This show is quickly turning into a twisted version of a wild goose chase with a dash of broken telephone.
But we imagine these types of things happen when Alina Starkov, the Sun Summoner, is on the run from General Kirigan, the Crows, and random strangers wishing to exploit her powers.
But Shadow and Bone Season 1 Episode 6 is not entirely a game of cat and mouse. Nina and Matthias's relationship continues to develop as they are stranded together in the Fjerdan wilderness.
But first, everyone is after Alina Starkov once she is on the run. However, Alina is not the only person trying to avoid captivity on "The Heart is an Arrow."
Kaz, Inej, and Jesper escaped the Little Palace after nearly getting caught by Grisha soldiers. While they hunt for Alina -- who escapes their clutches almost immediately -- Kirigan's Grisha soldiers find them, which prompts the Crows to become the hunted rather than the hunters.
Despite The Darkling's determination to find Alina, he also knows his best bet lies with the people Alina left with, which happen to be the Crows. So, it makes perfect sense to chase Kaz, Inej, and Jesper.
The Crows have been in many precarious positions before, but running from The Darkling and his Grisha is a whole new level of danger. This chase puts Kaz, Inej, and Jesper to the ultimate test, but we do not doubt them for a single moment.
Of course, the Crows come out on top because they always manage to do so, even if this incident is significantly more difficult to escape than others.
Kaz, Inej, and Jesper face The Darkling and his cronies and are victorious. An Inferni manages to injure Inej, which forces the Crows to figure out another escape route. And what could be more classic than The Darkling's coach?
For anyone else, stealing The Darkling's coach seems like asking for a fate worse than death, but the Crows know they can get away with it. We cheered them on throughout the episode, but we were undoubtedly the most enthusiastic when they successfully pull it off.
Kaz: You were hired to do a job.
Inej: Yes, the job was to pick up a fake for an easy million kruge. We found a living Saint who can summon the sun.
Kaz: A good magician is a good con artist. The trick is to make it look real.
Inej: This is different. You saw her summon with your own eyes.
Kaz: The best illusions are the most convincing. That's the game.
Inej: You can hide behind your cynicism, but I believe she's the real thing.
Now, with no Sun Summoner or Conductor, the Crows will have to face another complicated issue -- how will they get back to Ketterdam? And how can they face Dreesen and Rollins without Alina in tow?
We are curious to see how the Crows will go about this dilemma, especially if it involves crossing paths with other familiar faces.
A surprisingly heartbreaking moment occurs when Kirigan confronts Kaz after a night of chasing down the Crows. Kirigan demands Alina's return, and Kaz, of all people, has to tell Kirigan that they did not kidnap Alina -- she left the Little Palace willingly. She wanted to escape The Darkling.
Make no mistake -- The Darkling manipulated and lied to Alina this whole time just so that he can exploit her summoning powers. We do not condone their relationship as it stands. But it is almost sad to see how he reacts to Kaz's news.
Up until this point, Kirigan does not believe that Alina would have left him, even if Baghra told her the truth. There is no logical reason for Kirigan to conclude such a thing unless he developed real feelings for Alina.
The Darkling denies Alina's escape until the last possible moment. If he believes that Alina would stay after discovering the truth, he genuinely thought she harbored romantic feelings. He would not conclude such a thing unless he felt the same way -- which is odd because you do not exploit someone you love.
Right now, we would not support Alina's relationship with The Darkling, especially since he still plans to use her powers. We want the best for Alina, and it is not him at the moment.
But if Kirigan somehow developed feelings for Alina along his twisted path of lies, then maybe, there may still hope for them. Of course, it would take far more than just talking things out.
If Kirigan and Alina were to be together, they would have to build a relationship based on trust, equality, and balance.
Right now, they have none of those things, so we are not rooting for them anytime soon. But if their dynamic ever turns around, there would have to be a redemption arc for Kirigan or a dark side for Alina.
It would certainly be interesting to see the Sun Summoner, the epitome of light and goodness, explore her darker side. But it does not fit in with the narrative, so it would not make sense at the moment. However, we would not be opposed to it in the future.
Alina: Thank you for finding me.
Mal: Always. I'll always find you.
As of right now, Alina tries to run as far away as possible from The Darkling's clutches. She has no resources and has never been on her own before, so things do not run smoothly for her, as expected.
Thankfully, Mal shows up right on time. We should have known Ravka's best tracker would eventually find Alina, and we are glad he does so that she does not have to be alone. But Alina and Mal have a lot to discuss, considering the amount of miscommunication between them.
Alina and Mal reunite for the first time since the Shadow Fold on Shadow and Bone Season 1 Episode 1. That was before Alina discovers that she is Grisha and the Sun Summoner.
Of course, Mal has many questions for Alina and vice versa. They simply cannot move forward without addressing their letters and her powers. But once they clear the air, Alina and Mal share many sweet moments, finally moving past their friendship and turning it into something more.
And you do not have to be a reader to appreciate Alina and Mal. Shadow and Bone includes one of their most iconic quotes, leaving all fans with wholesome romantic content between these two.
I'm sorry that it took me this long to see you, Alina. But I see you now.Mal
It is a little strange how fast their relationship moves, given that barely two days before, Alina had feelings for Kirigan, which she might still have. Emotions do not just disappear when you learn the person you love is a manipulative liar. So, Alina is probably still somewhat heartbroken.
But Mal, being the good friend he is, is always there to help pick up the pieces.
Even when communication between them is dire, Mal will do anything for Alina -- even track a mythical Stag that turns out to be real. They have been best friends their whole lives, and now, their romance blooms right before our eyes.
Unfortunately, Kirigan also knows that they are together and looking for the Stag, which means there will be a race against time. Hopefully, Alina and Mal will get there first, especially since Mal is the best tracker out there.
Matthias: Why would you save me?
Nina: 'Cause you're human, and despite what you've been taught, Grisha are not monsters.
Alina and Mal are not the only two with a blossoming romance. The unlikeliest of pairings, Nina and Matthias, deepens on "The Heart is an Arrow" as they need each other to survive the harsh Fjerdan climate.
Their banter is surprisingly adorable, and we cannot deny their chemistry as they cuddle to stay warm. The more Nina and Matthias spend time together, the more they learn about each other, and they soon realize everything they ever thought about each other is wrong.
Matthias realizes his Fjerdan community lied to him about Grisha his whole life. Nina discovers that Matthias can be sweet, even if he is annoying a lot of the time.
By the end of the episode, Nina and Matthias acknowledge their growing feelings and even opt to start over.
But soon, they will have to leave their world of bliss once they realize that there is an ongoing war between their two countries. Drüskelle and Grisha never mix, and as soon as others find out, hell will break loose.
Nina and Matthias exemplify another variant of the forbidden love trope, but we are so here for it. We hope Nina and Matthias work things out before it is too late.
Over to you, Fanatics!
What did you think of Shadow and Bone Season 1 Episode 6?
Are you intrigued by Nina and Matthias's relationship? Who do you think will find the Stag first?
What do you think will happen when Kirigan and Alina face each other again? And what do you think of Alina and Mal's romance?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Sarah Novack is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.