It’s a new year and with it comes a new season of Shadowhunters! We had some mixed feelings about Season 1, but liked it overall. However, after the Season 2 premiere, we have high hopes for what’s to come! Let’s dive into the premiere episode, “This Guilty Blood”.
This page contains spoilers! If you haven’t watched the episode, check out our spoiler-free review here.
If you need proof that Season 2 plans to be a little more intense, look no further than the premiere’s opening sequence. You kinda hope it’s a dream sequence, because Jace is walking among a slew of dead bodies. When Clary shows up, something doesn’t feel quite right, but you’re immediately distracted as Jace and Valentine throw down with new and very much improved seraph blades. Just when you think Jace might escape, Clary turns into Valentine. It was all a trippy rune trick, and Jace has failed his father with disastrous consequences. This is scene gives us what we need from the show: Tension, action, better effects, and a few mind games. We’re on board!
Next, we head to The Institute, where everyone is on edge as they search for Jace. This is especially true for Alec, who feels a lot more similar to his grumpy, torn book counterpart. We hate the bad vibes between Alec and Magnus, but really, we can’t blame him for being irrational in the moment. But you know what’s entirely TOO rational? The chat between Clary and Jocelyn, in which there’s pretty much zero serious confrontation about years of lies and secrets. We’ll forgive it for now, but if this is a realistic mother/daughter relationship, there better be a heated argument soon!
While all this is happening, Victor Aldertree is taking over The Institute. He’s a paunchy, balding creep in the books, but he’s certainly not in the show. Yowza! But he is a twisted, manipulative SOB with an agenda that paints Jace as a criminal. It remains to be seen whether we’ll love to hate him or just hate him. Either way, he’s the worst at the moment.
After their big fight and Jace’s beating, we get a couple Jace and Valentine scenes that we really helpful. Jace is genuinely hurt by Valentine’s abandonment. We were glad for the quick reveal of the demon blood experiment, making it clear why Jace feels so torn in dealing with Valentine, even knowing Valentine’s anti-Downworlder agenda. He feels he won’t be accepted anywhere.
Of course, a portion of this happens while Valentine simmers up spaghetti sauce, because as many a show has taught us, villains love homemade spaghetti sauce. We can’t explain it, but it’s legit! Unfortunately, the writers missed the perfect chance to bring up Jace bathing in spaghetti as a kid. Instead Valentine talks about cooking Jace spaghetti on his 5th birthday, as if Jace would remember.
Meanwhile, Simon’s conundrum is kind of heartbreaking. We already know the vampires don’t want to deal with him, the Shadowhunters gave him the boot, and the werewolves were so over it before it even began. Can’t Luke punish his pack for being so awful? Or is he just that non-confrontational boss that lets the whole office go to hell rather than ruffle some feathers? However, it was so worth it for the “Encanto” hilarity! Oh Simon, someday someone will show you how to vampire. <3
Then we head to the GIRL POWER FIGHT SCENE. We’re here for this, even though we can’t help but question how Clary got so damn good with almost noooo training. We’ve wanted more action and this scene throws it at us with a fun, secretive exchange intertwined. Secretive, of course, because everyone wants to de-rune Isabelle all the time. Can’t the girl catch a break?
Alec and Clary manage to bust outta The Institute on separate missions to find and save Jace. First, we think Maryse is the biggest freaking traitor mom ever for disavowing Jace, then Jocelyn goes and locks her daughter and Simon in a storage container. Why do all the parents suck so hard?! Thankfully, we get two really great relationship scenes as a result! The Alec and Magnus apology scene was swoony and hopeful, and the Clary-Simon reminiscing might be our favorite friendship scene in the show EVER. Giggly, sweet, and pitch perfect.
The ending of the episode is pretty explosive. Valentine brings Jace to a vampire den where humans are slaughtered to prove his point. There will always be criminals in any society, but Valentine doesn’t see it that way and clearly, he’s specifically pinpointed this den to sway Jace on the matter. Ever the hero, Jace tries to save and avenge, killing all but one vampire in the process. Clary, Simon, and Jocelyn arrive just as the vampire leader, Maria, surrenders to The Clave. Under The Accords, Jace can’t kill her. But Valentine is all about bending the rules and gets in Jace’s head. When she lunges, Jace kills her. This feels like THE defining moment for the character this season– proof he has potential for evil. The next shot? Jocelyn loading up a hunting bow to kill her own son. Jace and Valentine make a quick portal escape, but daaaamn are things tense now!
We’re feelin’ some pretty positive vibes at this point and we’re ready for episode two! See you next week!