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Are we finally heading to the Ice Court?!
[Warning: The following contains spoilers for Season 2 of Shadow & Bone. Read at your own risk!]
Holy Jurda Purem, so much happened in Season 2 of Shadow & Bone! The second season of the Netflix young-adult fantasy series not only combined the last two books of the Shadow & Bone novel series, but also added in a heaping bit of plot from Crooked Kingdom, the second book in the Six of Crows sequel duology. Three books in one season means a lot of action and a lot of questions about what comes next if Netflix moves forward with another season of the show.
The finale included not only the death of The Darkling (Ben Barnes), but also big teases of what's to come in Ravka and for the Crows. Nikolai (Patrick Gibson) was crowned king, but his decision to hold the coronation on a Fjerdan holy holiday immediately came back to haunt him as the northern nation sent a heartrender hopped up on Jurda Purem – an addictive synthetic drug that hypes up a Grisha's powers exponentially – to kill everyone at the coronation. The heartrender was nearly successful until Alina (Jessie Mei Li) used The Cut to stop the bloodshed, only to find out the Sun Summoner has now been cursed with shadow powers.
"At the end of Season 2, Alina dabbles in a little bit of naughty merzost behavior," Li told TV Guide. "As we know, there is a cost to using merzost. In the final scene, we see Alina doing The Cut and she's obviously shocked to see it was a shadow rather than her usual light. It'll be really interesting to see where that goes and see how using the merzost would affect someone like Alina."
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In the books, Alina loses her powers after destroying The Fold, killing The Darkling, and saving Mal (Archie Renaux). She and her soulmate retire to an anonymous, quiet, life in the country afterward, but executive producer and co-showrunner Eric Heisserer said that ending wouldn't work for his future Shadow and Bone plans. The show doesn't want to lose Alina as a character, or Li as an actress, and instead, they have gifted her with shadow powers. Meanwhile, Nikolai is also infected with nichevo'ya (The Darkling's shadow demons), leaving the two beacons of hope trying to revitalize a fledgling reunited Ravka while sharing the powers of the man who almost destroyed the country. It will not be easy! And with a literal piece of The Darkling now living in Nikolai, we may not have seen the last of the Shadow Summoner.
On the other side of the map, the Six of Crows ended the season preparing for the most difficult heist they've ever attempted. While Kaz (Freddy Carter) doesn't spell out the mission explicitly, book readers already know they are setting up to rob the Ice Court to find the creator of Jurda Purem – which is the central part of the first Six of Crows novel. If Heisserer gets his way, the Six of Crows will get their own season in order to pull off the ambitious storyline.
"We were all aware that the Six of Crows storyline needed its own real estate. It's ambitious, and it covers a lot of ground. It also gave us a better spotlight for all the characters by themselves and to let them have the elbow room for that," he explained. "They needed to have their own season, just as the Shadow and Bone characters have now grown, so that family is larger. For us to do justice to those characters, they should have, you know, an independent season as well. So the plan that I would love [to] go forward is that you have a standalone Six of Crows [spin-off] and a standalone Season 3 for Shadow and Bone."
Netflix has not confirmed a Shadow & Bone Season 3, or a Crows spin-off, but there is still much to unpack from the final episodes of Season 2. Here's what else Heisserer had to say about Season 2 and what it means for the future of Netflix's Grishaverse.
Eric Heisserer: It allows us to explore King of Scars in the next season. That allows us to put Nikolai in a similar, vulnerable position as Alina in that these two new superpowers in charge of Ravka, in charge of Grisha have some stigma attached to their new power set. That will be a very bitter pill to swallow for a number of people who've been following them up until then. I feel like that's a great recipe for drama and conflict and so they're gonna get a good [handful] of that in the next season.
Heisserer: So much of what goes on in the [writers] room is, you know, people who have come from different walks of life, who have a uniting, love these books, these characters, and they are attached to different moments or different aspects of certain characters. There was enough emotional connection to Genya's trauma and her ability to process that, that it felt like a worthy beast to have this moment of closure for her, considering that she doesn't get that kind of closure with David per se.
Heisserer: So much of what he told her was the truth. He was quite honest with her about the price of power and about what was going to happen to her. I think she's going to realize that the things that he prophesized about her are likely to come true.
Heisserer: He needs to figure out his identity and be comfortable in that. He has relied on a role that he felt sort of destined for and now he needs to create his own destiny for his own path. Once he knows that, I think he's going to be comfortable returning to Alina and rekindling that relationship. It's what RuPaul says like, "If you can't love yourself..."
Heisserer: We already know how to solve all this. It's been put down in the script form, but she obviously returns. She's an integral part. She's one of the six Crows and so we don't get very far into that storyline before she returns, but how she returns and what her frame of mind is, and what still exists between her and Kaz we get to explore and mine the depths of that.
Heisserer: I am a Kanej shipper, self-described that a number of times, and I'll tell you that I am still looking forward to the evolution of that. We can't end on that happy note yet but it definitely is a direction that we're hoping to go.
Heisserer: I would say he doesn't want to admit that he loves her. He wants to believe that he hates her and he will be in that exact emotional state when they find him an alligator and break him out.
Heisserer: One of the few happy functioning partnerships or relationships that we have in the show right now! You know, they are a fairly happy couple but there will be new trauma for them to process, both separately and together, moving into the next season or into their own storyline.
Shadow & Bone Season 2 is now streaming on Netflix.