Shadow and Bone Season 1 Episode 3 Review: The Making at the Heart of the World

Alina Starkov learns the hard way that being the Sun Summoner is a big responsibility on Shadow and Bone Season 1 Episode 3. One that she may not be interested in having.

“The Making at the Heart of the World” explores Alina’s first full day at the Little Palace, and it is anything but a royal treat.

Meanwhile, Kaz, Inej, and Jesper bravely attempt crossing the Fold, but many things go wrong on their journey. We also meet several new characters as these storylines continue to intertwine with each other.

Some Training - Shadow and Bone Season 1 Episode 3

Alina adjusts to life at the Little Palace, but it is more challenging than she could imagine.

She has quite an eventful first day, from meeting Genya to formally meeting the King; from attending her first classes to meeting the Apparat. By the end of the day, Alina just wishes Mal was with her.

It’s like I blinked, and the whole world changed.

Alina

But no one said it would be easy, especially for a Sun Summoner, a figure that was a myth for the longest time until Alina arrived. 

Alina has yet to learn there is no right or wrong way to be Grisha, or the Sun Summoner, no matter what people tell her. But Baghra is right — as long as she does not believe she can do it, there is not much hope.

First Combat Lesson - Shadow and Bone Season 1 Episode 3

And no one is making it easy for Alina. Not Baghra, who disinvites Alina from their lessons until she believes in herself. Not Zoya, who spews racist comments whenever she gets the chance. Not even The Darkling, who may be Alina’s biggest supporter at the moment, but his only advice is to “be ready.”

Genya is somewhat easy on Alina, but she does not understand why Alina is unwilling to adapt. There is potential for a beautiful friendship between Alina and Genya, but they will have to respect each other’s feelings if they cannot understand them.

There is Marie and Nadia, who are kind, but they are overbearing. They do not make Alina feel more comfortable at all. If anything, they further isolate her.

And then there is The Apparat, the King’s mysterious priest who speaks to Alina in riddles. His aura is almost disturbing — we can feel Alina’s shivers on our skin when he is in her presence. 

It is safe to say there are many reasons why Alina does not have faith in herself. But what will it take to find that faith? And how can she when everyone either refuses to understand her feelings, expects too much, or beats her down?

The Shadow Summoner - Shadow and Bone Season 1 Episode 3

It seems like Mal is a suitable anchor for Alina, but at this point in her life, not in the right way. She profoundly misses him and feels lost without him, but Mal is also the main reason why Alina will not even try adapting to her new life.

Mal’s friendship is integral to Alina’s character in many ways, but he also holds her back, even if it is not intentional. Alina does not know who she is without Mal and the First Army, so how could she believe that she is the Sun Summoner? 

What I haven’t said in this letter, Mal, what I’ve been trying to write among all these scattered words is, is that I’m afraid. I’m scared, Mal. We grew up reading about a Saint who would one day perform a miracle of light and solve our country’s problems, and we knew that was a lie. We knew that no stranger ever solved our problems for us. No great miracle was coming. That’s why we had each other. The world is hard and cruel, but we had each other, and that was enough. That was everything. If Saints were once real, they’ve long since left us. Yet now, everyone is looking at me like I’m the answer. Like I’m the miracle the world has been waiting for. Or perhaps they know I’m a fraud, an imposter. I’m terrified. Of failure or success. If I really do have this power, who am I? I would be everything we mocked and dismissed. A stranger to myself. And to you. You once told me you were the most scared when you were lost. But getting lost can happen even when you know where you are. You told me about cardinal north and true north. Cardinal north is a direction on a map. True north? True north is home. It is where you feel safe and loved. You have always been my true north, Mal. And if I am to survive this, I need to be home again, with you.

Alina

Of course, Alina cannot help how she feels, and we are not blaming Mal for her current situation. He does not even know what is going on. But right now, Alina is too dependent on their friendship, and as long as she continues to exist solely around it, she will not uncover her true self.

Mal can undoubtedly be a part of her true self, but she has to find it first. We hope Alina learns how to shine on her own. It will only strengthen her friendship with Mal.

A Royal Event - Shadow and Bone Season 1 Episode 3

While Alina struggles with adjusting to the Little Palace, Kaz, Inej, and Jesper finally cross the Fold. 

After meeting the Conductor, a man who discovered a safe method to cross the Fold, the Crows are just about ready to embark on their most dangerous mission yet.

Of course, nothing is ever as it seems, and considering the many mishaps they faced throughout their journey, it is a miracle they even made it in the first place.

Arken: This seems like a reasonable juncture to abandon this whole Sun Summoner plan.
Kaz: Abandon? We’re in this now, and I know what a million kruge means to me. What does it mean to you?
Inej: Freedom.
Jesper: Fun. Like, at least a few months.
Arken: Retirement.
Kaz: Right, so we press on. You get us across the Fold, and I’ll figure out the rest on the other side.

Before they even leave for East Ravka, things already go wrong. Arken, the Conductor, has a Grisha contact who can help the Crows slip into the palace. But when Drüskelle kidnap her, the Crows lose a critical component of their mission.

Heartrender Abilities - Shadow and Bone Season 1 Episode 3

But if anyone refuses to give up, it is Kaz Brekker. No matter what obstacles the Crows encounter, Kaz is always one step ahead. On the off chance that he is not, he is an intelligent and quick thinker. With Inej’s spying abilities and Jesper’s improvisation skills, the Crows can always think of a new strategy when pressed for time.

So far, every episode has featured an obstacle that threatens the Crows’s entire mission, and “The Making at the Heart of the World” is no exception. However, Kaz, Inej, and Jesper never cease to excite us, and their dynamic is easily one of the best aspects of Shadow and Bone.

Their group just works so well together, regardless of what they face. Even Arken, a new edition, seems to fit in well for the time being.

We are excited to see what shenanigans the Crows get up to on future episodes.

Hope is dangerous. It clouds your judgment.

Kaz

Over to you, Fanatics!

What did you think of Season 1 Episode 3? Do you think things will become better for Alina, or was she doomed from the start? How do you think Mal will fit into her new life? What do you think of the new characters? Do you have an idea of how the Crows will break into the palace?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

You can watch Shadow and Bone online right here, at TV Fanatic!

Sarah Novack is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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