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.
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.
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.
- 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
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”