This week, Shadowhunters fans got a killer episode– literally– that really upped the ante but almost imploded in its final seconds.
This episode made me really happy until the very end, which I’ll get to at the end. Overall, it’s a dark, edgy horror thriller with sociopolitical undertones. Relationships are still featured, but they aren’t quite so focal. By the angel, GIVE US MORE OF THIS!
Knowing full well that Simon really doesn’t have a band anymore, Clary books Simon a gig at The Hunter’s Moon and already has advertisements going. Because that makes sense. They discuss it at the bar while in the foreground, Jace snarks on the couple and Maia snarks on Jace. The snark turns up when Jace’s ex-fling, Kaelie the faerie, stops over to dump a drink on his lap. It’s a friendly opening scene, but things get gruesome when Clary and Simon leave the bar and find the dead body of a Shadowhunter in the alleyway next to it. The Shadowhunter’s runes have been carved from their body and patches of bloody flesh scattered down the alley. I probably shouldn’t be as excited about this as I am, but yaaaas! The show is reaching its creepy potential!
Inquisitor Imogen Herondale is still in the New York Institute and immediately on the case. As more Shadowhunter bodies are found, it seems the warriors are being killed by various Downworlders. Imogen sees every Downworlder as a suspect and says that if Jace, Alec, and the other Shadowhunters want to clear their Downworld friends, they need to collect DNA samples. It’s not something that everyone is comfortable with it, but Jace is reluctant to go against his newly-discovered grandma. She really wants Jace on her side– Clearly seeing her legacy and not Jace himself, she appoints him the new head of the New York Institute, even when Jace insists Alec should have the job.
We cut to the same exact shot of the outside view of Magnus’ apartment from the last episode (we see you, recycled footage!) Alec enters Magnus’ apartment and it’s clear things are still rough between them. That “I don’t know what to say” awkwardness permeates their conversation, and things take a turn for the worse when Alec finally cracks and asks Magnus for a hair for DNA testing. Alec fumbles to explain why he thinks the DNA testing is important and eventually, Magnus gives him a hair. Then promptly kicks Alec’s ass out.
When he returns to The Institute, Alec helps Izzy welcome back their little brother, Max, who is due to begin his official training with Izzy the next day. Max is a little too smart and eager for his own good, but this little actor is adorable and we’re glad Izzy has something to help her focus on the day-to-day.
Meanwhile, Clary has a little less luck getting Simon to agree, even though Luke and Magnus have given samples. Simon relates the request back to his own family’s struggles in the Holocaust, where the Jewish people were continuously asked to give up small liberties and privacies that eventually led to the genocide. Unlike Alec, Clary doesn’t push it. But that doesn’t much her much luckier. When she leaves Simon’s boathouse, she’s attacked and drugged by the killer. Fortunately, Simon hears the ruckus and saves Clary as the killer flees. He brings her back to the Institute for treatment, but refuses Imogen Herondale’s orders to leave the building. Well, Imogen isn’t here for the talk back. She locks Simon up in Valentine’s old cell for his insolence.
Back at Magnus’ apartment, Dot shows up with some medicine she hopes help his temporary magic loss. Magnus doesn’t explain the Valentine switcheroo to her, but the two do get to drinking together. They reminisce about the old times– apparently, Magnus and Dot were also an item 600 years ago and have remained friends since. With Camille banished early on, will Dot stand in for some key markers in the Magnus/Camille relationship that weren’t explored?
As more Shadowhunter victims roll in, Imogen decides that DNA samples aren’t enough. She tasks Jace with getting the Downworlders to agree to tracking chips. His first stop is The Hunter’s Moon, where he quietly approaches Maia with the plan. She’s offended, and for good reason, so she announces it to the bar and proceeds to beat the crap out of Jace. We’re going to assume he chooses not to fight back for the sake of maintaining some decorum, because for a legendary warrior, he sure gets his ass beat a lot. Eventually, Luke breaks it up, but things don’t look good for Downworlder/Shadowhunter relations.
As this all goes down, Izzy makes a risky move and goes to visit Raphael for information. He doesn’t disappoint. It turns out another ex of Isabelle’s, Meliorn, had threatened to kill Shadowhunters in a similar fashion long ago.
But first, back to Magnus and Dot. They drank a bottle of whiskey and still dance damn well. Now THAT is magic!
Dot goes in for the kiss, but Magnus stops her. No matter how illogical falling for a mortal Shadowhunters may be, Magnus’ heart still belongs to Alec. Awwww!
Another Shadowhunter is dead, killed by a werewolf. Maia was found about a block away and as such, the Inquisitor assumes she’s the killer. Maia is fuming and while Jace lightly defends the likelihood that she’s not the killer, he doesn’t insist or keep Imogen from imprisoning her with Simon. Now it’s Clary’s turn to go off on Jace, who is an unholy mess in this episode. Imogen peaces out very quickly after that, and when she does, Jace releases Simon and Maia.
Izzy and Raphael go to track down Meliorn– but instead, they find Max, who has been following Isabelle in hopes of proving himself. Unable to leave with the killer so close, she forces him to hide out in the shipping yard. Izzy and Rafael find Meliorn, but he insists he’s not the killer. He too is tracking the killer, who is definitely fae. Izzy goes back to get Max, but he’s missing. He’s been drugged and taken by the murderer. Dun dun duuuuunnnnnn!
Soon, the murderer is revealed to be none other than Jace’s old fling, Kaelie, who wants to start a war between Shadowhunters and Downworlders to make up for Jace activating The Soul Sword and killing several Downworlders. She’s just about to start cutting the runes off Max and we genuinely worry that we’re about to see a child being tortured, but BOOM! Izzy, Raphael, and Meliorn are there! After a fierce fight that requires a little something from all three, Izzy stabs Kaelie through the torso and she dies, coughing up green blood and all. Again, maybe this shouldn’t be exciting to me, but IT IS.
Jace makes his first declaration as leader of the New York Institute: He names Alec the Institute head instead. Except that’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.
The episode ends with Simon playing his gig. The Hunter’s Moon is packed with vampires who think that, as a daylighter, he might be a great prophesied leader. As he introduces himself, he drops the band name and just goes by his own. Gaaahh. I love the band name shtick and I am kinda disappointed that the show has basically given up on it. Then he plays some weird technopop song and we really wish he played the guitar instead.
Clary watches adoringly and it’s too much for Jace, who steps outside and bumps into Maia. The two seem to maybe be flirting, even though they’re pretty awful to each other. Maia accuses Jace of being in love with Clary and to prove he isn’t, Jace kisses Maia. From the way things go from there, they presumably proceed to have hate sex in the alleyway behind the bar, right next to where that other Shadowhunter’s mangled corpse was dumped days ago.
LET’S TALK ABOUT WHY THIS BOTHERS ME SO MUCH. We’re all aware that you don’t have to be committed to someone to have sex with them. This isn’t about that. What bothers me the most is the “everyone hooking up with every other possible person they could possibly hook up with” vibe I’m starting to get from this show. It diminishes the strength of all the characters and their relationships (except Magnus and Alec, who are presented as “the solid couple” while everyone else flails.) If this were a group of friends I knew in real life and I knew they were all bouncing around sleeping with each other, I wouldn’t take any of their relationships seriously. Even when they found an “OTP” as these characters will, it would be hard to believe they’re really meant for each other just because they’re just the final combination in a game of hook-up pinball. This coupling is especially disturbing because Jace has been an oppressor of sorts to Downworlders and particularly Maia throughout the whole episode. There are some major lessons for Jace to learn in there, ones he hasn’t necessarily learned yet. Their hook-up tells the audience that the outlandish suspicions, DNA samples, tracking chips, fist fights, false arrest, and profiling were no big deal after a pseduo-apology because hey, she’s still willing to get with him. Consequences and convictions? What are those things?!
I should mention that I’ve been talking to my lovely co-admin about this episode and she disagrees. She’s more open to seeing where the story is planning on going with Jace and Maia’s fling and whatever other relationships that come our way. So maybe it’s just me.
In short: Fantastic episode. Cheap, terrible ending.
Until next week!