A Study on Forgiveness

This week, the Shadowhunters characters deal with a hard thing to do: to forgive. With various levels of success in exploring the theme, the episode has everyone reassessing their past or current actions. But it also accomplishes something else. These characters are growing and evolving. They are not static and they do not let the plot push them around anymore.

A good thing, considering we finally learn what the plot of the season is supposed to be. But more on missing demon-raising swords later.

A Kiss from a Rose

In an episode that is all about forgiveness, Magnus deals with Lorenzo’s unwillingness to forgive him. Yes, Lorenzo has a point when he says Magnus attacked him last season, to which Magnus promptly and genuinely apologizes for. But Lorenzo isn’t having it. He will help Magnus get some magic back – and even alert Magnus of the risks – but Lorenzo is seeking for revenge. His help comes with a price: Magnus’ humiliation.

Magnus knows that, but he is so desperate to have magic again. So dependent on magic to “feel alive”, Magnus is willing to let Lorenzo get away with it. It is heartbreaking. Magnus sounds like an addict as he justifies giving up his home if that means having magic again. He was ready to give Lorenzo “anything he wants.” This delicate emotional state leaves Magnus vulnerable to Lorenzo’s games.

But while Magnus may be prepared to pay that high price, Alec certainly isn’t. In a great scene that parallels the Magnus and Lorenzo confrontation from last season, Alec loses control once Lorenzo says he’ll let the man Alec loves get hurt if he needs to. Just like Magnus, who physically attacked Lorenzo when Alec was the one in danger, Alec attacks Lorenzo for saying that about Magnus. Only, where Magnus did it with fireballs, Alec does it with words.

Too bad Alec’s words are all about how he will give Lorenzo to the Clave’s famously unfair repressive system against Downworlders at the first opportunity. At least last season, Alec’s threats were about exposing Lorenzo as a fraud to the others warlocks.

Tag yourself. I’m Alec waiting for this plot line to go horribly wrong.

Revisiting that would’ve been better. Especially in the episode where Izzy finally makes a breakthrough in her investigation on the shady Heavenly Fire. Though not a major one as Izzy was busy helping Clary escape the worst date of her life. Which is a pity since it started out great. Jace absolutely gets the title of the best boyfriend in the episode, even after being knocked down and impersonated by Jonathan.

It takes Clary a while to figure out she’s on a date with her psychotic brother, but Jonathan’s clumsy attempts at nudging his sister to forgive him start to do the trick. Though, it’s the gross Morgencest kiss that makes something click in Clary’s mind. Our protagonist is, once again, the smartest character on screen. Clary calls for backup and proceeds to play along until the Shadowhunters can capture Jonathan.

However, something weird happens when Clary has the chance of bringing Jonathan down. The muffled whispers sounding on the background only make Clary’s hesitation at immobilizing Jonathan more sinister. Once again, he escapes, but now Clary can’t forgive herself for allowing him that chance. Whatever is going on can’t be good.

Thankfully, Clary’s storyline ends on a more sweet than bitter note. She is grossed out by Jonathan’s actions and can’t bring herself to kiss Jace, but Clary gets nothing but support from her boyfriend. Jace is patient and respectful. Clary might be going through a tough time, but she is not alone. The real Jace is there and he is a stark contrast to Jonathan’s controlling and invasive ways.

But while Clary may or may not be starting to forgive her abusive brother, Maia is given no choice but to forgive her abusive ex. Barricaded in a tight space with a dying Jordan, Maia is freaking out. Her pack is gone, her claustrophobia is kicking in, nobody is coming to save them. It’s not peachy.

To his credit, Jordan does his best to calm Maia down from a full panic attack more than once. But that is as far as his credit goes. As revealed before, Jordan’s abuse traumatized Maia not because he accidentally turned her into a werewolf in a moment of total loss of control. It was because he abandoned her afterward. That’s something Jordan continues to do: to Maia, to Simon, and he was about to do it to the Praetor Lupus just last episode.

Jordan has not changed, he has not grown. Chai Hansen plays him beautifully and one can hear the regret in his voice, but Jordan has done nothing to warrant Maia’s forgiveness. Saving her life from an attack his own hot-headedness caused isn’t enough. When Maia tearfully tells an unconscious Jordan how she forgives him and that he wasn’t at fault, the whole thing feels forced.

Yeah, not buying it.

Alisha Wainwright is a household actor who is able to sell any material. That’s the only reason the scene doesn’t come out as repulsive as its undertones are. No abuse victim should be put in a situation where they forgive their abusers and blame themselves for being angry for suffering abuse. There was a way to have Maia stand by Jordan in his figurative death bed without going there.

Thankfully, Simon and Luke find them before Jordan dies, so Maia doesn’t have to have live with the memory of Jordan dying in her arms. She and Simon rush to get Jordan to the Praetor Lupus as Luke stays behind, shocked at the massacre of his former pack. Can Luke forgive himself for dismissing Maia’s concerns in the last episode? That is something we will have to wait and see. Right now, Luke has to deal with the mundane police, who have certainly not forgiven him for the events of last season.

Personal Notes

  • Jace has never been so likable. It’s good to see The Golden Boy struggle with something. Those scenes at the ice rink were so sweet, of course, they had to be followed by incest. This is Shadowhunters. Happiness can only last for so long.
  • I refuse to believe Magnus doesn’t have other properties around New York. I refuse.
  • As harsh as the critics to Alec’s choice of threat were, I slow-clapped when Alec asserted himself as the Head of the Institute and then offered Lorenzo a deal, effectively proving himself to be a better and more level-headed leader than Lorenzo will ever be.
  • I’m still a little shocked the show remembered Izzy is a forensic specialist highly trained in all Shadow World creatures.

Next On

Shadowhunters will be back next week on March 25th at 8/7c on Freeform and on March 26th on Netflix worldwide. Check out the promo for the 315: “To the Night Children.”

Images courtesy from Freeform
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