The Witcher: Blood Origin Review

The Witcher: Blood Origin has been officially out for over a week, so it’s time to post our review of the limited prequel series. Beware of spoilers if you haven’t yet seen it.

At first glance, the premise of Blood Origin was intriguing: let’s dive deep into the world of The Witcher, far before Geralt’s time, and see how things came to be. However, in just four episodes, the limited series manages to mangle both the show’s own lore, as well as any continued interest in the universe, especially considering the recent news.

While Henry Cavill’s exit might not at first matter much here as he’s not part of this, nothing exists in a vacuum, and many are already feeling dejected about whether it’s worth continuing the show beyond the upcoming third season. This means that Netflix, who is clearly trying to build out the Witcher universe as part of their library, needed this to be a win, and unfortunately, the series didn’t deliver.

Of course, it wasn’t all completely bad. The fight choreography was still stellar, and the music is quite good. But for all the catchiness of Éile’s rendition of The Black Rose, it doesn’t change the fact that we spend the entire run of this series being simultaneously spoon-fed information in an almost pedantic fashion, while also being left to infer and figure things out by ourselves.

Let’s take Fjall for example. He lived in the palace as a guard, had an affair with the princess, and we suddenly learn that it’s the most criminal of acts, which leads to him being banished for life in perpetual shame. While we can reasonably understand that their affair would be illicit (it’s a common enough trope in fantasy settings), we are wholly confused by the fact that not fifteen minutes later, we see him all of a sudden in a jail cell with little explanation as to how he got there or even when. Minutes after that, he’s being freed and is told that Fjall’s father has lifted the banishment and wants him to return for the big uniting ceremony.

After recovering from the whiplash, we have to ask ourselves what the whole point of the banishment was. Sure, we know that plot-wise, Fjall has to survive, so he couldn’t be at the ceremony since he would have otherwise met his demise, but the gravitas of the situation is completely missing, because we have no context for any of it. We don’t know how much time has passed, so we don’t know if he has been having a rough go at it since being banished, and his resentment doesn’t feel genuine because of that.

Which, speaking of people being incarcerated and then suddenly not, Syndril’s freedom was also glossed over. He suddenly was needed there to join the seven, so that’s where he was, without any proper explanation. But for all of the magical macguffins and plot drivers, the worst one was the narrator that served no purpose. Yes, theoretically the whole purpose of of Jaskier and the mysterious narrator was to tie it in to the main show, but the narration seemed like it was treating its audience as idiots, reminding us of things that were said by the characters not minutes ago, or giving verbal winks and nudges about things to come. It destroys the immersion of the show, and doesn’t feel like it’s part of the same universe and show.

That brings us to the next point, and quite an egregious one at that: the lore. Within the universe of the show, it’s clear that the books and games are often ignored, and while there’s no rule that says that adaptations must follow everything to the letter, a witcher’s sterility doesn’t seem like something to be ignored. Sure, arguments can be made that perhaps sterility was added later in the process, since this was a proto-witcher, or that Éile’s child was conceived before Fjall took the serum, but the implication was that it all led to Ciri’s elder blood, and thus goes beyond two regular elves conceiving. Beyond that, there’s plenty of other errors that could fill pages, but it feels necessary to also point out that the conjunction of the spheres happening after the first witcher for relatively slipshod reasons is another disservice to the lore.

Now, the characters. Truth be told, they fall flat with their very weak backstories. We barely meet the seven and learn only the barest minimum about them, and it doesn’t allow us to get invested in their stories. Like the different clans. We supposedly know the Dog, Raven, and Serpent clans all hate each other. Why? It’s a mystery. They just do and we should accept it as so. The Serpents didn’t even speak a word, and merely served as a plot device. Even Éile, who serves as pretty central character, has very little backstory. We learn bits and pieces, but not enough for it to truly get invested in her plight. Truly, the only one who had a pretty developed story was Meldof, and so it was easier to get invested in her story. But the cliche “come with me if you want to live” line does dock some points on her character. It also does fall a bit on the actors, where it felt that sometimes they weren’t encouraged or motivated to say their line with feeling or to make it genuine. Especially when it was to dump lore. 

The series clearly tried to create a foundation for the main show, but they forgot to pour the concrete. And it shows. Even Scían’s double-cross, the singular twist that felt intriguing, happened way too far down the line of the series for it to matter. By that point, my interest had waned, and I was mostly wanting to see how they would wrap up everything as the end was in sight. The end credits had some interesting moments too, but the time travel part feels like it’s going to complicate things if the showrunners do decide to include it in the main show, since I feel like it won't be done properly. Overall, it really doesn’t feel like a witcher show, and it really does leave us wondering if Netflix should cut their losses, scrap the Witcher universe, and just create their own fantasy world with the creative freedom to do as they please.

About the Author
Melissa K
Author: Melissa KWebsite: https://dctv.newsEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Associate Editor
With a long time love for Young Justice, Melissa is stepping up her reporting game and covering even more shows!

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