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Reviews

S2 E07: Not Good

Shadowhunters was a mess this week. We all know that Executive Producer Todd is guilty of over promoting the show, especially when it concerns the most popular ship, Magnus and Alec. There has always been a dissonance between the marketing team and what really is going on in the show. However, this week it reached a peak. In the most confusing episode since Rise Up, Shadowhunters fails to both tell its story and fulfill the fans’ expectations.

This episode isn’t good. The pacing is weird and the episode feels like a Frankenstein. While Clary and Luke deal with the overall plot, every other character is living their own lives. There is little to no connection and it makes it seem like two episodes were clumsily sewed together. In that sense, the editing didn’t help at all.

How Are Thou Fallen

The less confusing parts of the episode are about the minor storylines. Izzy’s addiction is kicking in hard. She’s fed up with Clary and all but breaks up their friendship. She’s also desperate for more yin fen. When she can’t find more in Aldertree’s office, Izzy sets up a meeting with a warlock known to sell drugs, Rufus.

However, Magnus hijacks their meeting at the Hunter’s Moon. As High Warlock, it turned out Magnus has banned Rufus from North America. Once the troublemaker is out of sight, Magnus focuses his attention at Izzy. She evades his questions as Magnus grows suspicious of her behavior. He has almost lost a friend to yin fen and, when Izzy convinces him that she’s on a mission, Magnus attributes his worries to that experience. He also tells Izzy that yin fen addicts sometimes go straight to vampires when they run out of the drug.

That is what Izzy does next. She tries to trick Simon into biting her, but it doesn’t work. Out of friendly vampire options, Izzy goes to a den. There, a bunch of vampires circles her, leaving the rest as a cliffhanger.

Aside from his worry about Izzy, Magnus is having a rather good time. He and Alec have been going on dates all over the world, enjoying their honeymoon phase. Even Jace’s abrasive habits as a roommate can’t bring Magnus down. Especially when Alec gifts him with an Omamori, a Japanese protection charm. Magnus is deeply touched; he can’t remember the last time someone gave him a present.

On his side, Alec is also very emotional. However, his are the emotions of someone who has been waiting for a more carnal sort of connection. Alec is ready for the next step. He summons Izzy for advice and she assures him; if they care about each other, there is nothing wrong with Magnus and Alec taking things to the sack.

With that in mind, Alec wastes no time. However, when he kisses Magnus, making his intentions very clear, Magnus is hesitant. He’s afraid they are taking things too fast. There, the dialogue is a little confusing. Alec assures Magnus that he wants it and that is nothing to be afraid of. At no point, Magnus gets to say what he thinks about that. Alec just kisses him and they enter the room, screen fading to black.

It is a direct contrast to Jace and Kaelie’s sexy scenes. Banned from the field and the Institute, Jace is losing himself in other activities. Most of them involve the Seelie Kaelie and her friends. Shadowhunters isn’t shy about having Jace and Kaelie rolling in bed naked for almost a minute. In fact, Jace gets a lot of weirdly place screen time. The majority of it, surprisingly, with Simon.

After hitting off well with Maia, Simon and she settle a date at the Hunter’s Moon. He arrives early, which means Simon has time to kill. Jace is there with Kaelie, in their “book club” session. He watches as Simon makes an endearing fool of his self. Jace decides to interfere, giving really unhelpful advice. The exchange of advice lasts for almost five minutes. That is approximately 10% of the episode run time. Neither Jace’s destructive behavior, nor Simon’s transformation into a jerk are worth that much time. Alberto and Dom have an amazing chemistry but the scene drags the episode into ridiculousness.

In the end, Simon follows Jace’s advice and acts like a jerk to Maia. She shuts him down and refuses to withstand such treatment. When he comes to apologize, gift and all, Maia accepts his sorry. She can stay friends with Simon, but she knows he has feelings for Clary.

Much like Jace. He is the only link between storylines this episode. In fact, by the end of the episode, Jace’s presence is pivotal. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Once she inexplicably gets to Earth dimension, Cleophas meets with Valentine. He doesn’t quite believe her honest intentions of coming back to the Circle, though. The Sister, then, tries to win his trust back. She informs Valentine of Clary’s strange rune abilities. Clophas intends to prove herself to Valentine, so he’ll take her back.

While she goes to do just that, Valentine goes to have a talk with a prisoner of his. We’ll learn as the episode goes that the old man is an angel. Yes, Valentine has an angel as a prisoner. The show never bothers to explain how. But, then again, most of Valentine’s trumps come out of nowhere, in a very Villain Sue fashion. It is not good writing when the villain is giving whatever the plot needs each week.

Looking over that, this captured angel, Ithuriel, has a connection with Clary. A connection that only Valentine knows about. Ithuriel is the one who sent Clary the rune. He also keeps screaming inside her head.

Plagued by the screams and the mysterious rune, Clary goes to Luke. She’s also worried about Cleophas, who she thinks has been taken by Valentine. When Luke explains that his sister was a member of the Circle, Clary is unrelenting. She’s determined to give Cleophas another chance, because one must not give up on family. It is a nice sentiment and it fits Clary’s character.

Unfortunately, Clary quickly changes her mind when Cleophas shows up. The Sister pretends to be a victim of Valentine, but Clary’s strong feeling about family are shoved aside and she sees right through Cleophas’ act. She pretends to go along, though, even tasering Luke so she can put her plan in motion. Clary intends to let Cleophas take her to Valentine.

The plan is cut midway through when Ithuriel calls for Clary again. Cleophas is able to listen in with the help of a rune. For some inexplicable reason, she concludes it is an angel calling Clary and that Valentine has that angel captured. That makes Cleophas turns against Valentine completely.

So much so, she’s willing to take Clary to him, so they can free Ithuriel. With a bolt of lightning from the coming storm and Ithuriel’s pure angel blood, the Soul Sword would be activated. The two go to Valentine’s hideout and suddenly they have Luke helping too. The siblings fight off Valentine, but he escapes, taking Cleophas captive with him.

Luke also brought Jace with him. As Luke and Cleophas deal with Valentine, Jace goes to help Clary. Together, they fight the Circle members until they are able to release the angel. Freed, Ithuriel sends them both a vision. Under a rising star, a demon touches the Soul Sword. Both weapon and creature disintegrate.

To sum it up, while everyone was too busy hooking up either with people or drugs, Clary and Jace saved the entire Downworld and an angel. Too bad the episode makes it feel like a particularly confusing side-quest.

Personal Notes

  • Every time I praise the writing of Clary, the following episode makes a point of disappointing me. Once again, she is written as the savior that know more than older, more experienced people. Not only that, she physically attacks Luke to put her own stupid plan in motion. The worst part is that the narrative keeps rewarding Clary for this type of behavior. For a world where lack of planning or training supposedly gets one killed, Clary is the epitome of plot armor.
  • I also don’t buy Clary suddenly being the smartest person in the room. If the storytelling has to bend over backward to show how smart Clary is, it feels forced. She’s a better character than this. It doesn’t make sense for Cleophas to suddenly start calling her like Valentine does, not when the Sister already met Clary before and didn’t do it. The way these scenes were written didn’t portrait Clary as perceptive; they made Cleophas extremely dumb. I don’t think that was the intention.
  • Simon, on the other hand, deals with the consequences of his behavior for the first time. I like him more for it. I’m also partially sad that his and Maia’s relationship has been shot down so quickly. They had a great dynamic and Simon has never been so endearing. However, Maia deserves to be with someone who truly appreciates her. I do hope they can keep their friendship, though.
  • Alec’s concern for his siblings is nice. The three Lightwoods (Jace is a Lightwood) can sense something is wrong with the other in the most minor of actions. Unfortunately, they don’t tend to push very hard when their protective senses tingle. Something is off but life gets in the way of them being able to help one another properly.
  • That is the second time Clary lusts after Simon. Not to mention the countless times she’s lead him on with a flirty tone and the bat of eyelashes. I’m expecting something to come out of it.

Images courtesy of Freeform.

 

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