Shadow and Bone season 2 ending explained: Is the Darkling/Kirigan dead?

Shadow and Bone season 2 sees Alina Starkov on the run with Mal and eventually in Ravka, waging war on the Darkling to vanquish the Shadow Fold and save the country.

Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers

Plot summary

Alina and Mal go to Novyi Zem while on the run. They wish to seek another amplifier and eventually see the whole world together. However, Lieutenant Bohdan spots them and with the twenty million Fjerdan bounty on Alina’s head, she’s become the target of just about everyone under the sun.

However, she’s helped by a ship of pirates, led by the smooth-talking and charming Sturmhond, who prefers they refer to him by his accurate title of “privateer” instead of a pirate.

He’s an excellent inventor as well and soon, he helps Alina and Mal find the second amplifier — the mythical Sea Whip. They do find it and Alina channels the power gained from the Fold, only to be brought down by the visions of the Darkling she keeps having, as she feels a lack of power yet again.

Meanwhile, Kirigan is revealed to still be alive as he gets out of the Fold with a scarred face and shadow monsters he calls Nichevo’ya residing within him. He frees the Grisha captivated by the second army and gains their loyalty. However, Genya and David decide to bolt after seeing his madness.

The Darkling catches up to Genya and lets his shadow monsters loose on her, leaving her face scarred like his. She eventually breaks free of his captivity, thanks to Baghra’s powers that she uses to free herself and Genya.

Meanwhile, the Crows work to get their club back as Kaz leads them with his sense of vengeance against Pekka, who was the cause of his brother’s death in the past. Nina joins them, becomes one of the crows, and helps significantly in the mission to take Pekka down.

Pekka goes to the Hellgate prison where Matthias still remains, as Nina’s efforts don’t do much. At the end of Shadow and Bone season 2, she does manage to get him the official pardon but even that doesn’t work out.

Kaz gets Inej her freedom and after retrieving a legendary sword and helping Alina take down Kirigan’s shadow army, Inej takes off to find her brother. Meanwhile, Mal learns the truth about his fate and lineage.

In the final battle against the Darkling, Mal sacrifices himself to help destroy the Fold and defeat the prime antagonist. To resurrect her beloved, Alina uses a forbidden method that brings about a grim change in her, as Mal embarks on a journey of his own.

Shadow and Bone season 2 ending explained in detail:

Does the Darkling/Kirigan die?

General Kirigan, or the Darkling, dies in the second season of Shadow and Bone, at the hands of Alina Starkov. He spends the entirety of the sophomore installment trying to regain Alina and have her by his side.

Meanwhile, he’s also infected by the same Nichevo’ya he harbors inside of him. Initially, it seems that they only overwhelm him with their powers, while also damaging him with the ailments like bloody coughs.

However, at the end of the season, it’s revealed that he can’t really control the shadow monsters, as they unleash without his wishes or command, which they do throughout the season, taking up a lot of bodies in the process, including Baghra’s.

During the final battle at the heart of the Fold, Kirigan launches a Cut at Mal, but Alina conjures up her light and launches a successful counterattack of her own, inflicting upon the Darkling a great wound.

After destroying the Fold, Kirigan approaches Alina once again, asking her to be by his side, only to be stabbed by her, with Sankta Neyar’s relentless sword. As he dies, the Darkling asks Alina to finish all of him.

She burns his corpse in a pyre at the same spot he dies, giving Zoya and Genya the honor of torching it before her. And though there are ways through which the Darkling can be brought back to life (like in the books) in the future seasons, for the time being, he remains dead.

What happens to Inej?

After Kaz Brekker exacts his revenge upon Pekka Rollins, he gets Inej her freedom from indentured servitude. At the end of the season, he also reveals to her that he’s been making efforts to find her brother, but hasn’t had any luck yet.

Throughout Shadow and Bone season 2, Kaz and Inej get closer romantically while also denying their love for each other. Kaz truly can’t overcome the trauma of his childhood and when he finally asks her to stay with him, she tells him that she won’t have him with his armor and gloves on, meaning she truly wishes to be with him, without his barriers and walls that he still surrounds himself with.

At the end of the season, Inej joins Mal, Tolya, Tamar, and other privateers aboard the Volkvolny. She looks for the slaver’s ship and tracks one before the credits roll, ready to hunt down the ones with the knowledge of her brother’s whereabouts.

What happens to Matthias?

Nina spends the entirety of Shadow and Bone season 2 working to get the love of her life, Matthias, out of his captivity at Hellgate. She joins the Crows in order to get help for that very purpose.

She tries, again and again, with the help of Kaz, to get her message across to Matthias and help her. The guard at Hellgate loyal to Kaz helps in this quest, keeping Matthias from being thrown into the “Hell shows” — brutal fights between inmates and beasts that often result in deaths.

However, when Pekka gets inside Hellgate, he instantly becomes the big bad of the prison, beating Matthias’s cellmate and friend to death. He later asks Matthias to start fighting for him and Matthias agrees.

Meanwhile, Nina helps the Crows retrieve the legendary sword from Shu Han and help Alina bring down the Darkling. As her reward, Nikolai gets her an official pardon, as well as one for Matthias, which she takes to Hellgate.

As Matthias fights the prison guards after refusing to fight the wolves because they’re sacred to his religion, Nina’s attempts at helping her lover are thwarted and her letter of official pardon gets trampled beneath a hundred feet of the chanting and hollering men outside the fighting cage.

So for the time being, Matthias remains in Hellgate while Nina has become an official member of the Crows, and her efforts at freeing her lover will continue in the future.

Do Alina and Mal break up?

Mal and Alina had planned to live and travel the world together. However, the bounty on her head prevented them from achieving that life. Meanwhile, the Darkling lived and went even madder, and to stop him, Alina had to gain more power.

To do that, she needs amplifiers, and she does gain a significant boost after using the second amplifier, but she’s shocked to learn that the third amplifier is none other than Mal himself.

She regrets chasing power while not paying attention to the one most important to her. Meanwhile, Mal is determined to help Alina save Ravka as he sees himself drifted away from her.

During the climactic battle of Shadow and Bone season 2, Mal sacrifices himself, asking Alina to kill him in order to get his amplifier powers. She does that, and the boost helps her destroy the Shadow Fold.

However, as soon as the region becomes clear, she asks Nina to help rescue Mal, who puts up a fight inside of him, as Nina asks Alina to give him a reason to stick around. Alina sits beside him, holding his hand and calling out to him. In the vision, a young Mal lies beside a young Alina, in a field, with the two joining hands.

When nothing seems to work, Alina resorts to a dire solution that Baghra warns her against. She uses Merzost to revive Mal and as he comes back, in the vision, he is shown to be swooped away from Alina.

In the real life, after all the ordeal, he tells Alina that he’s not going to stick around and instead, go away as she rebuilds Ravka since she was always meant for more. He becomes a privateer, and Nikolai gives his own alias “Sturmhond” to Mal, who hops on his boat along with Inej, Tolya, and Tamar.

Mal and Alina drift apart at the end of Shadow and Bone season 2; Mal has become a privateer and set off to the seas, and Alina now wields dark powers like the Darkling; but the two have decided that if they come together again, it will be because of choice, rather than destiny.

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