Shadowhunters took us back to the beginning where we met a different Valentine and watched his rise to insanity in “Of Men and Angels.”
One of the pleasant surprises about these last couple of episodes of Shadowhunters is that the show has improved significantly, although it’s not entirely without its faults. Here’s to hoping that the show can maintain that sense of stability without introducing anything that might disrupt that balance.
Here’s the rundown…
One of the intriguing aspects of Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments has been the story of the adults that came before Clary and her crew — Jocelyn, Luke, Valentine, and the rest of the Circle.
One of the things I did appreciate in this episode came in a small moment between Maryse and Isabelle where Maryse admitted that she had once thought she could “change the world by breaking the rules,” which was a subtle hint that she and Robert were a part of Valentine’s Circle like in the books. Although we didn’t get to see any flashbacks of her or Robert in the Circle, the seed has been planted.
Meanwhile, Magnus begins to tell Clary the truth about what he knew about Valentine’s beginning — about how her mother was by his side. About how he was a different Valentine than he eventually became. But Magnus tells Clary of the villainous Valentine that Jocelyn had told him of. How Valentine viewed the Accords as a fallacy — how protecting these Downworlders, who are half demon, isn’t something they do; they don’t make peace with demons. But Jocelyn saw the Accords as keeping the peace, how these Downworlders were also half human. But Valentine’s goal was ultimately to kill these half-demon Downworlders and fulfill their destiny.
Valentine wanted to create a new Shadowhunter army, as we all know, and Magnus told Clary the story of how Valentine fought his way inside to accomplish everything he’d wanted — to destroy the Accords, to murder Downworlders, and to secure the Mortal Cup. We see Luke arrive to stop Valentine, and the two fight. Just as Valentine is about to deliver the death blow to Luke, Jocelyn stops him. The two fight and eventually Jocelyn is able to capture the Mortal Cup and run away.
Saving Luke and Clary & the Mortal Cup
When we last left Luke, he had just fought and killed an alpha werewolf who was attempting to harm Clary and her friends. While Luke had defeated the alpha — and become the new alpha — he was also bitten and affected by the bite– because apparently on this show an Alpha werewolf bite can affect a werewolf. When they get him to Magnus’, Luke has a sort of hallucination of sorts as he sees Jocelyn, who warns Luke that he has to help Clary find the Mortal Cup. Not to save Jocelyn but to stop Valentine. And we start to see the weight of Jocelyn’s sacrifice. She cares more about protecting her people than just herself. The true honor of Jocelyn.
Following the administration of the antidote, Luke understands what he needs to do — he needs to tell Clary the truth like Jocelyn had told him as it may be key in unlocking Clary’s memories of where to find the Mortal Cup.
Luke tells a similar story to Magnus’ only with the key missing details — details that Luke believes forced Valentine to become the person he is. Luke says that the reason Valentine became the man who led the Uprising was because of Luke and Jocelyn — that they betrayed him and they fell in love. The more that Valentine became more dangerous and tempered, the closer that Jocelyn and Luke grew. Valentine believed that Jocelyn and Luke was having an affair, which led him to fight to regain Jocelyn’s heart. He began experimenting with Downworlder blood on himself, which led him to become this shell of a man that we all know. “Once he crossed that line we never got him back again,” Luke tells Clary.
Luke tells Clary of the man that Valentine used to be in the early days of the Circle — how he was a leader, charismatic, honorable, idealistic. Luke explained his belief in Valentine at the time. The demons were winning and they couldn’t train more Shadowhunters fast enough, and Valentine wanted the Clave to use the Mortal Cup to create more Shadowhunters, which made him angry. Luke and Jocelyn tried to reign Valentine in, but he mistook their care for an affair.
We got a flashback to an important scene in the books where Valentine and Luke go on a Downworlder mission involving werewolves, which is where Valentine betrays Luke and ultimately Luke becomes a werewolf. We also got more context to that Valentine-Luke fight that Magnus previously mentioned as Valentine calls Luke “an abomination” and tells him “you should’ve killed yourself.”
So obviously Clary understands even more that retrieving the Mortal Cup is as important as ever seeing as if Valentine got his hands on it then who knows what he would do. But something that Luke told Clary is supposed to unlock something inside of her to help find the Mortal Cup. Only nothing is working. There has to be something Luke hasn’t told Clary…
So Clary asks Luke about the box — the one that belonged to her father with the initials, J.C. But Luke is adamant about not divulging that information. Clary knows that this J.C. isn’t her father, so who is he? “J.C. stands for Jonathan Christopher,” Luke tells her. “Your brother.” Her brother that died in a fire at Fairchild Manor — a fire that Valentine set. (Oh goodness, why are we exploring this storyline so soon?!) We see Clary get upset and literally shove the box into her drawing notepad. And suddenly everything makes sense. Clary knows where to find the Mortal Cup…
This episode proved to be a significant episode for the Lightwood family, as it saw the introductions of Robert and Max Lightwood, as well as a problem for the Lightwood family that forced change within these characters.
After Alec notices that his mother is in “rare form,” he goes to her and confronts her knowing that something happened in Idris. We get a cute story about how little Alec broke a boy’s nose, and how Maryse couldn’t have been more proud. So whatever the Clave has thrown at their family, they can get through it, Alec comforts his mother. “We’re Lightwoods. We break noses and accept the consequences.”
After Isabelle notices her mother and father arguing about how Alec needs to be the one who does “it,” Isabelle pulls her father asides and questions him about what that little discussion was about. Turns out the Clave believes that the Lightwood family name is beyond repair after those unsanctioned missions helping Clary. But restoring that family honor comes with a tremendous sacrifice — it’s not just about vowing to do better and restore the family name, as Isabelle is quick to suggest. Apparently that’s a sacrifice that Alec is going to have to make: “They’re going to make you marry,” Isabelle tells Alec.
While Maryse spent a majority of the episode being harsh on Isabelle, she took the moment to apologize to her daughter for her cold behavior saying that it’s hard to be her children’s commander and mother. But Isabelle was having none of those poor excuses for parenting. Maryse warns Isabelle that passion makes you dangerous, which is why she doesn’t believe Isabelle is ready for the responsibility she thinks she is. That’s something that needs to be tamed.
We see Isabelle take on that responsibility as she sends Meliorn a letter saying they can’t see each other anymore and finally dresses the way that she always had in the books — Hallelujah! This is her way of showing that she’s taking this seriously — that she will restore the Lightwood name and do her part.
Jace and Simon
Nothing says good idea like pairing up two guys vying after the same girl who clearly despise each other. So that’s exactly what the show did when they partnered up Jace and Simon.
Jace and Simon are tasked with retrieving an antidote for Luke, as well as bringing Magnus to Alec, which might prove to be difficult seeing as Jace and Alec have done more bickering than an old, married couple. But when they do finally speak on the phone, Jace urges Alec to go to Magnus’ — he needs his powerful Shadowhunter energy and maybe something else *wink* — because he’s an honorable man despite Alec’s not wanting to get involved in any more Downworlder business.
But the bulk of the focus here rests with the feuding forces of Jace and Simon, who cannot stand each other and are too busy trying to convince one another that the other person isn’t right for Clary when they should be working faster to track down that antidote. But I digress.
Simon brings up the parabatai card, which gets an immediate reaction for Jace as he feels the need to defend his friendship with Alec after the recent rifts that the two have been experiencing. In fact, Simon bets that Alec leaves Jace hanging, which leads us to a conversation where Simon tells Jace that Alec essentially is Jace’s lap dog — he’ll do as he’s told no questions act. “I guess it takes one to know one,” Jace retorts, which leads to a conversation about how Simon is only ever going to be Clary’s friend — “That’s all she’s ever going to be,” Jace warns.
Simon says that he and Clary have always had each others backs, and makes the mistake of mentioning how he’s noticed Jace and Alec haven’t. Jace scolds Simon for even questioning his and Alec’s relationship with a jolted “Mundane,” which sends Simon over the edge as he puts a blade to Jace’s neck. But Jace is able to sustain him, and Simon doesn’t understand why he lashed out at Jace as he did. “What happened to you at the vampire hotel?” Jace asks — it’s about damn time someone starts noticing that something isn’t quite right with Simon.
While Jace goes to retrieve the antidote off a black market dealer, Simon has a hallucination where he sees his dead self lying at his feet with two puncture marks on his neck. After Jace emerges with the antidote, the two set off running.
But there was a really nice moment at the end of the episode where you could see what Jace told Simon — “She’ll never look at you as more than a friend” — was cemented after Jace and Clary’s little moment and Clary gave Simon a quick, friendly hug. But Jace didn’t rub it in his face
Magnus and Alec
Magnus and Alec continue to be one of the show’s greatest strengths, and the proof rests in the small bits that we got and the impact that they had on the fandom in this episode, which left the fandom clutching their hearts.
After some Lightwood family drama at the Institute, Alec says screw everything and defies the rules to steer clear of Downworlders. He heads to Magnus’ — like Jace had mentioned earlier — and arrives just in time to help save Luke. “I need your strength,” Magnus says. “Take what you need,” Alec says as he gives Magnus his hand. And dear God if I’m not entirely emotionally compromised.
Later, we see Alec helping Magnus clean up after the whole saving Luke thing and Magnus asks him if he’d like a drink. This wasn’t the date we were promised, but at least it was something. “To us,” Magnus toasts. Alec wonders why Magnus asked for him when both Clary and Jace were hear. “I wanted to see you again,” he says. Magnus opens up to Alec about how for a century he’s closed himself off to any man or woman. “You’ve unlocked something in me,” he tells Alec. And then as they so often do, a phone ring interrupts at the most inopportune moment. It’s Maryse and duty calling. But Magnus does offer Alec to stay for one more drink…and why must the camera cut here?
Rants and Raves
- Malec: Anytime Magnus and Alec have personal interaction with each other chances are it’s going to make it on my raves list. Also, anytime the show pays homage to quotes from the books — “I need your strength.” -Magnus; “Take what you need.” -Alec
- Max Lightwood: Max’s introduction was both amazing and incredibly heartbreaking at the same time as it brought back old memories of what fate awaits young Max. Max was as adorable as he is in the books, and I hope we get to see more from the littlest Lightwood.
- Isabelle: I really like how the show is handling Isabelle in this episode and moving forward. We’re finally seeing Isabelle wearing the clothes she always wore in the books, but now she’s also taking on a more professional demeanor as she wants to restore her family’s honor.
- Jonathan Christopher: One of my complaints with this show has been the sprinting pace that it seems to move at in regards to adapting storylines from the books. This is a personal preference, but I felt like the eventual reveal that [spoiler] is Jonathan Christopher; that he’s her brother has more impact when it’s revealed that she actually has a brother. It’s double the shock and forces Clary to accept two things immediately. But I guess we’ll see where they take this now that the seed has been planted…
- The Alpha Bite: This kind of stems back to last week, but since when is a werewolf affected by a werewolf bite? I understand that this was used as a device to explore the flashbacks and force Luke to tell Clary about what happened, but there had to be a different way to go about it.
- Angry Jace: Jace has just so much anger lately that it’s kind of getting exhausting to watch. Whether it’s with Alec, like most of the time, or with Simon. I want more humor and less anger.
Shadowhunters airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on Freeform.