In the season 2 finale of Shadow and Bone, “No Funerals,” Ravka’s battle against the Darkling and the Fold finally reaches a head. But there’s a price to be paid for choices that are made along the way …
The battle rages on
Nikolai and the others are concerned when they see that the Fold still hasn’t been destroyed yet — Alina must be in trouble. They decide to enter the Fold on foot to help her, and Kaz offers Nikolai his cane to help with his limp from his leg injury. They make their way through the fort, narrowly escaping two volcra, only to run into a nichevo’ya. Wylan hits it with a phosphorus bomb, which seems to do the trick, but it quickly regenerates.
The destruction of the Fold
Alina hovers over Mal as the Darkling writhes on the ground. Mal knows that he’s dying, and he hands her his knife to finish it. They share an emotional final moment before she drives it through his heart and explodes with a massive display of unimaginable power. The Fold is immediately destroyed. Unfortunately, the shadow monster still lives, forcing Nikolai and the others to continue fighting for their lives.
A small army of shadow monsters closes in on Inej and Zoya, but they’re able to take them on with the Neshyenyer. Alina cries out for Nina as she holds onto Mal’s dead body, begging the Heartrender to help. The Darkling gets to his feet, and he tells Alina that now, she knows sacrifice. Without him, she has no counterbalance. No darkness to stand against the light. She needs somebody that will be there to save her in the years of loneliness to come.
Death and rebirth
Alina angrily tells him that she’ll save herself — there is no redemption for him. The Darkling falls to the ground, and one of his shadow monsters attacks Alina. He screams for it to leave her alone, but it smacks him to the ground. Inej saves Alina by throwing Neshyenyer at it. It’s then that Alina realizes the Darkling cannot control his nichevo’ya. He reflects back on a moment when he swore he found peace — when Alina kissed him. Unfazed by the affection he still holds for her, Alina stabs him with the blade, and as he collapses to the ground, he tells her to make sure there’s nothing left of him. With the Darkling dead, Alina uses merzost to revive Mal.
When the Crows reconvene, Jesper notes that someone should write a story about their adventures, spitballing various names for their tales (and he almost says Five of Crows). Elsewhere, Alina finds Mal, but something’s bothering him. He tells her that he can no longer feel his gift of true north and doesn’t know what he’s meant for any more now that he’s fulfilled his duty to Alina as her amplifier.
Genya makes her way through the fort in search of David with Adrik’s help. She sees blood on the wall and nearly collapses when she realizes she can’t feel his heartbeat anywhere. Later, she finds a ruby, along with David’s sketches, where he was planning to fashion a ring for her, and she sobs.
At Alina’s request, they burn the Darkling’s body. She lets Zoya and Genya light his pyre first.
Goodbye, Aleksander.– Alina
Afterward, Alina tells Mal that there’s a vacancy for him to become a privateer. They’ll just have to wait and see if the paths they’re on lead them back to each other now that they’re living by choice rather than destiny.
Without your armor
Kaz finds Inej alone while she’s praying and lets her know that Nikolai has paid them and worked out a pardon for Nina and Matthias. Further to that, he tells Inej that he wanted to say goodbye to her now that their mission is complete. He then reveals that he’s been looking for her family and gives her a lead to follow. Inej gives Kaz an opening, an opportunity to admit his feelings, but he deflects. She gets up to leave, and he grabs her by the wrist, pleading for her to stay in Ketterdam … to stay with him. When she asks what the point would be, Kaz finally admits that he wants her. But Inej challenges him — how will he have her? Fully clothed? Heads turned, so their lips never touch?
I will have you without your armor, Kaz Brekker. Or I will not have you at all.– Inej
He nods in understanding, and she makes her exit.
Nikolai is pleased to see that Mal will be setting sail, and he gives him his lucky compass as he passes on the mantle of Sturmhond. He boards the flying ship, joining Inej, Tamar, Tolya, and Nadia, and they reconvene at sea with the rest of Sturmhond’s crew. They’re now in the business of hunting slaver ships.
A failed pardon
Matthias tells Pekka that he wants him to get him put back into the fights because Kaz has been paying the guards to keep him out up until this point. Pekka obliges him, and the crowd cheers excitedly as Matthias enters the ring. However, Nina is waiting in the crowd, and she calls out for the guards to let him free, brandishing the official pardon from Nikolai. The guard says there’s nothing he can do. Matthias is furious when two wolves walk out instead of a man for him to fight. He kneels to the ground because, as a drüskelle, he can’t kill a wolf. The snarling creatures submit to him, coming to his side, but the guards step in and begin to whip them. Matthias has no choice but to attack the guards, and Nina screams for Pekka to make it stop. She drops to the pardon to the ground as the guards begin to drag her away, and Matthias locks eyes with her in shock as she continues screaming for him.
King of Scars
Nikolai’s chest continues to bother him, and he opens his shirt to reveal a dark, splintering wound left by the nichevo’ya. When he turns to look in the mirror, he’s startled to find one of the shadow monsters looking back at him. He seeks out Alina to thank her for being there with him for the coronation.
Were it not for you, I would be the loneliest king in the world.– Nikolai
He assures her that there will be no kissing during the celebration … not unless she’s thinking of him instead of trying to forget Mal. They’re interrupted by the arrival and Genya and Zoya, and Alina tells the girls that she thinks the three of them can work together to mend Ravka. She asks Genya to oversee things at the palace and Zoya to be in charge of Grisha training. Alina also wants to do away with separating the Grisha orders by colored keftas.
A bloody coronation
A crowd watches on as Nikolai is crowned, rising to his feet as the King of Ravka. However, as the crowd stands and claps, one woman remains seated, looking unwell. Her actions are explained by Kaz in a voiceover, who’s telling Jesper, Wylan, and Nina about their next job (at the new home of the Crow Club). There’s a new weapon hitting the market — jurda parem. It’s a highly addictive drug that amplifies Grisha power a thousand times over. The chemist who created it fled to Kerch, but he was caught by the Fjerdans. They’re at risk of Fjerda weaponizing the drug … (which means the Ice Court heist awaits!).
The woman gets to her feet, revealing that she’s a Heartrender. Everyone in the crowd begins to cough up blood, collapsing to the floor, until Alina kills her with the Cut. But this time … the power that leaves her hand is made of shadows.