The Witcher Recap: Sugar and Spice and All Things Nice

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: December 20, 2019 (Last updated: January 1, 2023)
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The Witcher (Netflix) Season 1, Episode 3 recap: "Betrayer Moon"


“Betrayer Moon” sees the glow-up of the year as Geralt risks his own life to save a cursed princess.

This recap of The Witcher Season 1, Episode 3, “Betrayer Moon”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.

The Witcher Episode 3 begins with a badly injured man regaling an audience with a story; that of a horrific monster born of a pregnant woman killed before her time. A dark-haired Witcher is present for the tale and sets about killing such a monster, following a blood trail to a slaughterhouse where animal carcasses loll lazily from the ceiling. Before the end of the cold open, he’s dead.

Geralt (Henry Cavill) wakes up in “Betrayer Moon” with a prostitute, who is fascinated by his scars. She makes mention of another Witcher who passed through recently, heading for Temeria, where there is apparently a pest problem. Locals have rounded up 3000 orens — the local currency — to have it killed, which is what we saw in the opening scene. Geralt owes money for the hooker which he doesn’t currently have, so he leaves without settling up. Roach remains behind as insurance, and he promises he’ll be back with payment, before setting off on foot to Temeria.

When he gets there, the peasants are in uproar, planning to kill King Foltest (Shaun Dooley), who they claim is hiding out in his castle while they’re all eaten. Geralt arrives with an offer to kill the monster for a third of the price charged by the previous Witcher, and he’ll only take payment once the job is done. If he fails, he dies, so what’s the harm? Well, Segelin, Folest’s advisor and the captain of his Royal Guard, doesn’t like the idea, so he sends Geralt back to Temeria’s border accompanied by a few of his men. They all, though, drop dead, as The Witcher Episode 3 introduces us to Triss Merigold (Anna Shaffer), an accomplished Sorceress working for Foltest. She wants to help Geralt to save the beast, not kill it — it’s time for some exposition.

Foltest, suspiciously for a king, never married or had children. The murders have been growing for a while, and their perpetrator seems to be coming from the crypt where Folest’s sister Adda is buried. If she was pregnant, that means her monstrous offspring is the heir to the throne. Early suspicions that the creature is a vukodlak aren’t believed by Triss or, later, by Geralt, who finds the body of the Witcher from earlier encased in salt. His heart and liver are missing, which means a picky eater — a striga, only created by a curse, and exclusively female, which makes this one a princess.

Elsewhere in “Betrayer Moon”, Istredd (Royce Pierreson) is having sex with Yennefer (Anya Chalotra) while various onlookers are present. They’re both bound for better assignments; Yen is heading to Aedirn to serve at court. She’s to be outfitted for the duty by an enchanter, though she still can’t get on board with the idea of herself as a glamorous royal advisor. Tissaia (MyAnna Buring) tells her to look in the mirror and imagine the most powerful woman in the world — when she opens her eyes, they’re different.

In Temeria, Geralt and Triss go to see Foltest about the striga. The King doesn’t want to hear it and orders them all out, but Geralt barricades the door and interrogates him further, asking who the princess’s father was. Why not reveal it? Why not sort out the problem and avoid a peasant revolt? Why never marry, and never produce one’s own heir? It’s obvious where this line of questioning is going, and Foltest is offended at the accusation of bedding his own sister. He orders Geralt to leave Temeria.

The Witcher Episode 3 then cuts to a meeting of the Chapter of the Gift and the Art, attended by Stregobor (Lars Mikkelsen), Tissaia, and others. They, knowing about Yen’s elf heritage, want to send her to Nilfgaard, to serve at court there. The Chapter all votes in favor, despite Tissaia’s arguments to the contrary. Yennefer, fuming, confronts Tissaia about her being overruled, and she reveals it’s because of her elven blood. Incredulous, Yen asks how she could have told them, but Tissaia says she didn’t — Stregobor did, and how he knew… well, it’s easy to work out.

Geralt, proving he doesn’t handle authority well, is still hanging around Temeria in “Betrayer Moon”. He and Triss sneak back into the crypt, where he tells her that he’s pretty sure Foltest is the father. They find secret letters in a music box from Foltest and Adda’s mother, Sancia, cursing their affair. Taking this information to Lord Ostrit, a courtier in the King’s court, we learn — thanks to Geralt’s sense of smell, apparently — that Ostrit cursed Foltest out of jealousy over his relationship with Adda, whom he was in love with.

Yen and Istredd argue in The Witcher Episode 3 — she’s furious and demands he tell the Chapter that he lied. Things get a bit nasty. He tells her that no amount of power or beauty will ever make her feel worthy of either. At the initiation which Yen misses to try and forge a letter proving her natural birth, Foltest and Adda are present as children, proving that this stuff is happening a long time before Geralt’s present mission. In desperation, Yen goes to see the enchanter and demands he sort out her various defects, and will remain awake during the procedure. She also has to give up her ability to bear children — something, after all, must always be lost for something else to be conjured.

Geralt is about to fight Foltest’s men, but luckily the King comes out to chat. He asks if what Geralt is about to do will work; if his daughter will be normal. Geralt doesn’t know, but he says that either way, she’ll need special care after living her life as an animal. He gives Foltest a gift for her if he’s able to lift the curse, explaining that this isn’t his first time trying to save a princess who everyone else thought was a monster, referencing the first episode. Foltest asks what happened to her and Geralt says he killed her, which doesn’t fill him full of confidence. He goes to Ostrit for more information about how to lift the curse — he has to keep the striga out of her crypt until the rooster crows three times. It’s going to be a long night.

Geralt prepares for his battle with the striga; he leaves Ostrit to serve as an appetizer since he obviously deserves it. We see him chug a potion — standard Witcher practice — and, during the fight, get a glimpse of his monster-hunting weaponry — including silver chains and knuckledusters — and the Signs, a Witcher’s collection of simple magic spells. The striga is a horrifying thing, dragging around its dangling umbilical cord, but the fight with it is fantastic, making full use of Geralt’s various tools and the show’s generous budget. As daylight is due to break, Geralt locks himself in the striga’s coffin, so it can’t enter. When he emerges in the morning the curse has been lifted, but the girl is feral. She viciously bites his neck when he checks on her, and he passes out.

The Witcher Season 1, Episode 3 includes perhaps the biggest glow-up of the year, as Yennefer arrives at the initiation no longer a deformed hunchback, but a fully-fledged beauty. Triss saves Geralt and tells him the girl will heal at the Temple of Melitele. Foltest releases a statement explaining that Lord Ostrit was killed while bravely slaying the vukodlak, which is more than he deserves. While Geralt was unconscious, he kept repeating Renfri’s name, which Triss asks him about. She thinks he’s destined for something more than monsters and money.

As if on cue, “Betrayer Moon” cuts to Ciri (Freya Allan) awakening in a snowy forest, responding to a whispering voice that leads her to the woods. Dara (Wilson Radjou-Pujalte) pursues her as arrows hit the field of bones and bodies they’re pelting through. Before he can reach her he’s struck by an arrow, and Ciri heads into the woods, lured by the voices.

Check out our thoughts on the next episode by clicking these words.

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