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Shadowhunters does not have a great track record when it comes to “episode nine.” Last season’s ninth episode was an amalgamation of everything bad in the show. Before that, Season 2B’s entire main plot hinged on a yet-to-be-explained deal between the Seelie Queen and Valentine. Season 2A featured Luke cruelly locking up Maia. Even Season 1 suffered: Specifically, from a case of white savorism played straight.

But it seems the last “episode nine” from the series is the worst one yet. It takes a little bit of the bad from all its predecessors and merges it into forty-two minutes of cringy television. This episode managed to be offensive, uncomfortable to watch, dumb, and boring all at the same time.

This is not how this show deserves to go down. But, then again, the entirety of season 3B has been tough to swallow. This is just the latest and most boring instance of that.

*Glorious Aku Cinta Kamu

It’s hard to know where to start. It could be with Morgencest. Whoever thought this sexually charged performance for Clary was a good idea has some serious issues. Though it is on par with how uncomfortable it was to endure a possessed Clary and a drugged Jace dry-hump in public while Jonathan watched. The beauty of adaptations is the ability to improve upon faulty decisions in the source material. The same way the new IT movie didn’t feature an orgy between minors, Shadowhunters didn’t have to make two of its protagonists take part in public soft porn with dubious consent.

But it did. Apparently, that was the best solution to having Jace lose focus and Jonathan seeing the Seelie ring. In a way, it fits the amount of thought given to the difficulty level of their mission. Which is none.  Kidnapping the Seelie Queen has never been so easy. All one needs to do is barely hide their runes, exchange some blows with Seelie knights, and hug the Seelie Queen tight. Why was anyone afraid of her at all? Kidnapping Madzie was harder than this.

“We’re regulars,” Jonathan says like no real person would.

Though maybe that wasn’t the most offensive storyline. Maybe the most offensive was Maia’s fluffy domestic scenes with her abuser, played completely straight. Who didn’t want to see Maia kiss Jordan, hesitate, and say things can’t be the same just to find out they can? Nobody, that’s who. At least Maia ends the episode proving her selflessness again. Unlike Jordan, who proves his self-serving tendencies once again, Maia can’t take the one last vial of Heavenly Fire for herself. Not when it means nobody else gets to use it. Someone has values.

Perhaps the focus should be on a smaller storyline in the episode. Maybe on the glorification of toxic masculinity in Simon’s discourse about Lois Lane falling for strong Superman instead of meek Clark Kent. Nothing screams “healthy romance” as the idea of the weak nerd being rewarded with the pretty girl once she realizes he was the superpowered hero all along. As if Superman’s greatest strengths aren’t his heart and moral compass, two things he’s learned as the human Clark Kent, not the alien Kal-El.

Still, if none of that suffices, there is always the dragging, pointless suffering of Magnus Bane. What was the point of Magnus losing his magic if this is the resolution? What lesson did Magnus learn? What self-limiting belief did he get over? None. Magnus getting his magic back couldn’t have been more anticlimactic. Though it wasn’t more disappointing than watching Magnus fail to connect the dots between the out of character break-up and Asmodeus giving him his magic back.

This episode is hellbent in extending Magnus’ suffering to the point of exhaustion. Which includes showing more never-before-seen “memories” from Magnus. The tactic worked in season two as a retcon. It was a way to fix things after the fans revolted due to poor writing decisions. It doesn’t quite work now. That awkwardly staged scene with Madzie was bad enough, but then the episode has Magnus literally explode the title.

But credit is due when credit is due. Shadowhunters has finally learned to use scenes the audience has seen before as memories. Scenes we have an emotional connection to. Scenes that feel like memories to us as well. That was the most emotional moment in the episode and the most earnest too.

How about we wrap up Magnus’ storyline? It has led to nowhere anyway. He might as well stop suffering.

Too bad this storyline ends with Magnus almost erasing Alec from his memories. If Asmodeus hadn’t stopped him, Magnus would’ve deleted Malec as we know it. Having fun yet? Magnus sure isn’t.

There is one saving grace, though. Izzy Lightwood is a delight whenever she is not stuck in an artificial and rushed romance with Simon. There is something to be said about the little girl who dreamed to be an Iron Sister and grew up to re-forge Glorious. The episode doesn’t say it, but the fans might. Izzy is at her best when these accidental writings happen.

Unfortunately, that isn’t enough to make this episode worth watching.

Personal Notes

  • Why would Asmodeus stop Magnus from erasing the last connection he has to Earth? Yes, Asmodeus wants Magnus in pain and vulnerable, but erasing Alec from his memory would leave Magnus completely without reasons to stay in this dimension.
  • Since I’m asking questions, why would Jonathan think having the Morning Star Sword makes he and Clary untouchable? The sword doesn’t protect them from attacks. Everyone is looking for them and all they need to do is kill one and the other dies too. A magical sword means nothing.
  • Let me get this right. That tiny amount of Simon’s blood has enough angelic particles to bind Glorious together but not enough to make Heidi a Daylighter. Sure.
  • Blink and you’ll miss: Luke
  • Blink and you’ll miss: Alec is mildly upset

Next On

Shadowhunters will be back next week on April 29th at 8/7c on Freeform and on April 30th on Netflix worldwide. Check out the promo for episode 320: “City of Glass”

*All credits for the title suggestion go to @matsmess

Images courtesy from Freeform

2 comments
  1. justme

    Hey!
    I think it’s great that y’all put so much effort into writing these reviews and writing them honest and on the nose.

    And I agree with most of it, the consent issue during that Clace scene was sadly handled very poorly and should’ve been addressed diffirently. Forcing Maia and Jordan together in that way isn’t my cup of tea either even though I do thank thank the writers for not actually going through with it in the end. (the kiss was 100% unnecessary though)

    One thing I can’t help but notice, and I hope this isn’t taken the wrong way because I respect that everyone has a different opinion, but I’ve found that the overall tone of most of these reviews is quite negative. Maybe it’s because I’m overall not as disappointed from 3B as some viewers seem to be. I think we all love the show and the campaign and everything kinda created a hype that made it almost impossible to live up to. But not everything is bad? Magnus for example.

    There is some stuff that I didn’t like about Magnus’ arc, most (all) of it is him having no contact to other important people in his life. (Catarina or Raphael e.g.) but saying that him losing his powers was without consequence/a learning experience? (“What self-limiting belief did he get over? None.”) Is not true. He had his breaking point in 3×17, an awful but necessary breaking point, that happens to a lot of people who suffer from those kind of issues. (loss, trauma, self-doubt) That moment was important to him because it led to his healing process, which we saw happening in 3×18. He decided to stop drinking, to take the help Alec (and Maryse) were offering, he learned to lean on those he loves, when he’s barely able to stand on his own. He learned that there is a life after his magic. All of that isn’t just gone because he has it back now, that’s not really how people work. I don’t know. I relate to him a lot and I thank the writers for handling his mental health in 3B so carefully, his progress shouldn’t be dismissed like that, just because one scene might have felt anti-climatic.

    I hope this isn’t seen as angry or whatever, it really isn’t and I aboslutely agree that everyone comes from their own background and their own way of seeing the world.

    1. Ketz

      Hey! Thank you for this lovely and detailed comment. We appreciate you taking the time and letting us know how you feel. Fandom is a much better place when everyone gets to speak their minds and have respectful conversations about this show we love so dearly.

      As the writer of the reviews, I will admit they have been getting more negative in the last few episodes. I have honestly been left disappointed by the storylines and writing choices. A lot of them seem to undo great takes on sensitive topics (such as Maia’s storyline from last season) or are just very tone-deaf (like the dub-con Clace scene in the club or Simon Lewis, the Jewish character, preaching obedience to the Clave, the Nazism-allegory, as proof of good morals). I can take plotholes and inconsistencies lightly, but when my favorite show delivers harmful messages like that, it bothers me on a much deeper level.

      It is a shame since the acting and directing have never been so good. Unfortunately, I think the writing hasn’t kept up and I need to be honest. That, of course, doesn’t mean I have to focus only on the negative aspects of the episodes. I can try and highlight more of what I enjoyed about them – because there are things I still very much enjoy. This last episode had very little of it, but that’s not usually the case. Hopefully, next episode will wrap up season 3B on a high note and we’ll get two amazing episodes as series finale. If that is the case, I’ll be delighted to write all about the good things. But I have to stay true to how I feel.

      I do hope, though, that I’m wrong about Magnus’ storyline being for naught. However, I have yet to see Magnus truly sticking to this better place he found in the middle of 318. The way I saw it, that was taken away from Magnus when Alec broke up with him. Still, maybe 320 will show Magnus going to his friends and real family for support, thus proving I’m wrong and he has learned a lesson. That would be awesome to see.

      In any case, I’d like to thank you again for this comment. Disappointed by the episodes or not, Shadowhunters is still my favorite show and I love hearing different takes on it.

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