The fate of the stag leaves Alina in an impossible position with Kirigan, whose connection to the Fold—and the power behind it—falls into place.
In a flashback, we see the creation of the Fold. The King was rounding up Grisha and killing them, and Aleksander was on the run. He stops at the home of Luda, his lover, and prepares to flee together with her. However, the King’s soldiers arrive and demand the Darkling be taken captive. Aleksander goes outside and confronts them; he is shot by several arrows, but Luda heals him from inside the house. The soldiers remove Luda from the house and kill her in front of Aleksander. Enraged, he breaks his restraints and beheads the entire company with the Cut.
He carries Luda to a Grisha hideout, where she dies. Baghra tells Aleksander that in using his powers to win a war for the King, he made the King afraid of Grisha and started a war on their people. Baghra tells her son to flee to Kerch and return when the King is dead. Instead, Aleksander researches merzost, even though Baghra forbids him to do so. When another company of soldiers demands he surrender to the King, he uses merzost to force the soldiers to serve him, turning them into volcra. However, the power is unstable, and he creates the Shadow Fold.
In the present timeline, Alina and Mal find the stag, but Alina cannot bring herself to kill it. She touches it and her powers glow, but suddenly Kirigan's soldiers shoot both the stag and Mal. Kirigan shows himself and offers Alina a choice—if she allows him to kill the stag, he will get Mal to a Healer. Mal begs Alina to forget about him and kill the stag, but Alina refuses to let Mal die. She accepts Kirigan's deal; and with one deadly cut, Kirigan kills the stag.
David Kostyk uses the stag's antlers to create two amplifiers—one for Kirigan, and a collar for Alina. Once bonded through the amplifier, Kirigan can control Alina's powers, giving him control over both the light and the darkness. They all travel back to the First Army camp by the Fold. In a Grisha tent, Alina meets Genya, who tells her that the King fell ill, the Apparat is now ruling in his stead, and the Queen is confined to her quarters. Alina realizes that Genya was a spy for Kirigan, not her friend, and hid Mal’s letters from her. Alina is furious because she trusted Genya.
Kirigan goes to Mal in the tent where he is being held, and they discuss Alina. Later, Mal manages to break free of his shackles and escape. The next morning, Kirigan learns of Mal's escape from Ivan; however, he tells Alina that Mal is still being safely kept. He warns her that if she attempts to oppose him, he will hurt Mal. Kirigan orders Ivan and the guards to kill Mal if he returns anywhere near Alina.
The Crows make plans to return to Ketterdam. However, Inej now has a shot at freedom and doesn’t want to go back to the Menagerie. That leads her and Kaz to have a heart-to-heart that night by a fire, where he tells her she was right about Alina. That doesn’t mean he has faith in her Saints, though. “I have faith in myself,” he says, “and you, and Jesper.” He promises Inej that if she comes back to Ketterdam, she will not return to Tante Heleen.
Kaz’s new plan is to cross the Fold by sneaking on to Kirigan’s ship, as he’s heard the general plans to cross the next day. Inej sees right through it and asks Kaz if he’s just trying to get Alina again, and that million kruge. “So, all you want is to cross the Fold?” she asks him. Kaz nods, and it seems that’s settled.
They find themselves some new clothes, and papers, and get themselves onto the skiff. Mal also sneaks onto the skiff, and Alina and Kirigan board as well.
- 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
- Sujaya Dasgupta as Zoya
- Gareth Turkington as Feliks
- Mark Springer as Zemeni Ambassador
- Luke Kaile as Vanya
- Lucy Griffiths as Luda
- Steven Hartley as Commander Chalikov
- James De'Val as Ravkan Hunter
- Muki Zubis as Tidemaker
- James Hillier as Captain Churik
- See more here
- The Unsea refers to the Shadow Fold.
- Shadow & Bone - Writers Guild of America West. Accessed 29 October 2020.