The second episode of the season starts off in a flashback, where we see Alina and Mal at the orphanage they grew up in. Grishas are coming to do a mandatory test on all the children to see if they themselves are a Grisha and have powers. However, the two of them evade it by running out into the field and hiding in the grass. Mal looks over to Alina and reaches for her hand, and that beautifully transitions to the present as Mal, gaining consciousness after the attack on the ship, reaches for Alina’s hand as she’s still unconscious. But before he is able to, he is picked up and taken to medical, while a Grisha comes over to fix Alina’s wounds. She then regains consciousness, and is told she is being taken to General Kirigan, the mysterious and slightly frightening Shadow Summoner.
We then go to Kaz and Inej, who are in the middle of a heated argument about the mission they have been tasked. She is unable to leave the city they’re in because she still is owned by Tante Heleen of The Menagerie. There clearly is some tension between these two, and Inej leaves to the bar, having had enough of Kaz.
Back in East Ravka, Alina is brought into the General’s tent, which is filled with the members of the Second Army. He is interested in her and her talents, insistent on her telling him what she is. Although she is persistent that she is a nobody, just a mapmaker, you can tell she knows that she is not just that. Yet, she has hidden her true self her whole life it seems because she didn’t want to be any more “different” than she already was. So, she keeps saying she isn’t anything. Kirigan continues to question her and her background, and then asks the one question she should have an answer to: if she was tested when she was younger. She feigns poor memory, which disappoints Kirigan. As he begins the test she has avoided for years, on the other side of the base, Mal wakes up and runs towards his tent, not trusting Alina to be with him or any Grisha. But before he can get to the tent, Kirigan makes some sort of incision on Alina’s arm and light pours out, illuminating the tent and sending a beam up into the ether. It is confirmed: she is not only a Grisha, but a Sun Summoner. With that, she is forced into Kirigan’s carriage to be brought to the Little Palace, the fortress of the Grisha. Mal runs after her, and hearts ached on every couch as we watched these two best friends get separated without a proper goodbye, not knowing when they will see each other again.
On the other side in West Ravka, Kaz continues to have a bad night, getting a visit from Pekka and being told he has to hand the job over to him, getting a nice beating in the meantime. It’s much better than being dead, though, which is what Kaz will be if he doesn’t relinquish the job to him. Meanwhile, Inej is at the bar with Jasper, talking about how this thing with Pekka is about revenge. Something happened in the past between Pekka and Kaz, but it seems like Pekka doesn’t recognize Kaz, so he doesn’t know that he’s had prior dealings with him. I’m hoping we learn more about this, because it seems like it is something big that made Kaz who he is today. Kaz, all bruised and cut, arrive at the bar and notices a woman who doesn’t seem like she is a native to West Ravka. He takes her to his office, where he deduces that she is a refugee from East Ravka. How did she get across The Fold in one piece? With a man by the name of The Conductor, who can be found through Poppy, who works at a competing club.
Speaking of clubs, we see Inej back at The Menagerie, as she was summoned by Tante Heleen. Inej removes her knives (this girl has like 1,000 of them, and I am afraid to see what she can do with them), and sits down to speak with her. Tante tells her that she cannot leave the city without Kaz paying off her installments. However, if Inej kills a certain man that same night, Tante will allow her to be free to go. Inej leaves the brothel to meet Jasper and tries to convince him to go kill this man, as she lives by Suli tradition, which does not allow her to kill anyone. Jasper doesn’t give her a concrete answer, though, as Kaz shows up, and Inej disappears.
On the way to the Little Palace, Alina and her Grisha escorts find themselves in a predicament when the road ahead is blocked. Soon, they get ambushed and most of the Grishas are injured or killed. Alina is taken by one of the mercenaries, and as he is about to strike against her, General Kirigan shows up and conjures up a shadow weapon that slices the attacker in half. Now, it is just Kirigan and Alina to make the remainder of the journey to the Little Palace. Their horse ride there is mixed with conversation, some of which is about him trying to explain to her the importance of a Sun Summoner—of her. She doesn’t want to take on that role because it would make her feel even more like an “other” and more alone. To which, General Kirigan responds, “You are Grisha, you are not alone.” Well, that is true. She has Mal, who is concerned for her and requests a team go escort her to keep her safe. That request is denied, however, as his superior sees no point in it.
We return to West Ravka, where Kaz is sneaking into a competitor’s club as Jasper distracts the security. In that club is Poppy, the connection to The Conductor. In a surprise twist, we find out that The Conductor is the same man that Inej was tasked to kill. But, before she kills him—which she is very close to doing, even though it is against what she believes—Kaz arrives to tell her who he is.
Finally at the Little Palace, Alina is taken to her very own room (or prison cell, as she believes). She is immediately overwhelmed with emotion, as she hasn’t had any time alone to take in everything that has happened. This reprieve is brief, though, as she searches the room for some type of weapon, and finds an item to hide under her pillow.
Mal is very close to going after Alina, but his friends convince him to stay and think about, you know, trying to stay alive. Kaz, to make it so Inej can go on this mission with him, offers Tante Heleen collateral until he can finish the payments, which happens to be the deed to his prized club. The episode ends with a parallel we saw in the beginning, with Alina and Mal reaching for each other’s hand. They may be miles apart but they feel each other’s presence as if they were lying right next to each other, looking into each other’s eyes. You can’t help but feel a tug at the heartstrings for these best friends. They truly do love each other.