It’s season finale time, folks! After an incredible first season, our final episode of season one begins in complete darkness with all of our characters on the ship in the Fold. Kaz, Jesper, and Inej sneak to the hull of the ship to hide before they carry out their plan. At the front of the ship, Zoya is told that she needs to stop the ship before they reach the docks on the other side to make sure there is an audience for what General Kirigan is about to do.
Elsewhere, Nina and Matthias find a room to stay in overnight. Matthias decides he will be going North but Nina doesn’t want him to go, even though she understands that if he does not go back to his people, that he will be labeled a deserter. She thanks him for saving her, and he thanks her too. As they lean in for a kiss they are interrupted by a loud rumbling—coming from Matthias’ stomach. Nina goes downstairs to the pub to check for food and has him come downstairs to eat. As they’re stuffing their faces, Matthias suddenly passes out, and we see a Grisha who caused it to happen. They want to take him in for trial for what he did to Nina, but to the Grisha’s surprise, she defends him. To save him from the Grisha, who will surely just kill him, she yells out to slaver catchers that Matthias is a slaver. They establish jurisdiction and take him as their captor, and Nina goes with them, choosing him over her own kind.
Returning to the Fold, volcra are circling the ship, curious as to what is moving through their space. Kirigan uses Alina to create a tunnel of light to shield everyone on the ship from the volcra. Down below, Kaz tells Jesper they need to wait to make their move until Kirigan begins carrying out his plan. When he does, they need to threaten Alina’s life. As he’s telling Jesper this, Inej finds Mal hiding and asks what he’s doing there. He tells them that he’s there to kill the General. That’s enough for Kaz to bring Mal in to his plan. Back on the top of the ship, Alina asks Kirigan why they haven’t destroyed the Fold yet. He replies, “Why would we destroy the Fold, it is the greatest weapon we’ve got.” On the other side of the Fold, however, there is an army waiting to kill everyone on the ship. But, Kirigan has Zoya stop the ship just before exiting the Fold. The tunnel of light goes to the very edge, where they can see those that are waiting for them.
Kirigan commands everyones attention on the ship and then, channeling power from himself and Alina, summons the shadow in such ferocity that the Fold begins to expand, enveloping the docks and the people waiting for them in darkness, destroying them. Alina tries to cut through his grip on her, summoning light, but he is able to stop it as the Fold continues to grow bigger and bigger. Mal comes out and begins shooting, but Kirigan has him stopped as well. Alina calls for the light once more but falls to the ground from weakness. Inej fights her way through Grisha to Zoya and tells her that she needs to continue driving the ship. Suddenly, the other Grisha kill all the passengers on the ship, and that shows Zoya that what they are doing is wrong. She throws a Grisha off the ship and tells Inej to help stop Kirigan as she gets the ship moving again.
Jesper begins shooting at Grisha as Inej throws a knife at Kirigan, which is able to find its target and pierce his skin. He pulls it out without flinching and calls on more shadow to overtake the ship to put his opponents at a disadvantage. The volcra swoop down to claim their prey, one going to grab Inej. Kaz thinks quickly and saves her from it. Alina then has a vision of the stag, grabs the knife that once was Inej’s, stands up, takes Kirigan’s hand and stabs him straight through, removing the piece of the stag bone that had been lodged in there. As she watches the shock in his eyes, she tells him with vigor, “Your first words to me were what are you. This is what I am.” With immense power, she calls on the light, declaring that Kirigan cannot claim what was not given to him. The stag chose Alina, not him, and he is not able to siphon its power for his gain. In anger, Kirigan attempts to call on the shadow, but Mal tackles him, throwing the both of them off the ship. As they begin to fight in the dirt below, other Grisha begin to attack Alina. Jesper attempts to shoot Kirigan from the ship but it unable to with Mal and Kirigan being so close as they continue fighting. Kirigan attempts to summon the shadow again but can’t with his hurt hand.
Mal shoots at Kirigan multiple times but he musters enough power to stop them from hitting him. With great surprise, a volcra, a creature of his own creation, descends and violently grabs him and flies away. Mal quickly gets back on the ship to go to Alina, who is unconscious. He holds her in his arms as she wakens and uses the energy she has left to summon light to push them out of the Fold.
Alina, Mal, Kaz, Inej, Jesper, and Zoya sit around a fire just outside of the Fold, taking a much needed pause after what just happened. Alina returns Inej’s knife to her and then goes to Kaz, and gives him jewels to keep quiet about how she is and where she goes from here. He agrees to this. Mal and Alina walk off to get changed and then return, throwing their old clothes into the fire. Alina looks towards the Fold, concerned. She tells Mal that they’re worse off than they were before, because Kirigan turned against his own people. “You will tear [the Fold] down, just not today,” he tells her, knowing that Alina will stop at nothing to do so. Zoya stands up, deciding to go look at the town for any survivors and tells Alina she needs to go find new allies and leaves her with one piece of wisdom: “Saints become martyrs before they get to be heroes.” What a stark difference of their relationship than from the beginning of the season! Zoya walks off in hopes of finding people who escaped the threat of the Fold. Kaz talks with Inej, who is thinking of going with Alina. But he doesn’t want her to go with her just yet. “We need you…I need you,” he tells her. The slight desperation of him losing her causes her to stay with him and Jesper.
On a ship, Nina brings food to Matthias, who is chained up in the hull. He refuses it. He feels betrayed by her, telling her that she broke his trust in her and in Grisha. She thought she was giving him the better option, but he isn’t aware of that or what she sacrificed. She returns back to the top of the ship and awaits their departure. Kaz, Inej and Jesper then board that same ship and they sit down in close distance to Nina. Kaz tells his friends that he has a plan, but they’re going to need a Heartrender—which peaks Nina’s interest, as she is one. She puts her feelers out there to them, asking if the Sun Summoner is dead. They tell her that she is.
But of course, this isn’t true. Just a facade so Alina and Mal are able to do what they need to without interference. They depart on another ship, to start their own journey. “You and me now, like old times,” Alina says. It is now time for them to build their own alliances to return into the limelight strong and without competition so Alina can destroy the Fold.
However, in a strike to the very uplifting and positive mood of our other characters, and the audience, we sit in awe as Kirigan crawls out of the Fold, as Volcra emerge with him. “Follow,” he whispers, as they make their way forward and the screen cuts to black.
With that, season one of Shadow and Bone is over, leaving us desperate for more Grishaverse and wondering what the hell is going to happen next. Luckily, we will find out, as Netflix has announced that the show will be returning for a season two! I, for one, am extremely excited to see what will happen. With how this season ended, I’m sure that next season will be even better. In the interim, I might spoil myself by reading the books.