The mid-season finale is upon us. For a show that has abused of confusing storylines, Shadowhunters comes through in its last episode of season 2A. This week’s plot is well-thought out and the plot twists are earned in every way.
In his downfall, Valentine is at his most menacing as a villain. This only makes for a better episode than we could possibly wait for.
By the Light of Dawn
Taking advantage of the lack of numbers in the Institute, Valentine sends Madzie to clear the way. With Dot’s instructions on how to use Magnus’ counterspells, Madzie takes down the wards. She saves Alec, but suffocates every other Shadowhunter in her way. Valentine then takes the building, spreading Circle members to guard it. He doesn’t need a lightning bolt if he has the angelic power that runs through the place.
But he does need angel blood, so Valentine calls Clary using Simon’s phone. She is to come and active the Sword in under an hour or Simon will die.
As Clary, Luke, and Jace discuss strategies, they find out Dot was left behind in Valentine’s lair. They take her to Magnus, who is the only one to treat her kindly. When Dot tells them that she overheard that Jace’s touch could destroy the Sword, Luke is wary. So is Clary, who accuses Dot of lying to her. It seems leaving Dot behind was a deliberate act from Clary’s part. It is annoying that they both act as if Dot was the enemy when she, in fact, was a victim.
However, Valentine never does things without a hidden intention; he left Dot behind to be found. Being suspicious of what Dot overheard is, in fact, a right call even though Clary and Luke’s motives are way off.
To confirm the story, Magnus sees the vision Clary and Jace had through a memory spell. He concludes that the demon they saw is a metaphor for Jace’s demon blood. The start rising on the sky implies the name Morgenstern, a derivation of ‘Morning Star.’ Dot’s story checks out.
Jace decides he’ll go in Clary’s place. He promises her that he won’t touch the Sword, as doing so would destroy both of them. However, just as Clary was willing to die to save the Downworld, so is Jace. He convinces Raphael to make the vampires stand down when they attack Clary and Magnus, both on their way to the Institute. Jace’s plan is to pass himself as Clary using a glamor rune. When he saves Simon and destroys the Sword, the Downworlders would be safe to come in and attack Valentine.
Meanwhile, Alec and Aldertree team up. They kill their way to the power cells of the Institute with the goal to deactivate it. As Aldertree hacks into the control, he tells Alec about a former girlfriend of his. A werewolf named Eva. Alec doesn’t believe him at first so Aldertree shows him scars Eva left on him. According to Aldertree, he had to kill her in self-defense. That makes him believe it is impossible for a Shadowhunter and a Downworlder to be together.
Unfortunately, Alec has to sit through this nonsense for nothing. Aldertree can override the security codes. Four Circle members find them and they wait long enough for another sassy exchange between Alec and Aldertree to happen. I do like it. As a fight is about to break, though, Izzy shows up. She is still feeling the effects of the vampire venom but Izzy is able to defeat all four guards on her own before collapsing in Alec’s arms. They make up from their fight then, to everyone’s relief.
With vampires, werewolves, and Seelies getting ready outside of the Institute, Jace puts his plan in motion. In Clary’s skin, he lets himself be captured and taken to Simon. Starving from losing blood through the wounds Valentine has done on him, Simon is quick to accept it when Jace offers him his blood. However, Simon can’t stop drinking. He goes overboard and Jace’s glamour breaks. Valentine is mildly disappointed but, in his distraction, Jace and Simon managed to overpower him and his men. They live the room to fetch the Sword.
Yes. If you were wondering, they live Valentine, unconscious and defenseless, alive.
While this happens, Magnus finds Madzie inside. He is able to gain her trust by showing her his warlock mark. The real Clary is also inside the Institute and she’s is suddenly an expert swordswoman. She slays her way through Circle members but is captured nonetheless. Valentine drags her to the Sword, exactly when Jace and Simon arrive at the same room. As Clary struggles to wiggle free of Valentine’s grapple, Jace calls in the Downworlders. They go, but Meliorn is attacked by Circle members, so Maia and Luke stay behind to help.
In the Institute, Simon frees Clary. With the Circle members down again, Jace walks up to the Sword, determined to destroy it. He touches it but neither he nor the Mortal Instruments disintegrate like in the vision. Valentine stands up and grabs the Sword. Jace’s touch has activated it because Valentine murders all the Downworlders inside of the Institute with the angelic energy. At least half of Luke’s pack is down, including Alaric.
Thankfully, the Institute’s runes contained the blast. Raphael was able to leave at the last second, while Maia, Luke, and Meliorn never made it in. Simon, however, was right in the room but is intact. But the angelic blast isn’t the only thing Simon is immune to. He also finds out he can bare the sunlight again.
Still, Valentine is not done. He takes the Sword outside and is ready to use it without confinements. Luke tackles him before he can, but it is Jace who ultimately defeats Valentine in a fight. Unfortunately, Valentine may have been captured but he is not done playing with Jace’s mind. He calls the boy “his greatest achievement.” Jace, tormented to have been made to believe he had demon blood, when, in truth, he had angel blood, is done with Valentine. He responds by saying he is not an achievement, but Valentine’s son. It is a powerful moment for Jace, in which he reclaims his humanity. Jace is not a weapon, he is a human being first and foremost.
But Valentine won’t even allow him that. He tells Jace that he is no his son. As Valentine is still holding the Sword Soul at that point, he can’t lie anymore. Jace is not a Morgenstern.
The fight ends with Jace winning and taking Valentine prisoner. Clary arrives just then and she uses a rune to deactivate the Sword. However, in the confusion, the Mortal Instrument is lost. We learn a mysterious figure has taken it, nobody knows where.
Back in the Institute, Alec sees the corpses of the Downworlders. He’s desperate to find Magnus, who was inside of the Institute for all he knew. It turns out, though, Magnus had portaled to his friend Catarina’s to leave Madzie in safe hands. As he portals back and find Alec, the Shadowhunter can barely breathe. Scared and unimaginably happy, Alec tells Magnus he loves him. Magnus can barely believe his ears as he tells Alec he loves him back. Aldertree can cry alone back in Alicante now.
And just as Alec and Magnus, Clary and Simon end the season on a happy note. So happy in fact, Jace can’t bring himself to tell Clary the truth. He watches quietly as she and Simon spin under the sun. Not only is Jace a human being, he is a decent one too!
Alongisde with Clace, another possible relationship that crashes and burns is Izzy and Raphael’s. But that one is for the better. The only good thing that came from it was Raphael clearly stating his asexuality. It is rare to see an asexual character that is a strong, sexy leader. Let alone one that is comfortable with himself in that aspect. I applaud Shadowhunters for introducing another sexuality to its diverse range and break more stereotypes.
But, plot-wise, this storyline kept getting messier by the minute. The reason Izzy breaks things up isn’t because of how mutually toxic they are. It’s because Raphael hid her phone while Alec was texting her about Valentine’s attack.
Shadowhunters concludes its mid-season finale with the possible introduction of a new villain. It also sets up the rest of season 2 with the decimation of the Downworlders, Simon’s new impossible ability, and Jace’s dilemma. Izzy has an addiction to fight, while Alec and Magnus are closer than ever. Luke, still recovering from his wounds acquired from fighting Valentine, is happy his former Parabatai is locked up.
Can July be tomorrow?
- It’s a little ridiculous to see Harry Shum Jr. being held down by force. The man is buffed. That said, in context it makes sense. Magnus is a warlock against two vampires. No matter how physically strong he may be, vampires have enhanced strength. It’s still visually funny, though.
- If that was supposed to be a redemption moment of Aldertree, well… No. It didn’t work. Still a humongous jerk.
- There was some fine camera work done this episode. Director Joshua Butler killed both action and dramatic scenes!
- Is Maia going to break with the pack after this episode? It all leads to a huge yes. The way Luke treated her and the failure at stopping Valentine from activating the Soul Sword should very well be reason enough for her to turn her back on Luke.
Images courtesy of Freeform.