New day, new editorial! As you know, every day, we will analyze an aspect of each episode. Thus, we will fully delve into what is behind the story that we see. Shadow and Bone 2×02 “Rusalye” perfectly shows Alina’s evolution and how her power is a part of her. Additionally, the episode made clear what that means for her relationship with Mal and Aleksander. Ready?
Here we go!
“There Is No One Like You” as Darklina’s Main Theme in Shadow and Bone 2×02 “Rusalye”
In Shadow and Bone 2×02 “Rusalye” Alina begins to fully accept her power and yearn for more. In season 1, Alina was just beginning to get to know herself and discover what she could do. But in this episode, we see the evolution of the character, her power, and the way she accepts her new position in the world.
Alina stopped being a cartographer shyly revealing the Grisha part of her and is now Saint Alina, the Sun Summoner, the person destined to save Ravka. And Alina feels good about the change. She feels the call of that power…and the loneliness that comes with it. Even though Mal is always by her side, a part of her knows he doesn’t understand that magical part of her, no matter how hard he tries to.
Aleksander, by contrast, does. And Alina hates that, hates feeling that Aleksander understands that part of her, that part that Alina isn’t even sure she understands yet, and Mal doesn’t. Alina tries to deny it to herself in Shadow and Bone 2×02 “Rusalye” but Aleksander sees beyond that.
There is no one like her, just as Aleksander tells her. Aleksander is one of the few who can truly understand what it feels like to have the power she has. In that sense, they are equal. And yes, Aleksander is trying to manipulate her into getting Alina back to his side so he can control her power for his own ends, but that doesn’t mean he’s lying to her.
Power Always Has a Price
Aleksander is telling her the truth…and it scares her. But, at the same time, Alina feels that she finally knows who she is. In Shadow and Bone 2×02 “Rusalye” Alina feels that she will not be complete until she has all the power she is destined for.
Yes, Alina is afraid that Mal won’t be able to keep up with her. But, at the same time, she feels that she would be betraying herself, turning her back on her destiny if she doesn’t embrace that part of her. And she is right.
Now, power is a dangerous thing, as we see in Shadow and Bone 2×02 “Rusalye.” So it is worth wondering about the consequences of Alina’s desire for power. We don’t believe that power blinds Alina and becomes her priority, but it might be a struggle. Ultimately, though, with Alina, it feels like her heart and her principles will always come first. But power always has a price. The price of Aleksander’s power was his humanity. What price will it have for Alina?
Feeling Useless in Shadow and Bone 2×02 “Rusalye”
And while Alina lives new experiences and feelings, Mal finds himself in an unstable situation in Shadow and Bone 2×02 “Rusalye.” Although the character in the show is better than in the book — we’re thankful for that — he doesn’t fully understand Alina’s power and feels a bit useless next to her.
Everyone knows Alina as the Sun Summoner or Saint Alina but he is…just her partner. He’s not just that for Alina, but that doesn’t stop Mal from feeling that an orphan of unknown origin isn’t good enough for the Sun Summoner.
Despite all this, the only thing that is clear to Mal is that he will be by Alina’s side as long as she wants him to be. Always. It’s the only thing that seems real. Alina and him and what they have, what they feel being together. When it’s just them, everything else disappears. Mal may have a thousand doubts, but he and Alina are the only tangible thing, the only thing he clings to. The question is: will it be enough?