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Reviews

S2 E14: Politics take front seat in Shadowhunters

Picking up from the events of the last chapter, Shadowhunters dives deeper in the Shadowhunters vs Downworlders relationship. If last week was all about action and extreme measures, this week takes a more diplomatic approach to things.

It is a sensible continuation of the show’s most interesting plotline. Kaelie revenge plan’s goal might have been to inflict suffering on Jace and the shadowhunters, but her actions set off something much larger than that. The seed for real change.

The Fair Folk

With Alec as Head of the Institute, we have, for the first time, a Shadowhunter who both cares for the downworlders and is trained in diplomacy. The Lightwoods have a long history in Shadowhunter politics. Alec had always dreamed to follow his parent’s steps into the office. Now, he can add purpose to his ambition. This  leads him to introduce a Downworlder Cabinet: weekly meetings between representatives of the New Yorker downworlders and him to discuss “all matters involving downworlders.”

While the first of those meeting is happening, Alec sends Clary and Jace to the Seelie Court, to continue the investigation of the shadowhunter murders. The Queen has demanded to meet “Valentine’s creations” and so the pair goes off to their own diplomatic meeting.

Simon joins them and there is nothing Jace can say to dissuade him. This is a plot contrivance that is frankly getting tiresome. Everyone has gone out of the way to say just how dangerous the Seelies can be. Yet Simon can join the mission without invitation or prior training. Why do the Shadowhunters keep forgetting that Simon (and Clary) have entered this world just a few weeks ago? That used to be relevant regarding Clary but after one training session, it seems she is good to go.

I guess that applies to Simon too;  At times it is admirable to note that Simon will never let Clary go in harm’s way alone, but during others Simon comes across as a stubborn kid who needs to realise that there may be severe consequences to his actions especially when dealing with beings that are centuries old, and a world which he doesn’t understand. Jace tries to emphasize that its a “sensitive political mission”

Some training wouldn’t stop Simon from accidentally smashing some bugs on the way to the Court, but it would make his presence there a little more justified than “he wouldn’t take no for an answer.”

Regardless, off they went to meet with the Queen. Funny enough, the Seelie Queen is frankly more interested in Simon than in discussing politics or murders. She’d “taken care of” Kaelie’s mysterious accomplice already, so the Queen manages to have a private audience with Simon to discuss his status as a Daylighter. She wants him by her side, but Simon refuses her after the Queen says that Shadowhunters can’t be trusted.

Intending to prove her point, the Queen then plays a cruel game. Under the gaze of retribution for her murdered subjects (the bugs), she holds Jace and Simon captive. Clary has to kiss the one she most desires. Clary torn between her heart chooses Jace and the kiss sets the boys free from the Queen’s trap. It is cruel but effective, as such is the Seelie way.

Meanwhile in the Institute, as well intended as Alec’s efforts are, they are not enough by themselves. It takes some convincing to get Luke aboard and the Alpha only agrees to go when a mysterious figure promises him access to Valentine in the detention cells. Moreover, Raphael and Meliorn agree to show up in the hopes of seeing Izzy, whom Alec smartly recruited to welcome the downworlder representatives.

The Cabinet Meeting is tense, so Alec and Magnus’ playful take on professionality towards each other is a welcome comic relief. Still, there is nothing funny about the fact that Alec is forced to admit that he has no way to negotiate with the Clave as of yet. His inability to act makes Luke decide to take upon the offer of the mysterious caller and kill Valentine with his own hands.

Luke follows the instructions of the caller. However, Maryse nearly catches him, as she is riding at the start of her redemption arc. She apologizes to him for what she’s done to him in the past, but the words are not enough to dissuade Luke. He goes with the plan and Sebastian, who was in charge of security, is quick to tell Alec about the attempted murder. Interesting how easy it is for the unknown and new guy to be in charge of things. And, by ‘interesting,’ I mean unnerving. Shadowhunters are too quick to trust their own.

Together with Sebastian, Alec is able to intercept Luke before he kills Valentine. Luke understands his actions might open a precedent for the Clave to use him as a cause not to trust the downworlders, and Alec ultimately decides to let it slide. Luke is set free and Alec focuses on the real problem: the caller.

A vampire, a Shadowhunter, and a psychopath talking. You’re smiling at the wrong one, Izzy.

The end of the episode reveals it is Sebastian who was making the call. But that is not the only secret he is keeping. He has someone locked up in a closet, whom he has been torturing for a while now. That makes his possessive and isolating behavior toward Izzy even more alarming than it already was.

Thankfully, though, Izzy has no shortage of allies. She reconnects with Maryse, admitting her addiction while Maryse apologizes for her treatment of Izzy in the past. Maryse’s change of heart towards Magnus and Alec’s relationship shines at this point. She tells Izzy to follow her heart and fight for love like her brother. Raphael may have rejected Izzy’s offer to start again, but he did it out of concern. Moreover, when Izzy and Clary are crying together after the downfall of their love lives, we know our favorite whip-wielding queen is surrounded by love.

Personal notes:

  • It hurt to watch Alec asking Magnus to be professional but the aftermath was hilarious. I am glad Magnus’ PTSD after You Are Not Your Own continues to be flashed out. We can see it in his insecurity and readiness to please even when Alec inadvertently cuts him off.
  • Izzy already knowing of Robert’s cheating was a surprising twist. It goes to show what happens between a couple should not necessarily interfere with a parent’s relationship with their children. Izzy urges her mother to leave her father, despite the fact that she still adores her father.
  • So Ollie (and girlfriend Sam) are onto the Shadow World. I love the original plotlines the show comes up with. Let’s wait and see where this one is going.
  • It is interesting how Sebastian keeps running on this “copycat” theme. First that European recipe, then Jace’s piano skills. Could that man in the closet have something to do with that?
  • Still on the topic of Sebastian: isn’t he creepy? He is perfectly capable of faking worry about Izzy. He even helps her as a real friend would. That earns him a high place of regard in her conception. However, we know now Sebastian is much too good in looking solicit and helpful. He may be fooling Izzy, but he is not fooling me.
  • As political as that kiss was, it seems Clary and Jace are once again on the verge of getting together. I wonder how long it will take now that her relationship with Simon is no more.
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