The Witcher: Blood Origin never promised much suspense. We always knew how this story ended: The Conjunction of the Spheres bringing both monsters and humans into the world — if there’s any difference between the two, as Geralt might muse — and the subsequent collapse of a golden age for elf kind.
With that in mind, the most surprising thing about Blood Origin’s series finale might be just how little time it spends on what is, for all intents and purposes, the most significant thing that has ever happened in the Witcher-verse. The Conjunction is finally near the end of the episode. It takes just a couple of minutes and is ponderously narrated by your favorite exposition machine, Minnie Driver.
But if this Blood Origin finale is curiously incurious about a cataclysmic event that Witcher fans have wondered about for years, it’s at least a solid climax for this very uneven limited series, providing wistful sendoffs for the characters we’ve come to (kind of) like and (kind of) know throughout the show’s abbreviated run.
The action resumes in Xin’Trea, where Merwyn has already hatched her plan to use the monolith to invade and colonize other worlds, with a special emphasis on stealing food supplies to fill her kingdom’s empty grain stores. This plan is doomed by its reliance on Balor, who betrays her at literally the first opportunity and absorbs all the chaos magic for himself, becoming the most powerful being … I don’t know, in the history of the Continent?
That would seem to be the most consequential thing happening, but Blood Origin spreads itself generously around our other heroes. Éile rallies the commonfolk into rioting with her song about the lowborn rising. Fjall squares off against the monster. Scian gets arrested and promptly fights her way out of it.
But while all of that is well-staged and pretty fun to watch, the episode’s most interesting arc belongs to Merwyn. Like much of Blood Origin, this promising character suffers from scant screen time and generally being underwritten, but there’s a tragic arc here that’s worth parsing. Some of Merwyn’s beefs are entirely justified: Her ostensibly noble brother did regard her as “a fertile thing to be traded,” and she did have her lover ripped away from her in the process. When she talks about how the old ways had to die for a better world to exist, you can see that her conviction is real.
And that leads to the best scene of the episode (and the series): When Éile and Merwyn drop the overblown public personas they’ve each accumulated and confront each other, elf-to-elf. “I thought you’d be … more,” marvels Merwyn as she stares at the exhausted mortal standing in front of her, and you can easily imagine Éile saying the same.
That’s also why Éile should concede Merwyn had the right idea when she wiped out the monarchies and clans, including her own. The problem, in the end, was that Merwyn merely replaced them with the same system but with her at the top. “You’re just another boot looking for more necks,” she snarls as she stabs Merwyn, toppling the Golden Empire once and for all. Merwyn, for her part, lives long enough to stumble back to her throne, begging her people to remember her as she dies.
This is a potent enough sendoff that everything that comes after reeks of anticlimax. Fjall, going into full, feral witcher mode, manages to kill the great monster but loses himself in the process. After he attacks Brother Death in his frenzy, Éile soothes him long enough before stabbing him to death in a mercy killing. Our last sacrifice is Syndril, stopping Balor by binding himself to his fellow mage — but due to some seriously under-explained quirk of the laws that govern magic in the Continent, the destruction of the monolith kills both men while also triggering the Conjunction of the Spheres. “Nothing would ever be the same again,” says Minnie Driver.
In what might be Blood Origin’s least surprising twist, an epilogue reveals that Éile is pregnant with Fjall’s baby. When Ithlinne touches her belly, she delivers a prophecy about a future child of Éile’s blood, “singing the last.” There are a few ways to read this, but Blood Origin decides to save them for the future, leaving us — and Jakier — in the dark. I’ll say this for Blood Origin: Even if this odd little chapter of the Witcher universe wasn’t exactly a riveting page-turner, it has me plenty curious for the next story.
• So what’s next for Netflix’s Witcher-verse? In addition to the main show’s upcoming third season, which will drop sometime next summer — and then an already-announced fourth season, with Liam Hemsworth taking over the role of Geralt — Netflix is reportedly developing a spinoff about The Rats, a group of young street criminals who debuted in Andrzej Sapkowski’s novel The Time of Contempt, and who are slated to be introduced in The Witcher season three.
• A mid-credits scene — which reuses footage of Freya Allen from The Witcher, and probably relates to Ithlinne’s closing prophecy — reveals Avallac’h staring ominously at Ciri. Okay!
• If you’re curious about what’s going on with Eredin and that helmet he found, play The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, which just got a free upgrade designed to bring its dated graphics closer to modern standards.
• The Yaruga Delta, where the first humans arrived on the Continent, isn’t far from Sodden Hill, the site of the climactic battle at the end of The Witcher’s first season.
• “May your womb rot and your name be forgotten,” curses Scian to Merwyn, and since Merwyn didn’t even have a page on the official Witcher wiki until this show aired, I guess it worked.
• In case you were wondering: This is a vodnik. Gross!
• I wonder if Éile ever fulfilled her promise to write that elegiac song about “Uthrok Mighty Cock, who hath two enormous balls that slew an empire.” If she had, it really sounds like something Jaskier would sing.