One of the most important things that one can realize in their life is that they are their own person. That no one other person ultimately defines who they are. They are responsible for their own fate. They choose who they ultimately become. This was something that Jace struggled with as he felt a darkness overtake him following his run-in with Valentine when he let him get away.
“Morning Star” brought us one hell of a season finale that was much darker than the show has been this season, which was a nice parallel to the darkness that Jace was experiencing. As Clary, Simon, and Isabelle worked on tracking down the Book of the White to help wake Jocelyn up, we found Jace, Alec, and Luke dealing with the Hodge betrayal. Ultimately there came a defining moment in the hour’s final minutes that set the stage for a darker season two and left us questioning a certain character’s decision that left the characters and the audience gutted.
Let’s dive into “Morning Star”:
Jace’s Dark Turn
When it comes to Jace’s character fans of the book are well aware of the darker path he takes as we transition from City of Bones to City of Ashes with the revelation that Valentine is his father. “Morning Star” was the beginning of Jace’s dark journey as he gets lost under the control of Valentine, who has made him to believe that he is this dark, evil person that he raised him to be.
From the start of this season finale – and even in the last episode – we saw Jace struggling with this darkness that’s inside of him. He no doubt blames himself for what happened at Renwick’s the week prior – how he had Valentine in his grasp and could’ve ended all of this – but he didn’t. And that right there should show you why Jace is not his father. Valentine wouldn’t have hesitated, but Jace’s hesitance shows his understanding of what is right and what is wrong when it comes to morality and why these two men couldn’t be more different.
But in this episode we saw Jace subject himself to the darkness as a result of his actions in the last episode. He’s blaming everything that’s happening on himself because he didn’t stop Valentine when he had the chance – he let him get away, which ultimately led to Valentine getting his hands on the Mortal Cup through Hodge.
But the thing that this episode showed was how much Valentine has gotten inside of Jace’s head, which is a very dangerous thing. This is the man that raised him as a boy, who essentially is responsible for the darkness inside of him, and we saw how all of those vulnerabilities came flooding back for Jace. Jace reiterated that Valentine is “his” father, which means that he was the one that was raised by the despicable man. Clary might be Valentine’s blood, but she was never subjected to his parenting growing up and the effects.
There was a darkness to the Jace that we saw throughout “Morning Star,” especially in the way he dealt with Hodge. Jace lost himself in the darkness when he battled Hodge when he cut off his hand and nearly killed him – without hesitation. It was then that you began to see just how much Valentine had gotten inside of Jace’s head.
But the talk of the episode was no doubt Jace’s decision to join Valentine’s army. It was a decision that Dominic Sherwood told us would have fans divided in their reasoning behind it. But I actually find myself right in the middle, while leaning more towards one argument.
When Jace chooses to go with Valentine he’s condemning himself to this fate because he thinks he deserves it. But he’s also protecting his friends from Valentine, who Valentine would’ve killed had he not joined him. So really there was a dual reasoning behind it, but ultimately Jace made the decision because he feels like he deserves it; he feels like that’s who he really is – Jonathan Morgenstern. He’s essentially leaving Jace Wayland behind. That’s going to be his huge struggle come season two. Jace needs to realize that he’s not his father despite what Valentine might continue to tell him.
But to find redemption you ultimately have to start at your darkest, which is where Jace finds himself now as he stands behind his father and his new army of Shadowhunters. Earlier, Valentine said that Jace’s friends make him weak. But that’s true at all. They make him strong. Love makes you strong, not weak. And that’s what’ll ultimately help Jace defeat Valentine in the end. Jace will embrace that strength – something that Valentine does not possess – and he will find his way back.
One of the game-changing moments in City of Bones comes with Hodge’s betrayal of Jace, Alec, and Isabelle, as it’s revealed that he’s agreed to hand over the Mortal Cup to Valentine in exchange for his freedom. It was a storyline that we saw play out in “Morning Star” as Hodge managed to steal the Cup and bring it to Valentine.
But the thing with Hodge, that we didn’t get to see enough of this season, was how he was family to the Lightwoods – Alec, Isabelle, and Jace. In the books Hodge is like family because he is the one that has taught them everything, raised them, loved them. On the show we never got that sense because the Institute has been overpopulated with random Shadowhunters. There was an intimacy to the books where for the longest time it was Hodge, Jace, Alec, and Isabelle, with Maryse, Robert, and Max in Idris in City of Bones.
While we didn’t see the build-up of this close relationship – we were just supposed to assume it – we did see the fallout of his betrayal and what it did to Jace, Alec, and Isabelle. There was a part of them that just couldn’t believe it – didn’t want to believe it – because this man was family to them. How could he possibly betray them like that? So that was something that really stung. When someone close to you betrays you it’s a pain unlike any other.
But something that’s also been important is the reasoning behind Hodge’s betrayal. It wasn’t ultimately to wrong the Shadowhunters so much as it was to protect himself – to free himself of this curse that had been placed upon him. But it doesn’t erase the fact that Hodge so easily betrayed them for his selfish desires. So when Hodge delivers the Mortal Cup to Valentine it’s cosmic justice when Valentine says that he can’t have a traitor be a part of his ranks. The agreement was, after all, that Valentine would grant Hodge his freedom for the Cup. Well, there you go. Freedom. With the Shadowhunters hot on your tail. Well, Hodge, karma is a bitch.
It’s not long before Jace comes into contact with Hodge and confronts him about his massive betrayal — about how he was their teacher, how they treated him like family. But Hodge defends himself saying that the Lightwoods betrayed him, blamed him, that he was a prisoner within those walls. But Hodge knows that he has to get away so there’s no choice but for teacher and student to square off. We get an amazing fight sequence that showcases the stunt department on this show, which ends with Jace taking down his mentor. But that’s not enough. Jace cuts off Hodge’s hand and is about to deliver the death blow before Alec stops him.
Later we see Hodge being taken to Idris, where he will spend the next book rotting in a prison cell before we’ll no doubt find him again when City of Glass comes around in this story.
From the start of this season, Valentine Morgenstern has been hellbent on creating an army of Shadowhunters with the Mortal Cup in order to rid the world of Downworlders and of those that are against him. It started off very weird with the Chernobyl stuff, but perhaps we’ve finally come to a place where we were meant to with Valentine possessing the Cup and using it to control demons and take down those that oppose him.
In this episode we saw Hodge betray those that he had spent most of his life with in order to give Valentine the Mortal Cup. Once Valentine possessed that Cup we saw him create his first Shadowhunter, whom he used to go fetch his children, Clarissa and Jonathan. It’s all part of his plan, you see. To stand tall above everyone in the world with his family by his side. Only that’s not how things are going to play out.
Valentine is someone who we’ve seen has been changed at his core and he’s embraced this insanity within him. He’s someone who wants to rule the world and have his family stand faithfully beside him. But he doesn’t understand why. He doesn’t understand love and thus he doesn’t understand ultimately what’s worth fighting for. And it’s why he’ll ultimately fall.
But one thing is for sure: the toughest challenge for the Shadowhunters lies ahead now that Valentine is in possession of the Mortal Cup. And things are only going to get darker from here.
Search for the Book of White
Coinciding with Valentine’s plans with the Mortal Cup was another problem: waking Jocelyn. And this could only be accomplished by finding the Book of the White in order to do so. This wasn’t really a storyline I was fond of because it’s happening much too soon. This is a City of Glass storyline that is happening in a season that’s essentially City of Bones. I understand the want to bring Jocelyn into the fray (mind the pun), but it just feels much too soon to me.
With that said, Clary, Simon, and Isabelle go to Hotel Dumort in order to speak to the person that is said to be in possession of this book: Camille. You know, the charming vampire that killed Simon and is responsible for his becoming a vampire. Also the one who happens to be held prisoner by Rafael and his vampires so that she doesn’t cause any trouble.
So it’s no surprise that Rafael isn’t too keen on letting Clary and her friends borrow Camille for a little chat even despite the threat of Valentine. To Rafael, the threat of Camille is much worse. But only it isn’t. If Valentine gets a hold of the Cup his endgame is to ensure that there are no Downworlders left. Still, Rafael won’t budge so Clary and Simon sneak downstairs to pry Camille loose. They ultimately make a deal that she’ll take them to her apartment where the Book of the White is, if Simon agrees to pardon her for her crime against killing a mundane. Of course Simon agrees because he understands the importance of this mission especially as it relates to Clary.
After Isabelle helps ensure their escape from Hotel Dumort, our crew makes a quick pit stop at Magnus’ so that the warlock can draft up this pardon between Simon and Camille. It’s there that Camille uses her past with Magnus to stir up some trouble between Magnus and Alec. Ultimately it causes our pair to have a conversation after the episode where things look like they’re going to rough moving ahead. But that’s the case in any relationship.
Then our group finds themselves at Camille’s upper east side apartment in search of the Book of the White. Simon signs Camille’s pardon just before she’s said to tell them where the Book of the White is. Only she doesn’t know. See, never trust a vampire. Well, never trust Camille. Camille said that Dot probably hid the book from her so it’s somewhere in this library. Or the other four like it. But before Camille leaves she promises that Simon hasn’t seen the last of her. *Shudder*
So Clary and Simon begin the impossible and start searching for the book. But a certain cookbook catches Clary’s eye. It’s the cookbook her mother used to make chicken cacciatore, the one Simon loves so much. Clary recognizes the book so she looks through it thinking maybe there’s something there. And lo and behold there is: the missing chunk of the bookmark. And once Clary unites the two pieces the book reveals itself to be the Book of the White.
Following the traumatic events at Camille’s where Jace chose to join Valentine’s army, Clary and co. head back to the Institute to wake Jocelyn up. Magnus performs the spell and Luke catches Jocelyn in his arms and they embrace before mother and daughter reunite. A nice moment before the terror that is coming in season two with Valentine in possession of the Mortal Cup. The darkness is just beginning…
Rants and Raves
-Jace’s Dark Turn: Props to Dominic Sherwood’s portrayal of this darker Jace that showed us the power of Valentine’s influence and just how much Jace is struggling with this darkness inside of him. Not that we want to see this dark Jace – I miss the snarky, humorous, arrogant character we met in the pilot – but it’s nice to see this evolution of his character but even better to see it executed so beautifully.
-Fight Sequence: Speaking of dark Jace, one of my favorite moments was that fight scene with Jace and Hodge that showcased some of the show’s best fight sequences. It’s always nice when Shadowhunters lets these characters fight – seeing as they are warriors – and it’s something we haven’t seen enough of but need more of next season.
-Alex Taking a Stand to His Parents: It was nice to see Alec stand up for himself following the events of his liplock with Magnus. Alec has no doubt grown into a character that is doing what’s best for him and not his family. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t still care about him, it just means that he’s doing what’s right for him. He told them that if they had a problem with him and Magnus that they get over it because there was no way he was going to let them influence his decision-making again.
-Jocelyn Waking Up: Not that I’m not happy to see Jocelyn reunited with Clary and Luke and to see Maxim Roy conscious again, but this storyline from a personal preference feels too soon. Seeing as this first season is supposed to be City of Bones, I don’t understand why elements of City of Glass are showing up. But that’s just my personal preference.
-Jace Joins Valentine’s Army: While I ultimately understood Jace’s decision to go off with Valentine, I’m not a fan of the storyline itself, which greatly differed from the books. Sure, City of Ashes is all about the pull between Jace and Valentine, but Jace never actually chooses to go with Valentine to that extent. Like I said, I understand Jace’s decision in this moment and the whole season finale cliffhanger of it all, but I just didn’t like it.
-Malec Uncertainty: Following a great episode for Alec and Magnus it was disappointing to see what appears to be a wrench thrown in the couple’s way. But it makes sense from a season finale standpoint. Perhaps they’re going to rebuild them in the season two premiere? But right now I just miss the happy couple we had at the end of the last episode.
Shadowhunters will return for season 2 next year.