Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for Season 2 of Shadow and Bone.
Season 2 of Shadow and Bone answered many questions and resolved many plots. The fate of the Fold, the truth of Morozova’s amplifiers, Mal’s (Archie Renaux) lineage, Kaz’s (Freddy Carter) backstory, and the fate of the Darkling (Ben Barnes) all came to light over the course of the season. But while many questions were answered and quests completed, many more were introduced. With the status quo shift at the end of the season we find ourselves looking to the future of Shadow and Bone with new questions on our minds.
What’s Wrong With Nikolai?
Before Nikolai’s (Patrick Gibson) coronation, we see him struggling to get dressed as he deals with pain from a wound inflicted on him during the fight against General Kirigan’s forces. But we quickly find out this is no ordinary wound. It’s tainted with merzost, the dark magic the Darkling used to make his shadow monsters. And Nikolai even briefly transforms into one himself before regaining control. He’s clearly been infected with the merzost somehow and even with the Darkling gone, his power still somehow has a hold on Nikolai. But will the infection grow? Can Nikolai stop it? Or learn to control it somehow? We’ll have to wait and find out.
Who Is the Apparat and What Does He Want?
We met the Apparat (Kevin Eldon) briefly in Season 1, but didn’t see him again until the very end of Season 2 when he showed up to “advise” Nikolai before his coronation. What he says is advice is a barely veiled threat that he knows Nikolai is a bastard. He’s always had a bit of a shady vibe but his reintroduction signals he’s still keeping a close eye on the Ravkan throne. The role of the Apparat is to be head of the Ravkan church and an advisor to the king. One would think that with the Sun Saint around and the Fold gone he’d be cozying up to the heroes who saved Ravka, but instead he seems to be scheming. What his problem is with Nikolai, and what designs of his own he has in the works will be apparent to anyone who’s read King of Scars, but will the show keep in line with the books or is there more afoot here?
Why Is Jurda Parem So Dangerous?
The end of the season teased a new big threat on the horizon: Jurda parem. It’s a drug that gives Grisha unimaginable amounts of power, and we see it used to kill dozens of people attending Nikolai’s coronation. The research for Jurda parem is in the hands of the Fjerdans who, based on the attack they sent on Nikolai, are utilizing its potential to harm their political enemies. The drug is not only dangerous for those who its power is used against, it also takes a dangerous toll on the health of the Grisha using it. Even one use was devastating, but the drug could wreak much more havoc if it reaches the Grishas at large. We see enough devastation from just one use of it, the true toll it could take if it gets out into the world would be massive. The extent of what those terrible tolls could be, however, remains to be seen.
Can Kaz Overcome His Trauma and Be With Inej?
Season 2 begins to give us more insight on the backstories of the Crows and chief among them is Kaz Brekker (Freddy Carter). Kaz obviously has some capital “T” trauma and a lot of how it manifests in his relationship with skin-to-skin contact. As a result of surviving the plague on a raft of corpses, including that of his own brother, Kaz has become extremely averse to touching others even through his thick gloves. The show has strained and restructured Inej and Kaz’s relationship in many ways, leading them to have a constant struggle of trying and failing to reach out to each other. And this all comes to a head when as he and Inej’s (Amita Suman) budding feelings crescendo into the closest thing to a confession Kaz Brekker can give, he asks Inej to stay. But Inej wants a real relationship, one where she can have him fully, kiss him openly, and Kaz just isn’t ready for that. So she leaves. With the door open for more seasons we can only hope that Kaz will start to finally begin to recover from what he went through and that Inej can find her family so that one day they can find their way back to each other and be together for real. But the question of if they can achieve that is a whole other story.
Will Nina Be Able to Rescue Matthias?
Nina (Danielle Galligan) starts Season 2 looking for a way to free her love, Matthias (Calahan Skogman), from Hellgate prison and that’s exactly how she ends the season as well. Having gotten him a pardon for her efforts to stop the war in Ravka, she went back to Hellgate seeking to free him only to have an imprisoned Pekka Rollins (Dean Lennox Kelly) double cross both her and Matthias. Her plot ends disappointingly with Nina stuck in the same place she was when we found her eight episodes ago. If the Ice Court heist follows a similar trajectory to what it does in the books, Matthias will be sprung free in no time. Still, his fate remains unknown and even if he is freed, the state of his relationship with Nina is forever changed.
What’s the Deal With Wylan’s Backstory?
Season 2 of Shadow and Bone finally introduced us to the sixth and final Crow, Wylan (Jack Wolfe). He’s a demolitions expert, a reluctant collaborator with Kaz, and has a budding romance with sharpshooter Jesper (Kit Young). But we don’t actually know much about him. We get hints that he has a more storied past than he’s letting on. He knows how to play the piano, slips up and mentions he had a tutor, and seems just a bit too sweet to be running around with criminals (though he fits in just fine). He’s a bit of a mystery. Brilliant, but apparently illiterate, there’s clearly more to Wylan than meets the eye. Where did he come from? How did he acquire these skills? And how did he end up working with Kaz Brekker of all people? There are very few things we can actually say we know for sure about Wylan. Hearing his backstory beyond his brief history with Jesper and a few slips of the tongue seems inevitable, but it’ll have to wait for another season.
Will Mal and Alina Find Each Other Again?
In a drastic change from the source material, the defeat of the Darkling actually leads to Alina and Mal going their separate ways. Mal, having found out he’s a Morosova, fears that his attraction to Alina is just another extension of their magical destiny-based connection to one another. So despite their love for each other, he decides to go out into the world without her for a while to see if he can find his way back to her without the magical blood GPS system that had led him to her his entire life. Now, rather than a fairytale ending, Mal and Alina’s relationship remains one giant unanswered question.
Will Inej Find Her Family?
There are many unanswered questions around the Crows, but unlike her compatriots, Inej has left Ketterdam behind. Inej has had a lot on her plate for a while. The Menagerie’s hold over her as one of its “assets” has finally been paid off, and she’s free for the first time in years to do what she wants. With some help from Kaz, who’s been tracking down leads for her, she sets off with Mal (who’s taken up the helm as Sturmhond) to track down slavers and hopefully be reunited with her family. But this fate is still uncertain. She’s closer than ever, but there are no solid leads and with the threat of jurda parem on the horizon, things might get a whole lot worse before they get better. Inej has been looking for her family for years and now that she’s, at least for now, able to dedicate her full attention to it, she may finally have a real shot at finding them.
What Will Happen to the Grisha in This New World Order?
Even with the Darkling gone, the world is not always a kind place to Grisha. There are still many Ravkans who fear them and many Grisha who resent Ravka for the centuries of oppression they’ve faced. But with the Sun Saint still in the public eye and standing side by side with the new Ravkan king, perhaps things are looking brighter in the future. But with the attack on Nikolai’s coronation from a Fjerdan agent, it seems the Grisha will not know peace soon and perhaps face even more scrutiny now than they did while the Darkling reigned.
Why Does Fjerda Want the Researcher for Jurda Parem?
The fate of Grisha in a post-Fold world will be impacted greatly by what Fjerda plans to do with the researcher they have imprisoned. The son of the man who created jurda parem sits in the cells of their Ice Court, supposedly awaiting trial but in the meantime jurda parem has already been used by a Fjerdan agent to attack Ravka. If they simply wanted to eradicate the Grisha-enhancing drug from the world they could have easily done it by killing the researcher’s son, instead they use it to attack their enemies. It seems their sights are set on finding a way to weaponize the drug even if it means they must use the Grisha they despise so much to do it. But what exactly their goals are with jurda parem and the researcher will remain a mystery.
With any luck, we’ll get more time in the Grishaverse in the form of another season of Shadow and Bone or a spin-off. We can look to the books to speculate what will happen in the meantime, but until then these questions will stay unanswered.