The once season finale turns up the heat – in all sorts of ways. This week’s episode successfully brings to life Shadowhunters’ most ambitious battle scene yet. If action isn’t your thing, though, the episode also delivers on the emotional sphere of the story.
In fact, “City of Glass” is at its strongest when dealing with the characters’ themselves. Magnus, Clary, Maia – even Jonathan. Each of them has to stand their ground and find their center as others try to pull them one way or the other.
Some of them succeed. Some don’t. Either way, it’s a journey worth watching.
City of Glass
After losing her alpha, her pack, and her boyfriend, Maia spent a good portion of the season leaning on the one person she had left, Jordan. Maia was isolated, trapped in a bubble of survivor’s guilt and nostalgia for the past. She talked a big game about restoring the pack and being the alpha, but the truth is that there was no pack. Maia was the alpha of no-one. All of that were illusions Maia was creating for herself. Illusions that Jordan’s presence clouded.
As much as Maia tried to cease a new future, Jordan pushed back, trying to pull her back to her past. Learning that he was going to die even led Maia into dropping her search for a pack and offer to indulge Jordan’s wishes of a mundane life. It is only after Jordan is gone that Maia is able to do what she’s been saying she wants to do.
Jordan’s funeral is a metaphor for Maia letting go of his dragging influence and ceasing her future as the alpha of the New York pack. Once Jordan is out of the picture, Maia is finally surrounded by the people who truly have her back: her wolves, Simon, and Luke. Isolation did nothing for her, but it’s over now. And Maia is better without it.
Another person struggling to find his identity is Magnus. In this episode, he is confronted by his worst nightmare: his own father. Asmodeus represents everything Magnus hates about himself. He is power without responsibility, strength without mercy. Asmodeus delights in taking what he wants, no matter who gets hurt in the process.
But Magnus doesn’t. As father and son take away the Brooklyn apartment from Lorenzo – effectively proving Lorenzo right for hating Magnus’ privileged status – Magnus has a taste of what life at his father’s side could be. Full of riches, full of power, yes. But at the cost of Magnus’ humanity and honor. Asmodeus smiles at the sight of their enemy defeated and reduced to a defenseless reptile. Magnus dreads it.
Still, just this taste of his father’s ruthlessness isn’t enough to make Magnus reject it. He needs something else: the proof that his humanity is loved and appreciated. That takes form in Maryse Lightwood. Only after Maryse walks Magnus through the deal between Alec and Asmodeus that Magnus is able to fully reject his father.
Alec loves Magnus – he loves him enough to take himself out of the equation so Magnus could feel whole again. Once Magnus knows that he can finally break free from Asmodeus’ influence. This time, forever.
As it turns out, though, the Bane family isn’t the only one with relationship issues. The Morgenstern siblings share the same problem. Throughout the season, the characters worry about the dark influence the Twinning Rune has on Clary. And with good reason. It is only after Clary turns dark that the Morgensterns truly become a threat to be reckoned with. She is the one driving the plot, she’s the one holding the sword.
But Clary isn’t the only one influenced by the Twinning Rune. As much as she was pulled to the darkness, Jonathan was getting pulled to the light. Being bonded to Clary put a restraint to his demonic side. Once the rune was removed, that restraint was broken. There was a reason Jonathan almost seemed human before. That reason was Clary.
That reason is gone now. And everyone will suffer the consequences of it.
Shadowhunters will be back next week on May 6th at 8/7c on Freeform and on May 7th on Netflix worldwide. Check out the promo for the two-hour series finale.