This week, Shadowhunters examines the importance of following the law. Before we start, though, there is something that has to be addressed. For an episode that discusses the worthiness of the law and the justice system, it sure could’ve used someone that actually knows enough about them.
Double-punishment for the same crime, ignoring intent when applying criminal law, the arbitrary use of deals to further the plot. There are a bunch of plot-points in the episode that are sending this lawyer’s head spinning. And that’s on top of the blatant break with the world-building of having Shadowhunters legitimately interfering in Downworlder affairs.
In any case, we simply have to move on. The strength of the episode isn’t in the technicalities of its legal arguments or the attention to consistent world-building. It is in the emotional core of the storylines. In that, the episode excels. Being a good person is doing the right thing. But what exactly is the right thing to do?
To The Night Children
Alec, Maia, and Simon each found a different answer when it comes to Heidi’s actions. Just like in “Beati Bellicose”, Heidi manipulates both the system and the people supposed to uphold it to get what she wants. She lies, omits, reveals, and improvises. If it wasn’t so infuriating, it would be fascinating to watch.
In any case, Heidi weaves a web of lies and truths that have the Shadowhunters dancing to her tune. Alec has never been so gullible. In his quest to follow protocol, Alec fails to be impartial. He believes Heidi’s words but finds contradictions in Maia’s statement and demands proof from Simon. He extends a deal to Heidi unprompted but has Izzy exert a second punishment on Raphael (exile seems to be a Shadowhunter-only punishment).
Alec talks a big game about upholding the law, but he doesn’t seem much interested in sticking to basic investigative procedures. There will be no interrogating the vampire suspects to hear their version, no Shadowhunters sent to talk to the Praetor Lupus, no taking into account Heidi’s history of manipulations and violent tendencies. Not even a team sent to take care of Luke’s situation with the mundane police.
Alec is supposed to be a competent leader, but not in this episode. Here, he is overwhelmed by the system. Most of the time, Alec just seems annoyed that the people want to exhaust every possibility before calling it a day.
Therefore, it is a good thing that Maia and Simon keep their wits about them. Simon figures out a way to prove Heidi is lying while staying within the confinements of the due process. But when that apparently hits a dead end, Maia takes things into her own hands.
In the end, both Simon’s and Maia’s ways would have worked to stop Heidi. Just as Maia successfully tricked Heidi into consuming holy water, Alec, Magnus, and Simon arrive with the knowledge that Heidi has manipulated the Praetor Lupus through her former mundane classmate.
Heidi dies and Maia feels like she’s avenged her pack. Her trick even guarantees that she hasn’t broken any rules. Apparently, unlike real-life criminal law, the intent to kill isn’t taken into consideration by the Accords. Alec doesn’t seem happy about it, but he lets Maia go.
But Maia’s happiness is short-lived. Simon disapproves of her methods. According to him, Maia should’ve trusted the system and let the Shadowhunters deal with Heidi. Otherwise, they are just as bad as Heidi.
It’s a little hard to swallow that. Heidi played the system and almost got away with it because Alec didn’t do a good enough job in fact-checking her. Moreover, the system Simon speaks in favor of is notorious for being corrupted and biased. The Law is written by people: it doesn’t deserve such idealization, especially in the context of the Clave. After all, in this very season they are torturing prisoners.
Talking about Penhallow practices, Aline – played by newcomer Jacky Lai – makes a visit to the Institute. She is after Jonathan, but she will content herself with Clary for the time being. Too bad for her, Clary is not feeling like herself. Whatever the darkness rising inside of Clary is, it definitely gave Aline more than she bargained for. Lucky for Clary, Aline takes after her mother: she’s willing to bend the rules and keep things secret if that means maintaining her image.
Unfortunately for Clary, losing control in a fight isn’t the worst thing that rune has in store for her. Clary is now getting drawn to her brother, the same way that he is getting drawn to her. The pull between them is so strong, Clary doesn’t even follow protocol and turn her brother in. Is this the rune’s defense mechanism? Does it want to make sure both hosts stick together? Whatever the case is, Clary feels like she is losing control.
Not a good thing, especially as Clary just lost Luke. Plagued by guilt, Luke seeks atonement at the mundane judicial system. It is a drastic measure, but Luke is beyond caring. He is willing to risk raising the mundane police’s attention to the Shadow World and to abandon Clary. While Maia turned her destructive instincts at Heidi, Luke turns his to himself.
Although, the person in real trouble is Magnus. He may have survived the awkward day at the Institute and a jealousy crisis regarding Underhill of all people, but Magnus’ life is not about to become easier. Quite the opposite; his body is reacting poorly to the external magic. Watching Magnus collapse and have a seizure in Alec’s arms is heartbreaking. Especially when the pain Magnus is feeling is so strong, he can only beg for help in Indonesian.
Way to end the episode.
- I had honestly forgotten that Jonathan was supposed to be the season’s villain. Heidi was doing such a better job at it than he is. But Jonathan hinted at having plans not related to getting into his sister’s pants so, hopefully, that will pay off.
- Watching Clary and Jace walk into the interrogation room to talk to Luke warmed my heart. Lots of season one feels.
- The scene of Alec and Magnus deciding to move in together did not deserve to end like that. What a punch in the stomach. Well played.
- “This whole situation happened because the last time someone tried to raid the DuMort, a vampire was assaulted”. What? Is Alec talking about the Praetor Lupus or about the Shadowhunters? I’m confused.
Shadowhunters will be back next week on April 1st at 8/7c on Freeform and on April 2nd on Netflix worldwide. Check out the promo for episode 316: “Stay With Me.”