Best Shadow and Bone Episodes Ranked

Shadow and Bone
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Hopefully Shadow and Bone doesn’t follow in the unfortunate footsteps of other Netflix fantasy shows. I’m looking at you Lockwood and Co… Anyway, Shadow and Bone’s two series have been pretty great whether it’s the visuals or some of the performances. Here’s looking at Ben Barnes who really deserves more credit than he ever gets.. So, with the show’s third season possibly in limbo, why not celebrate its high points so far by ranking its best episodes? Let’s get into some history about the show before I get into the list properly…


Shadow and Bone first debuted on Netflix in 2021 and is an adaptation of Leigh Bardugo’s two series of fantasy novels: The Shadow and Bone Trilogy and the Six of Crows Duology. The show, like the books, has a Tsarpunk influence which is basically steampunk merged with 19th Century Russian Culture. While the show may have dropped only 2 years ago, there had been attempts to launch the show since 2012. So, the show follows Alina Starkov, a young woman who finds out she’s a Grisha (Wizard), and is roped into helping the mysterious General Kirigan in destroying the Fold (A massive wall of shadow magic splitting the Kingdom apart). And I’m sure that won’t backfire… Anyway with all that out of the way here is my ranking of the best Shadow and Bone Episodes (so far?).

10. Like Calls to Like (S2, E3)

Somehow despite that title making it sound like a terrible dating service tagline, Like Calls to Like is still a good episode. So what makes it good? Well, firstly there’s yet another attempt by Alina to banish the Fold which given the episode’s placement in the series I think you can guess how that goes. And as if she’s not had to deal with enough dudes simping over her, there’s another one with Sturmhond who is definitely who he says he is. For all the Crows fans, there’s not too much of them featuring in this episode despite the second series mostly being based on elements of the Six of Crow duology. Either way, this is a solid enough episode.

9. The Heart is an Arrow (S1, E6)

Last time I checked the heart is an organ…. I can imagine the groans right now. Anyway, my terrible pun segue aside, what makes this episode good? Well, the fact it continues the will they/won’t they relationship between Mal and Alina as they reunite and journey to find a mystical stag. All this is while the Crows are facing a perilous task of tracking down Alina for their mission and bounty. And that doesn’t account for the second will they/ won’t they relationship as one of Kirigan’s spies is captured and to save herself from drowning is forced to work with her captor. So there’s plenty for the audience to sink their teeth into..

8. Every Monstrous Thing (S2, E4)

This might be the only time someone may have inadvertently aided someone by c**kblocking them. I say this because despite being publicly engaged, Alina still professes her love to Mal in private all while her fiance threatens to expose them publicly. Enter Kirigan and an army of shadow monsters who inadvertently keep Alina’s true feelings hidden. So there’s a nice showdown there. And somehow the Crows’ subplot is just as mad. This is due to the fact they fake a disease outbreak and pretend they’ve kidnapped their enemies’s son in order to clear their names and to have him arrested. Holy Lord, that’s an idea straight out of Paddy’s Pub right there. I mean it works because it shows how certain Crows, Kaz in particular, are willing to be morally grey which provides a neat contrast with Alina.

7. The Unsea (S1, E7)

Remember that stag I briefly mentioned? Well the show fully grabs it by the antlers as both Mal and Alina as well as Kirigan find the stag only for Kirigan to kill it in order to take control of Alina’s powers. Yeah that escalated quickly… All this is while Alina reluctantly agrees to Kirigan’s plan in order to save Mal’s life. And this doesn’t even account for the Crows sneaking onto Kirigan’s ship to get across the Fold. Overall, this episode does a great job at testing the characters’ relationships and loyalties as they confront the dangers of the Shadow Fold.

6. No Shelter But Me (S2, E1)

Seems a bit unfair to rope Alina in with Kirigan just because he manipulated her power for his selfish gains. And yes, it shouldn’t be a shock that he’s still around for Series 2 because god damn without Ben Barnes Shadow and Bone wouldn’t be half as decent. Anyway beyond Alina and Mal’s high stake game of hide and seek, what are the Crow’s up to? Well they’re busy with being arrested and framed by the only other major villain to survive Series 1: Pekka Rollins. So, a pretty solid opening episode that immerses the audience in the show’s world again.

5. No Mourners (S1, E8)

As well as all know, anytime there’s death hinted at in the title it can’t really end well for anyone. And this is partly true as Kirigan eats a whole lot of pain but gets taken away by Volcra (mutant bat creatures) before he gets his just desserts. There is a nice moment at the end where all of the characters are on a ship and briefly make eye contact to keep a lot of avenues open. That’s what makes the season finale so good as it wraps up the initial storyline and sets the stage for potential future developments.

4. No Funerals (S2, E8)

Again, that rule I mentioned above should surely apply here and it definitely does as Alina goes all Brutus on Kirigan when he attempts to make a move on her (again…). This is definitely not the only highlight as the series hints at the possible direction of Series 3 with Alina revealing the extent of her shadow magic and the Crow’s new business of smuggling power enhancing drugs for the Grisha. That doesn’t even take into account the battle between Alina and the Darkling and a flying pirate ship. Yep, the show’s clearly setting sail to bold new places with the last point…

3. Show Me Who You Are (S1, E5)

The problem with your magic revolving around the Sun when there’s a giant shadowy void is people are naturally going to want to kill or control you. As evidenced when Kirigan tries to start a relationship with Alina so that she doesn’t disrupt his plans to expand the Fold. I know it’s shocking that the mysterious general wearing all black and who uses shadow magic might possibly have ulterior motives. On top of all this, Baghra, a witch who may have a connection to Kirigan, tries to help Alina escape lest ulterior motives become a problem. Oh and if this isn’t enough stress for her, the Crows are trying to kidnap her in order to get a lot of money. That’s this episode’s strong point as Alina is faced with challenges and difficult decisions, as her powers draw more attention.

2. The Making at the Heart of the World (S1, E3)

Well, appearances can and will always be deceiving. This episode sees Alina begin her training under Kirigan and sets up some very neat details that come up later in the series. Specifically, around Alina’s new tailor: Genya. And yes there’s a definitely not cliched plot point about Alina needing to believe in herself because that’d be daft… Anyway, the Crows set up the trend of them doing very silly things in the B plot when they try to cross the Fold to the Little Palace after the person who was supposed to smuggle them in got captured. Overall a very good episode where the relationships between the characters start to develop.

1. A Searing Burst of Light (S1, E1)

And the best episode of Shadow and Bone (so far?) is…. A Searing Burst of Light. Now other than the fact it does a great job of introducing the world, what else is good about it? Well, it establishes everyone’s arc for the series. It sees the first meeting between Kirigan, Mal and Alina as well as the Crow’s mission to kidnap Alina for a mysterious figure’s gain. It also does a great job at demonstrating certain character traits like Alina’s determination and not attraction at all when she gets onto Mal’s expedition into the Fold. A great episode of Shadow and Bone that introduces viewers to the world of the Grishaverse, its magic system, and key characters.

What are your favourite Shadow and Bone Episodes? Let me know in the comments below!