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‘Shadow and Bone’ Season 1 Recap: What You Need to Remember for Season 2

Brush up before re-entering the Grishaverse

Netflix’s “Shadow and Bone” Season 2 will continue to immerse viewers into the fictional fantasy world created by Leigh Bardugo, author of the “Shadow and Bone” trilogy and the “Six of Crows” duology. 

Landing on the streamer March 16, the second season of the YA fantasy series adapts both “Siege and Storm” and “Ruin and Rising” from Bardugo’s trilogy while sprinkling in elements from the “Six of Crows” duology. New characters from both parts of the Grishaverse enter the story this round as well, including Tolya Yul-bataar (Lewis Tan), Tamar Kir-bataar (Anna Leong Brophy), Sturmhond aka Nikolai Lantsov (Patrick Gibson) and Wylan Hendricks (Jack Wolfe).

Season 1 laid a complex foundation for the elaborate universe that houses this story, and for those that need a refresher on what exactly happened in the first season, look no further. We’ll do our best to summarize, from the intricacies to the adventures.

Here’s what happened in “Shadow and Bone” Sesaon 1:

Alina Starkov Went from Orphan to Grisha While Crossing the Fold

Protagonist Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li) started out as an orphan-turned-cartographer for the First Army, the king’s army of regular otkazat’sya, or those without magical Grisha powers. Alina’s mother was from Shu Han, the country at Ravka’s southern border, but the creation of The Fold killed her parents, leaving her to live in an orphanage in Keramzin. There, she met Malyen Oretsev (Archie Renaux) and the two became fast friends. Mal became a tracker in the First Army, neither child showing any Grisha capabilities. Grisha are gifted with the ability to manipulate elements — practicing what’s known as the small science. There are three different orders of Grisha: Corporalki (The Order of the Living and the Dead), Etherealki (The Order of Summoners) and Materialki (The Order of Fabrikators). Different sub orders of Grisha exist within those three branches, marked by the color of their keftas, or thick, bulletproof coats. 

Grisha are looked down upon because it was a Grisha, specifically a shadow summoner called the Black Heretic, who created The Fold, or the Unsea, a swathe of darkness filled with winged monsters called volcra that attack anything that moves. The fold divides Ravka, a country like Russia, which has hostile relations with Shu Han and Fjerda, the country to the north. General Kirigan, descendant of the Black Heretic is now the most powerful Grisha in Ravka, and he answers only to the King. Alina gets herself onto a skiff crossing The Fold when Mal gets placed on it, and inside the shadowy sea, she saves Mal from a volcra by summoning a bright burst of light. This is when she discovers that she is a Sun Summoner, and a Sun Summoner is prophesied to tear down the Shadow Fold and restore Ravka to its whole self.

The Crows Are Tasked with Kidnapping the Sun Summoner

Back in the Barrell, or the chaotic underbelly of Ketterdam, the capital of the Isle of Kerch, Kaz Brekker (Freddy Carter) gets a tip that Dreesen (Sean Gilder) is looking for a Heartrender for a task that will pay quite handsomely. He recruits gunslinger Jesper Fahey (Kit Young) and The Wraith Inej Ghafa (Amita Suman) to go with him to try and nab the job before another Barrell boss Pekka Rollins (Dean Lennox Kelly) gets it first. Their gang, The Crows, has taken on dangerous and various degrees of legal commissions before. Kaz has many connections, and he owes Inej her freedom from The Menagerie, Ketterdam’s brothel, which could be taken care of by the million kruge offered for this mysterious job. It turns out Dreesen has captured a straggler from the skiff that almost crossed The Fold — Alexei. Alexei was a fellow cartographer of Alina’s, and he witnessed her summon sunlight. Dreesen is offering the reward money to anyone who can cross the fold, kidnap Alina and bring her back to Ketterdam. Inej, the most religious character in the series, worships saints, and Alina is considered a new Saint as a sun summoner, but she goes along with the Crows to do the deed.

The Darkling Took Alina to the Little Palace to Officially Train

The Darkling, mysterious as he is, makes sure to take care of Alina once her true identity is realized. He takes her to the Little Palace in Os Alta, where all young Grisha, or those just discovered, go to train and master their respective powers. All children are tested when they are younger to see if they possess the ability to wield the small science, but Alina and Mal hid when the orphanage testers visited. General Kirigan tests Alina, proving that she is capable of summoning sunlight.

At the Little Palace, she goes through agility training with Botkin and summoning lessons with Baghra (Zoë Wanamaker). Here she also meets Genya Safin (Daisy Head) a unique Corporalki who tailors people’s skin and other aspects of their physical appearance. She and Genya bond while Zoya (Sujaya Dasgupta) grows jealous that The Darkling favors Alina, and Alina learns of the inner workings of politics and how the King works with General Kirigan. 

A Heartrender Gets Kidnappd by Some Drüskelle

When the Crows learn of The Conductor, a man called Arken, they go to extreme lengths to find him so that he can transport him through The Fold. Inej almost kills him because Tante Heleen, the owner of The Menagerie, knows that he could provide Inej a way out of her services. The Conductor says Nina, a radical Heartrender, will know how to smuggle The Crows into the Little Palace because she grew up there, but before they can connect with her, a pack of Drüskelle, elite military soldiers from Fjerda trained to capture and kill Grisha, take her hostage.

She gets put on a ship with Matthias Helvar (Calahan Skogman), who chains her up with other captured Grisha. The bars separate Grisha hands in chains so that they can’t touch their hands together, which is necessary to activate their powers. The Conductor needs 20 pounds of alabaster coal, Majdaloun jurda and a goat to get The Crows across The Fold. Jesper gambles away most of the money and only brings 16 pounds of coal, 

Grisha Can Strengthen Their Powers Through Amplifiers

The bones of certain animals, and human Grisha, can amplify Grisha powers. Morozova, also known as the Bonesmith and Sankta Ilya, was a powerful Grisha who was rumored to have amplified three mythical creatures — a stag, a sea serpent and a firebird. He made the creatures out of his finger bones. The Darkling goes in search of the stag to amplify Alina’s power so that she can tear down The Fold. Other Grisha get their power from less rare creatures like sharks, bears, etc. All amplifiers, including Morozova’s creatures, require bone fusion into a Grisha’s flesh and body. Certain Grisha, like Baghra and General Kirigan, can amplify power as well.

The Darkling Is Actually the Black Heretic

One night, Baghra summons Alina to her quarters to warn her that General Aleksander Kirigan isn’t just a descendant of the Black Heretic … he IS the Black Heretic. He has remade his image and name multiple times to disguise his immortality as a powerful Shadow Summoner. Baghra is also his mother, who taught him everything he knows and how to stay hidden.

He created The Fold using merzost, which is different than just the small science because it creates matter where there wasn’t any before. The penultimate episode of Season 1 shows the exact events of The Darkling creating The Fold. After losing Luda, a Heartrender who he might have loved, the anger and vengeance exploded out of him in a coal-black wave of fury. The men trying to arrest him turned into volcra, and the fold expanded across the middle of Ravka.

Alina escapes into the wilderness with Baghra’s help, and somehow she bumps into Mal, who calls her his True North. They flee far away and start their own hunt for Morozova’s stag, because Mal has already been assigned to track the animal. Alina always says “Mal can make rabbits out of rocks” which is a compliment to his tracking abilities. 

Alina and Mal Find The Stag

Alina and Mal have all but given up in the snowy woods of Tsibeya when the stag appears to them. According to Grisha theory ahd history, the amplifier’s power goes to the Grisha that kills it, but Alina doesn’t want to kill the stag if she doesn’t have to. She’s had dreams and visions of the stag since early on in the story. 

Unfortunately, Kirigan gets to them right as they find the Stag, and he kills it, taking its power. He has a Fabrikator David (Luke Pasqualino) fuse a bone into his hand and an antler into Alina’s collarbone so that they are connected by the bones, and thus, Kirigan can control Alina’s power.

General Kirigan Goes Back on His Word

Alina goes unwillingly back into The Fold on a skiff so that she and Kirigan can at least tear down the shadowy swathe dividing Ravka, but it turns out this is not his intention. Using their connection, Kirigan calls upon Alina’s Sun Summoning power to fend off the volcra inside The Fold so that he can use it as a weapon and expand it into neighboring communities. 

Alina has another vision of the dead Stag, but this appearance by the animal shows her that the Stag chose her because she decided not to kill it, thus she can use the amplification power too. She breaks free of Kirigan’s grip, stabs the bone out of his hand with a knife that Inej throws at him, taking back her power. Mal pushes Kirigan overboard and leaves him for the Volcra. Those on the skiff think he’s as good as dead. They make it out of The Fold alive and Alina pays Kaz off to conceal her identity. The show’s first season ends with The Darkling coming out of the Fold, with shadowy monsters that take humanoid form following him.

“Shadow and Bone” Season 2 premieres on Netflix on March 16.