Alina’s bond with Kirigan grows as royal guests gather for her unveiling. Mal carries news about the stag. Kaz’s scheme hinges on a hidden door.
Alina is adjusting to life at the Little Palace, talking with Marie and Nadia, but she is still sad that all of her letters to Mal have gone unanswered. She has become good friends with Genya, who helps her get ready for the Winter Fete. Alina notices the festival outside reminds her of Butter Week in Keramzin, and she encourages Genya to let her go and see the festivities.
Kaz, disguised in a guard's uniform, monitors the route Alina will walk later that night after her performance. Jesper and Inej have gained entry into the palace by posing as performers for the fete. Jesper finds horses that can get their carriage out quickly, and Inej practices her acrobatic routine. Outside, Jesper notices Genya call Alina's name. He realizes she is Alina Starkov, their target. In a carriage, Kaz outlines their plan: the Conductor will retrieve Alina from the secret room, and the Crows will provide cover on the way out.
Alina goes to see General Kirigan. They talk about her upcoming performance, and she admits that she’d felt nervous until she realized what the demonstration means to the people. She wants to be able to give them hope, and Kirigan says that means a lot to him. Alina kisses him and when she pulls away, they’re both smiling.
Alina attends the fete wearing Kirigan's colors: a black kefta embroidered with gold trim. Though she is supposed to enter later, Alina sees Kirigan suffering through a dull conversation with the king and enters the main room early. Kirigan darkens the room so Alina can put on a show for the audience, leaving everybody awestruck with dazzling lights and glowing orbs. The whole crowd bows to her and calls her “Sankta Alina”.
Meanwhile, Mal stumbles his way back to the First Army camp, claiming to have found the stag. He demands he be allowed to deliver the news to Kirigan so he can see Alina. The First Army general agrees and sends Mal and another soldier to ride to the palace together. Mal tells the palace guards he found the stag, which admits him to Kirigan’s quarters. Kirigan asks Mal to show him where the stag was on a map, but Mal refuses to give the exact location until he can see Alina. Reluctantly, Kirigan agrees to let him meet her later.
The Conductor enters the secret room where Alina is kept. Instead of kidnapping her, however, he slits her throat, revealing his allegiance with West Ravkan General Zlatan. It turns out that Alina was a decoy—Marie tailored to look like Alina—and Kaz set up the plan to get the Conductor caught. Genya fights off the Conductor and restores Marie's features as she dies. Dressed as guards, Kaz and Inej tell Alina they will escort her to dinner, but Kirigan interrupts and offers to take Alina to dinner.
A female palace guard goes to Baghra and informs her that Mal has found the stag and told Kirigan. Baghra does not want Kirigan to have such power, and has the guard bring Mal to her hut. The guard reveals herself to be a Durast and attempts to kill Mal, but he kills her instead.
Kirigan takes Alina to his chambers, where they kiss passionately until Ivan knocks at the door, interrupting them. Ivan tells Kirigan about the attempt on Alina's life; Kirigan tells Alina he will be right back. Baghra enters the room through a secret passageway and tells her she wants to protect Alina from Kirigan. She says that Kirigan wants to use Alina’s power to expand the Fold and weaponize it because he is really the Black Heretic. Baghra reveals herself as a Shadow Summoner and Kirigan’s mother. In truth, Kirigan turned hundreds of innocent people into volcra when he created the Fold. Kirigan has spent centuries waiting for the Sun Summoner and obsessed with finding the stag so he can have its amplifying power. Baghra explains a secret way out of the palace for Alina, directing her to Grisha who are loyal to Baghra. Unwilling to yet again do what someone else tells her to do, Alina decides to take a different path instead.
Kirigan meets Baghra outside the palace. She tells him she has “disposed of” the tracker, so his greed for the stag will go unsatisfied. She also says he will never be able to use Alina against anyone, to which Kirigan snaps that Alina is the future and threatens Baghra if she has put Alina in harm's way. Secretly, Mal listens in.
Kaz is followed and nearly killed by an Inferni. Inej saves his life, throwing a knife across the room and into the Inferni's head. She is shocked and full of regret for killing someone, but Kaz emphasizes that she saved his life. They leave the Little Palace without Alina. Jesper has been waiting by a carriage and is awestruck when Alina, unaware that anyone is watching, voluntarily climbs into the back of the carriage he had commandeered. Kaz and Inej make it outside and tell Jesper they’ve lost their target but Jesper grins, knowing otherwise.
- Jessie Mei Li as Alina Starkov
- Ben Barnes as General Kirigan
- Archie Renaux as Malyen Oretsev
- Freddy Carter as Kaz Brekker
- Amita Suman as Inej Ghafa
- Kit Young as Jesper Fahey
- Zoë Wanamaker as Baghra
- Simon Sears as Ivan
- Daisy Head as Genya Safin
- Luke Pasqualino as David Kostyk
- Kevin Eldon as The Apparat
- Sujaya Dasgupta as Zoya Nazyalensky
- Howard Charles as Arken Visser
- Hugo Speer as Lieutenant Bohdan
- Jesse Badger as Dima
- Julian Kostov as Fedyor Kaminsky
- David Verrey as King Pyotr
- Georgia Reece as Queen Tatiana
- George Parker as Prince Vasily
- Jasmine Blackborow as Marie
- Pedro Llyod Gardiner as Marko
- Pedro Lloyd Gardiner is incorrectly listed as "Pedro Llyod Gardiner" in the end credits.
- Shadow & Bone - Writers Guild of America West. Accessed 29 October 2020.