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Episode 4 of Shadow and Bone is full of action! This episode gives us all the Mal content we could ask for!
We open up Mal, who is with the Ravkan army. He’s also writing letters to Alina, and says he hasn’t heard from her. But General Kirigan sends word to the army that whoever can find the stag (the one amplifier that Alina dreams about) gets a trip to the Little Palace as a reward, so Mal volunteers.
Meanwhile, Genya tells Alina that no letters have arrived (which is strange because we know Mal is writing). Alina has a special black and gold kefta that she ignores in favor of the blue and gold one. She goes riding with Kirigan, who tells her his first name is Aleksander.
We then cut to the Crows who plan a heist in order to get the blueprints for the Little Palace. Jesper says his goodbyes to the cutest goat in the world, Milo, and leaves behind a bullet. Arken is left behind to make connections with East Ravkans.
Back with Alina and Kirigan, we find out how The Fold was created. The old king hired the Black Heretic as military advisor. He grew hungry for power, so the king put bounty on him. The Heretic attempted to create his own army using the same forbidden science Morozova used to create amplifiers. Instead he created The Fold, and it killed him.The Black Heretic is Kirigan’s ancestor, and Kirigan views Alina as the answer to his prayers who will undo the evil that was done. He tells her that he will stay by her side and help her change the world.
Meanwhile, Mal is packing his bag when his two friends, Mikhael and Dubrov, stop him. Except they show their packed bags off to. They want to go with him so he’s not alone.
We’re then back with Alina as she trains with Baghra, which is rough. Alina tells Marie and Nadia about Mal, and they ask if he’ll be at her demonstration, which troubles Alina.
Back at the Crows, they execute a smart and elaborate heist that shows off their skills, and they successfully make a copy of the blueprints to take. However, when they look at the plans they notice there is no way in or out.
In the Little Palace, General Kirigan asks about Nina who was on a priority mission and has not reported in. He sends Fedyor to track her down and also take care of Matthias.
Back with the trackers, we see some of Mal’s skills. He’s excellent at what he does and continues to reflect in his letter while his friends bicker. He really wants to find the stag because it’s one of the few things he can give her.
We then cut to Nina on the Druskelle ship. She’s brought food by Matthias and he wants answers about Grisha. We find out she cannot do anything without using her hands. He also wants answers about Kirigan, but she refuses to tell him anything.
In East Ravka, Jesper is moping about their inability to get into the palace. Except Arken comes in clutch, getting Inej and Jesper spots as performers in a carnival that is performing the night of Alina’s demonstration.
Speaking of Alina, she is able to summon light for Baghra, but wants to use an amplifier, which Baghra says is useless. Baghra then drugs Alina, prompting her to remember the day she got tested to be a Grisha. She and Mal tried to run away but were found. Alina knew Grisha used sudden pain to detect power, so she secretly cut her free hand with a pottery shard while they were testing her. Baghra says that Mal is still holding Alina back.
Later on, Alina is in bed, unable to sleep. She finds Kirigan who is drained after fighting this war alone. Shadows ripple in the background, and Alina holds in hand, dispelling the darkness. She reminds him that he’s not alone anymore, and after a lot of tension, she leaves.
We’re then back with Nina and Matthias who appear to be in a bad storm. The captain tells Matthias to kill the captives if the ship goes down, which Matthias doesn’t want to do.
At the edge of Ravkan territory, Mal and the trackers cross into Fjerda looking for the stag. Mal is still writing to Alina, and he tells her that the noise he heard when she first lit the tent up is the sound he heard when she would hold his hand when they were kids. And it’s a sound he can hear right now. Before he can investigate, they are ambushed by Druskelle, and after an intense fight, Mal is the only survivor. But he sees the stag and knows where it is.
Back with Alina, she’s still waiting for letters that don’t arrive. In her mind, she pulls away from Mal and is able to summon more light than she could. She then has Genya remove the scar on her hand, and she makes plans to wear the black and gold kefta. While this is happening, we hear Mal “write” that Alina is his True North, his home.
First and foremost, Archie Renaux is amazing! He truly got his time to shine in this episode. He’s also managed to add a lot of depth to Mal, and turn me into a Mal stan. I liked Mal in the books but wasn’t his biggest fan. The show is doing him justice! My newfound love for Mal made Alina letting him go even more painful.
I also thought the backstory about The Fold was interesting. Kirigan seems to view Alina as not only Ravka’s salvation, but as his own. I also really enjoyed Baghra. She’s an interesting character, one who lurks in shadows but is coaxing light out of Alina.
While I’m loving the Crows, I’m curious about what happens if they succeed. They seem to be getting very close to their goals, and I’m wondering if this will have an impact on how accurate the adaptation will be.
That being said, I cannot wait to start the next episode! I’m hoping for more answers and a lot more Jesper!
Daniella Baltazar is a senior at Emerson College currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Media Arts Production with a minor in Global and Post-Colonial Studies. She is a spring 2021 intern for AfterBuzz TV and is hoping to pursue a career in the entertainment industry.
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