Am I ready for this? NOT EVEN A LITTLE! I’ve talked about my history with Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse so many times before that I’m just going to trust y’all know and are ready for me to absolutely lose my mind. I’m watching this over the course of four two-hour slots since I’m trying to watch it with a friend in California, and organizing the three-hour time difference was the actual worst until we finally settled on these times. Thus, I’ll be taking a few notes while I’m watching so I can summarize in between the sessions, so let’s get into it!
Also, I feel like this should be a given, but just in case, this will be full of spoilers, not just for the show, but for the entire trilogy, so proceed with caution.
LOL LIES, so Sara and I realized that we were both free on Friday, which meant that we ended up bingeing the first four episodes in a row, and we would have kept going if it wasn’t midnight for me, but alas, ya girl has got to sleep. So I’m writing this Saturday morning to work through my thoughts on the first four episodes, and then I’ll wrap up on Sunday morning after we’ve finished the second four.
I feel like I’ve just got to be honest with myself and start with Kaz because I literally screamed into my pillow so many times. I WAS NOT READY FOR HIM????? I thought I was, I really did, but then his cane smacked down on the card table, and he was scowling, and then he spoke!!!!!! And I was done for.
Honestly, though, the real MVP was Jesper because holy shit what a perfect portrayal. The way Kit was just constantly moving, and the way he talked, and how he was with his guns? UGH! It was so good. SO GOOD. I am an emotional wreck from seeing the Dregs finally on screen, and I do not know what to do with myself. And speaking of the Dregs on screen! I really liked how they wove them into the plot. It made a lot of sense, and though there’s no way any of it will come to fruition–at least, I hope not, because that wouldn’t make sense–it’s cool to see Kaz, Inej, and Jesper in Ravka. They’ve always felt so separate from the rest of the universe, and while there’s so much that ties them to S&B, Ketterdam is just worlds away, and it was really cool to hear the Dregs talking about Alina Starkov. I can’t wait to see where it all goes.
And though I can’t possibly be done talking about the perfection that is Freddy Carter as Kaz Brekker, now I’m thinking about Jessie as Alina, and I just want to get on the nearest sand skiff and race to pledge my loyalty to her. She’s just created an outstanding portrayal of Alina, and I was honestly in near tears every episode so far. I love her so much, and wait, hold on, I just remembered Leigh’s cameo, and now I’m actually crying. I had to just show my mom her cameo because I knew how much she would appreciate it, being a fellow mother of a writer, and yup, I’m legit crying as I’m writing this because WOW I’M JUST SO PROUD AND HAPPY!
Honest to Satan sobbed when she got to hug Alina, wow. I can’t even imagine that. To be able to hug the character that helped you get through so much? Just wow. And Leigh’s smile! Okay, I have to swing back to Alina because I’m a mess now. One of my favorite Alina moments was definitely the scene where she first arrives at her room in the Little Palace, and she has a small breakdown, just cries into her hands and then runs to find something sharp. They definitely didn’t need to show us that very relatable and human and heartbreaking moment, but they did, and it made me love her all over again. Truly, every moment with her has been outstanding, and I’m so excited to see her kick all the asses in the last half of the season.
And while we’re here, I see what you’re trying to do, Netflix, making the Darkling all sexy because he’s Ben Barnes, I SEE YOU BUT I KNOW BETTER. There was one moment, right after Alina leaves the war room when the Darkling is definitely thinking about kissing her, and he’s right behind her in the doorway, and then he kind of glides backward, and y’all that was creepy, thanks for reminding us because I was falling for it again. He’s so damn manipulative, and I forget every time! Ben is fantastic, though, and he’s doing such an amazing job as the Darkling. I am so ready to see him go full evil and just destroy everything.
(You know what I’m really ready for, and will almost definitely scream into more pillows? NIKOLAIIIIIIIIIII, please let this get renewed so we can hear his snark!)
OH AND MAL! If any of you punks come out of this still not liking Mal, I can’t be friends with you. He was already perfect, and Archie has just taken his character way farther than I ever could have hoped for, and he is the best. Fight me, you are wrong if you think otherwise. The way they’ve already started to create the subplot of his role as one of the amplifiers is so good, and how they’ve already tied him so intrinsically to Alina? It’s breaking my heart, thank you so much.
There are so many other amazing things that I could talk about–like the fact that I shriek every time we see the sign over the Crow Club (literally a Karou repeat where I’m just screaming CROW CLUB every damn time) or Jesper and the goat (HUG THE GOAT! SHUT THE HELL UP!) or actually getting to see Nina’s origins with Matthias (Danielle is perfect, and I will protect her with my life)–but I’m getting myself so amped up right now that I need to stop before I end up rewatching the first four episodes all day before Sara & I finish the season tonight. I’m definitely going to be rewatching this soon so I can take my time with it–and so I can rewind all the Kaz scenes because not being able to do that so that Sara & I can stay in sync is killing me slowly–but, for now, I’ll be back in a day.
Okay, night two. I have a fun series of screenshots at the bottom of this post for y’all because you deserve to see me absolutely losing my shit over Kaz & the Darkling sharing a scene, which seriously just proved how much I loved Kaz because I was like “FUCK THE WHOLE PLOT KILL THE DARKLING IF HE HURTS KAZ!” Which, speaking of that scene, I honestly really ended up loving how they threaded the two stories together. It made a lot of sense, and though it makes some things in SOC a little off, I came away with only the smallest of things that I didn’t like that I think, overall, this was a phenomenal adaptation. As far as Alina’s storyline goes, pretty much everything happened? I just reread S&B recently, so it’s in my head fairly clearly right now, and I can’t think of anything major that we missed? And don’t even get me started on the fact that probably 95% of Nina & Matthias’ scenes in the last four episodes were literally verbatim from the book. Like, I just finished SOC on Friday, so the dialogue is all still in my brain, and that was legit lifted straight from the book.
I loved Nina, too, and I ended up having waffles on Sunday morning to celebrate what a success the adaptation was, but Nina just stole my heart in ways I was not expecting. They all did, really, not just Kaz. But, while we’re here–two things that I was overwhelmingly grateful for: a) they didn’t shy away from Kaz’s bad leg, and when he was forced to go without a cane, they didn’t conveniently forget that he was disabled, but continued to make it part of his character, and b) THERE WAS NO KISS. Y’all, I was scared for a second there, during two different quiet scenes with Kaz & Inej, that we were suddenly going to get a Hollywood kiss, and it was making me anxious as all hell. Never before I have rooted so hard for two characters not to kiss, but here we are, and I’m so glad it didn’t happen.
SPEAKING OF KISSES, THOUGH
Honestly, that should’ve just been speaking of Jesper Fahey because MY BOYYYYYYY. I’m so excited about so many things. Kit truly brought Jesper’s soul to life, from the constant movement to the beautiful way he handled his revolvers. Everything about Kit’s portrayal of Jesper was stunning, and yes, I 1000000% screamed at 11PM at night while everyone was sleeping when we got to see actual charming as fuck bi icon Jesper Fahey flirting his way shamelessly through the Little Palace.
Also, because I’ve been seeing it go around Twitter, and though I haven’t watched the after party yet to see the comment, JESPER IS BI, IT’S CANON, THANK YOU AND GOODNIGHT.
Back to Alina–originally, I wasn’t stoked about how they did the amplifier, and this is twofold. One: there was almost no discussion of the amplifier lore, and while I understand there was a lot of ground to cover, especially with adding the Crows into the story, I was a little worried that non-readers would get lost with everything in the last half of the season. However, two: though I initially thought the amplified was a little over the top, visually, it makes a lot of sense. If you’re going to pull back from info dumps so that your non-readers aren’t overwhelmed with lore, showing all the amplifier magic in that visual way helps guide them straight through the lore without having to sit and talk for a while. Thus, though it looked gruesome, and though I’m sad Alina doesn’t actually have an antler necklace, I understand all the visual aspects of it, and I ended up liking it.
Truthfully, I don’t think there’s anything major that I didn’t like. There’s a few little things, but held up to the rest, I’m left feeling very satisfied with this adaptation. I’m so curious to see where we go from here. I like the way everything ended–I’m glad that we see Alina & Mal chasing their happy ending, I’m so excited that we’re definitely going to get more Crows prequel story, and heck YES to seeing nichevo’ya at the end with the Darkling.
Oh, real quick, speaking of, YES PLEASE AND THANK YOU to the fact that almost immediately after Alina & the Darkling finally kiss, we see that he’s The Actual Worst. It was so difficult for me with Ben Barnes playing the Darkling because ughhhhhhhhhh, so I appreciated being reminded that the Darkling is a manipulative asshole because Ben is too pretty for me to remember that on my own.
Anyway, this was wonderful, and I’m definitely going to have to rewatch it again soon so I can properly scream over Kaz literally every time he’s onscreen, and even though I was going to take a small break before rereading Crooked Kingdom, my willpower is weak, and it’s only a matter of time, especially considering I’m about to go watch the after party, before I lose all control and just allow myself to be fully consumed by the Grishaverse for the next couple of weeks.
Also, I know we’re still waiting on the official green light from Netflix, but uhhhhhhhhh, when’s the Nikolai casting coming?
(Sara & I had this amazing theory on what the last scene was going to be–just Sturmhond silhouetted on his ship, no clues as to who he is for non-readers, just this super badass pirate looking off at the horizon, lads we’ve got a sun summoner to find–IF ONLY.)
Wait wait wait, I promised screenshots, there’s so many, but you deserve to witness the level of screaming that I did at all times: