If you thought Netflix’s highly anticipated fantasy series was astounding in its first season, you’re in for an even bigger ride as The Witcher Season 2 improves exponentially in its sophomore season, making it well worth the now two-year wait.
The series advances in more than one area, but it especially finds its footing in the emotional beats it grounds itself in. The pacing is much easier to follow than during the first season. The characters are much more fleshed out, and the performances are particularly impressive.
If you thought you were attracted to Henry Cavill’s Geralt of Rivia during the first season, there’s absolutely nothing that could prepare you for what it is like in The Witcher Season 2. But beyond that, Cavill has built on the character significantly since the first season, finding ways to showcase more in the kind of light that is utterly beguiling.
Significantly more thought-provoking than before, Geralt is the kind of character who’s entirely unforgettable beyond Cavill’s indescribably admirable physicality. It was clear that the character cared deeply in the first season, but it’s a whole new wheelhouse today watching him navigate through protecting someone else while trying to work through the perils within him slowly.
And there is, of course, the matter of the season’s driving force—the women. The Witcher Season 2, at least in its first six episodes, allows the women moments of realistic struggles, burdens, and instances of control that enable the characters to take the lead to the plot. This is a show that’s initially given us an evident stance on precisely what agency looks like, and its second season continues to explore what that means from various angles.
Freya Allan is a clear standout throughout as Ciri explores her capabilities and the forces beyond what she can comprehend. Anya Chalotra is something else entirely—if you were impressed by her work last season, the subtlety in her performances during The Witcher Season 2 is a wonderful surprise that’s bound to leave a lasting impression. Yennefer of Vengerberg is a beloved character for a reason and the season cements that fact through a compelling journey.
The Witcher Season 2 gives plenty to care about and spend a few hours (or days) afterward to think about. Where most shows, especially in the fantasy genre, tend to falter a bit during their sophomore season, The Witcher instead triumphs. It finds its footing, and it grounds itself through the small moments that are most worthwhile in the long run.
This season is also a bit “scarier” than before, and if you’re a chicken like I am, prepare to turn away at given moments—thankfully, since there are no jump scares, you’ll quickly know if you need to close your eyes and listen should that be the case. But this is really a matter of personal preference. What might’ve terrified me might be nothing compared to your threshold. Still, just in case, a warning feels necessary.
The Witcher Season 2 has something for everybody who’s a fan of the series, and it knows precisely where it’s going this time around. The set design, the mythology, the newcomers, everything seems to fit perfectly into the kind of puzzle season one, in its greatness, felt as though it was undoubtedly lacking. In short, you’re in for a glorious, gorgeous, and emotionally driven ride that hopefully preludes an even stronger third season.
The Witcher Season 2 premieres exclusively on Netflix Friday, December 17.