The Witcher season 2, episode 8 recap – the finale/ending explained

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: December 17, 2021 (Last updated: January 1, 2023)
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The Witcher season 2, episode 8 recap - the finale/ending explained


“Family” brilliantly tees up a third season with an action-packed, thematically resonant finale, tying everything together in a satisfying, though open-ended way.

This recap of The Witcher season 2, episode 8, “Family”, contains spoilers, including a discussion of the Witcher Season 2 ending.

We’ve made it, folks, to another season finale, and “Family” proves immediately that it’s playing no games. Opening with a possessed Ciri murdering several Witchers in their sleep at Kaer Morhen, and Geralt discovering that she has been possessed by Voleth Meir, the dynamic is immediately put under strain. Vesemir suits up and swigs a potion, ready to fight and kill Ciri, but Geralt cautions him against it. They don’t know what she’s capable of, they have to work together, and the real Ciri is still in there. Yennefer and Jaskier both set about helping by concocting a potion that’ll separate the parasite from the host. This finale is called “Family” for a reason, evidently.

The Witcher season 2, episode 8 recap

Along these lines, it’s telling that the possessed Ciri experiences visions of her past when Calanthe was still alive. Family, too, is a central theme in Cintra, with Filavandrel and Francesca having been devastated by the loss of their child, responsibility for which, thanks to Dara’s confession, is laid at the feet of Redania. Both elves steal horses and head out to confront their child’s killer, which leaves Fringilla unable to prove to Emhyr, using Francesca, that she has secured Nilfgaard a valuable alliance. Cahir suggests framing all this as part of Fringilla’s master plan, fulfilling her request in the previous episode for him to sing her praises to Emhyr. But is she willing to take on responsibility for such a heinous plan, even for her own advancement?

Meanwhile, at Kaer Morhen, things kick off big time. The Witchers find Ciri standing before the tree in the great hall, the one from which all the medallions of fallen Witchers hang, and her scream cleaves the whole thing in two, revealing a Monolith beneath. Another scream breaks that to pieces, revealing two basilisks, which the remaining Witchers are forced to fight off while Geralt tries to talk Ciri down. He implores her to stay strong while Vesemir, casting the Yrden sign to keep her in place, has to watch his surrogate sons each be murdered in turn by the monsters. Jaskier is in this scene, crawling around under tables, trying to give Geralt the potion he and Yennefer brewed up, but it’s hard to say his quips really add anything to this scene. It’s a brutal flurry of VFX, and it’s also morbid, with Vesemir rounding on Ciri after seeing those he loves be ripped to be pieces in front of him.

Geralt has to fight off Vesemir while trying to convince Ciri to resist Voleth Meir’s influence, all while the Deathless Mother tries to convince him to kill Vesemir, to prove that he no longer needs him. The Witchers fighting off the basilisks is excellent stuff, and Geralt even gets to square off with a huge one, just to let everyone know what time it is. With the monsters dead, he realizes that it’s the hate of the Witchers that Voleth Meir is trying to feed on. Contrary to the misconception about Witchers, they feel everything, hatred especially, after lifetimes being spent maligned and persecuted, made to suffer one loss after another. But, despite having realized this, Voleth Meir can’t exist in this sphere without a host vessel. She cannot be separated from Ciri unless she can enter a new vessel, which Yennefer volunteers as. She is determined to right the wrong and implores Voleth Meir to enter her body instead, finally freeing Ciri from her possession. Back to herself, Geralt quickly explains that she needs to use her powers to pull monsters through the monolith to send a monster back the other way. She calls out in Elder, and Geralt, Ciri, and Yennefer are all pulled through the portal.

The portal leads to a desolate wasteland tinged by fires, where Voleth Meir leaves Yen’s body. But the Wild Hunt appears, trying to claim Ciri. She’s able to whisk all three of them away in the nick of time, but she won’t soon forget the experience, and that certainly isn’t the last we’ve seen of the Wild Hunt.

The Witcher Season 2 ending explained

In the aftermath of this, Geralt knows that he and Ciri need to leave Kaer Morhen. With the Wild Hunt after her, and the royals and mages having realized that she is still alive, they need to be on the move. As if to confirm this, we cut to Tissaia and the rest of the Council discussing the Lion Cub of Cintra’s discovery. They theorize they Dijkstra’s plan is to find her and marry her to Vizimir, giving him the only legitimate claim to Cintra. They agree to put a bounty on Ciri and anyone who protects hers. The elves, too, learn of her existence thanks to Istredd. After killing all of the babies in Redania using magic, Filavandrel and Francesca are still determined to pursue justice. Istredd is caught lurking and taken before them, and informs them that Ciri is “hen ikeir”, or Elder Blood, the one Ithlinne prophesized. She could save them all.

Ciri, Geralt theorizes, has the ability to open paths between Spheres. This is why Voleth Meir was drawn to her — her scream woke her, and she believed that Ciri could transport her home. The bleak landscape Ciri, Yen, and Geralt briefly visited could have been another Sphere entirely. But what Geralt can’t figure out is how the Nilfgaardians knew all of this before anyone else. As he postulates, the White Flame, Emperor Emhyr var Emreis, arrives in Cintra. Fringilla is taking credit for killing the elven baby and tricking the elves into fighting Nilfgaard’s battles for them. But this turns out to be a mistake. Emhyr ordered the baby to be killed, knowing it was the only way to find his daughter. Emhyr, it turns out, is Duny, Ciri’s father. He has both Fringilla and Cahir taken away.

You can stream The Witcher season 2, episode 8, “Family”, exclusively on Netflix. Do you have any thoughts about the Witcher Season 2’s ending? Let us know in the comments.

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