“Shadow and Bone” season 1 split its narrative into three strands — two of roughly equal size, and a third that was basically a tasty garnish. The first strand was Alina’s time at Grisha school, learning to control her newfound powers, getting some cool new clothes, and sharing lots of charged eye contact with our smoldering villain in disguise. The second followed a group of guttersnipes who had grown up to form a criminal underground gang, the Crows, who are hired to kidnap Alina and travel across the Fold to do so (with some help from an adorable goat called Milo). 

The garnish was a steamy little plot thread involving chatty Heartrender Nina Zenik (Danielle Zenik) and a tall, attractively grim-faced drüskelle (witch-hunter) called Matthias (Calahan Skogman). He was raised to hate her kind; she kind of resents him for kidnapping her. They do lots of fun arguing, and then one night they’re both very cold and they have to stay in a cabin with only one bed and, well, if you’re familiar with fan fiction tropes then you’ll know how that story ends.

In some ways, “Shadow and Bone” season 2 is simplified in that there are really only two main plot threads. Matthias, at this point, is on his own in Hellgate prison, and we just check in on him occasionally to see how he’s doing (spoiler: he’s not doing great). Meanwhile, Alina’s storyline and the Crows’ storyline (which now incorporates Nina) start off completely independent from one another but are eventually drawn together by the finale. Structurally, it’s simpler, but with new characters being introduced while characters from season 1 reemerge from the woodwork, the show does at times feel a little overstuffed.