Shadowhunters delivers an episode full of great individual scenes, but little sense among them. The second episode of season 3B is inferior to its predecessor, though it does a good job at wrapping up the loose threads of the season 3A.
More importantly, it sets off the events to come. Especially when it comes to Jonathan, the new-old villain of the season. In fact, Jonathan carries out the episode and, in great antagonist tradition, is the only character propelling the plot forward.
Or trying to. It seems middle-class greater demons and Shadowhunters alike aren’t much inclined to aid Jonathan in his plan – whatever it is.
But let’s not get carried away just yet. This episode is first and foremost about second chances. A reborn sibling relationship, the removal of a curse, a new perspective of life, or the confrontation with one’s greatest weakness. Everyone gets a do-over with different levels of successful enjoyment.
Some deal with it better than others. Magnus, in particular, has a tough time at grasping the restraints of his mortality. It was a little jarring to watch the delayed reaction to his loss of immortality. Shouldn’t that be in the first episode instead of Magnus’ struggle with his helplessness in the face of a warlock? In any case, Magnus’ signature deflecting tactics were in full force as he desperately tried to make the most of every second he has left.
Unfortunately, interesting played and filmed scenes feel diminished in context. Magnus was always the character advocating for living in the present while Alec was the character rushing things. Magnus stops Alec’s frantic worries for them to go on their first date, Magnus doesn’t want them to move in together because “if there is one thing [he’s] learned in the course of [his] long life, it’s to take your time”, and Magnus is the one that knows not to constantly focus on the future when Alec gets panicked at the prospect of dying and becoming another token in Magnus’ memory box.
So, while Magnus’ interest in living the moment is not a proper change due to his newfound mortality, it was heightened by it. Good thing Alec got Magnus to slow down and reminded him the lesson Magnus had been living by for centuries.
But if there is one character that ceased his second chance, it is Simon. Plagued by guilt, he will go to any lengths to get rid of the Mark of Cain. Any lengths and any depths, including the nasty sewers of New York. There Simon meets the ghost of future past in the form of Cain himself, the original bearer of the Mark and the embodiment of Simon’s future should the Mark stay in place.
Thankfully, Cain is eager to help our favorite Daylighter. Instructions, a special rock, and a great deal of exposition later, Simon and Izzy find themselves visiting the Seelie Queen for an extraction ceremony. Simon has no time to lose with explanations and warnings. Someone should really tell him Clary is alive. Maybe then Simon would’ve stopped to learn that even worse than facing death, the ceremony requires a lot of mortal’s blood.
That minor detail might just be the most scaring part of the plotline. Addicted-in-recovery Izzy got a second chance of her own, but this one brings no joy. In order to save Simon, Izzy had to let him bite her. A terrifying prospect and the most chilling moment of the episode. Izzy really should stay clear from getting involved with vampires – especially when Meliorn is right there.
Lastly, Clary has a second chance at having a relationship with her brother. In which she is most definitely not interested. She especially doesn’t want Jonathan’s lusty gaze on her naked body – and she’s not alone at that. Nobody wants Morgencest. It wasn’t fun in season 2B and it isn’t fun now.
Between croissants and long-lost family heirlooms, Clary is not impressed by Jonathan’s attempts to bring her to his side. She spends most of her time trying to communicate with her friends, just barely paying attention to Jonathan’s love confessions or plans for the future. A pity since Luke and Jace would have found her regardless of Clary’s many attempts to talk to them. And despite Jace not even trying to track Clary using her hair.
In any case, Jace and Luke got their second chance at having their respective girlfriend and daughter back. Clary and Jace’s reunion was sweet to watch: no curses, no possessions. Just two people in love and the relief of knowing they are both alive and well. Or as well as one can be in the Shadow World.
Too bad Jonathan ran away.
- I’d replace the Morgencest with a scene of Jace studying Luke’s findings and asking Magnus if Luke’s theory holds any water. Jace’s change of heart seems more important than Jonathan lusting after his sister.
- Middle-class greater demons deserve a spin-off of their own and I’m here for it.
- So Magnus already knew how to fight. Did he just want to tease Alec into almost having public sex or..? Not that I’m complaining.
Shadowhunters will be back next week on March 11th at 8/7c on Freeform and on March 12th on Netflix worldwide. Check out the promo for the next episode “Beati Bellicosi”.