Shadow and Bone is back with another crazy intense episode, so here’s our breakdown of everything that happened!
*Spoilers for Episode 2 below!*
This episode begins with a flashback to Alina and Mal’s orphanage. The Grisha are coming to visit and they plan on testing the children for abilities by cutting their hands. If they display power, they will be taken to the Little Palace, where the Grisha train and live in the capital. Distraught at the thought of being separated, Mal and Alina run and hide. In the present, Alina sees Mal taken away while she goes to General Kirigan’s tent.
In Ketterdam, Inej tells Kaz they cannot take the job. There’s no way they can cross The Fold, but Kaz argues with her.
We’re back with Alina, who is taken before Kirigan. When asked about who she is, she tells him she’s a mapmaker. He brings up the Grisha test, but her silence implies she wasn’t tested. So Kirigan will test her again. Mal tries to get to the tent, worried about Alina. But Kirigan cuts her arm first, and Alina lights up. She glows and fills the tent with awe-inspiring light. In fact, the light spills out of the tent, and Mal looks heartbroken that his oldest friend was a Grisha this entire time, and he’s escorted away.
We cut to Kaz in his office. Pekka Rollins and his men show up. They’ve never made a deal before, but Pekka wants him to drop the job. Meanwhile, Inej and Jesper are downstairs. They don’t think Kaz has a way across The Fold, but he wants revenge on Pekka. For what? We’re not sure yet. Inej then receives word that she has to go to the Menagerie, which is what we assume is a brothel where she was forced to work before Kaz began to buy her contract.
Once she leaves, Kaz talks to Jesper. And no one is surprised that Kaz still wants to do the job. He has Jesper guard the door, and he notices someone cheating. She’s brought up to the office, and Kaz makes her count cards. In a twist, she wasn’t actually cheating! Kaz recognized that she counted cards in a way that those in East Ravka count cards. She eventually confesses that her daughter is Grisha, and they fled Ravka so she wouldn’t be taken away. She tells hi they crossed The Fold with the help of The Conductor, who left them with Poppy, the stage performer in Ketterdam.
Back in Ravka, Alina is being taken to the capital of Os Alta in a carriage. Mal attempts to go after her, but can’t catch up. Zoya asks him if he was close with Alina, and she tells him she will be fine.
We’re back with Inej as she arrives at the Menagerie. She’s asked to leave all weapons at the front, leading her to remove her 13 knives. She then speaks to the woman who runs the Menagerie, Tante Heleen, who wants Inej back. But only to find and kill a man. If Inej does this, she’s free, and Kaz won’t have to worry about the loan contract. Inej is hesitant, but Heleen tells her he’s a slaver that sells to the White Rose, another brothel, and Inej agrees.
Meanwhile, Jesper is messing around at the market. Inej appears behind him, like a ghost, and she asks for his help. She wants him to kill the man instead of her. Inej doesn’t kill. She injures, tracks, and maims, but she doesn’t kill. Kaz calls for Jesper, telling him they have a new job, and when Jesper turns back, Inej is gone.
We cut back to Alina on her way to the palace. She’s in the carriage with two Grisha wearing red Keftas. Kefta’s are bulletproof, so Alina has one on too. One of the Grisha asks how no one has noticed her before, and she’s upset by this and tells him that when you’re different and look different, everything is at risk of becoming a fight. The other Grisha asks her why she thinks the Little Palace is walled. It’s because being Grisha used to mean a death sentence. They were persecuted and found the only protection was to let others know they were powerful. Alina is a myth come true for not only Grisha, but the country. If she can destroy The Fold, maybe Grisha don’t need the walls of the palace to protect them.
Speaking of protection, a human soldier is shot by Druskelle, witch hunters from Fjerda. They’re attacked, leaving Alina in the carriage at the mercy of a Druskelle, but like a knight in shining black armor, General Kirigan arrives on his horse, and he uses shadows to protect Alina. The Druskelle calls him “Darkling,” and Kirigan slices him apart with shadows.
We’re with Jesper and Kaz as they make their way to find Poppy. Poppy works at Pekka Rollin’s club, so Jesper will have to distract the guards so Kaz can get in. Meanwhile, Inej has tracked down the man for Heleen, and she quickly and ruthlessly knocks him out.
Back in Ravka, Alina and Kirigan continue on horseback until she needs a break. She’s scared of him after seeing “the cut.” He says it’s a last resort that only a summoner can do. He also tells her the Druskelle probably diverted their original mission to find her because she’s the first of her kind, and she represented hope. But Alina doesn’t want this power, this burden. She tells him how she and Mal hid because they were different enough already. He tells her that she is Grisha. She is not alone.
At this point, Mal finds out she was ambushed and she’s riding alone with Kirigan. He wants the army to go with her but the general of the first army refuses. She’s not their problem because she is Grisha now. But Mal says she’s worth it, but the general disagrees, saying weapons will advance until the Grisha are no longer “powerful.”
In Ketterdam, Jesper does some impressive and fancy sharpshooting to distract the bouncers. Kaz sneaks in and talks to Poppy. Poppy tells Kaz what the Conductor does and where to find him. We cut in between their conversation and Inej as she interrogates the man. He tells her he smuggles refugees and deserters. He doesn’t sell children. But Inej doesn’t believe him, and she’s looking for her brother. She goes to kill him, but Kaz stops just in time because, surprise! The man Inej was going to kill is the Conductor.
We cut back to Alina as she enters the Little Palace. She is told all of Ravka is a prisoner until The Fold is banished. She’s taken to her room, which is a gorgeous, but lonely suite. Once she’s finally alone, she cries.
Mal loads a horse with his gear; he wants to go after her. His two friends, mikhael and dubrov, stop him. They convince him he needs to be a hero to get into the Little Palace, not a deserter.
In Ketterdam, Kaz is talking to Heleen. He’s taking Inej with him, but he hasn’t paid off the contract. Inej no longer works at the brothel, but there is a loan contract that Kaz must pay. In order to take Inej, Kaz gives Heleen the Crow Club as Collateral.
We then see Alina and Mal both trying to sleep, but they miss each other. Despite being miles apart, their hands go to the same spot, as if they’re holding hands. We then see their hands holding as they lay on the skiff, and then a flashback to when they were kids.
I’m beginning to realize these episodes will be very dense, but I’m enjoying them. This one moved the plot forward incrementally, but I found it to be helpful with world-building. We didn’t see too much of Ketterdam in the last episode, so this was a nice expansion. I also thoroughly enjoyed seeing the Little Palace.
I will say Kit Young is absolutely stealing the show. Jesper doesn’t have too many lines compared to some other characters, but Young shines. He’s charming and suave and is a bright light in the dark Ketterdam. Young works well with Freddy Carter and Amita Suman, and I’m super excited to see more from him in the upcoming episodes.
This episode also really had me feeling for Mal and Alina. Jessie Mei Li’s small breakdown when Alina was alone felt perfect. It was emotional and desperate but contained. I found it heart-wrenching. The last sequence where they essentially hold hands while miles apart also had me going “awwww.” Mal and Alina have really been through it, huh?
I cannot wait to start the next episode to see what happens now that Alina is in the palace, and the Crows have a way to cross the fold.
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