It is official: Shadow and Bone Season 1 Episode 7 is the best episode yet, packed with a compelling backstory, heartwrenching confrontations, and witty humor.
“The Unsea” provides everything you can ask for on a penultimate episode. The stakes are higher than ever as each character must sort out their priorities before setting sail through the Fold.
Plus, we finally learn the truth about the Shadow Fold, and as a result, we learn more about The Darkling himself.
The story behind the Shadow Fold is similar to how it was in the books, with some minor changes. However, these minor changes might prove to be critical as the show progresses.
Most notably, in the book, The Darkling created the volcra from innocent villagers.
On Shadow and Bone, he transformed the King’s army into volcra. Of course, both versions are atrocious, but there is a significant difference between turning families into volcra and turning anti-Grisha murderers into volcra.
One thing is undoubtedly the same — even if The Darkling’s initial intentions were noble, along the way, he became corrupted with power. He seemed genuinely protective of Grisha, willing to do anything for his people.
But once he dabbles in merzost, also known as unnatural magic, he consumes himself with power. The Darkling no longer cares about what is best for Grisha — he simply hides behind that notion.
So, when Alina is back in his clutches, we know better than to trust his deceitful manipulation, and so does Alina, for that matter. She knows The Darkling is just as drunk on power as he was in the past. So, regardless of how he feels for Alina, his lust for power usurps any humanity in his heart.
Now that we know the whole truth, we can easily detect his manipulative rhetoric. He never answers Alina’s questions; he constantly skirts around them. The Darkling does that for just about anything.
But we see his dark, corrupted heart. Now it is just more visible than ever as he works around the clock to sail through the Fold with Alina’s powers at hand.
The Darkling: Do you know the only thing more powerful than you or me? The two of us. Together. Together, we can end all wars. We can protect our own. Is that not what you want?
Alina: Are we destroying the Fold?
The Darkling: We can do anything. Together.
And The Darkling’s backstory demonstrates just how far he is willing to go to succeed. He separates Alina and Mal, imprisoning them both. He enslaves Alina and can now fully control her powers.
The Darkling’s confrontation with Mal shows just how possessive he is of Alina. He insists that Mal never truly appreciated Alina, even though Alina had no idea she was Grisha in the first place.
That may have been true in the books, but Mal is sweet, attentive, and caring on the show. He will walk through hell over and over again just to save Alina. He would sacrifice himself for her. There is no question about Mal’s devotion and appreciation for Alina.
So, The Darkling’s comments do not make any sense. If anything, it sounds like Kirigan tells himself lies about Alina and Mal’s relationship to make himself feel better for abusing them both.
But it is difficult not to melt at Alina and Kirigan’s emotional confrontation. Not because of what he says — we know The Darkling will say anything to get Alina back on his side. It is what Alina says that breaks our hearts all over again.
I would’ve thought you, of all people, would understand what it’s like. To live in hiding in fear of being murdered for simply being. It’s why I built the Little Palace in the first place. Everything that I have done, everything that I have ever done, has been to make Ravka safer, to make Grisha safer!
Alina acknowledges that her feelings for Kirigan were real. She even acknowledges he had real feelings for her.
They had a real shot at being a power couple and being each other’s equals. They could have conquered the Shadow Fold together, and after that, the world. But as Alina says, The Darkling never gave her a choice.
Honestly, her speech makes us wonder if his heinous acts hurt her or because he lied about them. We imagine both have caused her great pain, but it seems that Alina is more affected by The Darkling’s deceitfulness.
If Alina is more disturbed by Kirigan’s lies rather than the people he has tortured and murdered, then maybe she might have given him a chance. We imagine Alina would have never approved expanding the Fold, especially at the expense of innocent civilians.
But we wonder if Alina would not have opposed the idea of using the Fold against people like Drüskelle, the King and Queen, and all others who fear Grisha and see them as inferior.
This prospect once again introduces the possibility of Alina’s dark side, something we would love to see if Netflix renews Shadow and Bone.
The scene between Alina and The Darkling is a painful and emotional truth, but at least we get one of The Darkling’s most iconic lines from that scene. Readers knew Shadow and Bone would fit it in somewhere, and the timing could not be more perfect.
It is an excellent way to end Alina and Kirigan’s heated conversation as he seems to pass the point of no return officially.
The Darkling: Perhaps. But you have given me one. A chance to make amends, to finally win. The Fold was not your mistake —
Alina: The Fold was no mistake!
The Darkling: I never intended for it to be the blight it’s become. Or for men like the King or Zlatan to exploit it for their own gain.
Alina: You put this collar on me to exploit my power for your gain!
The Darkling: For us. To help us conquer the Fold together. You and me. You cannot do this on your own. And neither can I.
Alina: We could’ve had this. All of it. You could’ve made me your equal. Instead, you made me this. You don’t care who suffers, as long as you win.
The Darkling: Fine. Make me your villain.
As Alina and The Darkling have it out with each other, the Crows are back where they were initially — they must figure out a way to cross the Fold.
This time, the Crows do not have the Conductor, and when the train car explodes, they lose their method of transportation. Both of these untimely events force Kaz, Inej, and Jesper to reconsider their plans once they cross the Fold.
The Crows do not have Alina, which means they will not receive the prize of one million kruge. Plus, Kaz stole Pekka Rollins’s job, and the Crows do not even return to Ketterdam with the Sun Summoner.
This dilemma makes the future seem hazy and frightening to a degree. How can they return without Alina? How can Inej go back to the Menagerie when the one million kruge was supposed to cover her freedom?
Inej: Kaz, if not Saints, what do you believe in?
Inej: Why’d I even ask?
Kaz: And you. And Jesper. My Crows.
Inej: Because we flock to your bidding? Like the animals of vengeance, you named us after?
Kaz: Crows don’t just remember the faces of people who wronged them. They also remember those who were kind. They tell each other who to look after and who to watch out for. No Saint ever watched over me. Not like you have.
How can Inej return with Kaz and Jesper? She knows she cannot, which is why she goes to say goodbye to Kaz later that evening. But their conversation causes Inej to have a change of heart and remain with the Crows.
The show has been planting the seeds for Kaz and Inej’s future as early as romance Shadow and Bone Season 1 Episode 1. Kaz always knew Inej was special enough to trade the Crow Club on Shadow and Bone Season 1 Episode 2.
Inej kills someone for Kaz, despite her aversion to killing on Shadow and Bone Season 1 Episode 5.
Kaz even admits how much he cares about Inej and Jesper during their conversation, softening significantly at Inej. And Inej eventually decides to go with Kaz and Jesper, putting her freedom in jeopardy and her faith in Kaz.
These little hints have us dying for more one-on-one interactions between Kaz and Inej, interactions that will eventually lead to romance. Their relationship has developed so much in just eight episodes.
The best part is that Kaz and Inej know how much they deeply care for each other, even if they never explicitly state it. Their actions have always shown where their true feelings lie, even if they are not ready to admit it just yet.
Jesper: If I’m meant to die today, and either of you two survive, make sure I have an open casket.
Kaz: No one’s dying today. No mourners.
Inej: No funerals.
The Crows are about to enter their riskiest mission to date — crossing the Fold without getting caught.
They make it onto the skiff by stealing other guests’ identities, but that is easy. Now, the real trouble begins, as Kaz, Inej, and Jesper must remain hidden from The Darkling and his soldiers, all while trying to avoid the volcra.
But if anyone can accomplish this feat, the Crows can, whispering their iconic line just before they set sail into the Fold.
With Alina under The Darkling’s control, the volcra waiting in the Fold, and the Crows under the deck, the stakes are just about as high as they can get, ready to explode on the season finale. And we cannot wait to see what happens when it does.
Over to you, Fanatics!
What did you think of Shadow and Bone Season 1 Episode 7? Were you surprised to learn about how the history of the Shadow Fold?
Do you think it justifies Kirigan’s actions?
What do you think will happen on the skiff? Do you think Alina will destroy the Fold, or does The Darkling have something far more sinister planned?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!