Shadow and Bone Season 1 Episode 5 Review: Show Me Who You Are


The winter fete is finally here on Shadow and Bone Season 1 Episode 5, and it is Alina’s big debut night.

She summons light in a fancy ceremony with guests that include royalty from foreign soil. As a result, Alina has never been more exposed. She is in danger that she can imagine only in her wildest dreams.

“Show Me Who You Are” is a wild ride with jam-packed action, including steamy romances, unexpected twists, and tragic deaths.

And the most unexpected twist of them all? General Kirigan, The Darkling, is the Black Heretic. He has been lying to Alina about his true intentions regarding the Shadow Fold.

And, of course, our hearts break for her. We should have seen this coming, but just like Alina, Kirigan’s charm and vulnerability blinded us. He made her feel powerful until Alina discovers he only did that to claim her power for himself eventually.

Her name is Alina Starkov, and she will bring liberation to us all.


Shadow and Bone does an excellent job revealing the truth. Even those who have read the books feel duped all over again. We fell for Kirigan’s act, hook, line, and sinker, even though we already knew the truth.

Storytelling should always be like that — it should make you feel the same heightened emotions every time, regardless of how many times you have watched or read something. We applaud the writers for pulling this off effortlessly.

Much of “Show Me Who You Are” takes place through Alina’s eyes. We feel the same things she does. When Alina is sure Kirigan has intensely passionate feelings for her, we think so, too. When Baghra reveals the truth about Kirigan, we feel just as betrayed. Just like Alina, we want to plead with Baghra desperately to stop Kirigan.

But Baghra is Kirigan’s mother. If anyone knows the truth, she does, so Alina has to believe her.

At least Alina has the good sense to listen to Baghra and run away before Kirigan returns. Now, Alina is truly on her own. She has no idea where Mal is, and she has to leave her life behind as she stows away in the trunk of a coach, desperate to escape.

The fact that this reveal occurs almost immediately after Alina feels like she belongs at the Little Palace, her home, makes it so much worse. Alina worked so hard to fit in with her new life at the Little Palace. She believed she was working toward something for the greater good, only to realize Kirigan supported Alina for his own agenda. 

We hope Alina realizes that regardless of what Kirigan has said or done, she alone manifests her powers and summons light. She becomes so powerful that she does not even need the gloves Kirigan ordered David to make if Alina was not ready to perform.

But she was because Alina is the Sun Summoner. Others might want to kill or exploit her, but she alone can summon light. No one can do it for her, regardless of what Kirigan’s plans are. Alina became the Sun Summoner because she was committed and determined to take on this responsibility and no one else.

Kirigan may try to take Alina’s powers away, but we imagine she will be strong enough to fight back. And we cannot wait to see when she finally does. 

Alina: I was nervous at first. But talking to Genya, I’ve realized what this demonstration represents. I’ve always felt like an outsider, especially when I first got here. But now, I finally feel like I belong. And not that I just belong here, but to something greater. That we can offer Grisha and Ravkans hope for the future.
Kirigan: That means a lot to me, Alina. You mean a lot… to everyone.

But the truth about The Darkling is only one of many surprises on Shadow and Bone Season 1 Episode 5. He may be the biggest shock of them all, but there are still other twists that make our hearts fall out of our chests. Notably, when Arken turns on the Crows, revealing he has his own agenda.

It turns out that Arken has been working with General Zlatan, the person leading West Ravka’s movement for independence. The Sun Summoner destroying the Fold would ruin any chance of independence, so of course, Zlatan wants Alina dead.

But we always said that the Crows are intelligent, especially Kaz. He is observant of everything, regardless of the circumstances. And when Kaz saw Zlatan and Arken conversing before they crossed the Fold, Kaz realized Arken had his own plans. 

It is horrifying to see Arken suddenly turn on the Crows, and we are grateful for Kaz’s impeccable observation skills.

Inej: You want the new guy to grab the million-kruge package?
Kaz: The new guy knows his way around Grisha locks. Our futures depend on this.

Our hearts stopped for a few moments when Arken unexpectedly slits Alina’s throat. How could Alina die? She is the main character, after all. There would be no Shadow and Bone without her.

We think Arken had missed a fatal wound, but once Genya cradles Alina after the attack, we realize something is not right. Alina’s injury turns out to be fatal, so what on earth is going on?

Well, Kirigan anticipated a potential attack on Alina’s life. So, with Genya’s help, they organize a backup plan — Alina will perform her light show, and afterward, she will safely retire for the evening, and at that point, Marie will take over as Alina.

Marie’s untimely death is certainly a shock, regardless of whether you have read the books or not. Readers already know Marie will die, but this occurs far earlier in the narrative than we expected, successfully rendering her death a brutal shock for all of us. 

We are somewhat sad to see her go, but it is not such a significant loss since she did not have much screen time. Still, we cannot help but feel a twinge of pain as Marie takes her final breaths.

The Apparat: I must say, Sol Koroleva, you are becoming quite dangerous.
Alina: I’m sorry?
The Apparat: You will become even more dangerous still. You have no idea how much larger a role you have to play, do you? The people are erecting altars to Sankta Alina.
Alina: Why would they do that?
The Apparat: Because there is something far greater than armies, something strong enough to topple kings and generals, to crumble nations and birth empires. Faith, Alina.

We wonder if Alina will ever find out what happened, but then again, many things are up in the air right now. Alina does not even know that Mal is looking for her, which makes us wonder if they will finally reunite soon. We will have to keep watching to find out.

We want to hear from you, Fanatics!

What did you think of Shadow and Bone Season 1 Episode 5? Were you surprised to learn the truth about The Darkling? Do you think he will find Alina? Will Mal find Alina? Do you think Alina will go to Ketterdam with Kaz, Inej, and Jesper?

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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