Day 8 (12.30.19) - The Witcher

The Witcher is about purpose. The show explores the trajectories of life with and without purpose, and the destructive nature of purpose driven by a search for power. The lesson is expressed clearly but not overtly, as characters find redemption and contentment once they find a purpose driven by compassion; a virtue that links them to the wider network of lives held together by what they call "destiny". In contrast, power is portrayed as individualistic and vain. This is what makes Queen Calanthe one of the most compelling characters in the show. She's the only one who carries the duality of virtue and vice, compassion and savagery under one psyche. Played with superb skill by Jodhi May, Queen Calanthe is protective of her family and kingdom but quick to slaughter, at times for fun, it seems, as she enters her court covered in blood, full of joy and energy before shifting back to the ruling matriarch. With other characters, the development is about the transition from selfish ambition to finding a sense of purpose in a greater good (a linear progression; standard television fare). Both reside in Queen Calanthe simultaneously, without any sign of cognitive dissonance. Rather, she has the ability to harness whatever tool she needs in the moment, and she does so without any justification. From this stems compassion and cruelty in equal measure, as she carves a forward path. In a few instances, she pivots, but only if it serves her family and boosts the might of her kingdom. Calanthe is the strongest and most interesting character in The Witcher (made possible by May's scene-stealing performances), but other key characters are set up to reach equal strength in season 2. Smart writing, good acting, cliche kept to a minimum, core themes obvious but not suffocating. Very good show: 7.5/10       

You'll only receive email when The Barnacle publishes a new post

More from The Barnacle