Shadow and Bone is now a reality! As you already have two reviews, one from the point of view of a reader and another from that of a non-reader, I’m going to sit here to choose 5 scenes that you can’t miss from each episode, either because they are essential for the development of the episode or because they’re the ones I like the most because, after all, this is my list. It’s the turn of Shadow And Bone 1×07 “The Unsea”.
The Shadow Fold
The creation of Shadow Fold is the one that, to a large extent, started this story so it’s definitely one of the 5 scenes you can’t miss. It hurts to see how Aleksander and his love were hunted down and forced to obey a King who despised them, while he had to witness the murder of his love.
Pain, revenge and the desire for justice brought him to the brink of insanity. Aleksander’s initial intention was good and even necessary. Grisha should not hide and hide their power, they should not be slaves. Despite the fact that even his mother didn’t believe in him – although this was nothing new, she never did, despite all his attempts to make her proud of him – he was determined to show her and everyone that change things was possible and that Grisha should not hide anymore.
Aleksander was determined to rebel against the norm, no matter what price he had to pay for it. However, revenge consumed him and instead of a world in which Grisha lived on an equal footing, he ended up wanting something more. He ended up wanting those who previously despised Grisha to fear them.
Aleksander ended up wanting to enslave the rest of the world, for Grisha to have all power in a tyranny led with an iron hand by him. The starting point, which was to change things and defend himself, changed due to pain, frustration and anger and he allowed himself to be carried away by that anger into the darkness. That is the reason why he was experimenting with dark forces.
This is how Shadow Fold was born.
It was not exactly Aleksander’s intention to create it, but it was to show the King and his entourage his power, to destroy them all as revenge for what they did to his love and to make them fear him. Once he created Shadow Fold, he admired his work because now, all Grisha would be safe and feared. It only remained to wait for the day when Shadow Fold could spread beyond Ravka.
“If you give me the deer, I will heal him”
Once Alina and Mal get to the deer… things get really intense. Alina feels a special connection to it and doesn’t really want to kill it. She feels that she doesn’t need to, that things can be… different. The deer chose her. But she doesn’t have time to think about it because Aleksander was following them closely and he, along with his most loyal Grisha, interrupts Alina and Mal.
This confrontation is very worthy of being in the top 5 scenes of the entire show. The way Mal and Alina confront them despite having no chance. They fight to the end. The way Alina is torn between protecting and helping Mal and protecting the deer, preventing Aleksander from reaching him.
And the way Aleksander knows where Alina’s weak spot is. He knows her. So he knows that she would rather die than give him the deer but that she would never let Mal die. That she would give up her life for him. So he should only have him under his power and make her choose. She will choose Mal, it has always been like this, it has always been Mal for her, even if she tried to deny herself for a while.
Aleksander does just that. He gives her a choice between the deer or Mal. He hurts Mal, and he will die if Alina doesn’t give in and hands him over to the deer. Mal refuses to let her do it, he knows that would mean that Aleksander would enslave Alina, he would control her power and everyone would be lost. That she would be lost. He can’t bear it, he prefers to die. But Alina is not willing to leave him, she doesn’t care about her freedom, they will be together and together they can find a way to escape.
Alina chooses Mal. It was always him, it will always be him. She pulls away from the deer and goes to Mal, trying to hold his hand, trying to let him know that she is by his side and that she will never leave, no matter what happens.
I still shudder at Alina’s cry when Aleksander kills the deer. I still shudder at the way Alina and Mal are able to lose even their life, their freedom, for each other. I still shudder at the way they have so much faith in each other that they know that only together will they have a chance to survive. The way they form one heart still makes me shudder.
“Beware … of cunning women”
Saints! We had been waiting for this moment since we found out that everything Alina lived with Aleksander and in the Little Palace was a lie. Of course this scene had to be on our 5 scenes list. Genya was the only person Alina could count on in a strange world that she didn’t understand and in which she felt out of place. Genya was the only friend Alina believed she had.
But it wasn’t so. Genya was also tricking her She watched her suffer from Mal’s indifference while she didn’t send her letters and the ones he sent her disappeared. She betrayed Alina. Her choice was clear, Genya chose Aleksander. She traded Alina for having a Grisha Order, for fully belonging to that world, her world, for stopping serving the Queen and fulfilling the King’s sexual whims, for being part of something and not watching from the shadows.
Alina can’t understand it. Aleksander sold her, as if she were an object, to the King and allowed him to abuse her, rape her, outrage her. How can she be loyal to him and work for someone like that? But it’s not that easy, nothing is.
Yes, Aleksander treated her as a means to an end, she hates him for that, she will always hate him. But he is the only one who can save her from where he put her … in exchange for her being loyal to him. Like it or not, Aleksander has that power, he’s the only one who has it. Genya appreciates Alina, she also considers her a friend and loves her as such but she had to choose between Alina and her own survival, her own freedom. And she had to save herself because no one else can.
Genya suffered many years in silence, waiting for the opportunity to save herself, seeing from afar how other Grisha trained, enhanced her powers, knew them and, together with her Grisha Orders, formed a family. She watched them from the shadows, there but always in the background, never part of anything, enduring laughter and insults while she was raped every night by the King.
Genya tried to warn Alina about Aleksander, about powerful men who would want to take advantage of her, get something from her, use her… she did her best to try to keep her from being deceived without putting her own freedom at risk.
I admire Genya so much, carrying all that suffering, all that abuse, and still having the heart and courage to get up every day and believe in people like Alina. We would all have done the same in her position.
Yes, we felt betrayed, as did Alina, when we learned of her betrayal, but it was the only thing Genya could do: save herself. And you have to be very brave to do it. Because it takes courage to challenge our enemies… but it takes much more to challenge our friends. I love Genya.
“She chose me”
Aleksander vs Mal showdown? WE´RE HERE FOR THIS! Let’s be honest, we’ve been begging for this for quite a few episodes so, yeah, it’s one of our 5 scenes. Aleksander always knows which fibers to touch so that his opponent is destabilized. And I love that they are both in some way fighting for Alina and vindicating their experiences with her. The way they are both important to her.
Because they both are, with Aleksander, Alina explored parts of herself that she always repressed, her power, her strength, her true self. He offered her to be part of something bigger than her, to be part of a family, a community that for the first time would not look at her with contempt, if not with devotion. And that, for someone who always lived in hiding, despised, lost, who could never count on anything or anyone, is tremendously important.
And Mal… he is simply half of her heart, half of her soul, her north, her south, her home, her anchor, part of herself. Soulmates. And she had to make a decision. Alina had to decide between being carried away by the darkness, Aleksander’s world and reigning alongside him in a world dominated by them or… choosing Mal, choosing the light, choosing… saving the Grisha and fighting for a more just world.
And Alina chose Mal. It was always him. It will always be him. It will always be them. As much as Aleksander would have wanted to reign with her, as much as he would have wanted her to accept that they are unique and equal, that they are the only ones who can heal each other’s loneliness, Alina rejected him.
However, she chose Mal but above all, she chose herself, she chose not to be controlled by anyone, she chose to be able to make her own decisions, to be able to handle her power, she chose not to share that part of herself with nobody else.
But Aleksander is not so sure … and he doesn’t intend to let it happen. They are both immortal. It may take Alina decades to forgive him… but he has the time to wait. Mal doesn’t. He will be dead and his corpse eaten by worms while he and Alina will remain alive, and Aleksander is convinced that Alina will return to him.
But Aleksander didn’t realize that feelings, that love, doesn’t work like that. He could treat Alina as his equal, together, they could eliminate the threat and save thousands of lives, together they could have entered the light. But Aleksander decided to treat her as one more means to an end, like any of the others: as an instrument to serve his purposes.
And Alina can never forgive him for that, that he tries to take away the only thing that is only hers: her power, her freedom, her free will but, above all, she will never be able to forgive him for trying to harm Mal. This is how true love works. And Aleksander changed that, the possibility of re-living something real … for more power.
“Make me your villain”
This line is straight out of the book. I know many of you were dying because you were drowning in Darklina feels… so of course it had to be in our top 5 scenes.
I think that what happens in this scene is directly related to what we have commented before. Aleksander would like Alina to join him as equals, to unite his power to establish a world where Grisha were not servants, but leaders, feared and… respected. But the key here is that, as Alina tells him in a previous scene, he had the opportunity to treat her as an equal … and decided to enslave her. He decided to deceive her, handle her at will and take possession of her power.
And she hates him for it. She hates him for having made her believe that she was part of something and then snatch it from her. She hates him for helping her get to know and accept herself and then take away her free will.
For him, his goal of gaining power for what he believes is a noble cause, justifies any murder, any death, any harm … and it is not so for Alina. She was willing to join him, to explore what only he makes her feel … but truly as companions, as equals, uniting her powers and intertwining their lives with a common goal, a truly noble cause: the equality of the Grisha. .
Alina doesn’t want anyone to enslave them … but she doesn’t want them to become enslavers either. She doesn’t want all the Grisha to become who Aleksander has become. The thirst for revenge and rage have consumed Aleksander to such an extent that he just … he just wants to watch the world burn and make those responsible for the death of his love and so many other Grisha pay. He wants to make them regret having hunted, killed and enslaved them.
He’s not about to forgive and forget, to build something new on top of the old. He wants, he needs to burn everything old to build something new, a world made to measure for him … a world in which roles are reversed and humans must endure what they endured. Eye for an eye. In fact, he considers human beings inferior and weak. He despises them. Because they ripped out his heart a long time ago … and now he wants to rip it out himself and enjoy the show.
And he wants Alina next to him. She is the only one he feels that she can and wants to share this with. The only one who has removed loneliness and darkness. He wants her to understand. That she understands, that she understands that what he is doing is necessary and she joins him. Let her see that Mal and the rest of the humans are inferior beings, monsters, who don’t deserve her compassion or her heart, who don’t deserve anything from them. That they are the real villains.
But Alina disagrees, she can’t see it like that – and I’m proud of her for this because she too was harassed and persecuted, albeit in a different way, and she still has faith and hope. She chose the light and for her, he will always be the villain. He now sees it. So Aleksander decides to let it be, let her make him her villain if she wishes it. He tells himself she doesn’t understand, that she can get her choice, she won’t be able to stop him anyway. And he doesn’t know how wrong he is.
This Kanej scene is one of my all-time favorites, so yeah, it has to be on our 5 scenes list. It’s … it’s just beautifully heartbreaking. It is a scene that leaves your heart sinking, crying and shaking. The pain of both, the unspoken words, the unspoken feelings … reverberate across the screen to our bones. We feel it right in the soul and it is… hard and precious and beautiful and heartbreaking and… perfect.
Kaz said nothing, but heard Inej tell Jesper that she couldn’t go back to Ketterdam, that she would not be enslaved again. And Kaz just listened, kept all the pain from his heart and… didn’t say anything. Just to think that she is going to leave, that she will just disappear from his life, just as she disappears into the shadows and there will be no trace of her, no hint that she was real… is killing him. It is like losing a part of him. It’s like losing his heart, that heart that thought he was no longer beating. But he does it, for her. Only for her.
But he… can’t stop her. She is free, he wants her to be. She belongs to nobody and she deserves to decide on her fate. But he … he just has to try to make her understand that leaving is not the only option she has. If, after she knows it, she still wants to leave, he won’t hold her but… Kaz wants Inej to know that Ketterdam, that he, is there for her. Forever. In case she accepts it, in case she wants to stay by his side, even if he doesn’t deserve her to. That is why he decides to talk to her.
Inej appears from the shadows, silent, as always. But he is the only one who can hear her approach, simply because he senses her presence before she appears. He knows everything about her, even how her silence sounds. He doesn’t know if she is coming to say goodbye or not … but she is there, next to him, and it is enough.
She gives him her cane, his sign of identity, part of his armor and part of himself, part of why he feels safe. And she knows that he needs to feel safe, invulnerable. It seems like a goodbye, it seems that she is giving back that part of him as a last act like The Wraith. She is leaving. He sees it in her gestures, in her gaze, he feels it in his bones and in his heart like a heavy slab.
But is that all? Is that the only thing Kaz wants to tell her? After everything they have been through together, everything they have kept quiet, everything she realized in the previous episode … Kaz is not willing to shed armor just to be … vulnerable with her? But Kaz doesn’t… he doesn’t know how to do it. He doesn’t know what to do.
He feels unworthy of her. She is… she is special, she is Inej. Too good for that cruel world. Too good for him. And he’s … he’s Dirtyhands and Bastard of the Barrel. A thief, a con man, a villain. He doesn’t deserve her. She is light while he is darkness.
She deserves someone who can love her as she deserves, she deserves someone who can touch her with the reverence with which she deserves to be touched. Because he knows Inej will have him without armor or she won’t. She will not have a man who doesn’t let her see inside him, who doesn’t try to overcome his issues for her, who doesn’t share with her absolutely everything.
And despite his unworthiness of her, he can’t let her go. Because he needs her. He needs her like he needs his next breath. He needs her to keep breathing, to keep his heart beating. He is a fighter, he fought with blood to make a name for himself in Ketterdam and he will fight with blood for Inej, because it is the least she deserves, because that is what they do.
So he speaks, “she’s real”, with a broken voice, broken by everything he feels and is unable to say, by everything she means to him, by the possibility of losing her, by sharing his vulnerability and giving her that power. The power to destroy him. But he’s giving it to her, because he would trust her with everything. Everything about him, everything broken, destroyed, unworthy, battered, the lost boy, the cruel man, absolutely everything, is hers.
Inej was right, Alina is real. Kaz always silently admired that faith she has in the world despite how cruel it has been to her, but is it just that? Does he believe in Saints? But Kaz doesn’t believe in Saints, he doesn’t believe in anyone except her and Jesper. They are … they are his pillars, they are his family, they are his soul. They are everything. His Crows.
Kaz is not talking about Alina. He doesn’t believe in her at all, Alina is just a Grisha. Kaz believes in Inej. But Inej … she is doubtful. Kaz has always made it so clear that the only way he appreciates them is because they are useful to him that she … she can hardly believe that Kaz is being so open and vulnerable with her. She still can’t believe that he’s looking at Kaz Brekker, without armor. Just him. But she is doing it. Kaz let Inej in. He forgot about his fears and let Inej see a little inside of him.
Thus, he explains why they are important. They are not acquisitions, they are not a medium. They are his Crows. They are those crows that can be trusted to remember, to remember who the enemy is and who the family is. Remember who they can trust and lean on. To remember who is important.
Kaz doesn’t believe in Saints but he believes in her. He believes in Jesper. He trusts them with his life. He would die for them. He would kill for them. There is nothing he would not do for any of them, especially for her, because “no saint ever watched over me. Not like you have ”. No Saint, no person cared for Kaz, cared for him or saved him. Saints didn’t care that Rollins cheated him and his brother and stripped them of everything.
Saints didn’t care that he had to use the corpse of his brother to save his own life. Or that he would have to become a ruthless thief to survive. But Inej does. She saved him. She saved him in every possible way that a person can be saved. And the best part is that she continues to do it, day after day. For her, he wants to be a better man. For her.
She doesn’t even realize how seeing her smile or just being close to her breathes him life every day and keeps him breathing, his heart beating. The way Kaz needs Inej and she needs him completely shocks me. They simply belong to each other, they need each other.
Kaz was never so vulnerable with anyone. Never. Only with her. And Inej … she can feel that he is telling the truth, she can feel the vulnerability in his voice, the terror of exposing himself like this, how his voice breaks, how the inflection of his voice changes and is no longer a harsh and almost cruel voice, if not a much lower voice, much more … fragile. The voice of a lost boy, of a man who has suffered too much before coming of age.
It is not a facade, nor is an armor. There is no distance here. Inej, as we discussed in episode 1, always saw Kaz without gloves, only with his hands and his bare skin. But it is the first time that Kaz takes off his gloves in front of her, takes his cane in front of her, takes off his armor and shows himself to her. He is vulnerable, he is real.
Here, Kaz isn’t Dirtyhands or Bastard of the Barrel, it’s just Kaz. He is just a boy, broken into a thousand pieces, in love with a woman he cannot have and of whom he doesn’t feel worthy of. And this is just what Inej needed: a reason to stay. She doesn’t want to leave, she doesn’t want to leave him, she can’t leave him because a part of herself would stay with him. Maybe all of her.
But she couldn’t bear that Kaz was just … just being him like always, that he still wore that armor in front of her. But he is not doing it. She is having Kaz without armor, the only way she would have him. So she will stay. Next to him. She won’t go back to that dirty place. They will come out of this. Together. Knives in hand and fighting as they always do. As they always will. Inej faces the possibility of returning to that hell by staying by his side. But she knows Kaz is right: she won’t be coming back.
Because just like Kaz trusts Inej and believes in her, Inej believes in Kaz the same way. And all this. This whole scene … the words may be important but the silence is even more important. All feelings travel between them with words unspoken, only spoken in their gazes. They are not able to physically touch but it doesn’t matter. Their souls are united in an embrace right now. Their hearts intertwined. They are united in a way that is as intimate as two people can be. The love they have is as great and unfathomable as the sea. And they are able to express it in silence, like a calm sea. They are inevitable. And I love them.
PS: Mindful of the fact that Kaz doesn’t fight against Inej’s refusal to kidnap Alina. He respects her opinion, what she thinks, takes her into account … as an equal. And he’s not going to force her to do something that she feels uncomfortable with or she disagrees or she might hate herself for
Kaz could have taken advantage of his situation here, he could have forced her to do so not only because he was the leader of the gang but also as the holder of her “contract” with Heleen. But he would never do that. He would never take her freedom away. Even if he lost everything … he would never be like those horrible people who enslaved her and took away her ability to decide from her.
And these are the 5 scenes that you can’t miss from Shadow And Bone 1×07 “The Unsea”. Stay tuned for the 5 scenes you can’t miss from episode 8, our last one, that we will publish tomorrow.