Fellow members of the Grishaverse – we are halfway through season two of Netflix’s Shadow and Bone. In the fourth episode, “Every Monstrous Thing,” Alina (Jessie Mei Li) agrees to a proposal that could unify the First and Second armies, Kaz (Freddy Carter) sets up his final strike, and terror comes to the Spinning Wheel. Let’s not waste any more time and dive right in!
DISCLAIMER: This is a recap and, by definition, will contain spoilers. Tread cautiously; if you haven’t watched the second episode, check it out here.
“Every Monstrous Thing” opens with Nikolai (Patrick Gibson) announcing to a room full of people, along with his brother, Vasily (Edward Davis) and mother (Georgia Reece), that not only is he engaged to Alina, but she will also be taking over control of the second army. It’s a big jump for our sun summoner, but she does have the support of Tolya (Lewis Tan), Tamar (Anna Leong Brophy), Nadia (Joanna McGibbon) and Mal (Archie Renaux). She even has the support of Zoya (Sujaya Dasgupta) though she is more in it to watch Kirigan (Ben Barnes) fail.
At Kirigan’s camp, Baghra (Zoë Wanamaker) chats with her new cellmate Genya (Daisy Head). She has become infected by Kirigan’s shadows, and no amount of tailoring is going to change that. Now she needs to decide how she is going to go forward.
Back at the Spinning Wheel, Mal and Alina finally get to talk. Mal is rightfully upset that leading the second army puts a rather large target on Alina’s back. But she wants to save the Grisha alongside Ravka, and providing hope is a way to do that. All she needs is for Mal to believe in her and that they can return to normal when everything is said and done. It’s an intimate and sweet moment that doesn’t go unseen by Prince Vasily.
“Every Monstrous Thing” shifts back to Kirigan’s camp, where Vladim (Shobhit Piasa) attempts to use Baghra’s bone as an amplifier. She tries sassing him before Kirigan arrives, making Fruzsi (Rachel Redford) take Genya away. She is to be used as an example for betraying him though he doesn’t share what that example is. It also seems that no matter how hard Baghra tries to convince Kirigan to change his path, he is beyond even her help.
In Ketterdam, Kaz prepares for his final strike against Pekka Rollins (Dean Lennox Kelly). Inej (Amita Suman) promises she will stand by his side even in the shadows. Kaz tries to get her to promise that if things fall apart, she will leave town immediately, but she has no intention of doing that. They head off to meet with Jesper (Kit Young) and Wylan (Jack Wolfe), who are preparing for the mission and just some light flirting.
The plan is this – use the revelry to sneak under the radar to set up Pekka, and while they are busy doing that, he and Nina (Danielle Galligan) will head to the Emerald Palace. Everyone heads off on their way after a bit of pep talk. Everything seems good until Nina knocks Kaz out cold.
At the Spinning Wheel, Alina tries her best to control her new powers. Where one amplifier made things easier, the second was harder to control. To lead the Second Army, she believes she needs to be able to control her power like Kirigan did. Nadia thinks she can lead by love instead, but Tamar tells her not to let go of the fear just yet. Regardless, Alina has a lot of work to do to control her power. Maybe just focusing on wanting to crush Kirigan will be enough.
In the War Room, Alina comes face to face with David (Luke Pasqualino). He claims he is no longer loyal to Kirigan and apologizes for what has happened. David tells them about Kirigan’s shadow monsters and how he escaped. But Alina and everyone else isn’t entirely sure they can trust him. She decides to send him to a holding cell for now. Mal asks for a moment alone with Alina to chat. He wants to hunt down the firebird now more than ever, but she thinks she can create monsters of light to use against Kirigan.
Even though Mal asks Alina not to pursue her idea, she seeks David’s help anyway. Even though he doesn’t want to help her, he does warn her about her connection with Kirigan. It seems those dreams might be something more. Elsewhere, Mal approaches Tolya about the information on the Firebird and Shun Han’s neshyenyer – The Relentless Blade. Tolya believes this to be a myth, but so was the Stag and the Sea Whip. But who could help them get there and get it? Nikolai knows that their mutual friends in Ketterdam are the perfect ones for the job.
“Every Monstrous Thing” jumps back to Ketterdam as Nina drags Kaz to Pekka’s feet. In the harbor, Inej gets to work before hearing a baby’s cry. Inside a hidden room are three women and the baby, prompting Inej to ensure they safely get off the ship. Back at the Emerald Palace, Nina argues with Pekka over their deal, but he doesn’t care. He wants to beat Kaz up and use him as an example. While he takes the hits, everyone around them is infected with the firepox the Crows have been spreading about.
In a quick flashback, we learn that after Pekka left them with nothing, firepox eventually killed him. It seems that Kaz’s plan to make Pekka look bad was to make it appear that he was responsible for the outbreak. And all this time, Kaz knew about Pekka’s deal with Nina, and the firepox isn’t real but will look and last long enough to at least spark off an investigation. And the final nail in Kaz’s coffin was using Alby against Brekkar.
Kaz wants Pekka to remember who they were, and he will release his son’s location. But Pekka can’t and resorts to dropping to his knees and begging Kaz instead. Kaz’s demand for Pekka is for him to sign confessions for the two murders pinned on the Crows and Inej’s freedom. Unsurprisingly, Pekka signs, and Kaz sends Pekka and his men to find Alby at the cemetery.
This is precisely why they are perfect for the job. So, Tolya and Zoya seem to be heading to Ketterdam to secure their help on the way to Shu Han. We also want to know what snacks Tolya will bring back with him. And while they head off on their journey, Mal seems to get into a bit of trouble when a member of the first army knocks him out cold over being a deserter. It seems Nikolai’s brother isn’t taking things well.
Upstairs, Alina tries on dresses when Vasily arrives for a chat. He doesn’t let it known that he had Mal knocked out, but he tries to hit on her. It’s just as uncomfortable for us as it is for Alina. He is trying to throw his weight as the first son, and the fact that Ravkans don’t like Grisha to pressure her into siding with him. Is it because he is scared, or does he want something else from her?
“Every Monstrous Thing” returns to Ketterdam, where Pekka and his men are digging up graves looking for Alby. But as he is arrested, we see Alby arrive in Pekka’s carriage. It turns out he wasn’t buried at all, and he now knows exactly how terrible his father is. Jesper and Wylan return to Wylan’s workshop excited over being free. The two finally discuss what happened in the past, and while Jesper isn’t sure what might happen, he wants to find out. And Wylan is all but willing to go along for the ride.
Inej arrives to check on Kaz, who is angry at her for not sticking to the plan. She tries to explain herself, but he doesn’t seem to care. He doesn’t need a weak link in his Crows and gives Inej her freedom. But is this because he doesn’t trust her, or is he trying to push her away so that she truly embraces this new freedom?
At the Spinning Wheel, Nikolai arrives to check on Alina, who has dropped the dress and gone with her Grisha outfit. Nikolai gifts her a ring and the truth that he is a bastard child. Alina tells him that she thinks he will make a better king than his brother. They both head off to the “small” party, and Alina realizes Mal isn’t anywhere to be found.
Nikolai argues with his brother about inviting what could literally be the entire world to this party and potentially having given away their location. And that is exactly what happened since Kirigan’s shadow creatures swoop in and cause utter chaos, killing Vasily in the process. Alina tries to use her powers against them, but nothing seems to work. Nadia’s brother Adrik (Alistair Nwachukwu) realizes that they have to be solid when attacking someone, which might help take them down.
They rush out of the hall to find a place to regroup when Alina spots Kirigan and separates herself from the rest. But it turns out he isn’t there, but it’s their connection she sees. At Kirigna’s camp, Baghra escapes her chains and helps Genya escape. Before leaving, Genya destroys all of the work they have been doing. Back at the Spinning Wheel, Tamar leads Alina, Nadia and Adrik out, but not before the shadow creatures attack again. Adrik loses an arm in order to give them a chance to attack the shadow creature.
When Kirigin appears this time, it isn’t in Alina’s mind. Kirigan makes one last plea to get Alina on his side, but she refuses. It doesn’t matter what her future looks like; it won’t be with him or being forced to help him. Alina uses her power to throw up a shield to buy the others sometime before hurling a ball of energy at Kirigin. “Every Monstrous Thing” comes to a close as the tunnel crumbles around them, and Alina heads off running.
And the battle between light and shadow begins! It took us four whole episodes of Shadow and Bone to get us here, but getting the chance to see Alina face off against Kirigan, no matter how small, was epic. Kirigin is off the rails now, so hopefully, Alina can figure out exactly what she needs to do to protect everyone from him. And can we talk about Kaz? He is a mastermind. A true mastermind. And this is why Kaz and his Crows are some of our favorite characters. Let’s just hope this little fight with Inej is his way of trying to let her take her freedom without feeling indebted to him.
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