Halfway through Season 3A, Shadowhunters delivers a balanced episode. Both the plot and the character’s development are addressed in a very character-driven. That is most welcome in an otherwise plot-driven show.
The heroes still have no idea what they are fighting against, but that is about to change. Still, Lilith takes advantage of her anonymity to remove the final obstacle to her plan. And that was not the angel she killed for good measure. As far as villains go, Shadowhunters has never had such an efficient one.
For now, though, the heroes are still struggling with their own problems. The episode is all about perspective and how it influences decisions. The truth might be much closer than one expected. They only have to figure it out to realize they have been looking at things the wrong way.
Stronger Than Heaven
As the only one with a clear perspective, Lilith reigned supreme in the episode. She tricked Magnus into helping her, extracted a sliver of Clary’s soul, and roofied Jace like it was all child’s play. By taking away Jace’s love for Clary, Lilith has made sure the only thing standing on the way to completely controlling the Owl is gone.
Oh, and she managed to kill the Angel Ithuriel. Such a busy day for the Mother of All Demons.
Although, Lilith’s freedom to act is finally starting to find some limits. Out of all of the characters, Clary comes in second, clarity-wise. She is not buying the mental illness hypothesis to explain Jace’s behavior. Not when Clary knows he came back from the dead.
It’s good, then, that she went to Luke and told him the entire truth. He was able to get Clary in contact with Cleophas. With the three of them putting their knowledge together, Clary was able to summon Ithuriel and almost get the entire truth out of him.
This kind of teamwork is what the heroes are lacking. Each of them has a piece of the puzzle. Clary now knows the Owl has a master. Jace knows he’s been having visions and wandering around at night, exactly when the Owl’s attacks happen. Alec knows the angelic power was able to stop whatever corrupted the Ley Lines. Izzy knows how the virtuous disciples work once possessed and that they are killing their loved ones.
Combined, this knowledge could be the key to defeating Lilith and stopping the resurrection of Jonathan. However, as the story stands, the Shadowhunters lack the perspective to realize that.
That lack of perspective also translates to their personal lives. Alec, for example, was well aware of Magnus’ romantic life. But, after a failed attempt at moving in together with Magnus, Alec started to second-guess himself. It did not help that he – wrongly – went through Magnus’ stuff and found a box of romantic mementos Magnus kept of past lovers he outlived.
Alec apologized for his wrongdoing, but that did nothing to appease his mind. By seeing the tokens of Magnus’ past lovers, Alec had to confront something he had overlooked before. He is mortal but Magnus isn’t. Alec’s frustration at that change of perspective was refreshing. That is an important part of his and Magnus’ relationship, one that Alec can’t just shrug off like he did with Magnus’ violent past or his demonic father.
After all these centuries, Magnus has come to terms with knowing he’ll lose the people he loves. But that doesn’t mean Alec will just let it go. Not if that fake smile and way-too-soothing voice mean anything.
Another big change of perspective came in Simon’s storyline. With Jace’s begrudging help, Simon found out friendly roommate Kyle is not what he pretends to be, but rather, a werewolf. He works for the Praetor Lupus, a secret organization composed of werewolves that intervene and protect Downworlders in need of assistance.
It was very interesting to watch Jace’s attitude completely change when that information is revealed. He quite literally stepped aside and let Kyle do his job. Only, Simon isn’t a job. And he’ll make sure Kyle’s work is cut out for him. Following Jace’s advice to accept the Praetor’s help, Simon decides to make use of all he knows and lay new rules for him and Kyle to play by.
Izzy’s perspective is changed as well. She was already opening up to the Mundane World and now she decided to go on a date with Dr. Charlie Cooper. This might as well have been the clunkiest sub-story of the season. Izzy does not need to date anyone after just recovering from her addiction and having her heart broken by Raphael twice. That premise alone is hard to swallow.
Then, the execution of Charlie’s character lacked any likability. He has basically pressured Izzy into going out with him by pestering her at every chance he got and then texting her non-stop once he got her number. Izzy’s suffering expression and her constant rejections notwithstanding.
And yet, out they went. After a very weird date, Charlie had a chance to redeem himself after Izzy fought off twin-demons and got hurt in the process. Charlie knows he came out “too strong” and his worry about Izzy due to the recent mass murders was endearing. So were those terrible stitches on her forehead. It seems Dr. Charlie is not a plastic surgeon, but neither is he as insufferable as he came across in the last couple of episodes.
Last but certainly not least, Jace leaves also the episode with a changed perspective. Only, not for the better. He starts out well by taking his own advice to heart and thanking Alec for his help. Jace is convinced he is suffering from a similar mental health issue that his mother was and thus, he’s going to the Silent Brothers to get treatment.
Too bad, Lilith intercepts and roofies him. Jace might’ve been on a good track, but now he has completely lost all perspective. Worst still, he seems to have lost his love for Clary. Jace is now completely at Lilith’s mercy and, as she’s shown many times by now, she has none.
- First of all, where was Maia? Two scenes in the Hunter’s Moon and no Maia. I feel robbed.
- With Ithuriel gone, so are any new runes Clary would’ve been able to draw, right? He was the one sending them to her after all.
- At what point did Jace and Alec stop being best friends? They seem incapable of having a truthful conversation. Alec won’t open up about his problems to Jace and Jace refuses to show Alec the entire picture of his situation.
- Luke and Cleophas were heartwarming to watch. These two sibling’s lives have been completely altered by the Circle, but now they get to reconnect. And isn’t it ironic that Luke was afraid of a big shaggy dog as a child?
- Shadowhunters strikes again with important LGBT+ representation. This time, Underhill takes the place of hundreds of fans that were inspired by Alec’s storyline to be proud of who they are.