I’m not mad at Shadowhunters at this point. I’m not upset about deviations from the source material or confusing decisions. I’m just disappointed.
Salt in the Wound wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t what I wanted from Shadowhunters. It wasn’t as much fun as previous episodes, and it dashed a few of my hopes for the rest of the season.
I genuinely enjoyed the first five episodes of season 3. I was kind of looking forward to the rest of the season. Because even though this isn’t a perfect show, it is a fun show, and I can appreciate that.
It’s just very disappointing to see the show keep introducing new, exciting things and then not delivering on them at all. This show keeps taking the easy way out of everything, and making potentially exciting things so boring. Why do the writers keep doing this? Why can’t we have interesting character development and moral ambiguity and mature conversations? Why can’t you just treat your audience like intelligent people who can figure out what’s right and what’s wrong without you making it so obvious?
EVIL JACE IS BORING
Why, Shadowhunters? Just why?
Why did you think it would be a good idea to make Jace completely brainwashed? To have it be Lilith who influences him and not Sebastian? To have him try to kill Clary?
There is a difference between a Jace who acts exactly like the old Jace but is slightly off and doesn’t seem to realize it, and a Jace who looks and acts like the old one but has none of his actual personality or emotions. One of them is interesting. One of them is not.
I’m just baffled by the writers’ decision to take Jace’s character in this direction. This is clearly supposed to be like City of Lost Souls, but it’s not because this isn’t Jace. COLS works because it’s still Jace, just slightly off. It’s a Jace who still loves Clary, who still acts mostly like himself. It’s a Jace who seems happy, maybe even happier than he was before, to the point where you almost wonder if he even wants to go back to the way he was before. It’s a version of Jace that doesn’t even realize he’s acting any differently. The old Jace is still there, he’s just buried. That’s why it works so well. That’s why it’s so off-putting and weird and creepy and emotional to spend time with him.
The way Shadowhunters has done Jace’s storyline just falls flat comparatively. Where is the intrigue here? Where is the emotional part? Is it in the fact that our Jace seems to be completely gone and replaced with a demon who does what Lilith asks him to? Because that’s not interesting. That’s been done before, so many times, on so many different shows. I don’t care about this storyline. I know the main characters will find a way to get Jace back.
Now, if they ever do finally bring Sebastian back, I’m assuming the dynamic between him and Jace will be different than it was in the books, and honestly, I’m not nearly as excited for that storyline as I was before. I don’t want two demons-slash-slaves of Lilith’s. I want two very complicated human beings whose good qualities makes their bad ones stand out even more, and whose humanity makes them even more horrifying as villains.
Once again, Shadowhunters seems to be simplifying things way more than necessary, and I don’t understand why they think this is a good idea.
FLASHBACKS THAT DON’T SUCK
This episode saw the return of flashbacks to Shadowhunters, and I must say these are the best flashbacks this show has ever done. I’m pretty sure what made the difference was actually using the same actors but making them look slightly younger, like a normal TV show, instead of hiring new actors who only look a few years younger but don’t actually look that much like their characters.
It’s less distracting this way.
This episode was very Maia-and-Jordan centric, as we saw them reunite in the current timeline, and in the flashbacks we got a brief rundown of their shared history.
(slight tw for discussion of domestic violence in this section)
I was nervous about this storyline from the start because I don’t really trust Shadowhunters do deal with sensitive topics properly, and Maia and Jordan’s storyline deals with some incredibly sensitive topics. I wasn’t exactly eager to see Shadowhunters tackle domestic violence, especially with the supernatural factor that plays in to Maia and Jordan’s unique circumstance.
I don’t think the way they handled it in this episode was as bad as it could have been, but there were a few things that kind of left a bad taste in my mouth. Once again, Shadowhunters fell into this trap of oversimplifying things. Jordan turned very aggressive and very violent very quickly, and Maia dumped him very quickly. I get that the message was supposed to be “this isn’t okay! Don’t stay in relationships when this happens! Do like Maia and run away!” and obviously that’s a great message to send, but most abusive relationships aren’t like that. The signs are not always that obvious, and it’s not always that easy for women to leave.
With this storyline, it kind of felt like they were saying “strong women like Maia leave right away!” and again, that’s a good message to send, but there are a lot of reasons why women every bit as strong as Maia stay in abusive relationships, and I almost felt like this storyline was kind of dismissive toward those people? They could have shown Maia falling in to a lot of the same traps other women do – making excuses for him, thinking she can change him, blaming herself – and only waking up the the reality of what her relationship has become when it’s already too late. That might show people what those kinds of relationships can look like, and what kind of traps to avoid, which would probably go a lot further toward raising awareness than what Shadowhunters did in this episode.
It’s a relatively small issue that I had with the episode and I don’t exactly expect much better from Shadowhunters, but it’s still something that bugged me. I did really like seeing Maia stand up to Jordan on the night he first Turned, and I’d definitely rather they skim over all these difficult topics than try to address them and mess up, so it could be worse, I guess.
Also, Maia in real time is amazing. Her conversation with Jordan, in which she explained that she was mad at him for leaving her, was one of my favourite scenes in this episodes.
MALEC… IS OKAY?
Magnus and Alec did not get much screen time in this episode, and most of the time they did get was dedicated to matters other than their relationship. But there was a particular scene that I thought was important enough to warrant a full section.
Early on in the episode, Magnus and Alec apologize to each other and seem to make up, deciding that the mission is more important than their relationship troubles and that they should just put everything aside. I obviously don’t know how things are going to go in future episodes in regards to these two, but that conversation kind of made it seem like they were going to forget about their fight and just make up. I sincerely hope that’s not actually happening, because this is not how you work through your issues.
I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t think their relationship drama was done all that well in the last two episode, but Alec’s concerns about being with Magnus are still legitimate. As I’ve said in previous reviews, Alec has every right to be wary of entering a long-term relationship with someone who has been with many people in the past, who will almost certainly outlive him by several hundred years, and who has been incredibly reluctant to open up about his past. I’m not attacking Magnus here – I know there’s nothing he can do about any of these things – but I am saying that Alec has every right to rethink the kind of relationship he wants to have with Magnus. The healthy, normal solution to this problem is for them to talk it out and reach a compromise. It is for Magnus to listen to what Alec has to say and maybe do a little bit more to show that he is also committed to this relationship – that might mean letting Alec move in with him, or not being so paranoid about his boyfriend finding out things about his past. They need to address this problem, and work through it.
Have we seen them do that? No. Last episode, we saw Magnus dismiss Alec’s concerns and basically tell him he was being ridiculous. Now we’re seeing them just… decide this isn’t important? And that they don’t need to discuss it?
How is this going to solve their problem?
How it this going to make them a better couple?
They need to address the biggest barrier in their relationship: Magnus’s immortality.
I sincerely hope they will discuss this eventually and that they’re just postponing the conversation until later (Alec trying to accept Jia’s promotion suggests this might be the case), but I really didn’t like the way their scenes were done in this episode. For once, can this couple get the full, compelling storyline they deserve instead of being thrown in for a few minutes every episode without actually growing as a couple?
THINGS THAT DO NOT MAKE SENSE, A LIST
- Clary not being able to move, but being able to take her phone out and call Simon.
- Simon not realizing something is wrong with Clary until a few seconds into their phone call.
- Clary being so sure she can trust Imogen. I mean, she didn’t trust Alec for 6 episodes…
- Maia saying she doesn’t know where Jordan is from when he has an Australian accent and he’s carrying a surf board.
- Jordan and Maia both stopping to have a long, witty conversation at the beach with someone they don’t know.
- Clary being able to throw a portal at her friends and send them somewhere. That’s… not how portals work.
ODDS AND ENDS
- I’ll admit that the first scene with Clary getting attacked was pretty cool.
- Simon and Jordan’s bromance is still great
- My favourite scene, by far, was the one where Clary explained what happened with Jace and Alec hugged her.
- Although, again, of course Alec would have done the same thing! That’s what I’ve been saying this whole time! Why didn’t they think he’d be on their side?
- I still don’t care about Ollie nearly enough to be affected by her storyline in this episode.
- Every line of dialogue in Maia and Jordan’s conversation was so cheesy and unrealistic.
- Okay, that line where Simon says he hasn’t been to the police station since “take your kid to work day” got to me. Because this means that Luke took him to work that day. And he sees Luke as a parent.
- I am excited to see Clary break out of whatever jail they’ve put her in.
Shadowhunters airs Tuesdays at 8pm EST on Freeform