Netflix’s deleted scene between Jesper Fahey and Inej Ghafa in Shadow and Bone’s Season 2 finale, “No Funerals,” is the kind of moment that expertly and beautifully weaves the story together. It’s the type of scene the show shouldn’t have cut as it answers the question some fans were apprehensively asking upon finishing the season. At the same time, it’s a sweet parting slash love letter to the found family heart of the Crows.
The screenplay here is astounding as it gives viewers the necessary information while simultaneously allowing actors to add layers and convictions to the spoken word. Similarly, setting the moment in a secluded open area enunciates the vulnerability both characters are showcasing. Like the open air, Jesper and Inej are fully transparent with one another, giving Kit Young and Amita Suman some breathtaking junctures to exhibit how profoundly the characters care for one another.
So much of this scene is a sensational display of adoration because of the work Kit Young and Amita Suman bring to the forefront. There’s no denying that they understand their respective characters deeply, but concurrently, they understand each of their relationships. It’s why Inej needed to say goodbye to Jesper, which again should’ve been shown in the episode. Still, the moment reaffirms to viewers that though she isn’t leaving permanently, it’s still heartbreakingly difficult to say goodbye to the family she’s known away from home. It’s hard to be away from them, and it’s hard to imagine a world without them.
“Harij is my brother,” Inej says, thankfully giving us a name to hold onto as well as another beautiful piece to her puzzle, “but you, Jesper, are my family, too,” she cements. In these seven words, she promises him that though she won’t be physically around, someone somewhere loves all of him wholeheartedly. Someone out on the sea is praying for him, thinking about him, and missing him intensely. In her, he’ll always have family and a place to fall, no matter where she is. These quiet words and her tearful inability to even look at him thus show so much of Inej’s heart, simultaneously authenticating Jesper’s words about the detail that she’s the soul of the operation.
Further, there’s much to say about the detail that this scene subtly takes us to both back their visions in “Nih Weh Sesh (I Have No Heart).” Jesper and Inej are the only two people who see what they want — the family, the life, and the dreams they can have. And though the moments are vastly different, this scene allows them to share those vulnerabilities by allowing them both to know they are cared for.
Jesper knows that not only does Inej love all of him as he is, but she will protect him in a way no one else could. She’s someone who’ll always be looking out for him. Additionally, she doesn’t even have to say every word for Jesper to know what she means when she says, “Can you…” She doesn’t need to disclose that she’s talking about Kaz for him to fully understand that she feels terrible about leaving, even though she shouldn’t feel even a fraction of guilt. She doesn’t have to say the words for him to know that this is something he needs to do for her.
Suman tells and shows us how desperately Inej will miss Jesper, and then Kit Young fortifies those emotions with the kind of performance that rarely gets the recognition it deserves in the form of accolades. For a character who always deflects and always has the right words to cheekily say what he means, this time, Jesper is at a loss. So he kisses her hand and then her head, with the very warmth and adoration a brother would, wanting to hold on but knowing he must let go. The fact that he only begins to crumble and break down once she’s out of sight is a stunning exhibition proving he values her so profoundly that he can’t bear the thought of letting her know he’s hurting. He already knows she’ll tirelessly worry for Kaz, and he can’t have her fret for him in this regard too. He can’t let her know that this hurts him because he’s putting it upon himself to be strong for her — push through as a sibling would.
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The Crows were all mainly on their own before meeting each other (Taylor Swift’s “You’re On Your Own, Kid” plays in the distance). In a scene like this, we see the incredible healing they continuously go through during their time together reflected through an unbreakable bond full of immense regard and deep love. Young and Suman touch on the respect that flows through their characters with such reverence that it’s awe-inspiring. Their friendship didn’t just give them someone to jest with during adventures, but it gave them a sibling. It gave them a person who’ll always have their back, no matter what they do, because though no blood runs through their veins, the love that does is thicker in every way. Somewhere deep down, Jesper knows Inej will return, but how wholesome is it to see that they will miss each other this profoundly?
A scene like this only boldly shows viewers that Inej doesn’t abandon the Crows, but it’s a moment that restates how hard it is for her to leave them behind too. While we know of her motives and love for them because we know the character in the book, it’s lovely to see it come to life like this with this cast in particular because everything that the Shadow and Bone cast touches turns to magic. No one else could play these characters, and viewers having an opportunity to see moments of their love for one another is deeply rewarding. This scene is the kind we could write dissertations on to analyze — simply perfect and riveting.
Shadow and Bone Season 2 is now streaming exclusively on Netflix.