Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for The Witcher Season 3, Episode 6.
In its first Volume, Season 3 of The Witcher slowly brought every main character to Aretuza, the fortress from which mages decide the Continent’s fate. It was clear that the series was building up to something big, but at the end of Episode 5, we only heard the battle noises echoing in the halls of Aretuza without learning what was happening. One month later, we finally have our answer, as Volume 2 starts with an all-out brawl between the different factions fighting for power in the Continent. A fight this big must have casualties. Before Episode 6 is over, every side knows defeat.
Season 3, Episode 6, appropriately titled “Everybody Has a Plan ‘till They Get Punched in the Face,” sheds some light on the man pulling strings from the shadow, Vilgefortz (Mahesh Jadu). In doing so, Season 3, Episode 6 features many highly-anticipated battles, with villains and heroes falling as flies around Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill) and his found family. Unfortunately, the episode is so packed that some of our favorite Witcher characters barely show up. Furthermore, Episode 6 repeats a recurring mistake of the show so far, splitting up the party just after reuniting everyone. There’s a lot to break down in Episode 6, so let’s discuss all the deaths in “Everybody Has a Plan ‘till They Get Punched in the Face.”
Redania Makes a Move for Aretuza
After waking up and hearing the sounds of battle in Aretuza, Geralt goes to investigate the matter, only to be cornered by Dijkstra (Graham McTavish). The spymaster reveals Redania is holding Aretuza hostage, as the greatest kingdom of the North has grown tired of mages conspiring in their own favor, instead of working to unite the Continent against the Nilfgaardian invaders. Redania’s soldiers have used dimeritium bracelets to suppress the magical powers of Aretuza mages. In her turn, Philippa (Cassie Clare) casts an anti-magic dome around the fortress to ensure the success of Redania’s invasion. Since Geralt has no particular quarrel with Redania, the White Wolf decides to stand down and see how things play out. In addition, Geralt knows Vilgefortz is behind the most vicious attacks Ciri (Freya Allan) has suffered, meaning he benefits from letting Dijkstra expose the traitor mage.
Dijkstra and Philippa want to purge Aretuza from Vilgefortz and his followers, uniting the Continent under the Redanian banner. However, their plans are thwarted by Nilfgaard. In Episode 4, Nilfgaard intercepted the messenger sent by King Vizimir (Ed Birch) to summon Redania’s navy. That means Dijkstra doesn’t have the backup he was counting on. To make matters worse, Nilfgaard has sent Cahir (Eamon Farren) and the Scoia’tael to destroy Aretuza, helped by the chaos unleashed by Redania’s invasion.
When the mages see ships approaching Aretuza’s coast, they imagine the Redanian army is about to land on their shores. Blinded by her love for Vilgefortz, Tissaia (MyAnna Buring) undoes Phillipa’s dome and unshackles her fellow mages. During the following conflict, Geralt beats down Dijkstra, breaking his leg for trying to kidnap Ciri. For a moment, everyone believes Aretuza will defeat Redania and emerge victorious. Unfortunately, Vilgefortz soon reveals his true colors.
Vilgefortz Officially Becomes ‘The Witcher’s Big Bad
While the mages are distracted by the Redanian soldiers, Vilgefortz opens a secret passage into Aretuza to invite Nilfgaard’s forces into the fortress. Tissaia witnesses Vilgefortz’s betrayal, realizes he was exploiting her emotions, and is heartbroken. Nevertheless, the leader of Aretuza summons the mages to fight by her side against Nilfgaard. Sadly, Nilfgaard’s battalion is armed with dimeritium arrows capable of penetrating the mages’ magical shields. Furthermore, they count on the arcane support of Fringilla (Mimi Ndiweni) and Francesca (Mecia Simson).
The fierce battle that ensues imposes heavy casualties on both sides. Fringilla kills her uncle, Artorius (Terence Maynard). Tissaia explodes Filavandrel (Tom Canton) in front of Francesca’s eyes. Consumed by grief, Francesca magically locks the ballroom doors and drops Aretuza’s ring of fire over both battalions. After that, Tissaia realizes Aretuza will fall if she doesn’t take extreme measures. That’s why Tissaia decides to use Alzur’s Thunder, a deadly spell that drains the life force of its caster. Alzur’s Thunder is quite effective but is insufficient to take down Francesca. In a surprising turn of events, Stregobor (Lars Mikkelsen) arrives at the battle zone, summons fire magic, and sacrifices himself to kill the Elven soldiers – and who could imagine that Stregobor’s racism would ever come in handy! Unfortunately, all efforts are in vain because Ciri inadvertently destroys Tor Lara, the magic tower that makes Aretuza such a special place for mages.
Everyone Is After Ciri
During Redania’s coup, Dijkstra sends Prince Radovid (Hugh Skinner) to kidnap Ciri. The spymaster believes that marrying Ciri to King Vizimir will strengthen Redania and allow the kingdom to lead the North against Nilfgaard. Once Radovid arrives in her bedroom, Ciri has already escaped after being warned by Yennefer (Anya Chalotra), who senses Phillipa’s anti-magic dome will lift the protection she put around the girl’s chambers. Radovid doesn’t reach Ciri in time but blows up his relationship with Jaskier (Joey Batey). Once the bard realizes what the prince is up to, Jaskier doesn’t want them to be lovers anymore.
While Ciri runs away from Aretuza, Yennefer hides in the fortress’ secret passages to evade the Redanian soldiers. There, she crosses paths with Lydia (Aisha Fabienne Ross). Lydia almost kills Yennefer but is stopped by Triss (Anna Shaffer), who ties up the telepath with branches. Lydia is in love with Vilgefortz and wants to help retrieve Ciri. However, Yennefer won’t let anyone hurt her daughter, so she snaps Lydia’s neck.
Yennefer and Triss split up, as each of them believes the right thing to do is defend Aretuza or save Ciri. Triss gets involved with the primary battle in the ballroom, where she crosses paths with Istredd (Royce Pierreson). They realize Vilgefortz will try to retrieve the Book of Monoliths, so Istredd tries to secure the tome. However, all Istredd manages to do is lead Vilgefortz right to the book. And before he can do anything, Vilgefortz pushes Istredd and the book into a portal leading to an unknown location.
Once Yennefer escapes Aretuza, she finds Ciri. They decide to flee through the ferry chain but are stopped by Rience (Sam Woolf). The fire mage uses a circle of fire to ensnare Ciri, threatening to burn the girl alive. Yennefer pretends to yield but instead throws her sword in Rience’s direction, distracting the mage. Geralt comes to his family’s rescue and uses Yennefer’s distraction to decapitate Rience.
At that moment, Tissaia begins to use Alzur’s Thunder. Yennefer senses the magic, knowing she must stop her mentor lest Tissaia dies. She doesn’t want to abandon Ciri, but the girl tells Yennefer that she has to help Tissaia. Yennefer leaves, promising to find Ciri as soon as the battle ends. It’s good that Yennefer returns to Aretuza, as she can help save Tissaia and lead the survivors out of the fortress. Yet, she misses the opportunity to protect Ciri from further attacks.
Geralt Tastes Defeat, While Ciri Embraces Her Power
In the middle of the battle, Francesca also orders Cahir to take a battalion of Scoia’tael soldiers and find Ciri. Cahir pretends to obey but arrives before the Elven soldiers. When she sees Cahir, Ciri thinks that she’ll finally get her revenge on the man who killed her family and destroyed the kingdom of Cintra. Surprisingly, Cahir begs forgiveness and offers his life to Ciri. Cahir admits to having followed brutal orders mindlessly, but now he realizes the errors of his ways and swears to protect Ciri at all costs. To prove his worth, Cahir even stands back to hold the Scoia’tael warriors while Ciri and Geralt run away.
Geralt and Ciri plan to take a boat to leave the island, but they are surprised by Vilgefortz. Geralt orders Ciri to run, and the girl departs toward Tor Lara. Geralt thinks he can kill Vilgefortz, but the mage reveals he has been holding back his power to pretend he is weaker than he actually is. Vilgefortz also offers Geralt the opportunity to join him one last time. When the White Wolf refuses, Vilgefortz easily beats Geralt to a pulp, shattering his sword and breaking his bones. However, Vilgefortz doesn’t kill Geralt, as he thinks the Witcher might be useful. In addition, Vilgefortz wants Geralt to become a warning to the whole Continent, as even the people’s savior has fallen before the mage’s power.
Vilgefortz goes after Ciri in Tor Lara, trying to convince the girl to become his pupil. Ciri has other plans, though. The girl communicates with the magical obelisk at the tower’s center, while Vilgefortz warns she’s not ready for such power. We don’t know what happens next, but the building blows up, and Ciri is nowhere to be seen.
Triss rescues Geralt. The survivors of the Brotherhood of Sorcerers and the Scoia’tael flee Aretuza. Phillipa manages to get Dijsktra out of the fortress alive. Still, after Episode 6, no one will be the same. Death has come to all sides of the battle for the Continent, and things will get even bloodier from now on.
The Witcher Season 3 is currently available on Netflix.