The Witcher season 3 recap guide: All 8 episodes explained

Henry Cavill in The Witcher season 3. Cr: Netflix.
Henry Cavill in The Witcher season 3. Cr: Netflix. /
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The Witcher season 3 - Netflix shows
The Witcher season 3. CR: Netflix. /

The Witcher season 3 episode 5 recap: The Art of Illusion

The Witcher season 3, episode 5 functions as the midseason finale, wrapping up the first half of the season. Netflix will release the final three episodes in late July. In “The Art of Illusion,” we get to see what happens at the ball held at Aretuza.

The episode plays out a bit like a heist episode, with viewers getting to see several things happening at once and then the same situations replayed from new angles and with different conversations revealed. Slowly, the mask is pulled back on the dangerous mage who has been controlling Rience and is after Ciri.

The Witcher season 3, episode 5 begins with a romantic interlude with Geralt and Yennefer. Throughout the episode, we see them canoodling all night, congratulating themselves on a job well done after revealing Stregobor’s duplicity.

Their plan to find proof at the ball seems to have worked, and the episode slowly shows us how it all goes down. Of course, as fans of the book know, Geralt and Yennefer’s first suspect is not the right one, but more on that later.

Yennefer and Geralt’s arrival at the ball draws the immediate attention of everyone as all eyes are on them out of curiosity. Sabrina even tries to seduce Geralt right in front of Yennefer, but it doesn’t go as she’d hoped. Geralt only has eyes for Yennefer.

As the episode unfolds, we learn that Yennefer and Geralt are working with Istredd and Triss to catch Stregobor. Geralt and Istredd stage a fight to cause a distraction, allowing Yennefer to snoop through Stregobor’s study and find his safe. Inside is the stolen Book of Monoliths.

Istredd, Triss, Tissaia, Stregobor, Artorius, and Vilgefortz arrive in time for Yennefer and Geralt to tell everyone what they’ve found. Of course, Stregobor vehemently denies their accusations, but they all agree to hold an official trial after the ball and conclave. It seems like a job well done, right? Not quite.

While chatting, Geralt and Yennefer start to look back at some of the various conversations they’ve had over the course of the night with people like Philippa and Vilgefortz. Yennefer had also found Tissaia’s bracelet, the gift Vilgefortz had given her. It’s made of scarlet ammonite, which is meant to protect loved ones. Geralt realizes the castle in West Redania where he found Teryn was near a scarlet ammonite mine.

Geralt also notes that he saw Lydia at the ball, and she was wearing earrings made of scarlet ammonite. Yennefer mentions that Lydia uses an illusion now and only communicates telepathically, reminding Geralt of what Teryn said about the “woman with the funny voice.”

Then Yennefer notes that the corrupted portal took her to the First Landing, and earlier that night, Vilgefortz told Geralt his favorite painting was of the First Landing. He also made a remark about preparing for the “battle to come” despite claiming he was all for unity and peace at the conclave. They realize they got it wrong.

It’s not Stregobor behind everything, it’s Vilgefortz conducting the experiments and controlling Rience and Lydia. Philippa and Dijkstra had already figured this out, and Philippa had been trying to warn Yennefer, but Yennefer misinterpreted her meaning.

Yennefer and Geralt split up so Yennefer can find Tissaia and warn her, and Geralt can go after Vilgefortz. But as soon as Geralt steps into the hallway, he’s stopped by Dijkstra holding a knife to his throat. The episode ends there, leaving us on a major cliffhanger. July 27 needs to hurry up!