What… what just happened, guys?! Shadowhunters just took a sharp left turn and we’re a little thrown.
I must admit I’m about 30% intrigued but 70% confused by Episode 4 of Season 2, but let’s work through this together!
There are three major plot lines happening in this episode.
First, things come to a head in the search for Camille. Victor Aldertree is sick of waiting for Raphael to bring him Camille (while Raphael has been waiting for Simon to do it for him,) so he takes some desperate measures: He tortures the vampire with ultra-powerful UV rays. It’s a little too techie for the Shadowhunters lifestyle we know and the fact that it only affected Raphael’s completely exposed skin isn’t really accurate, but hey, we felt for the guy. He turns to the only person he can: Magnus Bane.
The show really hasn’t established the long-standing connection between Magnus and Raphael that began when Raphael first became a Downworlder, but it’s definitely implied in this episode. As Raphael is physically healed, simon walks in and after a rough altercation between the two, the three Downworlders come to terms as they realize the mysterious box in Simon’s possession contains grave dirt, which will allow them to summon Camille. A plan is slowly hatched.
Meanwhile, Clary gets a pretty big shock when she learns The Clave is transferring her mother to Idris, and Jocelyn wants her to come along. Clary is torn between becoming a true Shadowhunter and being with the mother she just got back. Thankfully, Alec and Izzy pull her away for a mission before she has to give any answers. A possession-based demon is forcing people to literally punch out the heart of its victims on the streets of NYC. The body is fresh, but the demon is missing, so Izzy takes the body back to The Institute while Alec and Clary search. On the way, Alec teaches Clary a few new runes and skills and then, of course, tells her all the things she’ll love about Idris.
There’s just one problem: The demon has special cloaking abilities and it’s in the dead body. When the body enters The Institute, the demon escapes.
Over in the City of Bones, Jace is held captive right next to Hodge, his childhood mentor who betrayed them and gave Valentine the Mortal Cup. Alec believes that Jace will be absolved of all crimes when he goes to trial with The Soul Sword, one of the three coveted Mortal Instruments that forces the truth out of its bearers, but it’s more complicated than that.
First, Jace is made to look somewhat sympathetic to Valentine’s cause, which isn’t accurate and I really didn’t like it. Then, Victor Aldertree asks questions that would make any of our main characters look disloyal to The Clave, because they aren’t unquestioningly behind the Shadowhunter government. Meanwhile, the Silent Brothers, the sage, almost omniscient members of the Nephilim are… well… silent. Jace is sentenced to life in prison by the same man who asks all the questions to put him there.
When Alec and Clary arrive back at The Institute, a Shadowhunter has already been killed by the possession demon. It’s one of Valentine’s experiments and there’s really no way to track it, but everyone is searching high and low. Lydia is injured and narrowly saved by Alec when Raj is possessed. Clary and Isabelle hit the basement level, where Clary’s possible move to Idris is brought up again in a new light.
When they come back upstairs to report, Clary discovers the unthinkable. Alec has been possessed and the demon forced him to kill someone.
It was Clary’s mother, Jocelyn, right in the middle of her bedroom. WHAT? We’re either being set up for major deus ex machina in which Jocelyn is brought back by the Iron Sisters, which just feels cheap, or Jocelyn is truly gone, in which case you might as well just write off Luke because their intertwined storyline is the only factor that make either character interesting and what the everloving fuck. Clary’s shock is palpable before the commercial break, but in the next scene (probably minutes later), she’s steely. She interrupts Alec mid-sentence with a hand in his face and declares “I have a demon to kill.” My husband snorts and I concede that, yeah, it gets tacky sometimes.
Back in Magnus’ apartment, the spell to summon Camille is ready. Magnus claims to need one extra ingredient to fortify the spell. He sends Simon and Raphael out to get it from Catarina Loss (!!!) and as soon as they leave, he summons Camille. He immediately cages her, but then he has an emotional moment with the vampiress. They were once very close and Magnus needs to explain why he’s turning her in: She means a lot to him, but the Downworld community means more.
Jace’s prison sentence is quickly interrupted when Valentine and his goons walk into the City of Bones and slaughter all the Silent Brothers who are home at the time. They use Victor’s rune to open Jace’s cell. When Hodge has a change of conscience and tries to save Jace, he gets offed, too. How the hell does Hodge get the boot before freaking Dorothea?! His character and backstory is 1000 times more interesting!
Valentine has The Soul Sword, making his intentions to gather The Mortal Instruments clear. The villain admits to setting a demon loose in The Institute, earning serious resistance from both Jace and Aldertree. And in a decisive character moment, Jace decides to save Aldertree’s life rather than save the ancient Shadowhunter relic.
The demon battle at The Institute comes to a head when Valentine’s creation possesses Izzy. The demon knows each person’s general thoughts and attacks Alec viciously because Izzy knows he’s the favored child. But Clary is true to her word, stabbing Izzy in the shoulder to release the demon, then killing it without much trouble.
The aftermath scene featuring Clary, Alec, Izzy, Simon, and Jace is telling and really pulled at our heartstrings. But overall, this episode felt a little too frantic and the deaths involved just felt detrimental to the story rather than something that will affect change in the characters.
We’re still quite happy with the season overall. This one just left us a bit torn.
Still, we’ll see you next week!