Things are slowly getting better for Alina as she warms up to her role as the Sun Summoner, even if she has a price to pay.
Meanwhile, the Crows are one step closer to the Little Palace, but they still have to find a way inside. Of course, that means they get up to no good on Shadow and Bone Season 1 Episode 4, And as always, it is entertaining.
"Otkazat'sya" is thrilling from start to finish, packed with emotional scenes, heartfelt monologues, and riveting storylines.
Alina finally blossoms at the Little Palace as she finds her place among her peers, improves her powers, and becomes more confident.
She still hopes that Mal will respond to her letters, and the more Alina holds on, the more she hinders her powers. However, she is improving overall because she is beginning to find herself.
Now, Alina has support from many people. Baghra is a great help, even if she is severely strict and always gives Alina a hard time. Marie and Nadia are still overbearing, but they mean well.
Kirigan: I have devoted my life to undoing the great sin of my forebearer, but I am never seen as the solution. Only as a reminder of the problem. And they always need someone to blame.
Alina: That's why you look at me like that, isn't it? I'm your solution. Only if I fail, they'll turn on me, and I'll be the brand-new Heretic.
Kirigan: If you believe anything, believe I will not let that happen.
Alina: I appreciate the sentiment, but...
Kirigan: I shall be right by your side. You and I are going to change the world, Alina.
But Alina seems to be getting the most inspiration from the two men in her life -- Mal and Kirigan. On the one hand, Alina and Kirigan grow closer. They go horseback riding and bond over shared feelings of loneliness and vulnerability.
In fact, at a later point on "Otkazat'sya," Alina bursts into a sunlight bubble while comforting Kirigan.
It seems that he brings out her sunlight powers as if he knows just the right thing to say or do to make that happen. And the more time they spend together, the more Alina and Kirigan develop feelings for each other.
As of right now, we are curious to see where their relationship will lead. Alina and Kirigan seem to bring each other happiness; they feel less alone when they are together. As the only summoners of their kind and the most powerful Grisha, they share unique experiences.
Plus, it is always a treat to explore the theme of light and dark in any relationship. These opposing forces cannot exist without the other, and if done in the right way, they can balance each other. So, it is always a fascinating concept to look at.
For those who already read the books, we know things are never what they seem, especially regarding Kirigan. If he can be a positive force in Alina's life, then we are all for it. But we also have more to learn about his darker side. So, we will tread carefully.
We just want what is best for Alina. She is falling hard fast, and even though Kirigan seems to reciprocate the mutual pace and passion, we will remain on guard. He is The Darkling, after all.
But Alina also has to face the current reality of her deteriorating friendship with Mal. She has not heard from him despite the many letters she sent. At this point, Alina knows the reason she is holding back her powers is that she does not want to let go of Mal.
Alina cheated the Grisha test so that she and Mal would not separate.
If Alina gave up on Mal, she would feel as if she were betraying him. Even though she did not know, Alina gave up her Grisha life for Mal. If she reclaims it, then Alina may not have space for Mal in her life. And what kind of a friend would that make her?
Alina is also afraid of giving up on Mal because he was the one consistent thing in her life from day one. If Alina loses that, what does she have left?
It turns out she has a lot. New friends, her budding romance with Kirigan, her powers, life as a Grisha. But it is a terrifying concept to leave everything you have ever known behind. It is also a brave thing to do, no matter how long it may take to gather your nerve.
Still, Alina sacrifices her dearest friend so that she can give her undivided attention to her powers so that nothing can stop her from summoning light. The last thing Alina needs right now is something holding her back.
But the most heartbreaking aspect of Alina's decision is how uninformed it is. She genuinely believes Mal does not care about her anymore, that he cannot even reply to a single letter, that he has outgrown their friendship.
That could not be further from the truth -- Mal seems to think the same thing about Alina. He has been writing letters to her this entire time, and he also has not heard back from her. Evidently, something -- or someone -- is blocking their letters.
But Alina has a lot of other things going for her. Mal has Alina and his tracker friends, Mikhael and Dubrov.
So when Mal does not hear from Alina, he throws himself into a mission that will get him to her -- tracking Morozova's Stag. And if anyone can track a mythical creature, Mal can. Plus, Mikhael and Dubrov join him.
Alina: I wasn't aware I was Grisha. I was just doing whatever I could to not be separated from Mal.
Baghra: You protected yourself by denying yourself.
Alina: He was bullied when he was alone. I wasn't thinking of me; I was thinking of him. We planned to run away together.
Baghra: You had plans. Perhaps he never did because where is he now?
Alina: I don't know.
Baghra: Who are you holding back for, then? Bring the light.
Mal is a genuine sweetheart on Shadow and Bone, unlike his character in the books. So, when he loses Mikhael and Dubrov to Fjerdan soldiers, he is truly alone for the first time in his life. Ironically, that has always been Alina's biggest fear in separating from Mal -- that he ends up alone with no one he can count on.
Now, more than ever, we hope Mal finds his back to Alina and that Alina can integrate him into her life once again. Just because she is Grisha and a Sun Summoner does not mean Alina and Mal cannot be friends.
Alina only has to let go of Mal for a little while to focus on her powers and become her true self. It is a steep price to pay, but once she completes her task, we imagine she will reignite her friendship with Mal. Besides, they will be stronger because of what they endured together and apart.
Kirigan: What do you see?
Alina: Someone's version of me.
Kirigan: Or perhaps the real you has finally emerged.
The more creative and amusing aspects of Shadow and Bone Season 1 Episode 4 lies with the Crows, as usual.
Now, Kaz, Inej, and Jesper have to be even more innovative to secure passage into the Little Palace. Of course, this involves a heist and a circus troupe, and we would expect nothing less from the Crows.
As usual, things do not go according to plan, but Kaz, Inej, and Jesper manage to make it through. But the surprising aspect of this adventure involves Arken, when he stages an accident for a circus troupe's acrobat, leading the troupe in need of performers at the last minute.
We do not know much about the Conductor, and we certainly would not have imagined that he also be creative, sneaky, and amusing. He has a wonderful dynamic with the Crows and fits well with them for the time being. We would love to see Arken in action again.
But Kaz, Inej, and Jesper make up only three of the six Crows. We met two more future Crows on Shadow and Bone Season 1 Episode 3, and their storyline continues throughout "Otkazat'sya."
Nina, a Heartrender, and Matthias, a Fjerdan Drüskelle, definitely created the enemies-to-lovers trope. You cannot get more star-crossed and forbidden romance than these two, and just as expected, things are off to a rocky start.
We are excited to see their relationship grow into something more, and we anticipate it will be sooner rather than later since their ship seems to be sinking. Nina and Matthias will undoubtedly have to work together to survive, and that involves trusting each other.
They are definitely not there yet, but we imagine they will be soon. We wish Nina and Matthias had more screen time, but we will take what we can get from these two characters.
Kirigan: Tell me, are you so anxious to be like everyone else?
Alina: It would be nice to know what that feels like someday, General.
Kirigan: Well, that day is not today.
We want to hear from you, Fanatics!
What did you think of Shadow and Bone Season 1 Episode 4? What do you think of Alina and Kirigan's relationship? Are you rooting for them, or do you think Mal and Alina will find their way back to each other?
What do you think of Alina's growing power? Do you think she is changing for the better and growing into herself? Or is The Darkling manipulating her into what he wants her to be? Finally, what do you think will happen once the Crows reach the Little Palace?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Sarah Novack is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.