Netflix’s fantasy series ‘Shadow and Bone’ is based on two sets of books by Israeli-American author Leigh Bardugo: the ‘Shadow and Bone’ trilogy and the ‘Six of Crows’ duology. Collectively known as the ‘Grisha’ universe, the books, and by extension, the show, depicts a world where various countries, languages, traditions, and cultures have real-world counterparts. The phrase “Grisha” refers to a group of people who can control matter in its fundamental form. It’s not necessarily magic — because that’s an entirely separate thing — but the manifestation of what is referred to as the Small Science.
If the first season introduced the characters, the expansive narrative, and the rich and complex lore, the second season fleshes out each of those aspects of the show. As it is revealed that both the Darkling (Ben Barnes) and Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li) have survived, the Ravkan Grisha are forced to make a choice between them. Meanwhile, in Hellgate, a Kerch prison situated on the island of Terrenjel near Ketterdam, Matthias Helvar (Calahan Skogman) lets his anger drowns all his other emotions, believing that Nina Zenik (Danielle Galligan) has betrayed him, whereas the woman in question helps the Crows in their revenge against Pekka Rollins. Here is what you need to know about the ending of ‘Shadow and Bone’ Season 2. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Shadow and Bone Season 2 Recap
The second season begins with Alina and Malyen “Mal” Oretsev (Archie Renaux) on the run. The world believes that Alina is one of the reasons why the Fold is rapidly growing for the first time since its creation several hundred years ago. Mal has been branded a deserter and the First Army is searching for him so they can initiate a court martial process.
Meanwhile, the Crows return to Ketterdam to discover that they are wanted criminals facing charges for — among other things — the murder of Tante Heleen, the owner of The Menagerie. It doesn’t take long for Kaz Brekker (Freddy Carter) to deduce that Pekka Rollins (Dean Lennox Kelly) is behind this. Kaz soon discovers that his bitter rival has also taken over the Crow club. The local police grab him and Jesper Fahey (Kit Young) and bring them to Dreesan, to whom the Crows supposedly owe one million kruge. But Kaz figures out that it isn’t Dreesan’s money and that someone else has been pulling the strings from the shadows.
This is how Kaz and Jesper meet the man claiming to be Privateer Sturmhond (Patrick Gibson). Realizing that Sturmhond has figured out most of it, Kaz reveals that Alina was heading toward the nation of Novyi Zem. He hopes that Sturmhond will let him keep the royal jewelry that Alina gave him. However, Sturmhond takes the jewelry, leaving money for Kaz in its place.
In Novyi Zem, Mal and Alina encounter First Army soldiers and succeed in evading capture until boarding an independent ship, which is revealed to be owned by Sturmhond. Alina seemingly convinces him to help her find the Sea Whip, the second amplifier created by Ilya Morozova. With Mal serving as the navigator, they quickly find the creature, and Alina has to kill it to protect Mal. However, even with the power of two amplifiers, she fails to take down the Fold and realizes they need the third amplifier, the Firebird. Shortly after, Alina and Mal learn that Sturmhond is Nikolai Lantsov, the second son of King Pyotr the Third.
In Ketterdam, The Crows recruit two new members: Wylan Hendriks (Jack Wolfe), Kaz’s demolition expert, and Heartrender Nina Zenik. It turns out that Wylan already knows Jesper, and a relationship starts to develop between the two, while Nina becomes a Crow for a chance to free Matthias, who has been sent to Hellgate prison because Nina accused him of being a slaver.
Alina eventually finds out that the Darkling is alive. In order to take down his shadow creatures or the Nichevo’ya, Nikolai recruits the Crows to find the legendary blade Neshyenyer. Throughout the season, the narrative often shifts back into the past to depict Kaz’s harrowing youth and why he seeks revenge against Rollins. In Ravka, following the death of his brother in a Nichevo’ya attack, Nikolai assumes the kingship of the country.
In the season finale, the heroes team up to stop the Darkling and his group of renegade Grisha. The Crows ensure that Rollins is arrested and sent to Hellgate, where he earns Matthias’ ire by killing a man that the former Fjerdan Drüskelle has grown close to and trying to force him to fight a pair of wolves, which are sacred in his religion.
Shadow and Bone Season 2 Ending: Is Kirigan/ the Darkling Dead? Will He Ever Come Back?
It’s Baghra (Zoë Wanamaker) who first realizes that there is a Small Science explanation for why Mal has been able to find Morozova’s amplifiers so accurately — he is an amplifier himself; he is the Firebird. Centuries earlier, Baghra accidentally killed her sister using the Cut, a rare Grisha ability that can be used to bisect a target, but Morozova brought her back using Merzost, which effectively made her an amplifier. This ability was passed down through generations until Mal.
In the climactic battle of the season, the Darkling and Alina attack each other with the Cut. Although Alina succeeds in overpowering the Darkling and fatally hurting him, the latter also severely injures Mal. Realizing he is dying, Mal urges Alina to kill him and use his amplifying powers before that happens. She reluctantly does so, which results in the destruction of the Shadow Fold.
As the Darkling dies after Alina stabs him with the Neshyenyer, he warns Alina to ensure nothing is left of him. Because of this, Alina orders him to be cremated, but as his body is burned, pieces of him catch the wind and are blown away.
In the books, Elizaveta, or Sankta Lizabeta of the Roses, swaps the Darkling’s body before it is burned, hoping to revive him later. Lizabeta convinces Zoya Nazyalensky (Sujaya Dasgupta) to perform a ritual that brings the Darkling back. Realizing her mistake, Zoya burns the Darkling’s body, but his spirit succeeds in escaping and finds a vessel in Yuri Vedenen, a devoted follower of the Darkling. It seems that the show will likely skip the Lizabeta part and directly jump to Yuri Vedenen in the prospective next season.
How Did Alina Bring Mal Back to Life?
Mal’s sacrifice enables Alina to take down the Fold, but she is not ready to let go of him. Just as Morozova did several centuries earlier with his daughter, Alina brings Mal back to life with Merzost. Nina seems to realize what she has done and is unsettled by it.
In the books, Tolya and Tamar Kir-Bataar bring Mal back using their Heartrender skills. This wouldn’t have been possible under normal circumstances. But Mal is an amplifier and has two lives. So, even though one is gone, he can continue living. However, he loses his ability to track after this.
Merzost always requires a steep price. Baghra, while she was alive, warned Alina of this when the latter proposed the idea of creating light Nichevo’ya. We don’t yet know what price Alina will have to pay. Her hair turns white when she performs Merzost in the books, but that doesn’t happen in the show, keeping the possibility open that Mal has been resurrected because of his two lives.
Alina does pay a price for reviving Mal, and it’s ironically Mal himself. After his resurrection, Mal is an ordinary man and doesn’t feel the connection he has always felt with Alina. There is also a growing closeness between Alina and Nikolai. As the season ends, Mal agrees to pretend to be Sturmhond and departs with the Kir-Bataar siblings.
What Happens to David? Is He Dead?
David Kostyk (Luke Pasqualino) is an important supporting character in the series. In season 2, he seemingly becomes one of the casualties of the war. When the Nichevo’ya attacks, he places Genya Safin (Daisy Head) inside a dumbwaiter and seals its door shut with his Durast abilities before turning to face the shadow creature. After the battle, Genya returns to the room and spots the blood splattered on the wall, which leads her to deduce that David is dead.
Genya later finds a ruby and a sketch of a ring among David’s things and realizes that David plans to propose to her. In the books, Fjerda attacks Os Kervo during David and Genya’s wedding, killing the former. So, it’s safe to state that David’s death was inevitable. The series writers have taken significant liberty in season 2, and it seems David’s storyline is part of that.
Read More: Shadow and Bone: Map, Kingdoms and Geography, Explained