We resume our travel back into the journey to the Fold, with Kirigan holding Alina in literal chains – carrying a group of sovereign diplomats on a journey across the Fold. Initially, it seems as though not many people (other than the Darkling’s Grisha) know that Alina, the Sun Summoner, is actually being held against her will. Beneath the skip, the Crows are planning their attack on Kirigan, wanting to procure Alina in order to get that 1 million Kruger reward.
Elsewhere Matthaios and Nina arrive at an inn, both knowing they don’t truly want to part ways. But their pairing is one that seems impossible and undoubtedly dangerous. He, being a Fjerdan (Witch Hunters), groomed and trained to capture, torture, and kill all Grisha. And she, a Grisha. Regardless of their star-crossed connection, the pair talk about where they could possibly go where they could actually give things between them a chance. Obviously, neither of their own hometowns is a safe place to journey to and explore their budding relationship. Nevertheless, we see a surprisingly sweet moment shared between the two, nearly sharing their first kiss before a stomach growl interrupts in an endearingly cute manner. After all, they have just been running for their lives the past few days.
Sadly, this budding romance hits the iceberg of all icebergs when another Grisha, Ivan, sees her with a Druskelle, renders him unconscious, and leaves her in a situation. He tells her that if she brings him to the General, he won’t speak of her affection for the man but that he must die for his crimes. Then the ultimate white male pissing contest begins when she turns and cries “Slaver!” – many bounty hunters not caring about the fact that one is a Grisha and the other is Fjerdan, saying “a bounty is a bounty.” which results in a half dozen Grisha vs. what looks like a dozen or two men with weapons. Obviously, the Grisha could incapacitate them or outright kill them. They’re already fighting Fjerdans and the never-ending court of public opinion, which has been working towards being swayed to the side where Grisha will become tolerated instead of burning at the stake. Nina knows now that if the Grisha take Matthaios, he will be killed immediately, but if the other men take him, and he theoretically goes to trial, she has time to hatch an escape plan for the pair of them.
Underneath the skiff, The Crows run into Mal when Inej finds him and puts a blade to his throat. However, upon finding out who he is and his position against the Darkling, they join forces. As they say, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. We learn that Zoya volunteered to drive the Skiffs because she has family a Novokribisk (the port town they will be arriving in. Interestingly, we see a conversation between Zlatan and one of his military advisors, occurring as they see the light tunnel Alina has made to bring the ship to the port with safe passage. Zlatan details his plan, “lead with diplomacy. Welcome the Black General and his escort. When they’re docked, kill everyone on the skiff.” When asked if he’s giving the order to kill the Sun Summoner too, he responds, “I already have.” Though destroying the Fold would obviously be a huge positive for the lands, Zlatan is ambitious and won’t accept any threat to his budding nation’s independence. The Darkling was right. In the last episode, he commented that Zlatan exploits the Fold for his own gain. Well, he’s not wrong. But he isn’t the only one to do so.
Should the ship arrive and the Darkling not enact any nefarious actions, everyone on board was to be slaughtered. But it’s safe to say that the Darkling’s plans are far from benevolent. – “Today we redraw all the maps. With the power of the Sun Summoner at my command, I control the Fold. And its monsters. I can move it to any border I like. Engulf any harbor. Consume any city. Take what you have seen back to your home countries. Tell the Fjerdans, tell the Shu Han. There will be no more war with Ravka. All countries will answer to us. For who would oppose us now?”
Funnily, after this speech, one of the dignitaries steps forward, warning that this will only make things worse for Grisha, then all of their guards advance on the Darkling. So his Heartrender immediately kills all of them. Leading to my favourite humourous line from this episode…
Sadly, we see a pattern here that is as old as time itself. The opressed become the opressors. What they fight against they eventually become. Same to be said here for the Grisha. At least, for the Darkling and everyone under his command. Even lovely, shy and clever David, is the one to mould the Stags collar onto Alina’s chest. Turning her into little more than an indentured slave. Admittedly the Darkling intends to win her over eventually. Having nothing but time, he can wait an eternity. As he will never age, get old and frail. He’ll stay as he is, eternally, as will Alina. He then uses Alina’s power to move the fold, sending it crashing through the port they were arriving into. Leaving some of the Grisha onboard in shock as they were unaware of this plan, Zoya in particular, as she has family living there. Alina attempts to move the Fold back but the Darklings control over her power is stronger. Mal Jesper and Inej all try to kill the Darkling, to no avail.
But then Alina is visited by the Stag once more, who engages her and then seems to direct her attention to Inej’s knife that lays beside her. She then uses this to Stab the Darklings hand, removing the piece of the Stag’s bone from his body and thus removing his control over her and the Stags powers. He asks how she can claim such power when it was he who killed the Stag. She explains, you cannot claim that which wasn’t given to you. “The Stag chose me.” Mal tackles him off the ship and the pair get in a few punches before a volcra swoops in and drags the Darkling off into the Fold.
The survivors then make their way off the skiff, finding themselves a spot to light a fire and regroup. Pretty much every single person left now has to construct a very different plan for their futures. The Crows will go back to Ketterdam, Alina gives Kaz a crown, that is easily worth enough to free Inej. Zoya plans to head into the city to see if any of her family survived. Mal and Alina plan to go into hiding, to bide their time, while Alina gets stronger, and plan that one day she will return and finally destroy the Fold.
As far as the group know, the Darkling is probably dead, but… lets be honest, we all knew that the Darkling definitely survives his escapades in the Fold. As we see in the end scene, he didn’t just survive it, he seems to have plundered it. As far as we’ve all known, the only monsters in the Fold were the Volcra, and they couldnt ever leave the Fold. But as we see the Darkling raise up off the sand, aas well as sporting several new facial scars, he is followed by sinister looking dark whispy creatures. Who it appears can leave the Fold and survive in the real world. Safe to say that season two is gonna be interesting! And that the viewers can’t not adhere to the Darklings last word = “Follow,”