The Witcher Season 2 Episode 5 Review: Turn Your Back

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It seems our cast of players expands with each installment.

The Witcher Season 2 Episode 5 introduces us to Rience, who appears to be the guy who isn't having a good time unless someone else is in pain.

Ciri's trip through her subconscious is fascinating, especially since it doesn't go the way Triss says it should. What does that mean for Ciri and her powers?

Ciri and Triss - The Witcher Season 2 Episode 5

Triss's presence at Kaer Morhen is an interesting contrast to Ciri's.

Where Triss is patient, Ciri is impetuous. Where Triss offers options, Ciri is fixated.

While Triss is the best possible person to help Ciri tap into Chaos, Ciri's only willing to train with weapons and the Gauntlet.

Part of me wonders if this is all shown to illustrate how Triss isn't Yennefer and how Yennefer is meant to be with Geralt and Ciri.

Reaching for Chaos - The Witcher Season 2 Episode 5

However, Triss can help Ciri access her inner self through the Dol Durza, which provides us with a lot of insight into the destiny that is calling to her.

The two scenes that sparked the most prominent question marks for me involve those who came before.

First, when she sees her parents, they are preparing to take her away with them. I can't imagine her formidable grandmother would've approved that plan. Did they get away? By why was Ciri left behind?

The second is, of course, the scene with Lara Dorren.

Child of Elder blood, child of wrath. The time of contempt is nigh. The world will die amidst frost and be reborn of the new sun. Reborn of Elder blood, of the seed that has been sown. A seed that will not sprout, but will burst into flame.

Lara Dorren

Talk about cryptic. The only thing that is clear is that Triss was not welcome.

Sharing Theories - The Witcher Season 2 Episode 5

Unfortunately, if Triss thought taking Ciri through the Dol Durza would discourage her from trying to become a witcher, it was a big fail.

Triss's panic at Ciri's abilities drives the girl straight to Vesemir and his scary-ass witcher potion applicator.

Something is ending. It's because of you. A seed that bursts into flame. It's you. You will destroy us all. I saw it. No one can stop it. Not even him.

Triss

So much of why Ciri wants to become a witcher is wrapped up in her trauma.

Geralt's starting to realize that, but it's not like he's the most in-tune person around.

Ciri: I want to be like you, Geralt. I want to be indifferent to the past. To the lies. To the things I've done. Please. Let me have that.
Geralt: That is not how it works. Neither you nor I can just forget who we are. We can't kill our feelings. Our best chance is to kill the hatred that we hold onto and move on.

His recon mission to the fallen monolith in Cintra with Istredd revealed a lot about the men as well as the monsters.

Geralt Sword - The Witcher Season 2 Episode 5

I'm starting to suspect that Istredd is our token geek. I mean, he studies monoliths — a lot.

And given Geralt's reception to his theories on monoliths, it's clear who the cool bad-boy is in this analogy.

Istredd: I came here to help the elves.
Geralt: You want to help the elves by joining a kingdom that regularly massacres whole villages? On the surface of it, there seems to be a bit of a conflict there.

Now, on to Rience. This action adjacent storyline is intriguing for many reasons.

It's more than Rience's "fire-fucker" persona. Yes, he's terrifying and sadistic.

And yet, he's got lines he won't cross. He refuses the job when he thinks Lydia speaks on behalf of Nilfgaard. You'd think if his primary interest is in getting away from the dimeritium cell so he could burn stuff down, he wouldn't care who was letting him out.

Vertical Jaskier - The Witcher Season 2 Episode 4

His interrogation of Jaskier is so over-the-top. As Jaskier demonstrates, he'd be the first to spill anything he knew. No coercion necessary, and certainly no fireballs. But that wouldn't be any fun for Rience.

Yennefer's efforts to find him take a somewhat circuitous route. I wonder if that was just to get the jaunty sex worker into the mix so she could ambush Yennefer later.

Rience's contextual backstory is the only time this season they've played with the timeline.

It's not much of a muddle, just a short jump back to give Rience a running start as he bursts onto the scene and starts hurting people.

I have to admit Yennefer's trick with spitting the alcohol back in his face was immensely satisfying.

Yennefer's Choice - The Witcher Season 2 Episode 3

Some monsters really do require slaying.

Speaking of monsters, Yennefer finally gives into Voleth Meir's offer, driven there by the certain mortal death she faces when the Brotherhood gets their hands on her again.

And, being Yennefer, of course she tries to bargain with the demon hut woman.

So, why does Voleth Meir want Ciri? How could she know about her powers? Yennefer certainly wasn't the informant.

A Serious Moment - The Witcher Season 2 Episode 5

There's a lot going on in Cintra here.

Outside the city, Istredd lets Geralt in on Yennefer being alive. I wonder if Geralt thought about how Triss would've known this too.

Inside the city, Fringilla's friendship with Francesca is bordering on precious.

Francesca: I've had leaders, followers, but I've never had a partner before.
Fringilla: Neither have I. It's not terrible.

Meanwhile, Fringilla's absolute authority will be eroded with Cahir's return.

If Voleth Meir promised her power, he would be an obstacle to holding onto that power.

Cahir's Return - The Witcher Season 2 Episode 5

I want to hope that Cahir's experiences with the elves escaping persecution will gentle his prejudices against them. Hake's attitude is so grossly species that there have to be some repercussions.

There's also the fact that he's failed in his mission to capture Ciri. How does he plan to explain that to the White Flame?

With Fringilla losing Sodden Hill, Emhyr may have some staffing issues to address.

Is it strange that Emhyr doesn't actually lead -- or even travel with -- his forces? We hear about him all the time, and we've seen him when Voleth Meir takes his form, but he has yet to put in an appearance.

Dara Arrives - The Witcher Season 2 Episode 5

With Dara in the city, Dijkstra's spy is in place. It's just a question of how quickly he can get the information to the Radanians.

Now that we're past the halfway point, it feels like there are a lot of balls in the air.

Are you enjoying the adventure? What has surprised you most? Have you been able to predict anything?

For the gamers in the crowd: do these adaptations make the game feel more immersive?

Comment below with your answers (or any questions of your own!). So long!

Turn Your Back Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (3 Votes)

Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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The Witcher Season 2 Episode 5 Quotes

Francesca: I've had leaders, followers, but I've never had a partner before.
Fringilla: Neither have I. It's not terrible.

I know what you want. All that wrath and righteous anger raging inside you. I can smell your desires like rotting meat. But I'm not here to grant wishes. I'm simply a guide to get you exactly what you deserve.

Voleth Meir