Shadow and Bone 2×06 “Nih Weh Sesh (I Have No Heart)” Review

Shadow and Bone. (L to R) Zoë Wanamaker as Baghra, Jessie Mei Li as Alina Starkov in "Ni Weh Sesh (I Have No Heart)"
Cr. Dávid Lukács/Netflix © 2023

Shadow and Bone 2×06 “Nih Weh Sesh (I Have No Heart)” Spoilers Ahead

Shadow and Bone Season 2, Episode 6, “Ni Weh Sesh (I Have No Heart),” is the one where everything comes to light and hurts by virtue of all that it foreshadows. It’s another vital exploration of how individual growth progresses relationships forward while simultaneously propelling characters to the places they’re scared to venture towards. It’s about uncovering the truth and learning to live with it despite how awful the aftermath might be, and it’s taking us one step closer to destroying the Shadow Fold.

While Mal, Alina, and Baghra attempt to find the Firebird, Nikolai reunites with his old-friend Dominik Vertov (Louis Boyer), and a flurry of visions take our Crows through the kind of journeys they might not have otherwise been on. Some people deflect, others embrace, and darkness reminds us that light can destroy it. It’s a fascinating showcase of what equates to a weakness and what’s a strength, even when some of the execution remains disjointed.

“Ni Weh Sesh (I Have No Heart)” and the Firebird

Shadow and Bone. Archie Renaux as Malyen Oretsev in episode 206 of Shadow and Bone Season 2 Episode 6
Cr. Dávid Lukács/Netflix © 2023

There’s a lot to say about what works and what doesn’t about Mal being the Firebird, and much of it comes down to my preference for the romance trope. Ultimately, this doesn’t work so well because everything we get in the final episode takes away much of the development. It’s cool that he’s part of the Morozova bloodline, and how the series pans out the revelation works well with everything that Zoë Wanamaker does with Baghra and how Archie Reneaux plays off her. But it implies that this was the only reason Alina and Mal were connected—as well as Alina and the Darkling.

Part of the idea of the soulmates trope works well in some areas, but in others, when it appears as though people don’t believe they have a choice, it takes away from the relationship’s appeal. If you’re drawn to someone for a specific reason, whether that’s what we get here or a different tether—it’s still a strong pull. It’s still binding. And this would’ve worked if “No Funerals” didn’t try to discredit some of it. And there will be far more to break down when we get there, but the revelations in Shadow and Bone 2×06 “Nih Weh Sesh (I Have No Heart)” function entirely because of the performances and the episode’s structure.

Jessie Mei Li as Alina Starkov, Archie Renaux as Malyen Oretsev in Shadow and Bone 2x06  "Ni Weh Sesh (I Have No Heart)"
Cr. Dávid Lukács/Netflix © 2023

Additionally, the Darkling makes a clear stance that power matters more to him than anything else, and it’s impossible not to feel uncomfortable with the way he has Alina pushed against a wall before Baghra steps forward and sacrifices herself. It doesn’t even matter if it’s through the connection because we all know well enough how real it is and how much it accomplishes in the grand scheme of things. If for a second he had genuine feelings for her, this isn’t the case now, and that’s where it’s easy to draw the line between them.

And it’s worth mentioning again that while people could believe that Book Mal didn’t deserve Alina either, show Mal is a completely different person doing everything in his power to ensure that Alina has everything she deserves. He’s here for her. He’s doing everything because of her. And he’ll stop at nothing to ensure that she is protected, even if that means paying the ultimate price and sacrificing himself. While Shadow and Bone 2×06, “Ni Weh Sesh (I Have No Heart),” makes it clear that his love for her is powerful enough, if the events of 2×08, “No Funerals,” didn’t occur, then perhaps it would make this that much more extraordinary. But still, credit where it’s due; Mal remains an incredible character who deserves far more praise than he gets. (And the same can be said about Archie Reneaux.)

The Greatest Friend

Nikolai and Dominik in Shadow and Bone 2x03

There’s a heaviness to Dominik’s respect for Nikolai when we know the future that awaits him, but it’s still endearing to get an honest moment between best friends like this. “I mean the king who shoved me into a room with a quiet wisp of a thing who turned out to be the greatest friend of my life.” There’s very little that we know about the show’s version of Nikolai Lantsov, and more we’ll imaginably get if the series ventures into King of Scars territory, but there’s proof of resilience in these very words, as well as his steadfast loyalty to people that shines through in a manner that’s so heartfelt, it’s almost sad to think about.

To think that Nikolai was once a quiet wisp of a thing is challenging, but at the same time, it’s not even a little surprising. It’s beautiful. The most reserved kids turn out to be the biggest rogues at times, driven by wanting in more ways than they can even grasp. This is how Nikolai also fits in Taylor Swift’s “You’re On Your Own, Kid.” (They all do.) But here we have a small moment that’s critical in showcasing why Nikolai is worth going into battle with and why everything he does stems from this desire to be someone’s choice. Isn’t that a universal truth? If Shadow and Bone Season 2 accomplishes one thing with profound understanding, it’s how it takes quiet conversations and adds depth to them in ways that’ll carry on for years. This scene marks one of those moments, and it’s painful and healing all at once.

Little Rabbit

(L to R) Kit Young as Jesper Fahey, Rhoda Ofori-Attah as Aditi in episode 206 of Shadow and Bone 2x06 "Ni Weh Sesh (I Have No Heart)"
Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

Where the episode is quiet for most characters, it’s brilliantly loud for others, and Jesper Fahey’s arc is part of the latter. Or a bit of both, because in the serene, we get some of the most unbeatable growth for a character who keeps things bottled up, even if he isn’t as emotionally stunted as Kaz Brekker. But following up after the argument with Wylan, through the haze of the poison, Jesper sees his late mother. It allows him a chance to grieve the loss by talking things through and understanding her choice a little bit more, alongside his blessings.

The setting gives Kit Young some of the most powerful scenes to work with, as it allows him to make Jesper feel like a kid again. “Little rabbit,” she calls him, and his entire heart is on display as he has the venture to be with her again. It might not be real. It might be a haze. But it’s an experience that changes him because it gives them the kind of second chance he might not have otherwise gotten. “Did anyone else get lulled into a comforting sense of joy?” he asks the Crows plus Tolya when they’re all safe. This sense of joy is exactly what Jesper needed to remember that his mother was the kind of person who’d stop at nothing to protect others—the type of woman who’d give to make everyone else’s lives easier, especially the kids who needed protecting.

“What we do while we’re alive; who we are; our truth, that is all we could control. That is all we have. Hiding who you are won’t save you.” 

The decision might have taken her away from him, but he’s better for the type of person that she chose to be—loving, helpful, and full of conviction. Despite his confidence, Jesper needs more belief in more areas than he understands. This vision allows him to not only see how important time spent with people you care about is but why living his truth matters in honoring his mother as well. Again, we don’t know how much of it is real (considering everyone’s visions operate differently), but if this is the version of his mother that he remembers and finds comfort in, and if she died trying to protect another child, then the chances are she’s the type of woman who’d want her son to be happy no matter what he does. It’s heartbreaking, awe-inspiring, and beautifully poignant all at once in showcasing his profound adoration and understanding of Jesper.

Shadow and Bone. Jack Wolfe as Wylan in episode 206 of Shadow and Bone 2x06 "Ni Weh Sesh (I Have No Heart)"
Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

Further, knowing that Wylan is the one to pull them out of this with the Datura Moxia gives Jesper yet another wager to see how special he is to him and why they must keep trying, even when there’s a long way to go for both. Life doesn’t always give second chances, but sometimes it does, and though Jesper lost his mother, and we don’t know about his father in the show yet (or even about Wylan’s family), we do know that what the two of them find in each other is something inexpressible. “Only the most perfect example of symbiosis,” Wylan says, to himself, about the butterflies, but isn’t that also the truth about his and Jesper’s romance?

What they bring to each other is a perfect balance between chaos and calm. A recklessness to Wylan’s carefully meticulous thoughtful approach. It’s cooperation in the best regard, with two people choosing to understand that everything they keep discovering with each other is proof of light in the darkness. Their story is about recognizing that despite their fears, they stand beside someone with whom they can be their best selves—someone who’ll still see the magic even when they don’t. Someone who’ll like (eventually love) them through everything. And it’s the sweetest showcase in an otherwise angst-ridden spectacle.

This Isn’t Real

Shadow and Bone. (L to R) Freddy Carter as Kaz Brekker, Amita Suman as Inej Ghafa in episode 206 of Shadow and Bone. Kanej Kaz and Inej
Cr. Timea Saghy/Netflix © 2023

While Shadow and Bone 2×06, “Ni Weh Sesh (I Have No Heart),” shows the emptiness that’s inside and the losses some characters are terrified of enduring, for Inej Ghafa, it’s about the boy she wants—her version of I will have you without armor before those words are said aloud. “For once stay, don’t disappear,” she imagines Kaz telling her, and you see it clear as day in Amita Suman’s performances that Inej is trying desperately not to accept any of this because she can’t fathom that it’ll ever be a reality.

She wants Kaz to want her because, despite the trauma she’s lived through of men forcing themselves onto her, she wants the boy who’s treated her as his equal. She wants Kaz Brekker because he’s the one who’s her true kindred spirit—the absolution in her scattering tethers. He told her once that he needed her, but the night before this moment, he pushed her away and told her that she’s a weak link. She comprehends that much of it isn’t true, and she knows that he’s ricocheting from the truth, but she can’t hear those words from Nina or Jesper. She needs to hear it from it him. She needs to see him without armor, to know that in the same way that she’ll try with him, he’s willing to meet her halfway.

They have a long road ahead of them, and Inej Ghafa knows that. Still, she’s just a girl with feelings bigger than the moon and her heart bursting for the soft edges he doesn’t show anyone but her. She wants all of it, and only with him—she wants to know that in his desire to give her freedom, he still wants her the way she wants him. She wants the magnetic lodestone between them that consistently pushes them together and the conversations they have in silence to become something physical—something tangible.

There’s plenty that they could’ve had Inej walkthrough, but everything that’s happening with Kaz is the exhibition of her trying to move past her own demons. He’s the only person she entrusts with her knives, the only person who’ll take what she gives and multiply them. But where she once flinched from other people, she doesn’t shrink with Kaz—she inches forward, slowly, carefully responding to the consent he delivers, wanting more because he is her person through all this—the one she could give herself to if he allows.

Kaz Brekker drowning

But elsewhere, lying beside her, Kaz Brekker is sinking, haunted by grief still; he’s drowning in the absence of a purpose. Jordie is beside him, but he isn’t the caring brother Kaz once knew; he’s cruel and unkind, pulling him under and reminding Kaz of all the crosses he carried to get to where he is. His vengeance is settled but what now? What comes next? He ponders many things, but Kaz Brekker hasn’t thought of what comes after this battle and where they go from here—he hasn’t thought of a life without vengeance, and, more importantly, he has yet to grieve.

He’s freed himself from some of the heartaches he carries by sharing the truth, but he still needs to go through the trauma—he needs to let himself grieve. He needs to let someone pull him out of the water. He needs Inej to apologize for making him feel like she could abandon him when he knows better than anyone that, deep down, that’s far from the truth. And so, that’s what he sees, denying it at first when she pulls him out, forcing herself to touch him knowing how much he’d hate it. But better her than anyone else. And when he jumps up, she jumps with him, apologizing for it all—he gets it.

They both initially deny seeing anything, but he later confirms that he might’ve seen something, trying to test the waters, stating, “There are those who drown us, and there are those who pull us out.” If she didn’t care for him as fervently as she does, she wouldn’t take his own words and use them against him—hope is dangerous; it clouds judgmentIt’s what he said to her when he wanted her head in the game and when he wanted her heart to break less. And she gets as much, taking it today and using it now, understanding that what she wants might never happen—he might never want her the same way. And yet…we know he does because “No Funerals” is proof of it. Still, she’s the one who pulls him out, and she’ll understand that someday. He is the one she’ll choose if only he could give her every piece of him. He’ll see that someday if not today.

Where we leave off in Shadow and Bone 2×06, “Ni Weh Sesh (I Have No Heart),” is with words left in the air, uncertainties close by, and a glimmer of hope despite the darkness we know is coming. There’s so much to uncover still in the next two episodes, and interestingly, they work out best where the Crows are concerned. The crew finally manages to get through to Sankta Neyar and learn that the Disciple is her husband, which is—a twist, I suppose. Still, the comment about love bleeds into this episode’s theme beautifully, as well as the entire season’s, by further confirming that love isn’t a weakness but a strength. He is her universe. And that’s exactly what all these characters are for each other.

Midnight Heists and Further Thoughts

  • Dominik is HOT. He should stay alive.
  • Jordie: “Still you drown.” Absolutely no need to cause us this much pain.
  • “For once don’t disappear. Just stay.” HELP ME.
  • Wylan: “Only the most perfect example of symbiosis” SO PRECIOUS.
  • MY LITTLE RABBIT. I will never stop CRRRRRRYING.
  • Really weird cut to Baghra talking about eating rabbits. I—
  • Baghra is an amplifier herself. She could summon darkness. And we shouldn’t have killed her. Period.
  • Who on earth are these Grisha with Darkling and why should I care?
  • Tolya sees Tamar dying? I hate this!!
  • The cuts in this episode are really something. And not in a good way.
  • Jesper not wanting to leave his mom hurts so damn much.
  • “Be brave, my Little rabbit”//”Mamma!” If You say so!” I’M SOBBING.
  • Jesper: “Did anyone else get lulled into a comforting sense of joy?”
  • I hate that Baghra sacrifices herself.
  • Not down with only 6 seconds of Matthias.
  • “You guard against pain. You guard against love. But when you find love, two worlds make a universe.” I love this.
  • I love how grateful Jesper is with the poison.
  • Life doesn’t often give second chances. Do catch up.God, I can’t wait for Nikolai and Zoya to meet.
  • I understand nothing.
  • Literally how does this work?

Now streaming on Netflix: What are your thoughts on Shadow and Bone 2×06 “Nih Weh Sesh (I Have No Heart)” Let us know in the comments below.


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