“Lilac and gooseberries.”
Based on “The Last Wish”, one of the best of the original short stories, this episode sees Geralt and Yennefer cross paths for the first time. And their relationship promises to be an interesting one. At the very least, this makes the timeline a lot simpler. Ciri’s plot moves forward too, as she is taken from Brokilon by a doppler impersonating her old friend Mousesack.
Between episodes, a lot of time has passed. Based on what Jaskier says to Geralt after finding him in the woods, a decade has passed between their last meeting in the court of Cintra, when Geralt invoked the law of surprise and ended up with his destiny tied to the unborn Ciri. When we (and Jaskier) catch up with Geralt, he’s fishing furiously for something. But it’s not for any ordinary fish – in fact, not for a fish at all – he’s looking for a djinn. These beings (genies, more or less) are said to be able to grant three wishes, and Geralt really needs its help so he can finally get rid of the insomnia that’s been plaguing him and get a good night’s sleep. Jaskier suggests that it’s the Witcher’s child of surprise causing the sleepless nights, but Geralt handwaves it away. He eventually dredges up the djinn’s bottle, but a squabble between him and Jaskier leads to it being opened, and the djinn injuring the bard.
The Witcher acts like he doesn’t care about Jaskier, and I do believe that he finds him incredibly annoying, but at his heart, Geralt is a good man. Because of this, he wastes no time in trying to save his friend. This leads him directly to Yennefer, who is currently running amok in a nearby town. It’s crazy to think this is the same Yen that we saw at the beginning of the series. This Yennefer is sick of the shit, and is willing to do anything to get what she wants. When confronted by the mayor for performing magic for coin, she takes over his house, forcing the townsfolk into some bizarre magic orgy. She controls people to do everything for her, and she’s used to getting everything she wants. But what she wants more than anything is to be fertile, to revert the damage done to her during her ascension. Luckily, Geralt arrives on her doorstep talking about a djinn, with his dying friend over one shoulder. It’s the start of a beautiful love story.
Ok, so not quite. With Geralt, Yennefer isn’t that nice. It’s probably the main reason people settled for Triss in the third game – Yennefer just isn’t very friendly. At first at least. Here, we see her trade barbs with Geralt and the back and forth between the two is very good, as they both cut through the pretences and discover what they’re each after. Yennefer wants the djinn for herself, so uses her magic to get rid of Geralt. He awakens in prison and is told the sorceress sent him on a humiliating rampage through town, attacking her enemies. It’s not the start of your classic romances, but this show is a little stranger than others.
And despite all of the trouble Yennefer has caused, Geralt still runs back into the house to save her after her spell to trap the djinn goes awry. It turns out that it’s Geralt with the wishes, and he has one left. He could wish for anything, as the djinn speaking through Yennefer tells him. He could have wealth, power, immortality. Or he could not be a Witcher anymore. We see him whisper his wish and the djinn disappears to another plane of existence. Intially, Yennefer is annoyed – but the pair soon make amends. Though I don’t expect them to be quite so passionate with one another over the coming episodes.
So, Geralt’s wish. What could it be? The obvious answer is that he wished for a good nap, or maybe for the chance to get it on with Yennefer. But, assuming the show sticks to the books, it’s a bit stronger than that. He in fact wished for the two of them to be together, for their fates to be intertwined. You can decide for yourself how consensual that wish is – and there’s a great side mission in the third game that deals with this – but it’ll interesting to see how the show tackles this. Geralt and Yennefer are destined to be together, but what if that destiny was manufactured?
Elsewhere, Ciri’s adventures in Brokilon come to an end when her magic friend Mousesack (Adam Levy) comes to retrieve her, promising to deliver her to Geralt of Rivia and fulfil her destiny. Only one problem; this isn’t Mousesack. It’s a doppler, a creature that can change its appearance, hired by the Nilfgaardian army to track Ciri down. Now this is where my knowledge of the source material runs out, having only read the first two books. I was surprised to see that the original Mousesack dies, because I knew he made it all the way through to the third game as the character “Ermion” – so I assumed he survived the books. But perhaps the show is making some changes. It certainly adds stakes to Ciri’s story, who hasn’t really had much to do recently.
Now that we’re over the halfway point, the show is coming into its own, fleshing out the world piece by piece. “Bottled Appetites” is another episode that acts almost as a standalone adventure, as Geralt and Jaskier take on a djinn. But it also pushes the plot forward in a huge way, joining together the Geralt and Yennefer timelines and hopefully dispelling a lot of the confusion. And it’s just fantastic to see the characters together. They have a whole lot of adventures ahead of them.
Reviewed by Jack