‘Shadow and Bone’: Kaz and His Crew Enter the Fold & Alina Begins Her Training (RECAP)
[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for Shadow and Bone Season 1, Episode 3, “The Making at the Heart of the World.”]
Wait, is that Madam Hooch (Zoë Wanamaker)?! Yes, Harry Potter fans, it sure is. But here, she’s not training young wizards to fly — she’s training young Grisha to use their powers.
In Shadow and Bone‘s third installment, the newly-powered Alina (Jessie Mei Li) finds life at the Little Palace comes with big problems, new enemies and troublesome instructors. Meanwhile, criminal overlord-in-training Kaz (Freddy Carter) and his pals are gearing up to sail across the Fold with the help of The Conductor (Howard Charles) — and of course, things don’t exactly go as planned. Plus, we’re introduced to another beloved character from author Leigh Bardugo’s duology Six of Crows: the feisty Nina Zenik (Danielle Galligan).
A New Enemy
Alina gets a Katniss Everdeen-style makeover scene, complete with a bath, new clothes and an offer to modify her features from her new Grisha friend, Genya (Daisy Head). Genya is a Tailor, which means she can alter people’s appearances temporarily, eliminating flaws and creating beauty. And, she says, Alina is going to need that, because she’s about to be brought before the king. Yikes! Reluctantly, she allows herself to be Tailored, if only slightly. She then meets General Kirigan (Ben Barnes), who brings her before the king and a large crowd of onlookers. Together, they demonstrate Alina’s powers — he brings forth the darkness, and she banishes it — and the room is enraptured. The Grisha now fully believe she is their savior and that she will dissolve the Fold. Almost instantly, Alina becomes the subject of admiration… and scorn.
The scorn comes loud and clear from fellow Grisha Zoya (Sujaya Dasgupta), a strong Squallor with wind-controlling abilities, who seems to be envious of Alina for how quickly she earned Kirigan’s favor. As Alina departs the ceremony, Zoya pulls her close for a hug — and whispers that she reeks of the orphanage. Ugh! And the animosity doesn’t stop there. The next day, when Alina starts her combat training, she chooses Zoya as her opponent. The two spar and things escalate, leading Zoya to use her powers to slam Alina into a wall. She briefly loses consciousness, but she insists she’s okay. And Zoya, who has injured the Chosen One, isn’t particularly popular in the aftermath.
Alina also has an uncomfortable encounter with the castle priest, The Apparat (Kevin Eldon), who explains the power of Amplifiers to her. If a Grisha slaughters a mythical animal that appears only to Grisha, and they meld part of the animal into their body, they can harness the animal’s power and become more powerful. (That’s going to be important later.) He also gives her a gift: a book called The Lives of the Saints. From there, she meets Baghra (Wanamaker), a strict teacher who’s meant to help her draw forth and control her powers. Since Alina grew up thinking she was normal, she doesn’t really know how to summon her gift or how to use it, which frustrates Baghra to no end. She also learns from Baghra that Kirigan is a human Amplifier, which means he can make other Grisha more powerful. (Again, that’s going to be very important later).
Through the Fold
Meanwhile, the Crows are preparing for their journey across the Fold… and instantly, they run into a snag. The Conductor’s contact to get them inside the Little Palace, Nina, has been captured by the Druskelle. He wants to abandon the job, but Kaz (Freddy Carter) isn’t about to give up: “You get us across the fold, and I’ll figure out the rest on the other side,” Kaz says. From there, they start gathering materials. The Conductor says he needs 20 pounds of alabaster coal, a peck of “Majdaloun jurda” and a goat. The collection of these items makes for some interesting character development; Jesper (Kit Young), of course, can’t pass up an opportunity to gamble, while Inej (Amita Suman) pauses by a memorial to search for the names of her parents and brother, whose fates are uncertain. Kaz, who finds her there, pretty much tells her to stop thinking about them and start thinking about the mission. Typical Kaz!
The group assembles later that night and boards the train. They’re waiting on Jesper, who, unfortunately, gambled away the money he was supposed to use on the coal and only managed to steal 16 pounds. But since they’ve got everything else, and there’s an angry mob after Jesper, they set off through the Fold. But The Conductor has neglected to mention one thing — the tracks aren’t complete. They should be fine, he says, as long as they don’t shift their weight. But of course, the Fold’s terrifying volcra attack, and some weight is shifted (thankfully, Jesper takes the volcra down with some excellent gunslinging). Nevertheless, they eventually end up back in the sunlight, on the opposite end of the Fold.
Meet Nina and Matthias
We’re introduced to Nina Zenik and Matthias Helvar (Calahan Skogman) in this episode as well, through story beats that will feel familiar to fans of the books: Nina is captured by several druskelle and taken aboard a ship, where she will “stand trial” in Fjerda — which really means, she’ll be executed. She has a short conversation with a soldier, who seems drawn to her while being repulsed by her powers as a “witch.” If this is following the books, there’s plenty more to come from these two…
- I wasn’t expecting to see Nina and Matthias here, but I’m very excited. It’ll be interesting to see how much of their past from Six of Crows is adapted, and how it might be changed to suit the show.
- How hilarious was Jesper running from a crowd of angry merchants? How great was Jesper holding the adorable goat? How awesome was Jesper taking down the volcra? Really, this episode belonged to him.
- Again, I think the show nailed the casting. Genya looks exactly how I pictured her and acts exactly as I imagined.
Shadow and Bone Season 1, Netflix, Now Streaming