An important moment in the mythos falls a little flat thanks to hasty character development and wonky pacing.
This recap of The Witcher: Blood Origin season 1, episode 3, “Of Warriors, Wakes, and Wondrous Worlds”, contains spoilers.
For a show named after a sect of mutant monster hunters, The Witcher: Blood Origin has been pretty light on monsters thus far. Luckily, “Of Warriors, Wakes, and Wondrous Worlds” has a pretty nasty-looking one that we were introduced to in the cliffhanger ending of Episode 2. It looks a bit like an albino centipede, and while it gets cut down relatively easily, it’s at least a bit of fun CGI. It also proves to be integral to the next bit of the plot and, in a roundabout way, the formation of Witchers themselves.
The Witcher: Blood Origin Season 1 Episode 3 recap
It all comes back to the beast Balor used to decimate the delegates at the peace summit. That thing is still floating around Xin’trea and nobody knows what to do about it. It’s Syndril, ever the outside-the-box thinker, who proposes merging with the monster from the gateway in order to create a rival monster to take it on.
This process is, in essence, a prototype version of the Trial of the Grasses, the incredibly painful process by which Witchers are created. It involves bonding with the heart of the monster and imbibing all kinds of alchemical elixirs that might just as easily kill someone as having the desired effect. What this essentially means is that whoever chooses to drink it will essentially be sacrificing themselves, so it’s a good opportunity for the main characters to argue about who it should be, and then a party to be thrown that functions as, essentially, a wake.
Eile is adamant about being the one to drink the potion, but so is Fjall. During the revelry, the two share a romantic scene in which they kiss, but this whole relationship doesn’t ring true because of how quickly we’ve been motoring through the episodes. The rivals-to-lovers relationship isn’t exactly new, but it feels extremely truncated here, so the emotional moments don’t land as they should. When Eile wakes in the middle of the night to discover that Fjall has taken the elixir in her stead, it just feels like par for the course.
As promised, the process that Fjall undergoes is incredibly grueling and almost kills him. When he emerges on the other side of it he is fundamentally changed, and his eyes are the tell-tale yellow of a Witcher’s. He is the first. This, when you think about it, is a pretty significant moment in the mythos, but I’m not sure it feels like it.
Elsewhere in “Of Warriors, Wakes, and Wondrous Worlds”, the word of the day is really “betrayal”. Avallac’h steals the book from Balor but is discovered and almost killed by the chief sage until Merwyn and Eredin stage their coup and lock him up. But there’s also a less predictable heel-turn in the hero camp. After a drunk Fjall revealed that there wasn’t really a secret entrance into Xin’trea, Scian left the camp and headed for the city. Meeting with Merwyn, she betrays the others in exchange for the return of her Soul Reaver sword. For a while, it’s a little unclear whether this is legit or a long con.
As it turns out, it’s a con. When the Golden Empire soldiers arrive to ambush the gang, they themselves get ambushed by a group of sellswords led by Uthrok One-Nut, an associate of Scian’s. The Seven disguise themselves in the fallen soldiers’ clothing in order to infiltrate Xin’trea for the final showdown.
You can stream The Witcher: Blood Origin season 1, episode 3, “Of Warriors, Wakes, and Wondrous Worlds” exclusively on Netflix.