We dive headfirst into this week’s episode with the Conductor being questioned by the Darkling. He initially attempts to lie and say he is a simple entertainer. Once discovering that the man in question is the Conductor who had secretly been shipping Grisha in and out. The Darkling very astutely realizes that he had initially been working with the three thieves (The Crows) and then went on to sell his loyalty to a certain West Ravkan. Instead of splitting a million Kruger four-ways to kidnap the Sun Summoner, he could get the same money all to himself, if he killed her.
Alina meanwhile has been hidden away in a trunk on the back of the carriage, after using her powers to escape the trunk she hid herself in, she lifts up the lid to find Inej, Jesper and Kaz waiting for her. They offer her safe passage through the Fold in order to get back to her and their home. But obviously, the Crows were not going to let her leave. After Kaz tells her as much, Alina fires off some shots of her power, but Inej quickly dispels them, being a Grisha herself. But then, interestingly, she raises her hands up in surrender. Before bowing slightly, showing her deference to the Sun Summoner. Alina notes this, before dashing away.
Nina and Matthias find themselves in a highly peculiar situation, the ship that was carrying them endures a shipwreck. Nina wakes him up and they work together in order to make it to the shore. They find a whaler’s hut and settle down for the night, having to strip down and cuddle in order to not freeze from hypothermia… of course, leading the viewers towards the only logical conclusion, the lion falls in love with the lamb. The Witch Hunter and the witch might just stroll down the very same path. Later on whilst walking towards the direction that they hope will lead them to a town. Matthias even admits, however grudgingly, initially, that he does actually like her. Because of what she is, how she is the opposite of the women he knew in Fjerda, brash and loud, strong and forward. And when a piece of land falls through, the option for him to let her die presents itself – but he decides against it and saves her.
Alina makes her way to the woods to hide from the Darklings cronies who are searching high and low for her. Much to our delight, Mal finds her in the woods and brings her away to safety. However thrilled she initially is to see him, once they are at a safe distance, she confronts him about having not heard a single thing from him. She was thinking that he had gotten all her letters and he hadn’t bothered to respond. Mal thinking the exact same but in reverse. They quickly realize that neither one got the other’s letters, and therefore neither owed the other an apology or had any right to be upset. They hide away up high in the mountains, not risking a fire for fear of the smoke being seen. Alina warms them up with a small sampling of her power, heat coming with the sun’s gifts of course.
Talking with Mal after reminiscing about the lectures that the creepy Apparat gave her about the magnification of powers once one has an amplifier, like… The Stag. Alina also puts together the secret to the Darkling’s extreme longevity. All Grisha live longer lives than mortals/mundane. The more one uses one’s power the healthier & stronger one becomes. With those who are increasingly powerful outliving even other Grisha, but usually not much past a decade or so. But the Darkling is no ordinary Grisha, no ordinary man. He is or at least has been, the most powerful Grisha to ever walk the planet. Until Alina appeared that is. All of this knowledge comes to a peak and solidifies her reality in her mind. The Darkling has all the time and power in the world. Literally. She needs to go after the Stag if she’s ever to have even a slim chance at defeating him. No one else has the slightest bit of potential to be able to subdue or defeat him.
The series’ parallel intertwining relationships are interestingly positioned, you have the Sun and the Stars, Light and Day. Sunshine and Shadows. The perfect balance for one another. There seem to be allusions to the yin-yang symbol as well. Alina mostly light colours, pure and kind, but with a small little circle of the darkness, the allure it holds for her. And the same is true for the Darkling, most of his constitution was cultivated in the dark shadows of society, growing up in the Subaltern position, the othered. The lesser in society & the freak, and always being treated as such. But even within all the depths of despair, there’s still a small light flickering at his core.
Lastly, we see an interaction between Kaz and The Darkling himself, the latter asks calmly where Alina is, and how they stole her. Kaz admits that “We didn’t take her. She fled on her own. It was pretty clear she wasn’t interested in being a captive anymore.” After this, he encounters local Army Corporals, who tell them that they saw her but also a tracker from the First Army was looking for her too. It doesn’t take long for Alexander to put two and two together, and he ends the episode with the most delectable word, normally innocuous or prise-like, but manages to make it bitter, raw, and dripping in venom and said with a snarl.