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Reviews

S2 E02: Family Crisis

This week, Shadowhunters heavily relays on the Morgenstern family drama. It makes for an informing episode, if nothing else. Both Valentine and Jocelyn lay out their versions of things. It is up to Jace and Clary to make of that what they will. Unfortunately, the Star Wars-y storyline is not as compelling as it should be.

There is some effort to give nuance to Valentine’s actions, but it falls flat. If anything, Jocelyn’s position as a victim (that she is) doesn’t convince when she demonizes her baby son. Clary’s own struggles feel cheap when she continues to use Downworlders to free herself of trouble. Jace might be the only family member worth rooting for after all.

Thankfully, Shadowhunters has seven main characters. The other five make the episode worth our while.

A Door Into the Dark

Immediately back from Jocelyn’s murder attempt, Valentine doesn’t waste time. He uses it to illustrate how much Jocelyn hates her own sun. When Jace accuses him of staging things so Jace would kill Maria, Valentine makes use of that too. According to him, everything he’s doing is necessary because of Downworlders like Maria. While the demon-blooded creatures multiply, the Shadowhunters decrease in number. Valentine is trying to raise their numbers again, so they won’t lose the fight against the demons.  

That means that Valentine was willing to murder how many mundanes was necessary in order to create his army. However, he changes tactics. Valentine decides to go after mundanes that are highly skilled in combat. They are more likely to survive the Ascension. Besides, Valentine probably figured out that just because someone has angel blood, it doesn’t make them good fighters.

And if anyone is proof of that, it’s Clary. Without enough training, she is benched from going on missions. That means she gets all the time in the world to think about what Jocelyn and Alec told her.

And those were no mere conversations. First, Jocelyn told Clary what we already knew: Valentine injected her brother with pure demon blood. That made “Jonathan” evil enough that Ragnor Fell prophesized he would only lead to destruction. Jocelyn even shows Clary, through a memory rune, baby Jonathan destroying a flower from merely being near it. However, Clary can’t believe that. She knows Jace. She knows he isn’t “a flower-killing monster.” Do you see what I mean? Was I supposed to be touched by that?

Just like with the audience, it is the talk with Alec that gets to Clary. If it can be called that. When Clary goes to check on him, Alec, more desperate than ever, releases all his anger on her. It is hard to watch as Alec blame a tearful Clary for the Lightwoods losing the Institute, Izzy almost being de-runed, and Jace almost being killed by Jocelyn. To finish off the kill, Alec tells Clary she doesn’t belong with the Shadowhunters.

Tell us how you really feel, Alec.

Even Izzy’s comforting words aren’t enough to placate Clary’s identity crisis after that. Clary leaves the Institute again. She wants to try and live a normal life. For the sake of our sanities, let’s ignore that this is the second time Clary is able to evade the Institute’s guards in two episodes. Not so untrained after all.

With Luke’s help, Jocelyn tracks Clary down to the Brooklyn Academy of Art, the school Clary would be attending if she was a mundane. Mother and daughter argue again and Clary leaves in a rush. Outside of the school, Dot is waiting.

Turns out, she’s alive. Valentine kept her and experimented on her. That explains why Dot portals both she and Clary to Valentine’s boat. There, Dot is forced to put Clary under a spell. For all of his deceptions, Jace isn’t buying into the psychopath’s mentality. Therefore, Valentine has Dot work some magic. She makes Clary believe she can see the future. In fact, a terrible future where the Downworlders lose controls over their demon blood and kill everyone in sight.

Terrified, Clary meets with Jace and tells him what she saw. Later on, Clary wakes up in a cage, just like the other captured Downworlders. Dot admits she had casted a spell on her. However, before Dot can do it again, Clary manipulates her into helping her escape.

Meanwhile, Alec and Izzy go on a mission to capture a Circle member. They try pretending to be the target, but the plan fails. The one Circle member they corner kills himself. Like with everything with Shadowhunters, they give up after one try.

At this point, Alec is so desperate to find Jace, he’s willing to do anything. The emptiness of missing half of his soul makes him ignore the risks. That is why he goes with Jocelyn’s plan. Knowing Dot took Clary to Valentine’s boat, where Jace is, Luke and Jocelyn decide to try a reckless move. They want Alec to use an Adama, the raw material of the Shadowhunter blades, to track Jace. Apparently, the stone augments the connection. It makes the souls search for each other. However, very few Parabatais that initiated the contact ever survived it.

Alec decides to try anyway. And just like last season, he is able to contact Jace at the worst possible moment. Valentine has Gretel and he wants Jace to kill her. Jace refuses but, at this moment, Dot opens the barrier surrounding the ship. Clary and Jace escape while Alec starts to have a concussion. The siblings are out of Valentine’s reach, but Alec enters a coma state and Valentine kills Gretel. To top it up, Dot is left behind to be locked away and experimented some more.

A little further away from the action, Simon gets a storyline of his own. Aldertree summons him to another talk, where he asks about Maria’s den. Precisely, who sired Maria. Simon doesn’t know, but Aldertree wants him to find out.

However, Simon’s ramblings put him in an even bigger mess than simply having Aldertree on his back. In his haste to free himself of guilt, Simon implied Raphael would know something. That makes the leader of the New York clan pay Simon a visit. Raphael threatens him, saying that Simon has to find Camille. Of course, she was the one who turned Maria. As Simon was the one who set her free, it’s his problem now.

Terrified, Simon goes to Magnus. He accepts to help and takes Simon to Agrah via portal. Camille has a house there and the duo starts exploring. As Magnus loots Camille’s place for his own things, Simon learns another vampire trick. He’s able to encanto a fire-breathing snake. Moreover, the creature was guarding a mysterious box. Magnus believes that whatever is inside, Simon could use to summon Camille. He’s willing to help Simon out. Magnus knows first-hand what it is to have to navigate the world by himself, so he has vowed to try to help other lost Downworlders. And Simon is definitely lost.

With this, Simon gets his third Downworlder tutor. Between Raphael, Luke, and Magnus, Simon just might be the luckiest vampire (not) alive.

Personal Notes

  • It wouldn’t be Shadowhunters if Alec didn’t go through intense suffering to track down Jace.
  • I love how easy it was for Izzy to kick that buffed guy’s ass. She’s an elite Shadowhunter fighting a mundane and she didn’t waste time. Watching tiny Emeraude own the fighting mattress was just as fun as she seemed to be having.
  • With better props comes ugly filters. Who decided to raise the yellow gradient in every scene? It is terrible. Terrible.
  • So, besides Magnus’ self-love, Camille also stole his stuff. I wonder what’s the story behind that Kris that is so important to him. If I were to bet, I guess it has to do with his origins. Not only that is an Indonesian blade, seeing it made Magnus thought of his childhood.
  • Clary’s identity crisis seems timely enough. Once she gets her mother back and she’s forced to slow down, everything comes crashing. She’s ripping off of Jocelyn’s lies. Still, all Clary got from Alec’s (hurtful) rant was that she’s not a Shadowhunter. Not that her reckless decisions make other people suffer, not that she needs to hold back and listen for once. And then, Clary leaves her “older sister” Dot behind in Valentine’s boat, after convincing her she can hide and be free of Valentine’s experiments. It doesn’t exactly make you root for Clary when she does that.

Images courtesy of Freeform.

 

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