2 months ago

Shadow and Bone: A decent Netflix series struggling with multiple storylines

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When the first season of Shadow & Bone was released in 2021, it was widely acclaimed. Adapted from the novel series Grishaverse by Leigh Bardugo, the show juggles multiple storylines from the Shadow and Bone trilogy and the Six of Crows duology, which happen to be in the same universe. 

Fantasy shows are generally all about good vs evil, but this Netflix-adapted show is different: characters of diverse personalities, political commentary in parallel to the real world and so on.

The first season was a huge success, and the audience loved the continuous tension between Alina Starkov and her allies and General Kirigan, aka the Darkling, for control of the fold, which divides Alina's nation Ravka. 

Apparently, Alina and Co. win in the end, but in the very last scene, Darkling survives the treacherous fold. Thus, the second season met high anticipation: how would Darkling retaliate? What are the new challenges for Alina as the Sun Summoner and the only hope for uniting Ravka? On the 16th of March, the new season was finally released.

As Alina and Darkling are seen to be together before the fold expands and kills all inhabitants nearby, she is considered an enemy to the Ravkans. 

Because of Darkling's deeds in the past, the people of Ravka are now persecuting every Grisha (the magic users) they can find. Alina is on the run while still finding a way to destroy the fold and defeat Darkling once and for all. But she isn't alone; she's got her childhood sweetheart Mal by her side.

To seek a way to destroy the fold, the duo travels across the Grisha universe, finds many allies and reunites with old friends. But Darkling isn't sitting ducks; he is haunting Alina continuously in her dreams and manipulating her to achieve his hideous goals. With the help of her allies, how will Alina defeat Darkling and his army of shadows? These eight episodes of the second season will tell.

Besides Alina's storyline, the second season depicts the story of the Crows since the first season. The Crows from Ketterdam allied with Alina a few times, but they have their own story. 

The audience will now know about the origin stories of Kaz, Inej, and Jasper, who are still fighting their personal demons while also banding together to defeat their archnemesis, the Barrel boss Pekka Rollins. Even though Pekka gets defeated, he still pulls strings from prison, like the Kingpin from Daredevil.

Shadow and Bone has diversified plots and colourful stories of the characters, but its biggest weakness is the ambition of merging different storylines. 

The second season draws its plot from three novels: Siege & StormRuin & Rising, and Six of Crows. But in the process, the characters get less screen time and have less chance of development throughout the plot.

For example, in the first season, the audience watches the love story of Fjerdan Grisha-hunter Matthias and Ravkan spy Nina. Still, their story is massively underdeveloped and almost excluded in the second season. The show includes more and more characters while not allowing the existing ones to be developed. This must be improved in the next season.

Season 2 of Shadow and Bones has an intriguing story but less room for character development. The season finale shows some big plot twists and a major cliffhanger at the end. How will Alina lead the united Ravka? Who is the new enemy? Season three will tell.

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