“Before A Fall” reframes old events in a new context, as Ciri reaches her most desperate predicament yet.
This recap of The Witcher Season 1, Episode 7, “Before A Fall”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
The Witcher Episode 7 finds Ciri (Freya Allan) alone, and intent on getting to the coast so that she can reach Skellige. Geralt (Henry Cavill), meanwhile, is on a mountainside watching the steady march of the Nilfgaardian Empire, which doesn’t bode well for the safety of his child surprise. Thus, he visits Mousesack (Adam Levy) in Cintra, and asks about the kid, whom he assumes is a boy. Mousesack tells him all about Ciri, and about Pavetta and Duny’s ship having been lost at sea. They’re interrupted, though, by assassins working for Queen Calanthe (Jodhi May). Geralt holds a blade to Mousesack’s throat, who teleports them both away.
They arrive in the markets, right where Geralt can confront Calanthe. He tells her that if there’s any chance of Cintra falling to Nilfgaard, she should send Ciri with him so that he can protect her. Feigning agreement, she says the Law of Surprise has been invoked and that she’ll tell Ciri herself. But when Geralt arrives to meet Ciri, she’s an imposter — Calanthe has tried to hoodwink him with a stand-in. When he leaves the room, a hidden passage opens, and he heads inside. It takes him outside, where he sees “Ciri” say farewell to her lowborn friends, one of whom, disguised as a boy, she curtseys to and refers to as “Your Highness”. When Geralt returns to Calanthe after having seen this, she’s stubborn and smug and demands that Eist (Björn Hlynur Haraldsson) escort him out. He does, and fearful that he would never be able to make Geralt promise that he won’t come back, he’s imprisoned at the gates.
Meanwhile in The Witcher Episode 7, while Ciri tries to pawn her jewelry, befriends a kindly woman who offers to take her in, and steals one of the woman’s horses, Yennefer (Anya Chalotra) arrives at Nazair, where she runs into Istredd (Royce Pierreson). They discuss a future together and kiss, but he smartly refuses her advances; she always chose power over him, and every attempt he has made to get closer to her since then has been rejected. After he leaves, another man, Vilgefortz (Mahesh Jadu), approaches Yen to inform her that Tissaia (MyAnna Buring) has asked for her — the best student she ever taught.
“Before A Fall” quickly reveals the deception when Yen returns to Aretuza. Tissaia doesn’t even know Yen is there — Vilgefortz wanted her. Nilfgaard are currently camped near Cintra, and look ready to attack — an attack that the mages can possibly prevent. Yen visits her old room, gets some of the new students high, and learns that now wealthy families pay Aretuza for membership so that the academy can have students from the “best” families. When Yen finally finds Tissaia, she confronts her about this, about the academy abandoning its principles, but the rectress says that sometimes you do what you need to in order to survive. She, Yen and Triss (Anna Shaffer), among others, attend a conclave of the Northern mages, where the matter of whether to stop Nilfgaard from invading Cintra is discussed. Fringilla (Mimi Ndiweni) arrives to defend Nilfgaard, and after a lot of arguing back and forth, the vote overwhelmingly decides to leave to Cintra to fend for themselves.
That isn’t enough for Tissaia, though, who says to Yen that she, Vilgefortz and some others are going to fight regardless. She should join them.
We revisit the sacking of Cintra in The Witcher Season 1, Episode 7, where it’s revealed that Geralt was in the gate keep the entire time. Calanthe confesses to Mousesack that the Witcher is there, but when the druid goes to retrieve him, he finds he has escaped. With this new context, we witness Calanthe saying farewell to Ciri again, and then witness her suicide from Geralt’s perspective. Upon seeing her body hit the floor, he returns inside and confronts a Nilfgaardian soldier about Ciri’s location, but he says that nobody is left.
“Before A Fall” ends with Ciri encountering her old peasant friends, who are, apparently, her friends no longer. Turning on her with the intention of delivering her to Nilfgaard, Ciri slips into a trance and begins ranting, with her screaming closing the penultimate episode.
Check out our thoughts on the finale by clicking these words.