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The Witcher season 2, episode 4 recap: Burn, Butcher, Burn

the witcher netflix s2 triss ciri
(Image credit: netflix)

We've reached the halfway point with this episode, Redanian Intelligence, and we finally get to meet spymaster extraordinaire, Sigmund Dijkstra. He pays King Vizimir a visit in Redania, murdering the two advisors present. We also get to see the world through the eyes of an owl—as a Witcher aficionado, I'll bet my December wage that this is Phillipa Eilheart. The violence against elves escalates in this episode despite them finding refuge under Fringilla and Francesca in Cintra, and we meet the mysterious Sandpiper who is smuggling elves to safety from Oxenfurt to Cintra.

Triss and Ciri finally meet this episode as Vesemir calls for her to join them at Kaer Morhen. He reckons that Triss can guide Ciri in the use of her powers better than any stodgy old Witchers can, as well as make sure her needs are being met. Spoiler alert: constantly badgering a teenage girl isn't the best way to get her onside. Triss attempts to rekindle some romance with Geralt but is promptly shot down—Team Yen strikes again!—but it's clear that a strong friendship exists between the two.

Episode details

Episode 4

"Redanian Intelligence"

Written by: Sneha Koorse

Directed by: Sarah O'Gorman

★★★★★

Meanwhile, Geralt discovers that both Eskel and the Leshy contained stellacite, a material found in ancient monoliths that scatter the continent. He visits Istredd in Nilfgaard and the two set out to the monolith Ciri toppled near Cintra in season 1 when she screamed at Cahir. It's unclear at this point whether the monsters have been lurking beneath the monoliths or there's some kind of gateway involved, but rest assured Ciri has something to do with it. 

Vesemir also finds a rare breed of flower, Feainnewedd, that grows only where elder blood has been spilt. They connect Ciri to it and figure out that, potentially, they could use her blood to breed a new generation of Witchers. After the sacking of Kaer Morghen, the keep's mage and methods to create new Witchers was lost forever. With this new combination, more unwilling recruits could be put through the Trial of the Grasses and begin their long journey on the Path.

Sigmund Dijkstra makes his grand entrance in episode 4, declaring that Cintra is ripe for the taking from Nilfgaard. This is about to throw the war in a different direction and sets up what I assume will be even more conflict in Season 3 nicely. He seems to be talking animatedly to no one in particular later on in the episode but keep an eye on the owl in the background. As I said earlier, I'm sure it's Phillipa whispering in his ear. 

More from The Witcher

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Everything we know about The Witcher Season 2: The latest The Witcher news.

The Witcher Season 1 recap: Here's a quick recap of the first season.

Beginner's guide to The Witcher: Get up to speed with The Witcher universe.

The Witcher Season 2 review: See what Lauren thought of the first six episodes.

And finally, we return to Yen who witnesses even more degradation of Elves than ever before. The persecution of the Elves is getting increasingly more difficult to watch and Yen struggles without her powers to do anything about it. They enter the sewers on their way to find the Sandpiper and come across two Elves. While the younger elf wants to help Cahir and Yen escape, the elder is more reluctant. When a strange sewer monster attacks he flees, leaving the younger elf to drown and Yen and Cahir scramble to safety. But what's that I can hear? Another emotive ballad about a certain White Wolf?

The Sandpiper turns out to be none other than Jaskier, wearing an outfit that's more like the flamboyant purple ensemble Dandelion wears in the games. He has a new song, too—Burn, Butcher, Burn—because he's still pissed off at Geralt for leaving him. Is there anyone on the Continent who's not got a beef with the Witcher at this point? Yen approaches Jaskier and hugs him, much to the bard's surprise, and while they maintain they dislike one another, have a playful banter before he agrees to ship them both to safety. He also delivers the line "no-one leaves a taste in my mouth, thank you very much"; it's good to have my favourite bard back!

But, once again, Jaskier can't resist absolutely fucking it. When a dockhand starts to criticise his latest tunes, he bites back a little too hard and it ends up in a fight. The elder elf from before steps in to shout "Fuck humans!", sacrificing himself so that Jaskier, Yen and the rest can board the ship safely and flee Oxenfurt. Only Jaskier ends up getting himself captured, Yen jumps off the boat and the episode ends on a cliffhanger. Dammit, Jaskier!

Geralt of Trivia 

  • Ciri's old pal Dara returns in this episode.
  • Ciri mentions December which means this version of the Witcher runs on our calendar. 

The first three games Lauren played on PC were Star Wars: X-Wing, Zoo Tycoon and Barbie Fashion Designer, which explains her love of all things space, strategy and aesthetically pleasing. Lauren recently joined PC Gamer as the deputy guides editor after three years of writing many dozens of Destiny 2 guides at VG247, as well as casually trying to shoehorn in The Witcher 3 articles wherever possible. When she's not trying to force everyone to play as a Warlock in Destiny 2, Lauren is either mastering her SEO abilities to help smash the competition, or patting one of her red sons.