Note: These reviews discuss the episodes in detail and might contain slight spoilers for the books Six Of Crows and Crooked Kingdom.
So far this has to be my favorite episode of the series.
I love Genya and I knew she wouldn’t disappoint me after her cameo in Six Of Crows. I love that she addresses what everyone, even Alina kept saying, maybe she only became aware of her powers, but she has been Grisha all her life. And I am still not quite convinced if Alina really didn’t know or is she was just lying to herself all these years, after all if someone can be aware of it at only age three, surpressing her own powers for so long seems strange.
It is great to see Alina making some friends at the Grisha Palace, but of course since nothing is perfect, she is also making some enemies. I was surprised by what a jealous bully Zoya was. I understand that she had her pride hurt her by Mal saying no to her offer and as implied, by Kirigan ignored her for Alina. But still I hoped she was better than this, and hopefully she will get over herself and do better in the next half of the series. From what I understand she is actually quite the badass Grisha so it would be great to see her as an ally.
Alina’s letter to Mal are both incredibly funny and heart breaking. I wonder, if she just started writing them to console herself or if she is actually allowed to send out the letters?
From the first episode when Kaz spoke of Heartrenders, my heart leapt, could it be really her? But timeline wise it would have been too early for Nina to be at Ketterdam, and well, this episode suggests it will be another two years until she actually meets the Crows. Regardless, it was great to see Nina in all her glory and I adore the casting! Nina is a confident Grisha who is not afraid to use her powers and loves to eat and she is powerful and beautiful. I have to say that red carpet in her room had to be the most Hungarian thing they could have filmed. Everyone and their grandmother has one of those. Good for Nina for trying to fight for people in her own way and trying to help others despite the risks.
I loved to see that she didn’t go down without a fight, even after she was unable to use her powers. Since I know where her story is headed I am not as upset about her kidnapping as I should be. I really hate the Drüskelle who are esentially fantasy Nazis in the story. I wonder if her storyline will connect with the main events this season somehow, since now it seems like we have three separate storylines going on in paralell. If the story follows the books Nina is not likely to join the main cast this season. Something that stood out to me though, was how one of the Fjerdan’s wore an animal pelt that looked a lot like a white wolf – since these are their sacred animals would they really wear their pelts? But this might just be me nitpicking.
On the other hand, the Crow’s adventure with The Conductor was so amazingly funny. Watching it the second time I can only appreciate it even more, the Conductor just looking to his side at Jesper and going “yepp, we need a baby goat” is so, so funny. Of course our restless sharpshooter needs a goat. Obviously. To be fair, Jesper so far hasn’t been as fidgety as he is in the books, but he always gets distracted which is just how he is. I loved when Kaz specifically told him to only get the coal and Jesper’s resolve lasted for a whole.. five seconds.
Gambler: Who’s feeling lucky?
Jesper, the useless boy he is: Lucky’s my middle name!
I love that Kaz could be just leading the goat, especially with his bad leg, but he instead choose to carry it. While I find the idea or the Conductor and his train amazing, it raises so many questions. If there was one sole man so smart to figure out how to build an entire train track through The Fold and even somehow place markers.. possibly with a few helpers.. how did the entirety of Ravka and their military not figure out something like this? I love the idea that these people are helping others cross and I doing it for others but it just seems to be too big of an invention for one person.
I loved the train scene, where Jesper as a reflex refuses to throw out the goat, and it turns out that it was only brought to calm him down. His moment of glory is spectacular – Jesper, calm with a goat in his hand, shoots down all of the monsters. Some with closed eyes. Because our sharshooter is just that good. Don’t worry it will be explained in Six Of Crows as well. All this chaotic glory of the Crows, with Jesper and the goat, Inej praying with knife in her hands, and Kaz just trying to keep it all together.. it really brings back the Six Of Crows feelings the books gave me and it has to be my favorite scene with the so far.
Alina vs. the veil was also really funny. The way they theatrically dressed her in a uniform she never in her life had worn, and made her march up to the king for a presentation. I like that at least there is an in-canon explanation on why she can use her power with Kirigan by her side, and it isn’t just a random occurence that she can use the power just at the right moment that she isn’t able to control normally.
While I am not a fan of Kirigan, I am super glad he actually talked a bit about how Grisha powers work. The Small Science is the study of their powers They are also very clear that Grisha control and manipulate elements that are already present in the world, and they aren’t creating from nothing. Most Grisha are sorted into common types, such as the ones that were mentioned so far, Inferni (fire), Squallers (wind), Tidemakers (water) fall under Etherialki. This would also be where Alina and Kirigan are. Heartrenders (manipulating people’s moods or health), Healers (body) and Tailors (manipulating the body) are Corporalki. The third category is Materialki who can alter metals or chemicals.
And I have to give it him, Kirigan’s flair of the dramatic with all the shadows and the fancy speeches to the King and the Queen is working, it makes a damn good scene. Of course he could have just told Alina, don’t worry I can help you summon your powers so you’ll be all right, instead of the that flaky line about how things will be all right if she trusted him. The way he holds her wrist instead of taking her hand like a normal person is sending up red flares for me immediately. Alina is obviously a bit taken by him but I do not trust this man.
We also have the author cameo! When Alina goes to the Grisha the first person hugs her, and she is a woman in purple kefta withnlong blonde hair. I thought she looked familiar at first but I am just realizing this is because it is the writer of the books – Leigh Bardugo! Looking good Leigh!
It was actually good to see a main character who is wary – Alina suddenly finding herself alone in an empty library with a man she doesn’t know and immediately backing off is very realistic. This is a woman who has been attacked for many different reasons at a place she doesn’t know, of course she would rather keep her distance. I liked that she only trusted the advisor after he proved to be someone who doesn’t pose danger and actually knows about the books, not just made it up. I find this character really intriguing especially the fact that he seems to be well intentioned yet gets away with saying lines like “ I think you will suffer more”. Is this a threat, a prediction or a guess? Who knows with this person?
Baghra is an awful, awful teacher. Although the part where she “slaps” Alina feels really anticlimatic, the sound makes it feel like it barely touched her yet Alina looks so offended and hurt. The dinner scene isn’t any better, I am not sure what the Grisha is thinking, bullying their one and only Sun Summoner but also waiting for her to save all of their lives? Why would she even want to try if everyone is so awful? This is not how you motivate someone.
Alina’s letter to Mal at the beginning is beautiful. I like that she knows that all these expectation others have of her are too much. And it is so heartbreaking to see how much these two kids care about each other. I wonder if we get so see Mal’s side soon as well?
Onwards, to episode 4!