The Witcher season 3 episode 8 recap: The Cost of Chaos
The Witcher season 3 finale begins at Brokilon again, with Geralt being stubborn as ever. Intent on finding Ciri, he refuses to sit still and let himself heal. Jaskier informs Milva that he’ll help Geralt no matter what.
Elsewhere, the sorceresses of Aretuza visit the scarlet ammonite mines and find the dead girls that were part of Vilgefortz’s experiments. Philippa, Keira, Yennefer, Triss, Margarita, Sabrina, and Tissaia stand together to reverse the damage to give the poor girls a proper burial. It looks to me like the Lodge is forming! Yennefer is intent on getting Ciri back. She tells them they must work together to bury the girls, and then they will fight.
Fringilla and Francesca arrive in Nilfgaard prepared with a new plan to present to Emhyr. They want to rule over Cintra side-by-side to keep things in line until Ciri comes. In the meantime, Fringilla suggests Emhyr belongs in Nilfgaard.
But the catch is that Francesca can only rule over the older elves in Cintra, not the capable Scoia’tael fighters, who Emhyr demands to stay in Nilfgaard as part of his (dispensable) army. Francesca would have to disavow them to take up her position in Cintra. The coup has left the Brotherhood in tatters, but the North is still a formidable foe.
In the aftermath of Thanedd, King Vizimir is pissed at Dijkstra. He’s also concerned they haven’t found Radovid yet. Nilfgaard blindsided them because the messenger, Aplegatt, was killed before he could deliver the message. Geralt also didn’t help matters. Vizimir needs to make an example of someone to re-establish order, so he intends to blame everything on Philippa and execute her.
Dijkstra seems to oblige the king, which brings us back to the argument from earlier in the episode between Philippa and Tissaia. Philippa judges Tissaia for trusting Vilgefortz while blindly defending Dijkstra, who appears to be turning on her. However, Vizimir and Dijkstra don’t realize that Philippa’s handmaid (and lover) Cal was eavesdropping on their conversation.
Geralt is intent on leaving Brokilon to go after Ciri. But he and Jaskier aren’t really the best fighting duo right now, so Milva, a capable archer, decides to travel with them. She gives Geralt the crest that Triss left for him, which formerly belonged to Renfri. This crest represents Geralt’s neutral stance. He has always tried to stay above the fray, but fate consistently forces his hand.
At Aretuza, Yennefer gives Tissaia a much-needed pep talk regarding Vilgefortz and not letting him make her doubt herself. But tragically, during the burial of the girls, Tissaia writes a final letter to Yennefer and then commits suicide. Tissaia blames herself for the coup and everything that happened to the young girls Vilgefortz killed. She cannot reconcile her guilt and believes ending her life is the best thing to do. Yennefer finds Tissaia’s body. Okay, is anyone else crying?
After that, a devastated Yennefer visits Geralt in Brokilon. She heals him with her magic, and they agree that she needs to stay with the sorceresses, for now, to make the world a safer place for Ciri. Geralt pledges to hunt Vilgefortz down, and Emhyr for that matter, to kill them both.
Things get a bit crazy back in Redania. First, Radovid convinces Vizimir to let him go. Radovid wants to be with Jaskier to help him since he doesn’t feel he is needed there. He’s not a spymaster and feels he’s not a good prince.
Philippa arrives to tell Vizimir that the coup was not a failure because they exposed Vilgefortz as a Nilfgaardian traitor, and she has a plan to get them back on top. But Vizimir is still angry because the goal was to put the Brotherhood in his pocket. Now there is no Brotherhood.
On the plus side, at least for Philippa, it turns out that her trust in Dijkstra was not misplaced. He tries to convince her to kill him to make amends with Vizimir by placing the blame on him. Philippa is pleased to know she was right to trust Dijkstra with her life but assures him she’s already set a new plan to protect them both into action. The following scene shows Philippa’s loyal handmaid Cal slitting Vizimir’s throat!
Francesca has reached the end of her rope with everything after losing so much, to the point that she’s ready to accept Emhyr’s deal and give up on Dol Blathanna. She’s willing to sacrifice the Scoia’tael to Emhyr’s army if it saves everyone else. Fringilla is vehemently against this because the goal was to get them out from under Emhyr’s thumb, not back under it.
She tries to convince Francesca not to trust the emperor by revealing he killed her baby and then tried to set Fringilla up for it. By revealing this, Fringilla also reveals that her lie ended up getting so many of Francesca’s loved ones killed. Francesca vows to make Emhyr…and Fringilla, suffer. Nooo, not the end of FrinFran!
Unfortunately for Radovid, Vizimir’s death means he’s now the king, so his plans of joining Jaskier are over. Philippa’s new plan allows her and Dijkstra to take control by guiding their new king and determining Redania’s new direction. They can also potentially blame someone else for Vizimir’s death to help their political strategy.
At Aretuza, Yennefer draws the remaining mages together, and we see the beginnings of the Lodge of Sorceresses forming!
Dara shows up in Brokilon to speak with Jaskier. He tells Geralt that he knows Ciri and that if they see her again, they should tell her he forgives her and is sorry. Afterward, Geralt and Jaskier gather the materials they can to make new witcher elixirs. Then Geralt does some training with the dryads and Milva to ensure he’s back up to snuff. He’s still a little rusty but in far better shape than when he arrived.
In Nilfgaard, Emhyr prepares to greet Princess Cirilla, but it’s not Ciri! It’s the fake Ciri, real name Teryn. Emhyr publicly presents the fake Ciri to the court to announce her return to Cintra. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out in the show. We also get our first glimpse at Vilgefortz since the explosion. He’s taken his place at the Nilfgaardian court, and he has lost an eye. His face is sporting severe burns from the portal explosion.
Now we finally catch up with the real Ciri. The guys who captured her were just some run-of-the-mill bounty hunters from Nilfgaard. They tie her up and keep her at a tavern where she meets one of the Rats, Kayleigh (Fabian McCallum), who helps her to escape.
The other Rats, including Mistle—who we met earlier this season, arrive soon after and overpower the bounty hunters. Mistle hands Ciri a sword and tells her to fight the lead bounty hunter so they can see how she fares in regular combat against a human. Ciri kills him pretty effortlessly, which is a bit disturbing since it’s the first time she’s taken a human life.
The episode ends with Geralt starting a fight with some Nilfgaardians when he sees them forcing a young girl and her family into some caravans. It goes along with another “Dear Friend” letter narration from Yennefer where she says, “neutrality be damned,” how fitting. Yennefer says she knows Geralt will find Ciri while she will ensure the world is safe for her to return to.
Geralt leaves the lead soldier at the scene alive to send a message to Emhyr that Geralt is coming and will save Ciri, no matter what. Of course, at this point in time, neither Geralt nor Yennefer knows that Ciri is not in Cintra. In the final frame of Henry Cavill’s Geralt, he leaves behind Renfri’s crest, which is fitting, a symbolic gesture to Cavill’s first episode of the show and a way to hone in on Geralt finally accepting he can no longer stay neutral.
The final scene shows Ciri with the Rats after killing the bounty hunter. Ciri tells Mistle that her name is Falka, which certainly seems ominous!