Fellow members of the Grishaverse, Netflix’s adaptation of Shadow and Bone has returned for a second season. The high-fantasy series is based on Leigh Bardugo‘s novels of the same name, along with her Six of Crows duology. The last we left our favorite sun summoner, she was heading away from Ravka on her way toward a solution to tear down the Fold once and for all. In the second season premiere, “No Shelter But Me,” Alina (Jessie Mei Li) and Mal (Archie Renaux) learn exactly what the world thinks of their saint, and the Crows find themselves without a home.
DISCLAIMER: Recaps, by definition, contain spoilers. Tread forward carefully, and if you haven’t had a chance to watch the episode, you can do so here.
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“No Shelter But Me” opens as Alina stands in a village. Everything is fine until the Fold spreads out further, and in its wake is Kirigan (Ben Barnes). Thankfully, this is just a dream, and she awakes on a boat next to Mal. It turns out that she has been having these dreams for a while. Kaz (Freddy Carter) has set them up with fake Ketterdam papers to continue their search for another amplifier, the Sea Whip.
Mal is right to be worried that this journey might kill Alina, but it’s also understandable that she needs to do everything she can to tear down the Fold. While waiting in line, Alina overhears a call for Ravkan refugees. She thinks it has something to do with the war, but it’s because the Fold itself is moving. It seems like her nightmares are coming true. It looks like Alina and Mal’s journey will have to step up into high gear.
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In Ketterdam, Kaz, Jesper (Kit Young), and Inej (Amita Suman) find that the Crow Club is no longer theirs. Pekka Rollins (Dean Lennox Kelly) owns everything now. Before they can make themselves scarce, the Stadwatch picks them up. Well, he picks up Kaz and Jesper since Inej does what she does best and disappears. The two are locked up and are heading to Hellgate when Kaz reacts to the man next to him constantly touching him. Jesper realizes something is going on and gets the wagon to stop.
Or so he thinks. It turns out that someone else wanted to see them anyway. Upstairs, they are left with Dreesen (Sean Gilder), who wants to know what happened with their job. As Dreesen rambles on, Kaz realizes that Dreesen isn’t the one in charge. It was the other gentleman who was pretending to be his guard. It turns out the gentleman in question is Sturmhond (Patrick Gibson), a well-known privateer (not a pirate). He wants Alina because she is worth quite a bit since people believe she was working with Kirigan to weaponize the Fold.
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“No Shelter But Me” shifts back to Alina and Mal, who find themselves in a rather fancy hotel. It turns out she has quite a few valuable items to help fund their trip. There is a rather sweet moment between Mal and Alina where they promise each other that they will see the world together when everything is done. They also discuss not taking chances they should have, and that sweet moment turns into a rather steamy one. That is, until they remember they have a job to do. Alina heads to the library, and Mal heads to the docks.
Back in Ketterdam, Kaz breaks his silence and tells Sturmhond where Alina is heading. This buys them enough time to get out of the room before the Stadwatch rushes in to collect them again. We also learn that Kaz has known that Jesper is a Durast the whole time. The two agree never to share the secret, but Jesper is worried about Alina more. However, Kaz is right; there is nothing they can do for her now. And just before the Stadwatch rush in, Kaz and Jesper getaway.
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We shift back to Alina, who has entered another dream. This time she is in the Fold with Kirigan again. It seems that these dreams are showing her older memories as well. She vows to tear down the Fold, but Kirigan asks her if she is ready to sacrifice what is most precious to her. After Kirigan reaches out to touch her, Alina wakes in the library, miles away from the tent. It looks like she has been pouring over the maps to try and find an answer to where the Sea Whip is.
She gets help from a woman who is also a Grisha. But here, they don’t classify themselves as Ravka does. Instead, they just see themselves as blessed. It also seems that she knows exactly who Alina is but doesn’t give her secret away. However, she leads Alina to exactly where she needs to be. The excitement of this find fades as she overhears news that the world is blaming her along with Kirigan for what is happening and finds out that she is wanted. She tries to sneak out but is spotted.
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At the docks, Mal tries to get information on where they should be looking before he runs into Bohdon (Hugo Speer) and the first army. He tries to arrest Mal for deserting, but with a well-placed punch, he is able to get away. There is a mad rush through the market where Mal pays for a broken vase and does some pretty impressive parkour. He eventually runs into Alina, and with the help of the people in the market, they are able to get away.
“No Shelter But Mine” shifts to the docks again as the twins, Tamar (Anna Leong Brophy) and Tolya (Lewis Tan), discuss where to start their search. But their plans change when they overhear Bohdon discussing their plans to find Mal and Alina. It seems like this is rather important information that needs to be shared.
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Back in Ketterdam, it turns out that the Crows are wanted right along with Alina. Inej does some recon and figures out what is going on. Pekka Rollins has framed them for murder to get the Crow Club and take over the Barrell. It also turns out that he owns the Menagerie, and in turn, he owns Inej. Kaz tries to give Inej her freedom by sending her away from Ketterdam to protect Alina, but she refuses to leave Kaz. He isn’t happy with it but doesn’t fight her. Instead, he tells them where to meet and search out a Heartrender.
It seems like the Stadwatch is working alongside Pekka Rollins when it comes to Kaz. Pekka knows what needs to be done to get the Stadwatch moving on their hunt for the Crows. And what better motivation than feeding a rumor that Kaz killed a member of the Stadwatch with his own gun?
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In an alleyway, we get our first glimpse at Wylan (Jack Wolfe), who seems to be struggling for money. Kaz surprises him at his workshop and convinces him to help build another little bomb like the one he used against Kirigan. Elsewhere, Inej gets caught in a trap set by Pekka Rollins’ men. Just before a fight breaks out, the men all collapse. It turns out that our favorite Heartrender, Nina (Danielle Galligan), has been following her.
She knows that Kaz needs her help, and she needs help with Hellgate. And why is that? Because poor Mattias (Calahan Skogman) is stuck there after being arrested at the end of last season for being a slaver. And from the looks of Hellgate, he is in for a rather terrible time.
“No Shelter But Me” returns to Alina and Mal as they try to escape the First Army by sneaking onto someone else’s boat. Mal realizes that one ship is private, and they plan to buy their way out. The boat also happens to be the one Tamar and Tolya are on. The entire ship stands in their way when Bohdon tries to get Mal and Alina back. At least Bohdon is smart and chooses to walk away instead of fight.
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Across the Fold, we get the chance to see exactly what the First Army is up to – blaming the Grisha, Kirigan and Alina for what is happening with the Fold. They have caged Grisha, including Genya (Daisy Head). She tries to convince them to let her go in return for her healing power, but they don’t care. However, there is something more terrifying coming for the First Army. Terrifying shadow creatures begin making their way out of the Fold and killing the members of the First Army. And who is in charge of these monsters? Kirigan, of course. He releases the Grisha and plans to dispose of the First Army.
Back in Ketterdam, Kaz sneaks into the Crow Club and leaves a package for Pekka Rollins before cutting his favorite painting off the wall. At Wylan’s workshop, Jesper arrives and meets the new demo man before Kaz, Ineg and Nina arrive. Kaz verifies that Nina isn’t shady like a certain train conductor but tells her he isn’t able to free someone Hellgate, but he can get her a visit. That is, in return for her services. Of course, he is a bit tight-lipped on what he actually needs and leads the group up to the roof, where they watch the Crow Club go up in flames.
“No Shelter But Me” comes to a close as Alina and Mal meet with Sturmhond, who knows exactly who she is and what she is worth.
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What a way to kick off the second season of Shadow and Bone. We were promised epic adventures, high fantasy, suspense and just a little darkness. And this entire first episode delivered on all of that. We get to catch up on where everyone is, and it sets up the adventure ahead. We are completely and fully invested in what is in store for Kaz and the Crows. Plus, what could the Darkling be up to? And will Alina find what she needs to save the world?
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