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. Time for Shadow and Bone 2×03 “Like Calls to Like!” In this episode, Nikolai reveals the truth about his identity and it’s time to analyze what this means for both his future and his relationship with Alina. Ready?
Here we go!
The Prince Ravka Deserves Revealed Himself in Shadow and Bone 2×03 “Like Calls to Like”
In Shadow and Bone 2×03 “Like Calls to Like” we learn Nikolai’s true identity. He is not only the cunning and charming corsair Sturmhond, but he is the prince of Ravka. And this has consequences beyond Alina’s punch — by the way, nice right jab!
Nikolai fights for Ravka and has been fighting for his country ever since he hired the Crows to get his hands on Alina. But, beyond that, Nikolai fights for equality and freedom. He fights for a united and free people. That inevitably unites him with Alina, because she fights for the same goal.
In Shadow and Bone 2×03 “Like Calls to Like,” we see that Nikolai doesn’t see the Grisha as a threat, he sees them as allies. And he understands that a country that discriminates between Grisha and non-Grisha is a weak country. Because Sturmhond dealt with many types of people, he fought side by side with them and learned about other cultures and customs beyond Ravka.
Nikolai didn’t want to stay in that golden cage designed for him as the prince of Ravka, Nikolai decided to live his life, make his own decisions and get to know the world for real, without limiting himself to what his family wanted to show him, nor letting himself be ruled other people’s prejudices.
This allowed Nikolai to understand that people are not good or bad depending on whether they are Grisha or not, or whether they are from a certain place. He sees the humanity in all of them and Shadow and Bone 2×03 “Like Calls to Like” we see that he fights for everyone to have a good life. Nikolai cares about Ravka and his people.
Unwanted Family Ties
But he is the only one in the royal family who has this worldview and wants to correct his mistakes. His brother, the King, has always hated the Grisha and Aleksander’s latest move with the fold gives him the perfect excuse to mercilessly annihilate them, like we saw at the beginning of the season.
He’s caught between fear and envy. He is envious of what they are capable of doing and fearful of what that might mean for his privileges and position. But Nikolai cares about his country or its people. So Shadow and Bone 2×03 “Like Calls to Like” proves that Nikolai is the King that Ravka deserves.
Alina and Nikolai are the Perfect Combo in Shadow and Bone 2×03 “Like Calls to Like”
Nikolai’s thirst for adventure, his eagerness to meet and embrace new things, and the way he sees and fights for Ravka’s future bring him close to Alina in ways neither of them expected in Shadow and Bone 2×03 “Like Calls to Like.” As we discussed earlier, Ravka’s vision of Nikolai is the same as Alina’s.
She doesn’t want a divided Ravka, not even a division between Grisha. Alina wishes to unify Ravka, to fix what the Darkling destroyed it all those years ago. Both fight for a common goal that brings them closer because no one else has Ravka’s future in mind.
Aleksander wants to bring the country — and the world — under his yoke. And Mal… he would be happy if everything continued as it was before and he could get lost with Alina in a remote place where no one would find them. Ravka’s future is not a priority for him, not like it is for Alina and Nikolai.
But, beyond that, in Shadow and Bone 2×03 “Like Calls to Like” we see Alina and Nikolai are united by something else. Both carry the weight of power on their backs. The two understand the responsibility that comes with running a kingdom and trying to save it. The sacrifice that this entails… and how dangerous it is to fall into that maelstrom of power and want more and more until you lose yourself.
Alina and Nikolai are destined to save Ravka and lead the country through its new challenges. And they want to do it, despite the sacrifices it may entail. For them, it’s worth it.
Finding Yourself is the Key
Nikolai and Alina are alike in that they never felt quite at ease. Something was always missing. Alina was a cartographer but she didn’t feel like that was all she was meant to be. And Nikolai was a prince but he felt trapped in a gilded cage because of that role while being constantly reminded that he was not a rightful heir. So both of them, in the back of their minds, were wondering “who am I?”
Until, as we discover in Shadow and Bone 2×03 “Like Calls to Like” they both found a purpose. Sturmhond gave Nikolai the freedom he craved and the knowledge he needed to fight for Ravka. While discovering her power gives Alina another perspective on herself and her destiny.
Nikolai and Alina are destined to be leaders, and even though they have to pay a heavy price for it, they both feel that they have found their place in the world and that they are right where they need to be.
And, while this brings Alina and Nikolai closer together, we feel that it separates her a little more from Mal. As we discussed before, Shadow and Bone 2×03 “Like Calls to Like” once again points out that Mal would be happy just living a normal life with Alina, he doesn’t need anything else. Mal doesn’t quite understand this magical part of Alina that made her become a leader.
He doesn’t even know when it happened when his cartographer friend became the Sun Summoner and the leader of Ravka’s second army. However, Nikolai does understand that part of Alina and not only supports it… but he shares it. And Alina feels a little less alone.