A Searing Burst of Light is the first episode of Netflix's Shadow and Bone.[1]

The episode was titled "Hope Is A Lantern At Night" in an earlier draft.[2]


Unwilling to be separated from Mal, Alina hatches a plan to join him on a perilous expedition through the Fold. Kaz chases a lead on a lucrative job.

Plot Summary

Alina Starkov is a cartographer in the First Army in the Kingdom of Ravka. She is working with her friend Mal, with whom she grew up in an orphanage after their parents were killed trying to cross the mysterious, deadly Fold. They’re at war with the Fjerdans and the Shu, who border them to the North and South. The Fold is the only way out for any Ravkan who wants to get out of their homeland. The Fold is a dark wasteland, full of flying murderous monsters. Most who pass through the Fold end up dying.

Alina Starkov and Mal are thrilled when their companies are merged because it means they can spend more time together. However, suddenly Mal is assigned a place on a mission through the Fold to retrieve supplies from Ketterdam. Both Mal and Alina know this likely means certain death, but he promises to return. Alina is furious and desperate at the thought of losing her best friend. In an attempt to join the passage with him, she burns several maps from the opposite side of the Fold, and when her commanding officer asks who did it, she says she doesn’t know — but she volunteers to go on the mission to help redraw them. They agree and send her along with the rest of her cartographer group.

The First Army members and Mal, along with a few Grisha from the Second Army and Alina and her cartographers, all get on the boat. They begin the voyage but suddenly the one light they’re keeping on the boat goes out. One soldier lights a different lantern, which grabs the attention of the flying monsters who swoop in to attack. They kill most of the soldiers on board. Alexei jumps overboard to try and escape. A monster grabs Mal and Alina shoots it to save him, but he is deeply wounded and whispers “I’ll meet you in the meadow.” One of the monsters picks up Alina, and a burst of light shines from her and through the Fold. Meanwhile, Alexei makes his way to Ketterdam and collapses on the shore.

In Ketterdam, a gambler and gunman, Jesper, calls a player out for his counterfeit coins by shooting a hole through one of them. Jesper works for Kaz Brekker along with the “wraith” Inej Ghafa. They live in The Barrel, a seaport town full with brothels, clubs, and cutthroat gangs. Inej tells Kaz about a job from a wealthy merchant named Dreesen, who is looking for a crew to cross through the Fold and bring back something from the other side for a million kruge. Inej tells him Dreesen is taking meetings about the job starting at midnight that night, and she watched as the merchant took someone mysterious back to his home. They hear tell that Dreesen is looking for a Heartrender, and they spring to action to get one before Pekka Rollins, a rival crime lord in the Barrel.

Kaz and his group succeed where Rollins failed, and they deliver Dreesen, a Heartrender, before anyone else. The prisoner Dreesen has taken is Alexei, the cartographer and Alina’s friend. Dreesen uses the Heartrender to sway Alexei into talking about what he saw when the ship was attacked, and he says a Grisha Sun Summoner destroyed the monsters and emitted the light. A Sun Summoner is rumored to be capable of destroying the Fold. Dreesen wants Alina for himself, knowing she is very valuable. He kills Alexei after he delivers that bit of information, then he tells Kaz, Inej, and Jesper that they have the job if they can figure out how to cross the Fold. If they don’t,  he will give the job to Pekka Rollins. Meanwhile, Alina Starkov and Mal have washed ashore back at their camp, on the ruined ship.



Guest Starring


  • Sujaya Dasgupta as Zoya Nazyalensky
  • Kaylan Teague as Young Alina
  • Cody Molko as Young Mal
  • Antonín Mašek as Alexei
  • Elizabeth Rider as Ana Kuya
  • Scott Alexander Young as Big Bolliger
  • Hugo Speer as Lieutenant Bohdan
  • Sean Gilder as Dreesen
  • Genesis Lynea as Natacha
  • Angus Castle-Doughty as Mikhael
  • Kelly Banlaki as Raisa
  • Atanáz Babinchak as Liev
  • Caroline Boulton as Petya
  • Jim High as Sergeant Yure Kuznets
  • Gordon Morris as Line Cook
  • Mark C. Phelan as Gambler
  • Narinder Samra as Rotty
  • Lucy Sheen as Kerch Madame
  • Jason Callender as Zemeni Street Magician
  • Roby Schinasi as Fjerdan Fighter
  • Julia Ubrankovics as Milana
  • Darrel Bailey as Tendo (Stadwatch)
  • Tom Fyans as Male Squaller
  • Dénes Ákos Gere as Lieutenant Ostap
  • David Wurawa as Edyck
  • Roderick Hill as Oncle Bart
  • Harry Baxendale as Forich




  1. Shadow & Bone - Writers Guild of America West. Accessed 29 October 2020.
  2. Pilot script cover
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