‘The Witcher’ Season 3 Episode 5 Recap: The Truth Shall Lead to Bloodshed (2024)

Editor's Note: The below contains spoilers for The Witcher Season 3, Episode 5.

So far, Season 3 of The Witcher is doing a great job of linking the many plotlines across the Continent. At the point of convergence, a mysterious villain is playing with other people’s lives to get to Ciri (Freya Allan). Episode 5, “The Art of Illusion,” finally reveals the identity of this villain, teasing how the second part of Season 3 will deal with the bloody execution of their plan. But before things take a turn for the worse, “The Art of Illusion” allows Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill) and Yennefer (Anya Chalotra) to enjoy some steamy time alone.

In Season 3, Episode 5, Geralt and Yennefer explore each other’s bodies for a whole night while reflecting on the events at Aretuza's ball. Together, the couple shares secrets and org*sms, thinking about how their actions helped, or doomed, the Continent. As such, the episode is structured as a series of flashbacks through which we relieve the same evening through different angles, slowly unveiling the many layers of a party filled with secrets and suggestive whispers. It’s a format that helps maintain the mystery until just before the credits roll while offering viewers the chance to piece everything together. It will be excruciating waiting another month to find out what happens next in Season 3.

RELATED: Ciri Battles the Voices in Her Head in ‘The Witcher’ Season 3

Geralt and Yennefer Set Their Sights on Stregobor

‘The Witcher’ Season 3 Episode 5 Recap: The Truth Shall Lead to Bloodshed (1)

In Episode 4, Geralt and Yennefer conclude that Stregobor (Lars Mikkelsen) is the one giving Rience (Sam Woolf) orders. Geralt wants to kill Stregobor, but Yennefer knows they must expose the mage before the entire Brotherhood of Sorcerers to avoid further chaos on the Continent. After all, with Nilfgaard still posing a threat, the Brotherhood and the Northern Kingdoms need to be united more than ever.

Before the Conclave of Mages happens, the Brotherhood hosts a ball on the island of Thanedd so that people can mingle and release tensions. It’s a clever strategy, as the party helps to elevate the mages’ spirits before they are forced to debate complex matters. In addition, the ball gives Geralt and Yennefer the time they need to talk with different mages and try to gather the proof they need to take Stregobor down. Geralt and Yennefer intend to find evidence of Stregobor’s crimes to present during the Conclave of Mages. However, they soon discover they need to act fast. After working together in Episode 4, Triss (Anna Shaffer) and Istredd (Royce Pierreson) have located the Book of Monoliths inside Stregobor’s safe. Triss shares this information with Geralt and Yennefer, underlining how a magic wielder can use the book to travel through space and time, which could be catastrophic if Stregobor ever got his hands on Ciri and her raw magic power. So, instead of waiting, Geralt and Yennefer need to improvise, and fast.

Geralt pretends to pick a fight with Istredd, Yennefer’s former lover. Istredd plays along so that people are distracted. Meanwhile, Yennefer sneaks into Stregobor’s quarters and breaks into his safe. Inside the safe, Yennefer finds a list with the names of every half-Elf student that came to Aretuza. The sorcerer also finds objects that used to belong to the missing girls. Channeling her magic, Yennefer can even use the objects to catch a glimpse of the moment when Stregobor attacked each girl.

While Yennefer gets the proof she needed, however, Stregobor’s safe possessed a safety device to alert its owner about intruders. As a result, Stregobor goes to confront Yennefer in his quarters. Istredd, Triss, and Geralt soon follow. And when they are all missing from the party, Tissaia (MyAnna Buring), Vilgefortz (Mahesh Jadu), and Artorius (Terence Maynard) join the group. Stregobor admits he’s trying to cleanse the school from elves, like the racist he is. However, Stregobor denies conducting experiments on the missing girls or going after Ciri. Stregobor is also puzzled by the Book of Monoliths that Istredd takes from inside his vault. Stregobor is arrested anyway, to be put on trial after the Conclave of Mages. Still, his genuine surprise indicates that he might not be the mastermind behind everything.

‘The Witcher’ Season 3 Reveals Its True Villain

‘The Witcher’ Season 3 Episode 5 Recap: The Truth Shall Lead to Bloodshed (2)

During their stay in Aretuza and the ball on Thanedd Island, Geralt and Yennefer learn new clues about the identity of the true villain behind the conspiracy against Ciri. After Stregobor is arrested, they don’t think much about it. But after spending the night making love and talking, the duo soon realizes they've made a huge mistake.

During the ball, Dijkstra (Graham McTavish) tells Geralt there are Nilfgaard spies inside the Brotherhood, and only Redania can keep Ciri safe. Philippa (Cassie Clare) also tells Yennefer there’s no stopping what’s coming, and they should be working together instead of serving the Brotherhood. Philippa (Cassie Clare) also tells Yennefer that Tissaia is a lot like Lydia (Aisha Fabienne Ross), the telepath blinded by love and following every order of her lover.

Geralt, with his Witcher senses, saw that Lydia was wearing an earring made from the same rare stone displayed on Tissaia’s bracelet, which she lost during Stregobor’s arrest, and which Yennefer retrieved. The precious stone can only be found in West Redania, where the White Wolf uncovered the gruesome experiments of Rience’s master. And since the only survivor of these experiments, Teryn (Frances Pooley), revealed Rience worked together with a familiar face from Aretuza and a woman with a “funny voice,” Geralt correctly deduces the telepathy Lydia works for the villain, the man she loves. Since Vilgefortz gifted Tissaia her bracelet, it’s not hard to imagine he also gave Lydia her earrings.

That’s not all the evidence Geralt and Yennefer have to piece everything together. During the ball, Vilgefortz tries to question Geralt’s neutrality and enlist the White Wolf to work with him. And while the Conclave of Mages is being held to unite the Continent, Vilgefortz still says there’s no stopping the upcoming conflict. Vilgefortz also shows Geralt his favorite painting, representing the coast where the Brotherhood was forged. As it turns out, that coast is where Yennefer was dragged to once her portal was corrupted in Episode 4. Since Vilgefortz created the portal, he would have the ability to change it. In short, Stregobor is a villain, for sure, but Vilgefortz is the mage that Geralt and Yennefer have been looking for all along.

Yennefer stays in her room, using a location spell to find Tissaia, who she believes is in danger. Meanwhile, Geralt goes after Vilgefortz. However, once Geralt leaves the room, he hears the noises of battle already beginning to echo in the corridors. While the White Wolf tries to make sense of everything, Dijkstra steps out of the shadows, surprising the witcher with a blade to his neck, and says Geralt should have chosen a side. It’s a thrilling conclusion for Volume 1 of Season 3, and we can’t wait to see how things unfold during the Thanedd Coup.

The Witcher Season 3, Volume 1 is currently available on Netflix. Volume 2 will be released on July 27.

‘The Witcher’ Season 3 Episode 5 Recap: The Truth Shall Lead to Bloodshed (2024)


‘The Witcher’ Season 3 Episode 5 Recap: The Truth Shall Lead to Bloodshed? ›

In Season 3, Episode 5, Geralt and Yennefer explore each other's bodies for a whole night while reflecting on the events at Aretuza's ball. Together, the couple shares secrets and org*sms, thinking about how their actions helped, or doomed, the Continent.

Why does Witcher season 3 episode 5 repeat? ›

The repeated telling of the same few hours with new details added with each visit is a creative narrative technique that draws viewers in as they are compelled to match the information up to the established timeline, even as they seek an explanation for the change in Geralt and Yennefer's relationship.

What is going on in The Witcher season 3 episode 5? ›

Episode 5 has Yen and Geralt attending the Conclave Ball with all the mages, which they are planning to use to gather evidence that Stregobor was the evil mage pulling the strings behind a recent rash of disappearing girls and assassins and kidnappers coming after Ciri.

Did Stregobor fix Rience's hands? ›

Meanwhile, Jaskier sneaks off and tells Philippa he'll help get Ciri to Redania if she can stop Rience, even as Rience gets Stregobor to heal his broken hands.

Why is The Witcher season 3 getting bad reviews? ›

The way the show looked as a whole in Seasons 1 and 2 was often praised by many fans, but the CGI in Season 3 took a turn for the worst and at times looked like something that should have been released in the late 1990s. Many have pointed out the dip in quality from the first two seasons to the third.

Who fixed Riences' hands? ›

That's because, at the end of the episode, we see Rience's hands being healed by a different mage, Stregobor (Lars Mikkelsen), one of the members of the Brotherhood of Sorcerers. If the Brotherhood is working with Rience, Aretuza is not a safe haven; it's the enemy's den.

Is Stregobor behind Rience? ›

While Stregobor has done many awful things in The Witcher, he was not the one responsible for things like the missing Aretuza students, the experiments on girls who carried the blood of elves, and the hiring of Rience. Vilgefortz was the mage secretly working for Nilfgaard.

What is the saddest ending in Witcher 3? ›

Q3) What is the saddest ending in The Witcher 3? In Witcher 3's saddest ending, Ciri dies saving the world, leaving Geralt utterly heartbroken and alone.

What did The Witcher wish for in episode 5? ›

Geralt wished to die alongside Yennefer. Since a djinn can't kill its own master, this wish would provide a nice loophole that would save Yennefer's life and also ensure that Geralt and Yennefer's lives are bound together until their very ends.

What is the mental illness in The Witcher 3? ›

In the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (2015) for instance, one of the most important characters in the game, the Baron, is portrayed as a man suffering from depression with alcohol abuse in a matrimonial crisis.

Why did Henry Cavill quit The Witcher? ›

Neither Cavill nor the show's creators have given a reason for his departure. However, in 2021, Cavill told the Philippine Star that he struggled to find a "balance between the showrunners' vision and my love for the books," and asked for several changes to his character in season two.

Why is Jaskier betraying Geralt? ›

Netflix's The Witcher season 2 ending teased Jaskier would find himself forcibly brought before Dijkstra and made to repay that favor in season 3, with betraying Geralt and Ciri the most likely compensation demanded.

Why did Stregobor hate elves? ›

Stregobor's ire with elves stems back to the days of Falka. The younger mage found himself caught up in the crossfires of Falka's infamous rebellion in her ambitions to reclaim the throne after being disinherited.

Why did Witcher season 3 fail? ›

As a result, Season 3 of The Witcher needed to squeeze the most of each scene while simultaneously juggling too many subplots. But, more than ever, the series needed a solid emotional core to keep things together, which is hard to achieve when the main party keeps getting split up.

Why did The Witcher end so abruptly? ›

Netflix had planned 7 seasons of witcher. But are cancelling it after 5 seasons. It got a lot of viewership when it premiered. But fans soon started to see that the showrunners did not care about the source material at all and wanted to tell their own stories and agendas.

Is there a bad ending in The Witcher 3? ›

Ending 03. This is the equivalent of the "bad ending" to Witcher 3. If, during the missions Battle Preparations, Blood on the Battlefield and Final Preparations, Geralt responded negatively to his decisions and admonished Ciri, she will lose faith in herself during her final confrontation against the White Frost.

Why does The Witcher season 3 have 5 episodes? ›

He saw the end of Episode 5 as a “pivot point,” which is why there are just three episodes to come. So, the answer to why there are only 5 episodes in The Witcher season 3 is that it's been split into two to stir up extra interest. The remaining three episodes will land on Netflix July 27th.

Why replay Witcher 3? ›

9 Play Through New Quests And Other Goodies

Players who want to equip Geralt's amazing armor and swords in the game can do so by completing the quest "In The Eternal Fire's Shadow". It helps that the quest is pretty lengthy and interesting, showing the strengths of The Witcher 3 and why it's such a beloved game.

Why does The Witcher have so many flashbacks? ›

We had several more flashbacks with Eskel laid out, to demonstrate further to the audience how close Geralt and Eskel were in the past: to reinforce just how far Geralt had to go in his heart in order to make that sacrifice. I hope to return to them in the future. All of that said: fans miss Eskel. I understand that.

Why does Witcher 3 stutter so much? ›

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. After some tinkering, it seems there are 2 culprits: Texture Quality: Tanks the FPS on anything over medium, probably floods the vram and leaks over into shared memory. Grass Density: Sets RT in overdrive shading all the grass patches, demolishes FPS.


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