We have reached the end of Netflix’s sophomore season of Shadow and Bone. Are we ready for it to be over? No! But all good things must come to an end. For now. Until season three drops. But we still have one more episode to dive into, and “No Funerals” looks to be precisely what we need. In the second season finale, Alina (Jessie Mei Li) must make a fateful decision that will alter more than just her relationship with magic. Everyone else must learn what their life will be like on the otherside of this battle. Let’s dive in!

DISCLAIMER: This is a recap and, by definition, will contain spoilers. Tread cautiously; if you haven’t watched the eighth episode, check it out here.

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“No Funerals” opens Nikolai (Patrick Gibson), Kaz (Freddy Carter), Jesper (Kit Young), Wylan (Jack Wolfe), Tamar (Anna Leong Brophy), Tolya (Lewis Tan), and the others head into the Fold after Alina and Mal (Archie Renaux). Inside they find themselves facing off against volkra and shadow monsters within the fort’s walls. Deeper within the Fold, Inej (Amita Suman) and Zoya (Sujaya Dasgupta) keep the shadow monsters back as Alina tries to save Mal.

Unfortunately, it looks like Kirigan (Ben Barnes) survived Alina’s strike as well. While he deals with his own issues, Alina tries to get Nina (Danielle Galligan) to save Mal, but she is knocked out too. Mal knows that for Alina to be able to use him as an amplifier, she needs to kill him. So he pulls out his blade and helps Alina until the very end. As they merge, we see a flash of his final and happiest memories before light explodes from her, and the Fold is torn down.

A shadow creature being ripped from Kirigan as he argues with Alina.

Shadow and Bone. (L to R) Ben Barnes as The Darkling, Jessie Mei Li as Alina Starkov in episode 208 of Shadow and Bone. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

Now, the only monsters still standing are the shadow creatures, who don’t seem to be affected by the light. Nina awakens as Inej deals with the last of their shadow creatures and tries to bring Mal back to life. While Nina gets to work, Kirigan tries again to get Alina to stand by him. One final shadow creature comes out and attacks Alina, but thanks to Inej’s quick thinking, she manages to escape without a scratch. Just as Kirigan remembers some of the sweeter moments between them, Alina stabs him in the stomach with the blade, bringing a final end to the Darkling.

As Kirigan dies, the shadow monster attacking Nikolai disappears, but not before it seems like it might have left a mark. As Nina tries to bring Mal back from the dead, Alina taps into the merzost (even though she was told not to) to help. And, of course, it works. But at what cost? Alina decides to burn Kirigan’s body and asks Zoya to protect it until they return.

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“No Funerals” returns to the fort, where everyone is trying to pick up the pieces. It isn’t long until Alina and the others return, and Inej leaves the legendary blade with her. Alina leaves Inej to deal with the news of Kirigan, and Jesper rushes to her before Kaz has a moment to. I whole hardly agree with Jesper about hiring a writer for their stories.

Inside, Alina finds Mal, and it turns out he can no longer find true north. His gift left him the moment he died. Now he is wondering if he was only drawn to Alina because of his bloodline and her gift, and he doesn’t know what to do. But he does know that she is meant for more, but he isn’t sure he is a part of that anymore. Elsewhere, Kaz talks with Nina about bringing Mal back, and she admits she didn’t do it. He offers to help her obtain her happily ever after.

We swap to Hellgate, where Matthias (Calahan Skogman) seems to be holding onto his faith but can’t seem to get what Pekka (Dean Lennox Kelly) said out of his head. This leads him to ask Pekka to put him back in the fights even though Kaz is paying the guards to keep him out.

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Back in Ravka, Genya (Daisy Head) eventually finds Adrick (Alistair Nwachukwu) on her search for David (Luke Pasqualino). In the kitchen, she tries to find his heartbeat but cannot. It seems like he might not have made it. In their room, Genya finds a ruby and the plans for a ring he was going to make for her. Personally, we believe that no body means there is a big chance they might come back, and we will be holding onto that.

Kaz reaching out to Inej and asking her to stay with him in Ketterdam.

Shadow and Bone. (L to R) Freddy Carter as Kaz Brekker, Amita Suman as Inej Ghafa in episode 208 of Shadow and Bone. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

“No Funerals” brings everyone together in the center of what used to be the Fold as they finally set Kirigan’s body ablaze. While they watch his turn to ash, Nikolai gives another speech about the country coming back to life and using this rebirth as a way to change the world for the better and to trust in everyone to work together. Back at the fort, Alina rushes to find Mal, who is hiding from being a hero.

Alina offers him the chance to find himself by taking up the mantle of Sturmhond. And maybe, after some time away, they will find their way back to each other and know that it wasn’t just her destiny that brought them together. Life as a privateer might be precisely what Mal needs after returning to life.

In the chapel, Kaz and Inej finally get to have their moment. However, it wasn’t what most of us wanted. Kaz tells her about Nikolai paying up and his deal for Nina before telling her goodbye. He drops the news that he has been looking for her family this whole time and tells her where to start looking. She tries to get him to open up, and for a moment, he slips back into his old ways. But eventually, he does ask her to stay with him in Ketterdam, but she refuses, knowing that it will always be with limitations.

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As the twins and Nadia (Joanna McGibbon) prepare to set sail back to the ship, Mal joins the crew as its captain. But he isn’t alone; Inej is joining them as well. Thankfully Tamar and Tolya will be there to help guide his way. And what was that little look between Tolya and Inej? Best friends, we hope. Time fast forwards as we see Mal in control of his ship with everyone settled in. And just as we hit Inej, she spots a slaver ship in the distance.

“No Funerals” shifts to Hellgate as Nina arrives in time for another Hellshow. What she didn’t expect to see was Mattihas facing not another human but wolves. Nina tries to get him out with Nikolai’s pardon, but they won’t stop the fight. Matthias refuses to fight them and kills the guards, trying to hurt them. Nina tries to get Pekka to stop the fight, and he forces the guards to drag her out, and she drops the paperwork from Nikolai. Elsewhere in Ketterdam, Kaz is setting up the Crow Club keeping Inej in mind.

Back in Ravka, Nikolai prepares for his coronation when the Apparat (Kevin Eldon) arrives. He warns him that he is making a mistake by having the party on the day of one of Fjerdan’s biggest religious holidays, but Nikolai wants to know who is really on their side. It seems that the two of them don’t see eye to eye. It also appears that Nikolai might be dealing with more than just a flesh wound from his fight with the shadow creature. Is he a shadow creature, or is there one inside him?

Nikolai and Alina at the coronation.

Shadow and Bone. (L to R) Patrick Gibson as Nikolai, Jessie Mei Li as Alina Starkov in episode 208 of Shadow and Bone. Cr. D‡vid Luk‡cs/Netflix © 2023

He seeks out Alina to thank her for standing by his side and to discuss their future. It still seems like the fake engagement is still on, even though Nikolai might want something more. But the moment is cut short when Genya and Zoya arrive to take her to the party. Even though they started on rough waters, the three of them plan to work together to assist in rebuilding Ravka. She wants them to oversee things in Ravka while she returns to Shu Han to rebuild those alliances. She isn’t the only one on a mission, as Kaz informs everyone else that they have a new job.

This job is to stop a drug that enhances a Grisha’s abilities but is highly addictive. It’s now in the hands of the Fjerda, who seem to be planning on weaponizing the drug. This appears to be precisely what is happening as a Fjerdan Grisha takes it before attacking everyone at Nikolai’s coronation. As the woman walks forward, the people around her slowly die before Alina summons not light but shadow to cut her down. And with that, “No Funerals” comes to an end.

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What a season! We knew that Netflix’s adaptation of Shadow and Bone would have its own twists and turns outside of Leigh Bardugo’s novels, but this second season was fantastic. We know we are getting a standalone Six of Crows series (well deserved), but we also have high hopes for a series surrounding Mal and the others. But outside of that, there is still quite a lot of story to tell within the confines of this series. What is going on with Nikolai? And what will the world think of Alina summoning shadows? This is our official plea to Netflix to start working on season three now.

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