"The Witcher: Blood Origin" is a folk tale, but it's not just any folk tale set in "The Witcher" world. It's a story a mysterious entity tells to everyone's favorite bard, Jaskier (Joey Batey), and it's a tale about events that took place 1,200 years before Henry Cavill's Geralt sardonically lazed about in hot tubs.

It's also a yarn that will have ramifications for the third season of "The Witcher" (the last season, alas, that will see Cavill as the hot tub-loving Geralt), but don't let that bother you too much. It's best to take the limited series' four episodes as they are, and imagine yourself more than a little bit tipsy in one of the Continent's taverns, a full flagon of grog in your hands as Jaskier recounts the story about seven warriors forming an unlikely alliance (and channeling some strong "Seven Samurai" vibes) to stop a certain set of spheres from converging.

Without getting into specifics, the plot of "Blood Origin" isn't all that surprising, and that's just fine. And again without getting into specifics, it also includes many of the ingredients that make people love "The Witcher' — there are monsters and magic, tragic love stories, the occasional F-bomb, and more than a fair shake of blood and death. The series is oftentimes dark, of course, but it's also an adventure with humorous moments and witty characters that keep "Blood Origin" from getting too grim.

Seven Warriors To Kill Them All

We're gradually introduced to the seven warriors as the episodes play out, and given the relative brevity of the series, we only skate across the backstories of the ensemble cast, even the ones who are more central to the story. The actors behind this band of eleven killers (and one dwarf) — Sophia Brown, Michelle Yeoh, Laurence O'Fuarain, Francesca Mills, Lizzie Annis, Zach Wyatt, and Huw Novelli — all bring justice to their roles. Yeoh, in particular, brings a deadly depth to Scian, the last living member of Ghost Clan who has a harsh view of the world, and who can fight like no other. I wish she had more screen time, but alas, in an ensemble show with only four episodes, there's only so much Yeoh we're going to get.

Brown's performance also deserves a special shoutout, as she brings complexity to her portrayal of the Lark, an elf who abandons her clan's warrior ways to become a bard. She finds herself pulled back into violence as vengeance takes hold of her heart (this is a "Witcher" show, after all), and her mission to kill those who've wronged her takes on a larger purpose when she and the other warriors she picks up on her journey find out the world's very existence is at stake.

Their quest takes them across an impressive landscape full of beautiful greenery as they travel to kill those threatening the entire land. This eleven world is a rich one, and while we also jump to more harsh and barren places, it is the forests and the fields that the warriors trek through, murdering along the way, that truly shine.

We also hear some tunes that will be familiar to "Witcher" fans in "Blood Origin," most of them the Lark's creation. Those songs are complimented by a rich score, one that tees up the limited series as the tragic, big adventure that it is. It also supports the folk tradition vibe that the show is going for, and the music with the imagery transport you in a way that the CGI monsters might not.

An Expanding Witcher Universe

The limited series also has a storyline that follows some palace intrigue that ultimately leads to the aforementioned destruction of the world as the elves know it. We get to know those characters' motivations (though the explanations behind those motivations are more compelling for certain characters than others) and see what havoc and horror their ambitions have wrought. And while this narrative plays out fine, the series is at its best when we're following the warriors' journey.

"Blood Origin" wobbles a bit in the finale but ultimately wraps things up neatly, though there are some tendrils of the story that will creep into Netflix's larger "Witcher" world. Jaskier's appearance in the limited series is not just a piece of fan service (though it's certainly that as well), and the question about what the bard will do with the tale told to him will only be answered when the third season of "The Witcher" drops. "Blood Origin" is still a solid watch, however, without the tie-in to the larger franchise. It's an enjoyable fantasy folk story you can get lost in and not think too hard about while watching, which is no bad thing. So don your Ren Faire wear, get your cup of mead or another beverage of or choice, and settle into Ye Olde Couch for an entertaining fantasy series that doesn't burden you with a big episode count.

"The Witcher: Blood Origin" premieres on Netflix on December 25, 2022.

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