‘Shadowhunters’ 3×05 Review: “Stronger Than Heaven”
BY BEATA (Guest Contributor)
I did not expect to like this episode as much as I did.
After the disappointing filler episode that was 3×04, I wasn’t expecting much from this one. Surprisingly, it ended up being one of my favourite episodes this season.
Stronger Than Heaven, unlike every other episode in Shadowhunters season 3, and seasons 1 and 2 for that matter, actually gave most of its storylines the attention they deserved. And it had fewer storylines than usual! Just what I’ve been asking for this entire time!
Look at this review: I only needed, like, four subheadings! And I actually had a lot to say about each one! Usually I need about 10 because Shadowhunters introduces a whole bunch of little storylines without properly out any of them.
Is this a glitch? Or a sign of improvement?
Or am I just getting used to this show and it’s ridiculousness?
I guess, technically, I should say that the main plot of this episode was the one involving Clary and Jace, since it was the only one that advanced the overarching plot of this season and got us closer to dealing with the Big Bad.
And yet… I feel like there isn’t much to talk about here?
I am extremely bored with this entire storyline. Clary summoned an actual angel this week and I couldn’t have cared less.
I’m still frustrated that they’re not going to their friends for help with this issue, because this is supposed to be a show about young people taking matters into their own hands and trying to save the world even though they have no idea what they’re doing. If Clary and Jace aren’t going to tell their friends about Jace’s situation, at least give them a better reason for keeping this a secret than “they can’t be trusted.” Because that is absolute bullshit. We all know Alec and Isabelle would never dream of reporting their best friends to the Clave.
And Lilith is such a bland villain. I don’t blame the actress for this at all – my problem is very much with the writing. She has no personal connection to any of our characters. No moral complexity. Nothing. She’s just pure evil. She simply doesn’t work as a villain, because I don’t give a shit about her.
Please, stop dragging this out and give us Sebastian already.
Of course, now Lilith has given Jace that anti-love potion (a TID reference I did not need or want), and there’s probably going to be a whole bunch of unnecessary drama. Jace and Clary will have relationship issues. Jace will turn fully evil, and while he’s with Sebastian he won’t care about Clary anymore, and I’m honestly perplexed as to why this show would do that when Jace and Clary’s very complicated relationship in City of Lost Souls makes the storyline way more interesting and does wonders for both of their individual arcs within the series. Why would you simplify everything by making Jace not love Clary anymore? Why?
EVERYONE KIND OF HATES ME AT THE MOMENT
As always, the Simon parts were by far the best parts of this episode. I like that we’re finally getting to see the effects of the Mark of Cain – meaning that Simon feels isolated from everyone else, rejected by every group that might have taken him in. Also, he’s afraid to get into any altercations because he’s a nice guy who’d rather not kill people.
And the thing with Jordan (or Kyle, whatever you want to call him) is that he was supposed a little slice of normalcy in all this. Yeah, it would have been hard for Simon to keep all these secrets from a mundane, but right now Jordan is the only person who seems to want Simon in his life. To everyone else, he’s either an afterthought or an enemy. And now here comes this impossibly cool guy who just so happens to be looking for a roommate in his affordable apartment that has pretty much all of Simon’s favourite things in it. Simon wants a friend, and for a moment, it really looked like Jordan could be that friend.
It makes sense that Simon feels betrayed this time. Maybe Jordan doesn’t want Simon dead, and maybe he does care about him to an extent, but it must sting to learn that someone you thought genuinely wanted to be your friend is just doing his job, which happens to be protecting you and helping you get your messed up life back together.
I like that they were able to reach something of a compromise. Hopefully they’ll sort things out eventually, and they can be friends after all. Simon could use Jordan in his life right now, whether or not he wants to admit it.
Also, you have to think this means Maia is coming into the picture soon, which I am frankly not excited about. That storyline is a tricky one, and I don’t exactly trust Shadowhunters to do it properly. They don’t exactly have the best track record with that kind of stuff.
Another thing that’s not new about Shadowhunters: I wish the Malec storyline had been given more attention.
Last season, we saw Alec get a little bit jealous of Camille, but quickly get over it. It looked like Shadowhunters was completely skipping over that entire drama and moving on to other things. A bold move, but something that could work for the show.
But now, it seems like that storyline is coming back, and honestly, I’m here for it.
Perhaps the biggest obstacle facing Alec and Magnus in their relationship is the fact that Magnus is going to live on forever while Alec will grow old and die. For Magnus, this is difficult because he knows that he’ll have to move on after Alec, that he’ll have to mourn him forever.
But Magnus has done this before. Alec, on the other hand, has to confront the reality that he is not Magnus’s only love, nor will he be his last. Of course he knew that before, but looking at that box of things – one object for each lover – you could see that it was finally sinking in for him.
One day, he will be nothing but another item in that box. Another name on a very long list of former lovers. In time, he’ll come to realize that living on forever in Magnus’s memory is a good thing, and that the warlock does not love him any less just because Alec is not his only love.
(A huge theme in The Infernal Devices is that you can have more than one great love in your life and sometimes certain people are better for you in certain periods of your life, and I think that’s applicable here).
I do wish both of these guys could have been a little bit more understanding of each other’s point of view. As they said in the episode, they know each other very well. And their relationship is a really good one. I completely understand why Alec is feeling hurt and insecure about this, and I don’t necessarily blame him for lashing out at Magnus, but I kind of feel like this version of Alec is a bit more mature than Book Alec and understands that Magnus has a complicated past. I’m mostly frustrated with Magnus, though, because I’m sure he’s already been through this with other people and he must understand why Alec is upset about this issue. He definitely did not handle their little argument in a very good way.
I think the main issue here is commitment. Alec is all in on this relationship, but Magnus is still holding things back. I completely understand why he wouldn’t want to tell Alec everything, but I hope they can reach a compromise. It’s not fair for him to ask so much of Alec and not offer as much in return.
WHY SHADOWHUNTERS SHOULDN’T DATE MUNDANES
Isabelle decided to go on a date with the mundane doctor in this episode, and it went about as well as expected.
The thing is, Izzy can hook up with mundanes without consequences. She can tell a few white lies and have fun with them without putting them in danger or spilling important secrets. But Izzy has said that she wants more than that. She wants an actual relationship. And she simply can’t have that with a mundane.
This guy seems incredibly nice, and I like him a lot, but he can’t be with Isabelle if she has to lie about almost every aspect of her life. Either he needs to learn the truth, or they need to admit this thing isn’t going to work out.
THINGS THAT DO NOT MAKE SENSE, A LIST
- Magnus STILL not being suspicious of Lilith.
- Magnus saying that “erasing love is actually an act of compassion” in Lilith’s situation. In what world does Magnus believe this?
- Jace not immediately identifying Jordan as a werewolf.
- The fact that the Praetor Lupus knows so much about Simon and his friends. I know they’ve been spying on him, but there’s only so much information they can gather.
- Simon’s music at the end being so wildly different from the kind of music we’re used to hearing him play.
- Jace only needing a tiny sip of the potion. I figured he’d need to drink the whole thing?
ODDS AND ENDS
- I still don’t get why they had Lilith go with the story that she needs the potion for a lover who can’t focus on his duty. Magnus would scoff at this idea, because he thinks the Clave is dumb to prioritize duty over everything. She could have said, I don’t know, that a former lover is obsessed with her and stalking her and he wants to get him off her trail? This is just off the top of my head. There are other things they could have done.
- One of my favourite scenes in this episode was the one in which the gay shadowhunter thanks Alec for paving the way and giving other people the courage to come out.
- The one thing I’ll add is that I hope Shadowhunters doesn’t pretend everything is perfect now. One person coming out does not cure homophobia forever. It’s not that simple.
- Poor Ithuriel. That guy just cannot catch a break.
- I cannot believe how cliché his death was, though. Of course he gets murdered right as he’s about to say the name of the villain.
- When am I getting a full album of Simon’s songs?
Shadowhunters airs Tuesdays at 8pm EST.
An interesting review for sure this time around and mostly agreeable. However, the immortality argument is not new to the book lovers and I was actually happy to see the “immortality becoming a third person” in their relationship come to fruition in the show because it is such a huge relationship arc for Malec and their growth as a couple to where we see them today in Lord of Shadows. It seems to me that the show runners have finally stepped up to the plate by noticing that Malec is still kind of on too fast of a track and are putting the brakes on where they need to via CoFA references so that the relationship can grow to where it needs to as long as the writers stick to the third person immortality theme.