Some bonds were broken and some were made in the last Shadow and Bone episode. I absolutely love Eric Heisserer‘s adaptation of Leigh Barudgo‘s novels. While we have had a few changes, most notably all the new prequel content for the Crows, everything is amazing. In the last episode, Alina (Jessie Mei Li) finally recounts with Mal (Archie Renaux) and Kirigan (Ben Barnes) and his crew face off against Kaz (Freddy Carter) and his. In the seventh episode, “The Unsea,” the fate of the Stag lies in Alina’s hands as she risks everything to keep it from Kirigan.
DISCLAIMER: This is a recap which means – you guessed it, spoilers ahead! If you are not caught up on the series, I highly suggest bookmarking this page and returning once you are done. The entire Shadow and Bone season one can be found here on Netflix.
“The Unsea” opens with a flashback to Kirigan’s younger self meeting up with a woman named Luda (Lucy Griffiths). He is clearly worried about her and when she tells him that she isn’t fragile, he reminds her that she is mortal. In the distance, they hear soldiers and Luda tells him that they raided their town the previous day looking for Grisha. A few of them got away and Bahgra (Zoë Wanamaker) led the rest to the sanctuary. The two rush inside to pack up their things when the soldiers arrive looking for Kirigan, at this time known as the Darkling.
He tells Luda they will follow the same plan they used in Ryevost before heading out to face the men. The leader named Churik (James Hillier) tells him that the King wants him brought back to the palace alive, but he makes an excuse that Kirigan tried to resist and has his men fire arrows at him. Kirigan falls to his knees but begins to pull out the arrows. We see Luda hidden in the house, healing him each time, making it appear as if the arrows are doing nothing. They fire again and Luda heals him.
This goes on for a few minutes and Kirigan begins to tell them that he has a message for the king to leave his people alone, but he is cut short when one of Churik’s men finds Luda and drags her out. Not wanting her to get hurt, Kirigan allows himself to be tied up and demands they bring both him and Luda to the palace. Churik doesn’t need Luda and it wasn’t his orders to bring them both in. He signals for his men to kill Luda in front of Kirigan. Overcome with emotion, Kirigan breaks through his chains and summons the shadows to slice through everyone.
Kirigan rushes off to the sanctuary with Luda looking for a Healer to save her, but there is nothing they can do. He reminds himself that Luda is just mortal. He leaves her side and seeks out Bahgra. He warns her that they need to leave before the soldiers arrive and punish them. She tells him that the king is punishing him because he made him afraid. Kirigan tells Bahgra that he won a war for the king and she responds that now the king has started a war against them.
She asks him where his healer is and when she learns that Luda died, she reminds him that they aren’t as strong as they are. He warns her that she was the one who taught him how to kill and the blood is on her hands as much as it is his. But she taught him how to fight to protect himself but not the rest of them. She tells him that maybe now he will learn and go west to Kirch and come back when the King has died with a new name when there is a problem only the Grisha can solve.
However, Kirigan still believes that he needs to stay and protect the Grisha by teaching them how to fight. However, most Grisha aren’t fighters. They make and fix things. This leads Kirigan to the idea of creating an army like the way Morozona did when he created his amplifiers. As a part of Morozona’s bloodline, he has the power to do it. Baghra asks if he intends to use merzost and warns him that he can’t control it. That this will only lead to something worse or even his death. She tries to forbid him from going through with his plan, but he doesn’t care.
He searches the archives looking for information on how to create an army. He finds a spell within one of the tomes and when he recites the words, we can see the shadows within him nearly take over. Before he can finish, he hears the bells tolling, alerting everyone that soldiers have arrived. He heads out to face them head-on and bring an end to their terror on the Grisha. He is surrounded by men with orders to kill everyone if their leader is killed. The general (Steven Hartley) tells Kirigan to hold his hands out at his sides, knowing to use his power, he needs to touch his hands together first.
As the soldiers move in to shackle Kirigan, he beings to recite the enchantment in old Ravkan. He tells them that he has no army to fight, so he must use them to build his own army and demands they submit to him. A black shadow flows out of Kirigan that’s hits all of the soldiers, bringing them to their knees. Just as it seems things are going well for Kirigan, he beings to have trouble breathing and in moments, the shadow from within unleashes and the Fold is born. Kirigan is able to save Baghra and take her away from the damage, but she realizes what he has done. He tells her that he made something.
“The Unsea” flashes back to the present as Kirigan and his crew are in pursuit of Alina and Mal. David (Luke Pasqualino) informs him that she is close by. We then see Kaz, Jesper (Kit Young) and Inej (Amita Suman) in a barn going over what they have to their name. Inej warns them that her injury isn’t healing and she will need to stitch herself up. Kaz tells her that they will be traveling back to Ketterdam and it is time to cut their losses before heading outside.
Inej begins to stitch herself up and Jesper gets a bit queasy over it. She makes a joke about him being able to shot a man but not a needle going through the skin. I gotta say I kind of agree. Inej warns Jesper that she can’t go back to Ketterdam where she will be forced to go back to the Menagerie, which is where she learned to sew herself back up. Jesper thinks if she told Kaz that story, he would murder Heleen (Deirdre Mullins) himself. Inej tells him again that she can’t go back no matter what the cost.
Jesper tells her that he was going to tell her to trust Kaz and that he would never let her go back. But he feels like he doesn’t have the right to tell her what she should do with her only chance at freedom. She tells him that he is making all of this harder than on her and he says it’s because he is fantastic. But I’m not sure she meant her leaving or her trying to stitch herself up.
In the woods, we see Mal and Alina huddling close together to stay warm. She reminds him that when they find the Stag, she needs to be the one to kill it. He makes a joke about her being a terrible shot but agrees to line everything up and allow her to pull the trigger. He asks her if she will really need to wear its bones and she tells him that it’s the only way she has known it to be done. While they are trying to keep warm, Mal hears the faint whistle of the Stag and leads Alina right to it.
As it comes into view, he hands the gun to Alina and lines up the shot. But just before she is about to shoot, she realizes that maybe this isn’t what she is supposed to be doing. She hands the gun back to Mal and explains that since Kirigan didn’t want her to have an amplifier, she isn’t sure if there are other ways to gain their powers. As she reaches out and comes into contact with the Stag’s nose, a light emits around her body and she can feel her power growing with his help.
Out of nowhere, the Stag is shot by an arrow and falls to the ground and Kirigan’s group ambushes Alina and Mal. He tries to kill the Stag before Kirigan can, but Zoya (Sujaya Dasgupta) uses her powers to blow his arrow away. While he is focused on her, another soldier shoots him in the back and Ivan (Simon Sears) tries to crush his heart. Alina forces them all away with her light and tries to save Mal. Kirigan finally arrives and before he can kill the Stag, Alina rushes over and creates a shield to protect them.
Kirigan reminds her that she doesn’t have the power to save Mal. He tells her that if she gives him the Stag, then his healer will save Mal. Mal tells her not to do it and that she needs to be the one to kill the Stag. Alina makes a choice to save Mal and drops her shield and rushes to him. Kirigan’s men pull them apart and while Alina is trying to fight to get back to him, Kirigan slices straight through the Stag, instantly killing it. He tells David to bring him the antlers and then tells his healer to save Mal, staying true to his word.
“The Unsea” swaps back over to Kaz sitting outside at the fire. Inej comes out to join him and he asks if she is hungry or just saying goodbye. She returns the cane that Jesper fixed and he realizes that she is leaving. Inej asks if there is anything else he wants to say to her but only responds that there is nothing else. As she walks away, he calls out that she was right. She stops and turns back, interested in what he has to say to her. He tells her that she was right about the Sun Summoner. After much debating, he is finally able to admit that she is real.
Inej assumes that Kaz now believes in saints, but he tells her that she couldn’t be more wrong. He believes that Alina is a Grisha who can manipulate light but isn’t this saint everyone is making her out to be. Inej asks what Kaz believes in if he doesn’t believe in saints. He first answers with himself, but then he admits to believing in her and Jesper, his Crows. She believes it is because they continue to stay at this side and do his bidding, but he explains that Crows also remember who took care of them and watched them.
Kaz tells Inej that no saint has ever looked out for him like she has done. Inej tells him that she can’t go back to the Menagerie and Kaz promises she won’t have to.
Back at an encampment near where the Stag was killed, David has created a necklace out of its antlers. When he tells Alina he is going to place it on her neck; she is confused about why it isn’t going to Kirigan since he was the one who killed the Stag and gets its power. Kirigan explains that when they met, she asked for this exact thing. To give her power up to someone else who can use it, but she knows that she can use it now and wants to keep it.
She mocks him about lying about who he was and he warns her that she needs to be careful or Mal could get hurt. She is confused since she believes Kirigan would let him go, but he reminds her that he only promised to heal him. Everything is up to her now, but Alina swears that nothing has been up to her this whole time. Kirigan tells her that the only thing more powerful than either of them is the two of them together and between the two of them, they can end all wars. Alina asks him if they will destroy the Fold, but he just tells her that they can do anything together.
Kirigan allows David to place the antlers onto her neck and then places a small coin made from the antlers on the back of Kirigan’s hand. David uses his power to merge the pieces of bone into each of their bodies, essentially creating a link between them. In theory, this will grant Kirigan full access to all of her light and when he reaches out and touches her shoulder, he is able to summon forth the power of the sun. Alina attempts to struggle against him, but he easily overpowers her.
Near the entrance to the Fold, Kaz, Jesper and Inej keep a lookout at Arken’s train car in hopes of using it to get back to the other side. Kaz believes that because he and Arken think alike, he will be able to navigate it back successfully. Inej and Jes (as she comes to call him) believe Arken’s system might be a bit too complicated and the ride over wasn’t the best for everyone involved. Just as Kaz is about to remind them how smart he is, they hear the train explode, leaving them stranded again.
Kirigan sends Alina back to where it all began. As Ivan drags her towards her quarters, she spots Mal but is unable to reach him. While she awaits inside, Genya (Daisy Head) arrives to see her. She tries to warn Genya that they need to get to the King and warn him about what General Kirigan is up to. But Genya tells her that the king is ill and that The Apparat (Kevin Eldon) is ruling in his stead. Alina realizes that Genya is wearing red now, the color of the Corporalnik. Alina realizes that Genya was a spy for Kirigan all along.
Genya reminds her that she warned her about powerful men. But Alina argues that she should have warned her about devious women. She then realizes that Genya must have been the one to poison the king. She then realizes that Genya never sent her letters to Mal either. Genya tries to tell Alina that she had no choice and it was the only way she could survive, but Alina doesn’t buy it. She knows what it’s like to be different and it’s no excuse to betray a friendship as she did.
Genya tries to open up about how the king truly treated her and how she used to fight him off. She waited years to finally give him a fight he couldn’t fend off. Genya asks Alina if she were in her shoes if she would have done the same thing. Alina agrees that while the king deserves Genya’s vengeance, Kirigan does not deserve her loyalty. Alina is right when she tells Genya that he is just as responsible for what happened to her, but Genya doesn’t want to hear it. Alina reminds her that in Kirigan’s world, they are all pawns.
Elsewhere in the encampment, Inej, Jesper and Kaz were able to sneak in. They realize that the skiff is still here and that it will be sailing the following morning under the general’s orders. Jesper points out that this is the same man who tried to kill them. Kaz also notes that Kirigan currently has the sun summoner and Inej accuses him of this being his plan all along. Let Kirigan get Alina and then they steal her back. But Kaz stands the fact that he plans to get them across the Fold.
Inej asks him if he can really let go of the chance at getting Alina again. Kaz knows that they don’t have the means to put up a fight and he and Jesper can’t do it without Inej who has made it perfectly clear she won’t kidnap Alina. His only plan now is to cross the Fold and head back to Ketterdam. He tells Inej that once they land in Novokribirsk, she can decide what to do next. He won’t force her to return to Ketterdam with them.
Jesper realizes that they are planning to board a skiff with people who want them dead. Kaz decides they will need to find disguises to get onto the ship and plan on who would be the best target for them to take out.
“The Unsea” shifts back to the inner encampment where Kirigan visits Mal, who has been tied up. Mal asks if he is here to kill him, but Kirigan tells him that he isn’t. Mal warns him that he knows how he is and that Alina will never forgive him and that he will spend his life tracking him down to collect the bounty the old king put on his head. Kirigan shares that he understands that they share feelings for each other, but Kirigan knows that, unlike Mal, he truly appreciates who Alina truly is.
Mal mocks him since Alina chose him over Kirigan. But Kirigan has something that Mal doesn’t – time. While Mal grows old, Alina and Kirigan never will. Kirigan believes that Alina will eventually forgive him and the two can rekindle their romance. Kirigan won’t kill Mal since time will do it for him and as he is leaving, Mal warns him that he will wish he had killed him right then and there.
Kaz sets his plan in motion by using a blowdart to knock out one of them and Kaz and Jesper take care of the other two. They snatch their clothes and quickly get changed. Kaz makes some changes to the papers to allow them safe passage onto the ship. Back at Mal’s makeshift prison, he spots a goat with a bullet around his neck. Milo is here to save the day. He uses a bit of food in his pocket to draw him close and takes the bullet off his neck. He then uses it to break open the lock on his manacles by slamming into it and essentially setting it off. He makes sure no one is watching as he sneaks off into the night.
At Alina’s quarters, Kirigan pays her a visit in preparation for the day’s event. He has her dressed in this elaborate gown and tells her how special she is. He just wants to talk to her, but Alina is tired of his lies. Kirigin still stands by the idea that he never lied to Alina, only told her half of the story. This elaborate idea that he is this terrible person hungry for power comes from Bahgra. He wants to save his people, the Grisha and he needs Alina’s help to do it.
Alina doesn’t think that he understands how he is hurting the Grisha like Genya. If she had only given her a chance, Alina could have saved everyone and that he is exploiting her for her power just like these evil men are exploiting the Fold. He knows that together they can conquer the Fold. Alina tells him that they could have had everything, but instead, he made her his slave. In the end, he doesn’t care who has to suffer as long as he wins.
Ivan warns Kirigin that Mal has escaped. Kirigin tells Ivan that if he gets anywhere near Alina to kill him. Everyone begins to board onto the skiff and Kaz, Jesper and Inej have no problem getting on board. Jesper is still shocked that people think he looks older than he is. They watch behind them as Kirigan leads Alina aboard. Kaz gives her a look and she reminds him that she knows that they will do nothing until Novokribisk.
Grisha and soldiers alike flock to see Alina head off into the Fold. Kirigin tells her that Mal is being kept in camp and that as long as she does what is expected, he will be set free. Aboard the vessel, Kirigan has Alina tied down and we see that Mal has managed to sneak onto the skiff as well and is hiding below decks. Kaz, Jesper and Inej have made it aboard as well and are worried that this time they are going into the Fold completely exposed. Jesper warns them that if he dies, he wants an open casket, but Kaz promises that no one will die this day.
“The Unsea” comes to a close as the skiff heads straight into the Fold.
I want to like Kirigan. I love good redemption stories. I love the bad guy who turns over a new leaf and saves the day. Am I going to get this in the first season of Shadow and Bone? I doubt it. With its backstory of Kirigan, this episode really helps show that he is more than just a bad guy bent on ruling the world. He suffered a the hands of others due to being different and lost loved ones of countless Grisha. He wanted to use his powers to save them and failed. How he is going about saving them now though it completely wrong, but his heart is still there. This just screams redemption story in the future, and I can’t wait to see what happens.
I’m happy to see that Inej and Kaz were able to work through their differences. It is clear that he really relies on her and while he can be quite cold at times, he really just wants to protect her. The ball is in her court now. She knows that returning to Ketterdam basically means returning to the Menagerie. Will she continue to follow them back, or will she split from the group once they reach the western side of the Fold? We know that she is still with them in the novels, but this is all prequel territory and something might happen in between that takes her away for a bit. Plus, tv can change things. So really, who knows what will happen.
We only have one episode left and everyone is heading into the Fold. And while I don’t want this to end just yet, I can’t wait to see what the finale episode of season one will bring!
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