Shadow and Bone
Season 1 Episode 1
A Searing Burst of Light
Unwilling to be separated from Mal, Alina hatches a plan to join him on a perilous expedition through the Fold. Kaz chases a lead on a lucrative job.
A young orphan woman named Alina grows up in East Ravka, a land at war with her people. Separated by a massive anomoly called the Fold, the people of East Ravka train for war with the creatures within it when they need to make the dangerous journey into it to reach the other side. Her best friend from childhood is a young boy called Mal who grows up to become a soldier while Alina is tasked with making maps. The two reunite at a military camp where their romantic tension is on full display to the viewer through a series of furtive glances. It’s an interesting opening scene that delivers on what it intends to. It introduces the leads well, the overall conflict and establishes where a lot of the drama will come from.
In another land, we meet Kaz and his motley group of compatriots. Kaz is a casino owner who run grifts and schemes on the side while maintaining a world weary attitude and desire for something more. When he hears about a high paying job from one of his informants, he plans to take it, but he has some powerful competition in the form of Pekka Rollins. Kaz is our introduction into the dark side of the story and the performances are done well and full of piercing stares and quiet menace.
One of the other things that is made clear in the first episode is the class system between those who have powers and those who don’t. The ones with powers live more lavishly based on their skills and it teases more conflict to come within the series and its main character Alina. Her unrequited feelings for Mal put her in the position of doing something rash that gets her assigned to the same mission as Mal. A mission that will send a small group into the Fold to test a new way of crossing safely.
The crossing of the Fold is where the bulk of the tension lies. The effects in this sequence are really well done and you get the sense of impending doom throughout. The creature effects are great and the scene ends with a lot of dramatic tension.
The first episode of Shadow and Bone is a very well done piece of fantasy that has some interesting and entertaining conflicts. The drama is interesting and the mysteries being established within the show are compelling. The episode hits the marks thematically, dramatically and special effects wise so I am interested in seeing where it goes next.