Episode 2×13 is, hands down, the best episode Shadowhunters has produced so far. From a production point of view, this episode has the strongest and most cohesive narrative ever presented, as well as the best distribution of screen time between its seven main characters and the supporting cast.
Moreover, in a show with clear allegories to real life issues, episode 2×13 takes a stand and doesn’t shy away from discussing important matters such as police brutality, anti-Semitism, and corruption. The characters have to face both personal and social dilemmas. With this, the show thrives by taking its world-building seriously.
Form and content worked perfectly together and I want much more of this.
Those of Demon Blood
There is something to the way this episode is written that makes it better than the previous episodes. For one, it manages to balance out a concise storyline while furthering the overall plot. The downworlder revolt has been anticipated since Season 1 and it is finally here, but that doesn’t mean our heroes’ personal storylines have to take a break. This is what pushes “Those of Demon Blood” into a different level and one that elevates the entire show as a whole.
The episode starts with Clary and Simon bumping into a dead Shadowhunter. His corpse has been mutilated and his runes, bitten out by what can only be a werewolf. Inquisitor Imogen immediately suspects Luke and brings him into the Institute for questioning, only to confirm the obvious when a DNA test clears him as a suspect.
More Shadowhunters are found dead and, now, by different types of typical Downworlder attacks. Alec, Jace, Izzy, and Clary realize they need a way to clear their Downworlder friends from suspicion. They decide to ask for DNA samples, as it worked with Luke. Alec and Clary are the first ones to get it from their respective boyfriends.
Alec and Magnus: Alec goes to Magnus’ loft just to find Magnus wearing his most daring look yet. He claims the extravagance comes from boredom and is especially affectionate towards Alec, which raises some red flags after the last couple of events. Magnus assures Alec he is fine. At this point, a masterfully acted scene starts in which Alec asks for Magnus’ hair. If it is uncomfortable for Alec to ask, it is even more so for the viewer to watch Magnus getting rightfully angry. Magnus asks Alec why he was back to following orders instead of his gut, to which Alec responds that all he is asking is for a strand of hair and not something dramatic. Magnus ultimately complies, but then tells Alec to get out of the apartment. Both of them are visibly upset.
Clary and Simon: Clary explains to Simon that the DNA sample was Luke’s idea as Simon seems reluctant. The vampire then tells Clary about his grandmother Helen, who was the sole survivor of his family after the nazis invaded Polony. Simon draws a comparison between what Clary is asking and what the Jews suffered. This is why he refuses to comply. Clary, who had no idea, apologizes and seems to reconsider the entire situation. On her way back to the Institute, whoever is killing the Shadowhunters attacks Clary but Simon saves her.
Jace, who stayed at the Institute as Imogen made him Head, has to deal with Simon’s refusal to leave Clary’s side while she is unconscious from the attack. Things keep escalating and in a true devil/angel on the shoulder scene, Jace has to decide between his grandmother’s plan to implant tracking chips into the Downworlders and Alec’s unwillingness to go along with the plan. Ultimately, Jace accepts Imogen’s plan and personally goes to the Hunter’s Moon. He gets his ass kicked by a rightfully enraged Maia. Then, Luke kicks him off the place for trying to start a war.
In the end, it is Izzy who cracks the case. After telling Max to stay behind after he’d just arrived from acing the Shadowhunter Academy’s tests, she goes to Raphael. Izzy tries to apologize for her actions regarding Rosa, but Raphael doesn’t want to hear it. He reveals that Meliorn might be behind the attacks, since he had sworn vengeance during a time when Shadowhunters hunted down Downworlders and used to preserve their body parts as trophies.
When the duo eventually finds Meliorn near a crime scene, the Seelie tells him he has also been hunting down the murderer as he realized that it is a fae committing these crimes. But Meliorn isn’t the only one there; Max followed them and, in a moment of distraction, the murderer takes him. It is then that we learn that Kaelie is behind these attacks, as retribution for the death of her brother in the Soul Sword massacre. Izzy, Raphael, and Meliorn find her and rescue Max, with Izzy killing Kaelie in the process.
By the end of the episode, the Lightwood trio discusses where Kaelie wanted to go with those murders. They conclude it has to be more than revenge and decide to investigate matters further. Jace hands over the title of the Head of the Institute to Alec, saying he should’ve had it from the start. He says that Alec was right in standing up for the Downworlders and that Downworlders and Shadowhunters are all a mix of Human, Angel, and Demon. If they let the Clave forget that then they deserve a revolt. Jace says that he is and will always be a soldier, but Alec is a leader.
While the Shadowhunters were dealing with the murders, the Downworlders had their own battles to win. We get a much needed light scene in this otherwise emotional episode when Magnus and Dot reminisce about their past. Magnus dances with Dot, who we learn is an old friend and ex-lover of his. He reassures her of his love for Alec when a drunk Dot tries to kiss him. He says that he is a one soul at a time kind of man. More importantly, we see Magnus spending time with someone other than Shadowhunters and that actually is alive.
The episode ends with Simon’s solo performance at Hunter’s Moon with a song about the Downworld. It is a sweet tone for the final note, as it seems Simon is starting to find his place. Some of Raphael’s vampires want to follow him as a leader since he can walk in the sun. However, Simon has a lot to figure out by himself before he can even consider helping others. Alec visits Magnus to tell him that he loves him and that Magnus will never have to prove himself to Alec. They kiss and makeup. A lost Jace finds some comfort in the arms of Maia in the Alley behind the Hunter’s Moon.
- I am living for that Jace and Maia hookup. I know Maia said it meant nothing. Still, that is the second WoC taking charge of her own sexuality on my screen, so I beg to differ. Besides, their chemistry together has been off the charts since day one. I hope Shadowhunters has the guts to keep this a thing for a while longer before Jace and Clary get together in the end.
- It was very touching to see Jace learn about his parents. Still not a fan of Imogen, but I am always a fan of Jace being happy and proud of himself.
- The Clave isn’t just racist but is also homophobic t. Alec pointing out the position of the Head would never go to him because he is “dating a guy who is also a warlock” was perfect. It showcases how the Clave’s bigotry comes in many forms of oppression.
- Izzy, Meliorn and Raphael scenes were fun to watch. It was an unusual trio which worked. I would love to see more such unusual combination of characters.
- I feel that the apology between Magnus and Alec could have had a little more dialogue, as it’s clear that Magnus is still hurting about the past few events.
- Clary: “So the Herondales are what? Like the Kennedys of the Shadow World?” Alec: “They are an old shadowhunter family, like the Lightwoods.” Izzy: “But we are the Kennedys.” Izzy, please never change.