A Full Breakdown of the First Episode of ‘Shadow and Bone’
If you have no idea what you just watched, you’re not alone.
Inej has a curious lead: A merchant named Dreesen is paying one million kruge (pronounced kroo-guh, that’s Kerch money) for a crew to travel through the Fold and return something, but Inej doesn’t know what. And to add a few more names to this already extensive list of new characters for you to process, Dreesen has a hired bodyguard named Tendo whom someone named Pekka has leverage on, given Tendo gambles frequently at Pekka’s club.
Deep breaths here, folks. It’ll make sense eventually.Kit Young as Jesper Fahey, Amita Suman as Inej Ghafa, and Freddy Carter as Kaz Brekker.DAVID APPLEBY/NETFLIXAfter Inej and Kaz exchange the faintest whiff of what goes for flirtation in Ketterdam, we’re brought back to East Ravka, where Alina endures such bitter racism, Mal is forced to steal her food from a Grisha tent. But before he can make a break for it, he’s caught by the Grisha staying there—Zoya Nazyalensky (Sujaya Dasgupta)—who tries to coax him into bed before he wanders out, charmed but uncomfortable.
I’m counting 13 important characters introduced in the first 20 minutes of this episode. Woof.Mal and Alina share sweet pleasantries over the stolen bowl of grapes as Mal prepares for his journey across the Fold. But back in Ketterdam, Kaz and his crew are struggling with the same question: How to do it illicitly but safely? After several dead ends, they learn Dreesen is seeking a Heartrender to extract information from someone. What’s a Heartrender, exactly? The show doesn’t care to explain, but fans of the books will know it’s a Grisha who can slow down or speed up heartbeats. That also means they act as walking polygraphs, able to tell when someone is lying. Kaz insists they get a Heartrender fast, so they can appeal to Dreesen for the one million-kruge job. Only problem? Pekka knows what Dreesen needs, too, and that bearded man in a bowler hat is willing to torture and kill whomever it takes to get it. headtopics.com
Inside the Shadow FoldMeanwhile, in East Ravka, a black carriage rolls into camp, carrying another new character: General Kirigan (Ben Barnes), the leader of Ravka’s Second Army, comprised solely of Grisha. Worried over Kirigan’s presence and distraught at the idea of being separated from Mal, Alina decides she simply must secure a spot on the skiff. She goes into the cartographers’s tent and burns the only map the First Army has of West Ravka, the territory on the other side of the Fold. Now a mapmaker is needed to traverse the Fold and redraw the map, and she eagerly volunteers…and is forced to bring her fellow mapmakers with her. Real selfless move there!
Mal is angry, knowing full well Alina pulled this little stunt to watch out for him. But they take off into the Fold anyway, and find themselves quickly immersed in darkness.Of course, one of the idiot cartographers Alina brought along has to incite chaos by striking a match in the shadows. Hideous winged monsters—fans will know them as volcra—descend upon the skiff within seconds, drawn to the light like mosquitoes. Another cartographer, Alexei, makes a run for it by diving into the sand as numerous soldiers are bludgeoned by wings and pierced to death by claws. Then one of the volcra goes for Mal.
That turns out to be terrible for the winged beast’s wellbeing, because mere moments after Mal whispers a touching goodbye to Alina—“I’ll meet you in the meadow”—she appears to burst into flames. A searing ray of light (oh, you mean the title of this episode?) explodes from her skin, and the volcra disappear along with it.
But we don’t get to see the aftermath quite yet: Instead, we get a quick trip to West Ravka (i.e., The Other Side of the Fold). There, an army leader named General Zlatan is waiting on the skiff’s arrival, anxious that the boat has yet to appear. He’s startled when a boy comes running out of the Fold. Oh, wait! It’s Alexei! headtopics.com
Meanwhile, in Ketterdam…Kaz has done what he does best—pull strings—and stolen the Heartrender from under Pekka’s nose. He pays off Dreesen’s security with the counterfeit money Jesper found earlier, then presents the Grisha to Dreesen himself. Turns out, Dreesen is in possession of a familiar face—Well, hello again, Alexei! We just can’t get rid of you, can we?
Based on this reveal, it would seem the Ketterdam scenes have been taking place in a slightly different timeline than the Ravkan ones: The Crows are finding out about this supposed one-million-kruge jobafterAlina’s little sunlight show on the skiff. Using the Heartrender’s skills, Dreesen, Kaz and friends learn a “Sun Summoner” rescued the skiff from the volcra; Inej and Dreesen are visibly shocked, while Kaz remains skeptical. Alexei reveals the summoner was Alina Starkov, and by way of thanking him, Dreesen puts a bullet in his head.
Dreesen then proposes a challenge to the Crows: Come up with a plan to cross the Fold and retrieve Alina, or lose the job to Pekka Rollins. Kaz asks for a day to think it through. Dreesen gives him until sunrise. And we’re off to the races.If your head’s spinning, take a moment. Drink some water. Here’s what you need to remember for the next episode:
The Fold is threatening Ravka, and only a Sun Summoner is capable of destroying the darkness. Alina has always believed herself to be powerless. Clearly, that’s might not be the case.The Ketterdam crew are infamous criminals, and they need money—for reasons that have yet to be revealed. If they can steal Alina out from the clutches of Ravka, they (and Dreesen) will have the ultimate leverage. headtopics.com
Alexei should know better than to be a snitch. Read more: ELLE Magazine (US) »
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