The second episode begins with a flashback to Alina and Mal’s time in the orphanage in Keremzin. One of the confident kids is telling the younger ones what happens when the people from the Little Palace come to test children to see if any are Grisha. Through his tale the audience learn that they don’t do the test if the child in question is sick or injured, as it skews the result. Alina is woken from her slumber and is immediately confused, not fully remembering what had occurred, other than that Mal was injured. But hears the Heartrender who fixes her broken collarbone told to bring her to the General’s tent. In Ketterdam, Kaz is attempting to figure out a way to succeed in the Crow’s latest ploy.
We finally meet the Shadow Summoner. Ben Barnes plays General Kirigan, the most powerful Grisha in the land, and the man who controls the Second Army. When asked what she is, Alina still not realising that she is Grisha let alone a Sun Summoner, answers that she’s a cartographer, a map maker. Thinking she’s simply hiding her knowledge of her powers, the General makes certain, using a ring that cuts into the arm of the one being tested and releases a glimpse of whatever power lurks beneath. To Alina’s complete surprise, sunlight bursts forth from her skin.
Kaz faces the wrath of Pekka Rollins (Resident badass and a foe to be reckoned with) after having taken the job from Dreeson and commandeered a Heartrender for the job across The Fold. In not-so-polite terms he’s told to give up the job, but Mr. Brekker is never one to roll over on an opportunity. Through some watchful assessing, he finds a woman who has clearly crossed the Fold in secret and acquires the knowledge of how to do exactly that. Leading us to The Conductor.
Alina is taken away in a coach to the Little Palace, against her will. She tries to see Mal before she leaves but only manages to see him through a window. In her journey Alina learns exactly what her existence means for humans, Grisha and for the plight that had taken grips of the land. She is “a myth, come to life.” Before said carriage comes under attack. The entire travelling party is hit with heavy fire, and are quickly outnumbered. One of the Druskelle nearly succeeds in killing Alina, before the General arrives. Using a move that takes incredible power and skill to execute, the Cut.
Horrified, Alina asks how exactly he sliced a man in half from more than a dozen paces away? Wryly, he responds “Would you rather I’d used a sword?” – Very fair. Whats interesting in Kirigan’s character so far is the ease he exudes in all circumstances, appearing as if nothing would ruffle his proverbial feathers. Whilst talking to Alina during a momentary break from the ride to the palace. Kirigan again asks her if she was tested as a child.
Alina – We hid, we were different enough already, didn’t want to be even more alone.
Kirigan – You are Grisha. You are not alone.
Quickly able to deduce that with her being part Shu and an orphan, a place to belong and to never be alone are things that this soul must have been craving her entire life. His ability to capture ones true longing and reassure whilst also invading her personal space is an artform, of which he balances along the line between both rather perfectly. Mal stomps through to the Commanders tents and demands that they go after Alina. The whole company should be her escort. He’s enraged when the Commander says, “She’s not our problem.” He responds, until a few hours ago, she was one of our own, and that she is very much, worth it. Inej finds the so-called Conductor, Kaz stops her before she kills him as he is their way across the Fold.
Alina and General Kirigan arrive at the Little Palace and she’s escorted to her rooms, but not before asking, if she is a prisoner here. Kirigan, well-schooled in manipulation responds, “All of Ravka is, until you and I banish the Fold.” No pressure then. Alone in her rooms, Alina allows herself to feel everything that’s happened to her in the past twenty-four hours. Even separated by miles and miles of ground, the orphans of Keramzin go to sleep, thinking only of each other.