The second season of Shadow and Bone is now available to stream through Netflix! It’s been almost two years since the initial release of season one, so it’s safe to assume we all need a little refresher on what’s happened so far. Revisit the wonder, the darkness, and the jaw-dropping moments that season one had to offer. Time for a detailed ‘Shadow and Bone’ season 1 recap! Note: spoilers ahead.
Shadow and Bone Premise and Characters
In a world divided in two by a barrier of endless darkness, a young cartographer, Alina Starkov, uncovers a power that might finally unite her country. But as she struggles to sharpen her powers, dangerous forces plot against her. Thugs, thieves, assassins, and saints are all at war, and it will take more than magic, or small science, to survive.
Alina Starkov: a cartographer in the First Army. She was an orphan as a child alongside her best friend Mal. She discovers that she is a Sun Summoner, a power with the ability to control and manipulate light. Played by Jessie Mei Li.
Malyen “Mal” Oretsev: a tracker in the First army. He’s Alina’s childhood best friend and also an orphan. Played by Archie Renaux.
Kaz Brekker: the leader of a group called the Crows. Referred to as Dirtyhands and the Bastard of the Barrel. Played by Freddy Carter.
Inej Ghafa: a member of the Crows. Referred to as the Wraith. Played by Amita Suman
Jesper Fahey: a member of the Crows. He’s a skilled sharpshooter. Played by Kit Young.
General Aleksander Kirigan: the general of the Second Army. He is a Grisha with Shadow Summoner abilities. Sometimes referred to as The Darkling. Played by Ben Barnes.
Nina Zenik: a Grisha with Heartrender abilities. She is taken captive by Fjerdans, hunters of Grishas. Played by Danielle Galligan.
Matthias: a Fjerdan Drüskelle who was involved with Nina’s capture. Played by Calahan Skogman.
Genya Safin: the only known Grisha with Tailor abilities. Resides at Little Palace and works for the King and Queen. Played by Daisy Head.
Shadow and Bone Season 1 Recap
The show begins with setting up the fantasy world in the country of Ravka. We learn quickly about the Fold, a dark shadow that divides the world, created as an act of vengeance by a man called the Black Heretic. The Black Heretic is a Grisha who can summon shadows. A Grisha has powers that manipulate different elements of the world. When the Fold was created, it cut off East Ravka from seaports on the west, diminishing resources and making the people vulnerable to attack. With their special abilities, only Grisha kind can cross the Fold. They joined forces with the King to serve East Ravka. While the Grisha are helping serve the country of Ravka, most people still don’t trust Grishas for the sins of the Black Heretic. The only hope is the legend of a Sun Summoner, a Grisha who can control light, who might be the only person capable of destroying the Fold and reuniting Ravka after 100 years.
Now that we’ve established the world of Shadow and Bone, let’s dive into what happened.
Into the Fold
When we are introduced to Alina, we learn she lived in an orphanage as a child with her best friend Mal. She and Mal work in the First Army, Alina as a cartographer, and Mal as a tracker. When Mal is assigned to a mission to cross the Fold, Alina secretly burns important maps. She then offers to join the mission to recreate them. They, and the other soldiers, embark on the mission, but Volcra quickly invade them. When the Volcra attacks and tries separating Alina from Mal, Alina suddenly begins emitting a bright light, driving off the Volcra.
Alina discovers her Sun Summoner powers
The surviving crew is eventually found and their wounds are treated. Injured from the Volcra, Mal is taken to the medic tent. General Kirigan sends orders for Alina, where he makes her show him her light-summoning abilities. He then instructs her to leave immediately for a place called Little Palace.
On the journey to Little Palace, the Fjerdan drüskelle (people who hunt Grisha) ambush their carriage. General Kirigan arrives to save Alina from the Fjerdan. They proceed to Little Palace together on horseback, where Kirigan informs Alina that she might be the only person who can enter the Fold and destroy it from within.
Alina adjusts to life at Little Palace
Upon arrival, Alina shows her Sun Summoner powers to the King. Bewildered by her abilities, the King permits training but urges it is done quickly because West Ravka is rallying for independence.
At Little Palace, Alina’s training begins. The Apparat teaches Alina about amplifiers. An amplifier is when a Grisha sacrifices an animal to get increased powers. She is then trained by a woman named Baghra who provides special one-on-one guidance on how to use her Grisha powers. Alina also meets Genya, a Grisha Tailor with whom she becomes fast friends.
Alina and Kirigan go riding together. During this ride, Kirigan reveals he’s a descendant of the Black Heretic. He also reveals that the legendary Morozova’s Stag is believed to be the most powerful Grisha amplifier – perhaps powerful enough to help Alina destroy the Fold. Alina and Kirigan are growing closer.
Mal finds the Stag
Meanwhile, after learning Alina has been sent away, Mal conspires to get into Little Palace. At the First Army camp, he volunteers to go on a mission with the reward to visit Little Palace. The mission is to find Morozova’s Stag — the stag that happens to be in Alina’s recurring dreams. Mal embarks on the mission to find the Stag with two other soldiers. After they arrive in the woods, Fjerdans attack them. Both accompanying soldiers die and Mal is shot. As Mal lies wounded, Morozova’s Stag emerges from the shadows. He manages to make it back to camp and alerts the general that he found the stag. Mal convinces his general that he needs to go to Little Palace to tell General Kirigan about the Stag he saw in the woods. The general agrees and Mal embarks on his journey to Little Palace.
The Crows devise a plan to kidnap Alina at Little Palace
Kaz Brekker is the leader of the Crows, a lawbreaking gang located in the trading hub called Ketterdam. The crew consists of a spy named Inej and a sharpshooter named Jesper. Inej approaches Kaz with a job to cross the Fold for one million kruge. When they go to claim the job from a man named Dreesen, Dreesen tells the Crows that the new job is to retrieve a Sun Summoner named Alina. They take the job.
The Crows are plotting how they will execute the job, including how to get permission for Inej to leave Ketterdam from a woman called Tante Heleen who owns Inej. Kaz puts up the Crow Club as collateral to get Heleen to allow Inej to leave. He tells Heleen that when they return, he’ll have the money to pay off Inej’s indenture. Heleen agrees.
Kaz discovers that a man called the Conductor has been transporting people across the Fold. They found out who he is, a man called Arken, and they enlist his help. He has a contact, a Grisha Heartrender, Nina Zenik, who helps smuggle people through the Fold. They learn she’s been kidnapped, meaning they will have to board the rail through the Fold without her. On the train, Volcra quickly attack them, but Jesper uses his marksmanship abilities to get them through safely.
Now in East Ravka, the Crows and Arken devise a plan to break into Little Palace. Kaz steals the Little Palace blueprints. Arken finds a troupe of performers who are going to Winter Fete. They join the troupe and arrive to the grounds of Little Palace.
The fallout at Winter Fete
Winter Fete has begun at Little Palace. Alina and Genya go out to the courtyard where a festival is going on. A soldier, Fedyor, escorts the two of them back into the palace for safety, but Jesper overhears. The Crows now know who they are trying to kidnap.
Back inside the palace, Alina is getting ready for her Sun Summoner demonstration. Kirigan and Alina share a moment and the two kiss. The demonstration begins. All the Grisha at Little Palace show off their powers, including Alina who awes the crowd so much that they bow down to her.
Mal makes it to Little Palace and meets with Kirigan. Mal explains what happened in the woods with Morozova’s Stag. Kirigan asks Mal to mark on a map where he found the Stag. Mal refuses until he sees Alina. Although frustrated, Kirigan complies, saying they will meet later and that he will put Mal up in Little Palace for the night.
Meanwhile, after Arken kills an Alina decoy, the soldiers at the Palace are now aware of possible intruders and begin attacking the Crows. The Crows fight off the soldiers and flee the Palace.
The truth about Aleksander Kirigan
Kirigan goes off to find Alina. The two go into Kirigan’s study and have a moment. A guard interrupts the pair, telling Kirigan about Arken killing the Alina decoy. Kirigan rushes off, leaving Alina alone in the study. Baghra appears from a secret passageway and urges Alina to follow her. They walk through the secret tunnels underneath Little Palace where Baghra divulges the truth about General Kirigian. Kirigian is the Black Heretic; he created the Fold and intends to expand it. Baghra insists that Alina believes her by revealing she is Kirigan’s mother. She instructs Alina to flee at once.
When Kirigan returns to the study, he finds Alina gone. Believing Mal had something to do with her disappearance, he looks for him outside the palace, where Baghra confronts him. She tells him that Alina has gone away. Kirigan threatens his mother and storms off. Mal overhears this conversation and flees into the woods.
While escaping, Alina climbs into the Crows’ carriage. She has fallen into the Crows’ lap. The Crows leave with her inside the carriage.
Nina and Matthias, a Heartrender and a Fjerdan, united
Nina, a Heartrender who works for Kirigan, was captured and boarded onto a ship, where she is starved and tortured. The Fjerdan plan to put her on trial for her Grisha crimes. A Fjerdan, Matthias, calls her a witch but tries giving her food. She refuses.
Meanwhile, Kirigan has noticed that Nina hasn’t checked in recently from a mission he sent her on. He sends Fedyor to go find her, fearing she might need help if she’s still alive. Later, Feydor reports he’s discovered where Nina is — on a ship bound for Ice Court. He reveals that Matthias is in their ranks on the ship. Kirigan thinks a man named Zlatan gave Nina up; he instructs Feydor to go to the western coast and bring back any Grisha he can find along with a Fjerdan.
The drüskelle ship sinks during the storm. Nina saves Matthias using her Heartrender powers and the two swim together to shore. They find a place to stay for safety and warmth. There is dissension between them but they are starting to grow closer. Eventually, Matthias admits that he likes Nina.
Nina and Matthias, divided again
After a few days, Nina and Matthias make it to safety. They discuss where they will go next. Nina wants to continue with Matthias but Matthias will be banished as a “deserter” if he were to do that. They go down to the pub for food but Fedyor confronts Nina. Fedyor tells Nina that Matthias must die for his crimes. Nina insists Matthias has changed but Fedyor insists that Fjerdan don’t change. Out of desperation, Nina shouts out that Matthias is a slave trader. She does this so he’ll be arrested by locals instead of killed by Feydor.
Nina visits Matthias in prison. He’s irate, thinking that Nina betrayed him. She tries to explain that she was trying to save his life. He isn’t taking it, saying she broke his trust. Devastated, Nina leaves for Ketterdam.
Mal and Alina are reunited
With Arken in custody after killing the decoy, Kirigan interrogates him about Alina in hopes of finding out where she is. Arken confesses, explaining that he was working with the Crows to kidnap Alina.
Meanwhile, The Crows greet Alina as she climbs out of the carriage. They attempt to get her to go to Ketterdam with them, but she uses her powers to escape. She wanders through a nearby bazaar for food. A stallholder identifies Alina as a Shu (the people of Shu Han have been at war with Ravka for centuries) and chases her out of town into a forest.
Using his tracking abilities, Mal finds Alina in the forest. They catch up on what’s happened and Alina shows him her Sun Summoner powers. They decide they need to find the Stag before Kirigan does so they begin traveling north.
The Crows are at a local tavern and discuss their next steps. They decide to go back home empty-handed. While leaving the tavern, however, Kirigan and his Grisha army start a fight with them. Kirigan approaches Kaz demanding to know where Alina is. Kaz explains they lost her. Kirigan attempts to kill Kaz but he disappears. All three of the Crows are able to get away.
Kirigan talks to the townspeople to see if anybody has seen Alina. One of the market workers discloses that she was chased off into the woods and was headed north. They follow that direction.
The search for Morozova’s Stag
After days of traveling, Alina and Mal finally find the Stag. Alina doesn’t want to kill it and, instead, just touches it. A burst of light emits from Alina as they share a moment. Alina wants to let it go free but Kirigan shows up. He and his Grisha army injure both the Stag and Mal. Alina casts a light shield around both of them. Kirigan says she can’t save both Mal and the Stag. He coaxes her into letting him have the Stag and, if she does, he’ll have his Healer save Mal. Alina agrees. Kirigan has one of his Grisha soldiers graft the Stag’s antlers to both Alina’s and Kirigan’s bodies to be amplified, which now lets him control Alina’s powers as well.
Kirigan takes Alina and Mal to a campsite near the Fold, where he intends to take nobles on a ship across the Fold. Here, Genya reunites with Alina. During their conversation, Alina deduces that Genya was helping Kirigan all along. Alina tries to get Genya to realize that she’s just a pawn in Kirigan’s game but Genya becomes angry and storms out.
Meanwhile, the Crows hear from locals that General Kirigan is taking a ship across the Fold. Knowing they need to get back to the other side without Arken, they decide to disguise themselves as nobles and sneak onto the boat.
Chained up in a tent, Mal looks for a way out. He is able to get free with the help of a goat. He climbs aboard the ship as a stowaway in the lower deck. Kirigan ties up Alina on board. The ship leaves for the Fold.
Entering the Fold again
Upon entering the Fold, it doesn’t take long until the Volcra begins circling the ship. Alina urges Kirigan to do something but he refuses to “waste their powers”. As the Volcra closes in, Alina releases a tunnel of light to shield the ship. The Volcra leave, but only for a moment.
Meanwhile, in the lower deck, the Crows find Mal hiding. When he reveals that he’s against Kirigan, they welcome him to their crew.
Alina implores Kirigan to destroy the Fold. He refuses, claiming they should use it as a weapon. The ship is coming to the other side of the Fold, toward West Ravka. Kirigan expands the Fold, destroying the West Ravka and the rebellion group there. He demands that all countries listen to him.
Mal erupts from the lower deck, shooting at Kirigan. Kirigan has his soldier capture Mal.
The Crows follow Mal’s lead and go up to the top deck which prompts a battle between the passengers and Kirigan’s Grisha army. Zoya, one of Kirigan’s Grisha, has a change of heart after witnessing Kirigan destroy West Ravka. Kirigan sees Zoya steering the ship. Angry by her betrayal, he decides to take away the light that’s protecting the ship from the Volcra. The Volcra start attacking the passengers once again.
As the Volcra bombard the ship, Alina has a vision of the Stag, who prompts her to break free of Kirigan’s control by cutting out the Stag’s antler from his hand. She does. The Stag chose her, giving her the amplified powers.
How does ‘Shadow and Bone’ season 1 end?
The fighting between Kirigan’s Grisha army and the rest of the passengers continues. Mal and Kirigan are battling off. In the midst of their quarrel, they fall off the ship, but it doesn’t disrupt their fighting. Mal shoots Kirigan and leaves him for the Volcra. The Volcra overpower him. Kirigan is presumed dead.
The ship finally makes it to the other side of the Fold. Alina, Mal, Inej, Jesper, Kaz, and Zoya are the only survivors. In the aftermath, Alina gives the Crows the Queen’s jewels, a bribe to keep them quiet about her powers and who she is. The Crows plan to use the jewels to pay off Heleen for Inej’s freedom.
They all board the boat to Ketterdam. The Crows meet Nina. Alina and Mal intend to continue strengthening Alina’s powers to tear down the Fold once and for all.
The season ends with Kirigan awakening inside the Fold. He instructs shadow creatures to follow him out of the Fold.
Shadow and Bone Parents Guide
Shadow and Bone is rated TV-14 for language, violence, and some gore. There is no explicit nudity but there are some sex scenes, and sex is discussed. Season one has a total of 346 available filters through VidAngel. Season two has a total of 496 available filters with the biggest increase in violence and gore and a slight increase in language. Common Sense Media‘s suggested audience age is 14+. We recommend around the age of 15+ due to scary themes, graphic violence, and sexual content. Want to watch without all the violence, gore, and language? Learn more about how you can use our customizable filters to take out what you don’t want to see!