4
(Image: © Susie Allnutt)

Tom's Guide Verdict

The Witcher season 3 volume 2 continues frustrating problems from the first section of the season, but also lessens the amount


  • +

    Cavill, Allan and Chalotra still impress

  • +

    Some decent monsters

  • +

    Jaskier is still fun


  • -

    The various secondary stories still feel uninspired

  • -

    Needed more Cavill

  • -

    Ending feels completely abrupt

  • -

    Needs "previously on" introductions

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When you sit down to watch The Witcher season 3 volume 2, you'll probably arrive with expectations. This is, famously, the end of Henry Cavill's time as Geralt of Rivia, the monster hunter of the Continent. He's to be replaced by Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games movies). 

But if you go in expecting a big send-off to Cavill's Geralt, you'll probably feel like Netflix pulled out the rug from you — just like anyone who thought June's release was going to be the whole season. I still think about how I used to love The Witcher. And now I can't stop shaking my head.

When I watched The Witcher season 3 volume 2 early, I was utterly surprised by what I was served up. Sure, the fave four of Geralt, Yen (Anya Chalotra), Ciri (Freya Allan) and Jaskier (Joey Batey) are here at a precipitous moment, but these episodes spend too much time with either them apart, or focused on the B-grade Game of Thrones stuff that muddied the first half.

 Oh, and don't worry about spoilers, there's none of those to worry about. I wouldn't dare ruin any reveals for this latest season of one of the best Netflix shows.

The Witcher season 3 volume 2: What I liked

(L to R) Freya Allan as Ciri, Henry Cavill as Geralt and Eamon Farren as Cahir, with Ciri holding a blade at Cahir as Geralt watches, in The Witcher season 4

(Image credit: Susie Allnutt)

For me, The Witcher season 3 volume 2 peaks in its first episode, where the betrayal at the conclave leads to fights, intimidation and all around chaos. For those who watched volume 1, sorcerer Vilgefortz (Mahesh Jadu) was revealed to be the mage working for Nilfgaard, and looking to capture Ciri.

The problem, though, is that Geralt and Yen don't find out until they're at the conclave, and surrounded by their enemies. And so Yen must navigate her way around treachery, while Geralt begins where we left off, on the wrong side of Dijkstra's blade. 

At its best, The Witcher has been about sacrifices, and this season is full of them.

When the action picks up, Cavill gets to play the hack and slash fun we're used to. He also speaks for some of us in the audience, when he says "I don't give a sh*t about brotherhood politics." In that moment, I felt seen. Spells are cast and shot from mage to mage, and it's a good time. 

Chalotra's best moments as Yennefer come with her mentor Tissaia (MyAnna Buring), and bring a human element. This is especially true in a moment shared by Ciri and Yen, where The Witcher reminds us that this core group of characters are a family of sorts. At its best, The Witcher has been about sacrifices, and this season is full of them. 

The Witcher season 3 volume 2 review: What went wrong?

Freya Allan as Ciri, in the desert, in The Witcher season 4

(Image credit: Jay Maidment)

Unfortunately, the writers care more about the politics and elven civil war than Geralt does. Even in its climax, The Witcher throws a lot of stuff at the screen that fails to resonate because its tertiary characters are not well-developed. I'll admit that part of this may be owed to the lack of "previously on" clips at the starts of episodes, as The Witcher still expects you to remember all of its many characters.

But the bigger issue is that the final three episodes don't give you any sense of closure or anything for Cavill's Geralt. For someone whose time is ending, the series spends a lot of time away from him. I'm not upset that we got a lot of time with Ciri in episode 7, I'm just frustrated that Geralt's storyline doesn't feel conclusive.

And I was sitting there thinking 'that's not a season finale. Where's the rest?'

From what I've heard from Witcher fans, this is because Ciri is actually the main character overall. So, you'll see Geralt spending a fair amount of time in brooding recovery (which Cavill does fairly well), but you'll also wonder where it's going.

In fact, when I checked the clock to see only six minutes of the finale were left, I was a little shocked. My surprise amped up when the credits rolled moments later; it wasn't Sopranos-level jarring, but it was abrupt. I was left wondering, Where's the rest?

The Witcher season 3 volume 2 review: outlook

Anya Charlotra as Yennefer in a dark cave in The Witcher season 4

(Image credit: Susan Allnutt)

To wait a whole month for that feels almost cruel. But to look into the future, and think about a Cavill-less Witcher, I'm almost worried. Fortunately, Freya Allan is great as Ciri, and is someone you can build around.

Unfortunately, given how negative my The Witcher: Blood Origin review was, and how little I connected with the secondary characters, I have to admit I'm quite concerned for The Witcher season 4. Cavill has felt like the person this series was built around and to go off without him — and to watch him leave so anti-climactically, gives me serious dread.

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Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.