Love is in the air on Shadowhunters. Only, that extends to many kinds of love. From new to forgotten, from hurting to protective, from twisted to unconditional. This episode has it all.
In lesser hands, a script like this one could’ve come out as corny or, ironically, heartless. However, there is much to say about love and its shape. In a brutal place like the Shadow World, it is what keeps the characters’ moving. Writer Aisha Porter-Christie and director Alexis O. Korycinski encapsulated that with mastery.
The episode feels cohesive in ways that the show has often lacked, especially when regarding the characters reaching important conclusions. The close-ups for intimate scenes and wide shots for the actions beats certainly helped to create an immersive mood.
With six episodes in, Shadowhunters starts the race to the mid-season finale. Amidst revelations and decisions, there was no way better to do it than exploring the very thing that drives us all: love.
A Window Into An Empty Room
At last, the mystery of the Owl is resolved. Or, at least, the mystery of who is behind the Owl’s mask. Clary and Magnus put their minds together to figure out who is the Master that Ithuriel mentioned. These two are arguably the most intelligent characters out of the core eight, so it is only fitting they are the ones closer to the answer.
Magnus puts two and two together as he senses Lilith’s magic in Clary. It is the same magic that corrupted the Ley Lines back at the start of the season. Point to Team Biscuit. Not fooled by Jace’s aloof behavior, Clary mentions his treatment when talking to Brother Zachariah, only to learn that Jace never made it to the Silent City. Another point to Team Biscuit. Finally, Magnus realizes that the strange warlock that came for him for his elixir might’ve been the – then cloaked – demon that took a sliver of Clary’s soul. Another point. Team Biscuit is on fire!
It is only fair that they are the ones to find Jace when he is in the middle of possessing Ollie. Shadowhunters has had problems with some jumps in logic to further the plot before but not this time. When Magnus and Clary confront Jace with the help of Luke, their discovery feels earned.
The plot also feels connected with everything else as both Clary and Magnus are going through personal romantic issues. They may be the best detective team – no offense to Luke and Ollie -, but they are friends first. And friends support each other through tough times.
Only, Magnus’ problem with Alec involves a different sort of magic than a potion. Alec is still having trouble processing his mortality. Magnus isn’t having a better time about it either and they end up fighting. The scene is especially bittersweet considering the romantic undertones of the golden light and the domesticity it is settled in. Harry Shum Jr.’s and Matthew Daddario’s performances are awe-inspiring, especially as they capture their characters’ heartache throughout the episode.
It is a good thing, then, that Alec has a friend in Underhill. This friendship would already be worth noticing for the sole fact that Alec now has a friend who is neither his boyfriend nor related to him. But more importantly than that, these are two gay men interacting without a trace of unnecessary flirting or sexual intentions. Shadowhunter once again proves that good representation goes beyond the token character in the background.
But friendship isn’t the only sort of platonic love this episode portrays. Maryse is back and she has undergone the deruning with as much class as she can master. Which is saying a lot, as Maryse stays dignified even when she is denied access to the Institute. Thankfully, her children were there to stop this nonsense. It is great to see a mother whose love for her children isn’t murderous like Lilith’s. Maryse’s presence counterbalances Lilith’s. Especially in intimate scenes like the one Maryse and Izzy shared or that amazing Lightwood dinner that should feature in every other episode at a bare minimum.
Sad as it is that Maryse is no longer a Shadowhunter, she might be getting all the chances at a new beginning. As Izzy’s and Charlie’s different worlds come in the way of their blossoming relationship, Maryse and Luke find more common ground than ever. Luke has been aching for love ever since Jocelyn’s untimely death and Maryse could use the support. It helps that they have such rich history and amazing chemistry.
There is more than one contrast in the episode, though. The second and maybe more glaring one comes in Simon’s storyline. Heidi is done waiting to meet her sire. Obsessed with Simon, Heidi won’t stop until he is all hers. She wants the perfect vampire experience. That includes starting a clan with the only person who has ever treated her with compassion.
This sort of twisted and possessive love is counterbalanced by Maia’s free and caring love for Simon. She is the one that convinces Simon to help Heidi and the one that doesn’t buy into the craziness when it goes awry. As Simon stretches himself thin to protect both of them, the audience sees what kind of love he ultimately chooses. He calls on the Praetor Lupus to take Heidi away, even if that breaks his heart in the process.
Although, Heidi isn’t the only one to bring some toxic love to the table. Lilith is always there to remind the audience how much she loves her son; enough to want Jace to suffer for killing Jonathan just as much as she did. This week, though, the biggest strength of Lilith as a villain took a hit. As a Crossed Mother, Lilith has a likability to her that the Evil Seductress trope doesn’t. Having her sexually assault Jace on top of controlling his mind and heart weakened the character’s appeal.
And, yet, Lilith is still undeniably the most powerful villain the show has ever had. She was able to use the hero’s own strengths against them when she tricked Magnus. Even if Clary knows that Jace has been compelled not to love her, there is little she can do to revert that. Now, Ollie has been taken as the last Virtuous Disciple and the Owl is the only one that can un-possess her.
For an episode that celebrated love in its various forms, “A Window Into An Empty Room” ended as painfully as the hardest of breakups.
- Can someone please protect Sam? They already know the MO of the possessed victims is to kill who they love, please send someone to protect Sam. Please.
- So Magnus is officially around 800-years-old. No take-backs.
- A question: If Heidi and Simon are bonded, why didn’t he feel her presence at all until this episode? I’m not buying it.
- Another question: Is Kyle purposefully avoiding Maia or was that just an impression I got from his suspicious expression and lame excuse?