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Reviews

S2 E08: A Hell of a Party

Trigger warning: Suicide Attempt.

The episode this week is a hard one to review. On a vacuum, it is an amazing episode. The storylines as cohesive and interesting. The acting is very good. The mystery in the episode was well constructed and we finally get to see Magnus in action again since the first season.

However, there were two missteps that can’t be overlooked when taken the show’s responsibility. The very first one is that there should’ve been warnings for the depiction of a suicide attempt before the episode started. The second is how the relationship between Izzy and Raphael is portrayed. It is up to the show to not shy away from difficult storylines and I applaud it for going there. However, it is one thing to show an unhealthy relationship and another one to condone it. In this episode, Shadowhunters condoned it.

Love Is A Devil

The episode has a strong premise as it converges all characters (but Luke, who doesn’t feature this week) to one place. Max has just been deemed ready to get his first rune. He and Maryse are back to New York, to celebrate such a special occasion with their family. Robert, however, is not with them. Alec and Izzy can barely believe their father would miss this. After all, Robert was the one to call and check on them after the Rite of Passage. It also seems that Robert and Maryse have been fighting because of Alec’s relationship with Magnus.

Still, Robert was held up with Clave business. Therefore, it is up to Alec, as the oldest male member of the family, to plan the celebration. It is an interesting tradition since party-planning is usually delegated to women.

Alec wants to use the opportunity to make a point. He asks for Magnus’ help to plan the party, as a show that their relationship is real. Everyone who cares about Max should be present, and that means Alec and Magnus, together.

The party is finally ready. It’s a beautiful affair, with a Spanish theme. That is intended as an homage to Maryse and Robert. However, no matter how much Magnus tries, Maryse is not impressed. Alec is fed up with her attitude but it is Max who crosses the line. He repeats whatever he heard from his parents. That means Max asks Max how much of a demon he is. He also states with all letters that Jace isn’t a part of their family.

In the end, though, we learn the truth about what has been happening at the Lightwood household. Maryse and Robert’s fights are not about Alec and Magnus. As Jace and Alec pressure Maryse for an explanation, Alec narrows it down. Robert is cheating on her. Maryse breaks then and makes the boys promise not to tell Izzy. Maryse wants to keep that to herself and not let Robert’s infidelity interfere on her duty. The scene is deeply emotional. Nicola CorreiaDamude nails her performance. Even after all the bad that Maryse has done, one can’t help but feel for her. I hope this marks a redemption arc for Mama Lightwood.

However, the party is also the stage for another drama. Valentine finds Iris and he is quick to use her. By threatening Madzie, he forces Iris to infiltrate the party and steal Magnus’ spell book. To what end, we don’t know. All we know is that, by the end of the episode, Magnus figures out Clary has pure angel blood. Specifically, Ithuriel’s blood. That is why he is able to communicate directly with her. The biggest problem here, though, is not the headaches that communication gives Clary. It is that she could active the Soul Sword if she touches it. Or if she is forced to.

Iris has no other choice but comply. She hides in the form of a cat and casts a spell on the party attendees. The first one affected is Clary. After a failed attempt and being encouraged by Maia, Simon finally confesses his feelings to her. Clary surprises both Simon and the audience by kissing him. The scene is sweet and so are their constant awkward giggles of happiness.

They don’t last long, though. Iris puts a spell on Clary that preys on her insecurities. She thinks she sees Simon and Maia kissing. When she confronts him about it, Simon says that Maia just gets him better, because she is a Downworlder like him.

But Clary isn’t the only one affected. When Maryse goes to apologize for Jace for what Max said, the spell makes Jace see and hear something else. He thinks Maryse wants to kill him because he has demon blood. Jace knocks her out and this is when Magnus starts to figure out something is off. He had already intercepted Clary and told her to stay put. However, when he goes to aid Maryse, Magnus, Izzy, and Jace hear Clary desperately telling Alec to stop. He is the next victim and possibly the more affected by the spell. Alec hears Clary accusing him of killing Jocelyn. In his mind, Clary urges him to kill himself. The scene is absolutely devastating, especially when Alec goes through with it. He lets himself fall from the top floor.

Thankfully, Magnus holds him mid-air with magic. With his spellbook, Magnus is able to find a counterspell, breaking the curse hanging over the Shadowhunters. However, with his spellbook out, Iris steals it. Magnus is quick to figure it out it’s her. Once again, his logic is tough to follow.

Regardless, Magnus finds Iris in cat form. She is able to freeze the Shadowhunters in place but Magnus is not kidding. We have our very first warlock fight and it’s amazing. Magnus is a machine, throwing blasts of energy and dodging attacks like it’s nothing. He finally captures Iris and gets his answers. Iris has already sent the spellbook to Valentine, though. She also tells him the Circle has Madzie. Iris reminds Clary that she owes her a blood oath. Her request is that Clary find and save Madzie. As soon as she’s done asking, Magnus sends the warlock to the Clave.

Iris is an interesting character. She is a terrible person that used vulnerable women in her experiments. At the same time, she truly cares for Madzie and, presumably, the warlock children she created. That doesn’t make her a good mother at all, but it gives her layers beyond being just completely despicable.

For an episode about love, though, Shadowhunters misses the mark at one of its storylines. Izzy ended up last episode being surrounded by vampires. She was looking for venom to replace the Yin Fen. Now, the situation escalates quickly and Izzy tries to back off. However, she is too weak to defend herself. The vampires are about to attack when Raphael saves the night. He dismisses the vamps and tries to help Izzy. In her state, she asks for a bite. Anything to make the pain stop.

Raphael is reluctant at first. Shadowhunter blood is stronger than human, more addictive too. When he was first turned, he would feed on mundanes. If it wasn’t for Magnus’ interference, Raphael would’ve lost his way. Still, he complies, giving Izzy that bite she so desperately wants.

It sets a pattern for disaster. Especially when Maryse is back in town. Izzy can’t let her judgmental mother see her in such a decrepitated state. She goes to Raphael again. This time, he refuses to bite her though. However, Izzy will not have it. She cuts herself, even bringing her own bloodied fingers to Raphael’s lips. Taken by the taste, Raphael caves.

In the rush of having just been fed with their drugs, Izzy and Raphael have a moment. Shadowhunters fails to frame the exchange as unhealthy, so the scene is instead portrayed as sweet. It is as if the show wants us to like the idea that Raphael might be falling for Izzy. We do not.

Personal Notes

  • “You keep saying [that you were just following orders]. After a while, it loses its meaning.” Alec’s character development is showing and it’s beautifully done.
  • Jace’s Shovel Talk to Magnus was simply terrible. First, if anyone has deliberately hurt Alec, it was Jace when he said Alec wasn’t good enough. And that was just when he meant to hurt Alec. Second, anyone who knows Magnus and Alec just a little bit knows how much they mean to each other. Third, Jace is a guest at Magnus’ house. Magnus and Jace’s horrified expressions were funny, but the whole thing was disgusting.
  • But Jace isn’t a complete jerk, though. He swallows his pain and congratulates Clary and Simon when he sees them together. Good for you, Jace. You’re better than a jealous entitled prick. Now you can Maia could, you know, settle your differences. Yes? No?

Images courtesy of Freeform.

 

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