Everything You Need to Know Before You Watch Shadow and Bone Season 2

5 minute read

It’s time to return to the Grishaverse and once again face the darkness of the Shadow Fold.

After a nearly two-year-long hiatus, the second season of Shadow and Bone hits Netflix on March 16. All eight episodes of the new season will drop at once, with the premiere picking up shortly after the events of the season 1 finale.

While the show’s first season was based on the first book in Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone trilogy, the second season is adapted from both the second and third installments in the series, Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising, according to showrunners Eric Heisserer and Daegan Fryklind. Season 2 will also once again incorporate characters and plot points from Six of Crows, the debut entry in a subsequent duology from Bardugo set in the same world. That means we’ll be seeing the continuation of Alina (Jessie Mei Li), Mal (Archie Renaux), and the Darkling’s (Ben Barnes) storyline, as well as those of the Crows—Kaz (Freddy Carter), Inej (Amita Suman), Jesper (Kit Young), and new addition Wylan (Jack Wolfe)—and estranged couple Nina (Danielle Galligan) and Matthias (Calahan Skogman).

Here’s what you need to know before you watch season 2.

What to remember from Shadow and Bone season 1

Ben Barnes as General Kirigan in season 2, episode 3 of 'Shadow and Bone'
Ben Barnes as General Kirigan in season 2, episode 3 of Shadow and BoneDávid Lukács—Netflix

In the season 1 finale, Alina wielded her newfound powers as a Sun Summoner to defeat General Kirigan, a.k.a. the Darkling, in battle in the depths of the Fold.

The Darkling had captured Alina after killing Morozova’s stag, an ancient mythical creature whose antlers have the power to amplify Grisha abilities, and cementing a connection between himself and Alina by welding an antler collar around her neck and embedding another piece of antler in his own hand. He then took Alina into the Fold on the pretense of using her powers to destroy the swath of monster-filled darkness, only to reveal that he was actually planning to weaponize the Fold in order to take control of the kingdom of Ravka.

After the Darkling expanded the Fold to swallow up the West Ravkan city of Novokribirsk, it was time for a climactic showdown between the Darkling and his minions and Alina and her allies—Mal, Grisha soldier Zoya (Sujaya Dasgupta), and the Crows. Fortunately, the deceased stag chose that moment to appear to Alina in a vision that helped her realize that the power of the amplifier belongs to the person it chose, not the one who killed it. She then cut the piece of antler from the Darkling’s hand to sever their bond before he was dragged away by a volcra, one of the winged monsters that reside within the Fold. However, the final scene of the season revealed the Darkling was still alive and had managed to make his way out of the Fold accompanied by some menacing new shadow figures.

With Alina believed to be dead by everyone except Mal, Zoya, and the Crows, she and Mal set off on a journey across the True Sea in hopes of recruiting some new allies to her cause before returning to Ravka.

Meanwhile, the Crows were headed back to Ketterdam to deal with the fallout of failing to kidnap Alina and hand her over to Dreesen (Sean Gilder), the wealthy merchant who hired them to do the job. Luckily, Nina and an imprisoned Matthias, who was arrested after Nina claimed he was a slaver in a misguided attempt to keep him out of danger, were also both on board the ship, and Nina just so happened to overhear Kaz saying the Crows would need a Heartrender, a Grisha like Nina who can manipulate human bodies, to help with their new plan.

What to expect in Shadow and Bone season 2

Shadow and Bone. (L to R) Danielle Galligan as Nina Zenik, Freddy Carter as Kaz Brekker, Amita Suman as Inej Ghafa, Kit Young as Jesper Fahey, Jack Wolfe as Wylan in episode 201 of Shadow and Bone. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022
(L to R) Danielle Galligan as Nina Zenik, Freddy Carter as Kaz Brekker, Amita Suman as Inej Ghafa, Kit Young as Jesper Fahey, Jack Wolfe as Wylan in season 2, episode 1 of Shadow and BoneNetflix

The second season of Shadow and Bone will see the Darkling emerge from his near-death experience in the Fold with a terrifying new power, the ability to create and control shadow monsters known as nichevo’ya using merzost, the power of creation. In the first season, we learned that the Darkling and the Black Heretic, the legendary Grisha who accidentally created the Fold using merzost, are one and the same. Merzost is considered an abomination by most Grisha as it goes against the Small Science, the idea that matter cannot be created, only manipulated or changed.

Across the world, Alina and Mal will be on the hunt for Morozova’s other two amplifiers, the sea whip and the firebird, as they try to figure out where their relationship stands. “They’re certainly not in the same place as they were in season 1,” Heisserer tole Entertainment Weekly. “They’ve made some pretty big decisions together that they soon discover means they’re all or nothing, and that puts a lot of stress on each other.”

Along the way, they’ll team up with some familiar faces from the books, including the privateer Sturmhond (Patrick Gibson)—the alter ego of Prince Nikolai Lantsov, the second son of the king and queen of Ravka—and twin Heartrender soldiers Tamar (Anna Leong Brophy) and Tolya (Lewis Tan).

In Ketterdam, the Crows will be up against it dealing with Dreesen, rival gang leader Pekka Rollins (Dean Lennox Kelly), and the owner of the Menagerie brothel Heleen (Deirdre Mullins), while Nina attempts to find a way to get Matthias out of the notorious Hellgate prison. Heisserer told Entertainment Weekly that the Crows’ storyline will still be set before the events of Six of Crows, which means we won’t be seeing the group break into the neighboring kingdom of Fjerda’s impenetrable Ice Court—yet.

“That is a beefy and robust story that requires its own lane,” he said. “We have a bigger ambition for it.”

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Write to Megan McCluskey at megan.mccluskey@time.com