The hunt for a dragon is on in “Rare Species”, as Ciri leaves the frying pan for the fire.
This recap of The Witcher Season 1, Episode 6, “Rare Species”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
There’s a bit of confusion at the start of The Witcher Episode 6. Two men have hired a Witcher for a job of work and, assuming he’s dead, want to leave without payment. Jaskier (Joey Batey) can’t entice Geralt’s (Henry Cavill) recent employers to stay with a song. But they’re delayed by the arrival of an older man and his two companions, one of whom kills the source of the disagreement with her bare hands. The man is Borch Three Jackdaws, and his companions are Téa and Véa, two Zerrikanian women. Like almost everyone who meets Geralt, Borch has a proposition for him. A dragon has been terrorizing a nearby kingdom, and the king has commissioned a hunt for it. The winner will be entitled to the creature’s hoard of treasure, and one of the ruler’s new vassal states. Borch wants Geralt to join his team.
Geralt, though, doesn’t kill dragons, since no treasure is worth dying for — though Borch insists that it “depends on the treasure.” But dragons are the rare species of the title. As we learn later they’ve been hunted almost to extinction. Borch’s desire for a new adventure before he’s too old to have one isn’t compelling enough for Geralt. The other hunting parties include a gang of dwarves led by Yarpen Zigrit, famous dragon hunters known as Reavers, and a knight, Sir Eyck, whose companion is Yennefer of Vengerberg (Anya Chalotra). Just like that, Geralt is interested. The hunt begins at sunrise.
Much of the pleasure of The Witcher Episode 6 is to be found in the dynamics of the various parties. Sir Eyck is a hopeless square, but Jaskier doesn’t find Yen anywhere near as compelling as Geralt does (though he’s instantly enamored by Téa and Véa). The Reavers are blatantly antagonistic. The dwarves are… well, dwarves. Meanwhile, many miles and years away, Ciri (Freya Allan) travels with the disguised Mousesack (Adam Levy), who tells her some things of Geralt, and her own parents, Pavetta and Duny.
During the hunt, Jaskier finds a starving hrikka in the bushes, and Sir Eyck butchers it to prove his gallantry. It’s an embarrassing display, but fittingly eating its meat makes Eyck ill, and he has his throat slashed while emptying his bowels. There’s time during rest periods for the hunters to speculate about Nilfgaard and its new, rightful son, about the mage Fringilla (Mimi Ndiweni) who serves him, and about the Empire’s plans for expansion, which might include sacking Cintra. (Jaskier says Queen Calanthe would never allow it.) There’s also a discussion about dragons. The green variety, which is currently being hunted, is the most common. Red is rarer, and black is the rarest still. Borch insists that gold dragons are the rarest, but Geralt says they’re a myth. They’d have to be the result of an accidental mutation, and in his experience, there’s nothing accidental about mutations. Anything too different and rare dies out. “Only legends permit what nature condemns.”
Back with Ciri in “Rare Species”, Dara (Wilson Radjou-Pujalte) is interrogating Mousesack about where he has been, obviously suspicious of him. The doppler, though, is able to convince Ciri with her grandmother’s sash, which he took from the real Mousesack when he killed him. But Dara remains mistrustful and eventually, so does Ciri, who asks Mousesack what he misses about Skellige and his answers give him away. Dara and Ciri attack him with a silver dagger, which causes him great pain and forces him to reveal his true form. Ciri tries to kill him but the doppler is able to knock Dara out and escape.
The hunt continues in The Witcher Episode 6. Yarpen says his people used to mine these mountains, and he knows a shortcut that’ll give them an edge over the Reavers. After that, it’ll be every man for himself. Geralt talks with Yen about what she’s doing here, and she reveals she’s after certain healing properties that the green dragon is rumored to possess. We finally get some clarity on the mysterious goal she has obsessed over for years: She wants to be able to have babies. Geralt, also sterile, is startled that she’d want to bring a baby into this world, expose one to the kind of life they live, and in his shock, he accidentally lets slip about his own child surprise.
Yarpen’s shortcut is precarious, meant for dwarves, and while traversing it Borch falls. Geralt is able to grab him, but the older man and his companions choose to let go, plummetting into the mist. On the other side, Geralt visits Yennefer’s tent, several times bigger on the inside than it looks to be on the outside, and in montage form, we see their various romantic encounters in the years since they met. The common theme is that Geralt always wakes to find her gone. Unsurprisingly they sleep together and enjoy a discussion about the possibility of children, the choices they’ve made, and more besides. When he wakes this time, Yen is still there.
Yen finds the green dragon protecting an egg. Inexplicably, Téa and Véa are already there, and before long so is Borch, who arrives in his true form — a golden dragon. The green one is a female and was protecting her young. Borch recruited Geralt to protect the egg since it couldn’t be moved without risk. Right on time, the Reavers arrive for an action sequence. Geralt, Yen, Téa and Véa fight them off. Soon after, Yarpen and the dwarves arrive, and Borch buys their silence with dragon teeth. And if the king doesn’t believe their evidence, he can have a dragon dropped on his royal wedding, free of charge.
Ciri runs afoul of Cahir, and Cahir runs afoul of the doppler elsewhere in “Rare Species”. Later, Dara saves Ciri, who is bound to a tree, but rightly berates her about the danger and destruction she brings. They part ways. On the mountain, Borch let’s slip about Geralt’s last wish, which, while we still aren’t given the details, has bound him to Yennefer. She’s furious about this because she believes it invalidates their feelings; they aren’t genuine, just a symptom of magic. Borch says he will spare them a lot of hurt later with a little pain now: Yen will never regain her womb, and Geralt will lose her. He tells Geralt what he’s really missing is not Yennefer, but his destiny, who is still out there. Geralt harshly flips out at Jaskier for always being present during his misery.
In the final scene of The Witcher Season 1, Episode 6, Cahir is talking with Fringilla, who is able to inspire him. Straight to the camera, he says that the time of the sword and the axe is nigh.
Check out our thoughts on the next episode by clicking these words.