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Reviews

S2 E04: Loss and Grief

At this point, I can safely say Season 2 has surpassed its predecessor in very much every aspect. The storylines are better written and acted. The problems of pacing from the first couple of episode have been dealt with. The show is handling its seven main characters with care and consideration. The balance between the fight against Valentine but it feels less like a family drama and more like a real threat at every episode.

This week we see those improvements on our screen. With a tighter storyline that gives every character a chance to shine, the fourth episode continues the story on a high note.

Day of Wrath

With Jace in the City of Bones, Clary is worried. She goes to visit him but Jace doesn’t want Clary there. He’s disgusted with himself, knowing that what he feels fore Clary is more than what he should feel for a sister. It’s a consequence of Valentine’s manipulation. Supposedly, the demon blood in Jace makes him have unnatural urges.

Clary, however, believes they can work things out. With Jace’s dismissal, though, she goes back to the Institute. There, Jocelyn announces she is to be sent to Idris. The Clave is testing her loyalty, as Jocelyn stole the Mortal Cup for 18 years. Luke is willing to with her. He chooses Jocelyn over his pack and life as a detective. For once, they are able to live their romance in peace. However, when Jocelyn asks Clary to come along, Clary is torn.

She doesn’t have much time to think it over. Izzy and Alec are short a man, so Clary goes with them to investigate a demon attack. Yes, some actual shadowhunting! Complete with a possessed mundane killing her friend and then being absolutely clueless as to what happened. As Izzy analysis the victim, Alec teaches Clary how to use a heat-vision rune. He also describes the aftermath of a possession. Clary listens and learn. They bring the body back to the Institute for more testing, as the demon has vanished. Unbeknown for them, though, the demon hid in the body. He escapes to the air ducts when nobody is looking.

This is when everything goes to hell. The demon starts using the Shadowhunters to attack each other. Lydia is in charge, as Aldertree is at the City of Bones for Jace’s trial. She sends everyone to investigate, but that leaves her alone. This is when the demon takes possession of Raj. It attacks Lydia, who is saved by Alec at the very last second. The demon escapes but Lydia and Raj are down.

They continue the search. The demon feeds on negative emotions, making its host assault the people they thought wronged them in some way. The next victim is Alec, who goes for Jocelyn’s life. She was the one who tried to kill Jace, who put everything in danger to protect her family. Unlike Lydia, there was nobody there to save Jocelyn. The demon kills her and leaves a stunned Alec behind. Clary is the one who finds them.

Overcome by guilt, Alec tries to apologize. However, Clary won’t have it. She doesn’t even compute that Alec was there. For her, there is only the demon that killed her mother. And she’s going to kill it for it.

She gets her bittersweet chance when Izzy is the one possessed next. Izzy attacks Alec, driven by sibling jealousy. She knocks Clary unconscious and keeps going for her brother. Incapable of fighting her, Alec can do little more than defend himself. When the demon prepares the final strike, though, Clary stabs Izzy’s shoulder. The wound makes the demon leave the body and Clary finishes it off with a slash. It is only them that Clary allows herself to shed tears for her fallen mother.

The demon attack, we learn later, was deliberated targeted at the Institute. Valentine used it as a distraction so he could get to the City of Bones. Jace’s trial happens with him holding the Soul Sword to ensure veracity. Jace denies killing Gretel but he can’t bring himself to pledge unconditional loyalty to the Clave. After tormenting Jace for his feeling for Clary, Aldertree recommends life imprisonment as punishment.

However, Valentine’s attack on the Silent Brother changes that. His timing is impeccable and Valentine finds Jace in one of the cells. He says he’s come to fetch Jace, in a show of love. Thankfully, Jace doesn’t fall for it. He knows Valentine is there for the Soul Sword. When Valentine invites Jace back to his side, Jace refuses him.

That doesn’t dissuade Valentine, who tells his men to take Jace and kill Aldertree, who witnessed the whole exchange. Freed from his cell, Jace attacks the Circle members. He goes for Valentine next, but Dot is there. Still, under Valentine’s control, she stops Jace and opens a portal. Aldertree, still struggling against an opponent, tells Jace to ignore him and take the Soul Sword from Valentine. That is the logical thing to do. However, Jace’s heart is his true north. He saves Aldertree’s life, letting Valentine escape with Dot and the Sword.

Meanwhile, the search for Camille continues. With Camille creating more and more vampire dens, Aldertree summoned Raphael to answer for it. When Raphael has nothing to say, Aldertree tortures him. It works less as a search for information and more as a message for Magnus. Aldertree had promised a punishment for him after all.

Raphael goes to Magnus, who heals him. They have a history together, as Magnus has taken Raphael under his wing. In a way, there is a father-son bond between them.

Simon arrives just then, demanding that Magnus help him to find his sire. The vampires almost break it into a fight, but Magnus stops it. Simon, frustrated with the pressure Raphael has over him, throws a fit. When he tells Raphael of Camille’s box, though, Raphael solves their problems. Turns out, the box contains Camille’s grave dirt. With it, they can summon her.

But doing so is a hard thing for Magnus. When Simon pressures him to do it, Magnus explains his struggles. Camille hasn’t always been a monster. There was a time, she was good. One of those times, she saved Magnus. At a point in his life, Magnus couldn’t keep going. He almost killed himself and Camille was the one to stop him and convinced him to live.

This complicated story between them is what makes Magnus get rid of the vampires before summoning his ex-lover. As just the two of them in the room, Magnus and Camille talk. She tries her best to manipulate Magnus into letting her go. The dialogue is on point and we can hear Camille weaving her web.

However, in the end, Magnus has to choose between her and Raphael. He chooses his foster son, sending Camille to Idris. She’s the Clave’s problem now.

Personal Notes

  • It wouldn’t be surprising if the Institute really had a twitter feed. Even a non-official one. In fact, it would be hilarious.
  • I’m glad the show tries to make a point of how untrained Clary is. Aldertree talks about it a lot and even Clary says “this stuff is impossible” from time to time. Unfortunately, having Clary super-jumping and then executing the perfect maneuver to kill the demon undermines the entire idea. Turns out, she doesn’t need training after all.
  • It’s getting increasingly annoying that the show wants us to be on Simon’s side. It is a character flaw that Simon can’t recognize that his actions put the vampires in danger. The show keeps depicting Simon as Raphael’s victim, endorsing his feeling of helplessness with the soundtrack and long stares. It goes against the storyline that is on screen. Both Simon and Raphael make mistakes but only the later is framed as menacing to the former. Simon putting the vampires in danger is made a punchline and he never realizes just how selfish he is.

Images courtesy from Freeform.

 

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