'The Witcher' Turns Up the Sexiness in Episode 5 (RECAP)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for The Witcher Episode 5, "Bottled Appetites."]
Having firmly established its three separate story-threads across the first four episodes, and done so with such panache, The Witcher now has the burdensome task of bringing these individual arcs together in a satisfying manner. That's not an easy feat by any means. While the three main characters might stand up on their own terms, what happens when they share the same space? Will the meeting live up to expectations? Will the personalities mesh? Will the actors have chemistry? It's a real sink or swim situation for a series that revolves around the shared fates of three characters.
"Bottled Appetites" (written by Sneha Koorse) is the first test in this regard, as Geralt (Henry Cavill) and Yennefer (Anya Chalotra) finally cross paths in a darkly humorous story. Thankfully, the meeting delivers, and then some. It's an encounter bubbling with raw energy, sexual charisma, and flirting that teeters the line between sexy and threatening. It really feels like our two heroes have met their match, and it isn't hard to buy into their connection — helped by the fact that Cavill and Chalotra play off each other beautifully throughout the episode.
But let's go back to how the meeting came about. Another decade has passed since the last episode — The Witcher is very loose with its timelines, though at least the show acknowledges it. "What's it been? Months? Years? What is time anyway?" Jaskier (Joey Batey) remarks on how long it's been since he last saw Geralt. The bard comes across the Witcher fishing in a nearby lake, hoping to catch a djinn (a genie), which would grant him a wish for better sleep. You see, in the last decade, Geralt has become even more brooding and troubled. He has a restless mind, and a restless mind cannot sleep peacefully.
"Aren't you merely rubbing salve on a tumor?" Jaskier annoyingly, yet accurately points out. Geralt is looking for a quick fix, rather than addressing the root cause of the problem, which is most likely to do with his Law of Surprise destiny daughter, Princess Ciri (Freya Allan). But Jaskier is silenced when the djinn escapes its jar and attacks the bard's throat, removing his most prized possession — his voice. Although frustrated that Jaskier stole his wishes, Geralt carries his irritating friend to a nearby town to a see doctor, who happens to be an elf, named Chireadan (Lucas Englander).
Chireadan tells Geralt that he'll need a mage to cure Jaskier's throat issues, and it just so happens the only mage in town is being kept prisoner in the mayor's house. Who is that mage? Why, it's Yennefer, of course, who was arrested for selling spells and potions to local townsfolk. However, Yennefer is too smart and powerful to be held captive. She is no prisoner. Yennefer cast a spell over the mayor and turned his home into a safe haven from which she can continue her work — searching for a cure to reverse her curse of not being able to bear children.
Tissaia (MyAnna Buring), Yennefer's former teacher, portals in to warn her that she is making "too much noise." A mage working as an independent is not something the Brotherhood will tolerate. Tissaia also tells Yennefer that looking for a cure is hopeless, and, instead, offers her a teaching position at Aretuza, where she can "use her talents to shape a new generation." Yennefer scoffs at the proposal. "What more do you want?" asks a dumbfounded Tissaia. "Everything," Yennefer replies matter of factly.
An opportunity for a cure arrives when Geralt rocks up on Yennefer's doorstep, with a frail Jaskier in tow. The Witcher awkwardly makes his way through an Eyes Wide Shut style orgy and approaches the mage, who presides over the sex party. "I, err... brought you apple juice," he says, which is certainly one way to make an introduction. Yennefer has heard many a tale of the infamous White Wolf and is clearly intrigued by his presence. "I thought you'd have fangs or horns or something," she says. "I had them filed down," Geralt replies with a smirk. All joking and flirting aside, Yennefer's ears prick up when Geralt mentions the djinn, as she realizes she could use the genie to fulfill a wish of her own.
There's a lot of funny stuff here before we get to the darkness. You have Yennefer insisting Geralt bathe. "I can not only guess the age and breed of your horse but also its color, by the smell," she says, which is certainly a creative way of telling someone they stink. There's all the back and forth banter in the tub (and yes, fanboys and fangirls, that means you get a topless Henry Cavill and a topless Anya Chalotra). You have Yennefer making Geralt change into tight clothes. All the while, Jaskier recovers in bed. "He will survive and recover his vocal talents. Does that satisfy you?" Yennefer asks. "Not in the slightest," Geralt replies. Jaskier is truly the most underappreciated artist of his time.
However, things take a turn for the dark when Geralt realizes what Yennefer is planning. She paints a pentagram on the floor beside Jaskier's bed, hoping to capture the djinn by making the bard use his last wish. Geralt is skeptical, but it doesn't matter, Yennefer puts him under a spell, and he wakes up in a jail cell, alongside Chireadan, accused of rampaging through the town and attacking two council members. "She had you enact revenge on her behalf," says the elf doc, who also confesses that he's in love with Yennefer. If the town council gets their way, Geralt will be sentenced to death.
Meanwhile, Jaskier wakes up to find a half-naked Yennefer perched at the end of his bed. He quickly realizes he's not in a glorious dream, but is, in fact, in grave danger from the black witch. "I just remembered, I left my cat... on the stove," he stutters as he tries to excuse himself. That's a funny line, but it's immediately topped by the next one, when Yennefer grabs Jaskier's groin mid-song, leading to a hilarious remix of his famous ditty, "Toss a coin to your Witcher, o' valley of... PENIS!" Yennefer demands that Jaskier make his last wish so that she summon the djinn. But it doesn't work — something isn't right.
This is because the wishes don't belong to Jaskier, they belong to Geralt, something he realizes in his cell. "I want you to burst you son of a whore," Geralt shouts at the burly prison guard. And would you believe it? The guard's head literally bursts... all over poor elf doc. Geralt escapes in time to save Jaskier, and then, once again, finds himself at a crossroads. He knows that Yennefer will die if she becomes a vessel for the djinn — does he try to save her? "I know that look, it's love," says the Chireadan. "You're making me uncomfortable," deadpans Geralt. Seriously, this show nails the humor, even in these scary, intense situations.
Geralt rushes back into the house, where the djinn is now inside Yennefer, but the monster is not weakening. "You will lose control, not gain it," Geralt tells the mage, promising to give her his last wish if she releases the djinn. "You heroic protector, noble dog. Permitting my success as long as you command it yourself. F**k off! I'll do it myself!" Yennefer yells in one of the best lines of the series. The flirting was good, but it's this dramatic and untamed scene that takes the relationship to the next level. Both Cavill and Chalotra are on fire. Geralt wants to protect. But Yennefer doesn't want to be dictated to. Once again, like many women in this story, she wants power on her terms.
"Tell me what you want," Geralt shouts, echoing what Tissaia said earlier. "I want everything!" Yennefer screams as the djinn grows more powerful, causing the roof of the house to collapse in on itself. The djinn-possessed Yennefer tells Geralt to make his last wish. It can be for anything: "Not to be a Witcher. Immortality. Fame. Riches. Power." Geralt mutters a wish under his breath, though we don't hear what it is. It puts a stop to the madness, though, but not before the roof entirely caves in, leaving Jaskier and Chireadan to think that both Geralt and Yennefer are dead.
Luckily, Yennefer conjures a portal to a room below, saving herself and Geralt. She didn't get what she wanted, but at least she's alive. Then, as if turned on by the crazy genie possession and close brush with death, Yennefer and Geralt end up having sex. I mean, why not? Though, even after this semi-romantic embrace, Yennefer can't help but get a dig in. "You do know something of pleasure," she tells Geralt, "fleeting, but effective." And finally, our restless Witcher is able to sleep. The result of good sex? Or the granting of his last wish? You've got to think he wished for something more monumental than a few hours nap, right?
As for the woman causing Geralt many a sleepless night, Princess Ciri makes a big decision of her own this episode. "The sword of destiny has two edges. You must make a choice, stay or continue on your search," says Eithne (Josette Simon), the Dryad leader. Ciri and her elf friend Dara (Wilson Radjou-Pujalte) have found safety in the Brokilon forest, but the princess still needs answers. And so she decides to leave the Dryad people, choosing to go with Mousesack (Adam Levy), who tells her that it was her grandmother's dying wish for her to go to Geralt of Rivia.
The concern here, of course, is that the man claiming to be Mousesack is a fraud. At the beginning of the episode, the creepy Nilfgaard knight, Cahir (Eamon Farren, who was equally creepy in Twin Peaks season 3), visits a doppler, which is essentially a shapeshifter who can take the form of other people (including their thoughts). The doppler kills the real Mousesack and transforms into him. Cahir orders the doppler Mousesack to find Ciri and bring her back alive. Hopefully, this means Ciri's story is going to get a whole lot more interesting now.
- Poor Chireadan has his heartbroken when he witnesses his unrequited love getting down to business with Geralt.
- The scene of Yennefer fixing a potion for a man's erectile dysfunction is full of funny lines. "The spell will endure until your lady utters a handpicked magic word. Anything come to mind?" Yennefer asks the woman. "Kumquat," the lady replies without hesitation. "You arrived at that rather quickly."
- "Those terms seem rather shite to me," Yennefer tells the mayor, and any TV show that uses the word "shite" gets a big thumbs up from me.
- "Leave the very sexy but insane witch to her inevitable demise!"
The Witcher, Season 1, Streaming, Netflix