Sunday, June 16, 2024

Shadowhunters Matures As It Explores Identity

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Everything still sucks back at the Institute

After last week’s action packed premiere episode of the second season of ABC Fam- Freeform’s (is that joke getting old already?) Shadowhunters series, Episode 2 entitled “A Door Into The Dark” proved itself to be one of if not the best episodes of the series to date. If this is exemplary of where the series is headed and the maturity with which it will move forward with its subject matter and character arcs in the future then we are in for a real ride! With standout performances this week from Kat McNamara, Emeraude Toubia, and Matt Daddario and an an episode that powered on full speed but allowed itself the time needed to slow down for its characters to process their frantically overwhelming emotions.

Back through the portal and aboard the ship, Jace confronts Valentine about setting him up to kill Maria, the Vampire. “The law is hard but it is the law,” is phrase he grew up knowing; a phrase all Shadowhunters are taught from a young age to obey by the Clave. Whatever your residual feelings are, much like the rather frustrating rule of the Jedis, you must suppress and due your duty. Emotions get in the way. Although however much it is ingrained in Jace to follow the ways of the Clave, Valentine is noticeably starting to get to him and Jocelyn accidentally helps him get there. He had the choice to leave Valentine behind, turn him over to the Clave, portal him to Idris or do whatever with him and he chose to save his life. You can’t just forget the father you had grown up morning when the are standing right in front of you, whatever transpired in between. Their relationship is clearly “complicated” to say the least.

“You’re always smiling like everyone likes you but really…they all hate you.”

Back at the Institute, Aldertree keeps undermining Lydia and he really needs to stop. He’s starting to sound like those corporate pricks who show up at your work while you are doing a perfectly good job but he shows up an starts bossing you around like you are an incompetent child. He blames Lydia for everything wrong that happens when he has full control of the Institute as of now so in reality, everything that goes wrong is his fault.

Clary is incredibly angry with her mother for trying to kill her brother (okay that part sounded quite like a soap opera..some parts of the books cannot be worked around) and confronts her. Clary and Jocelyn have it out and hey, at least they are talking and both have actual sensible reasoning behind their arguments *cough cough unlike their book counterparts*.

Jocelyn: “Honey there’s still so much you don’t know”
Clary: “Oh and whose fault is that?”

Clary is losing trust in her mother, the one person she’s been fighting for through all of this and Jocelyn finally breaks down, after keeping everything in for so long, and lets Clary know what Valentine did to her and the baby while she was pregnant. She shows Clary this beautifully cheesy flashback to a baby Jonathan in her arms while she cuts some flowers in the garden. However, Jonathan is literally a devil child straight from Rosemary’s baby with his black eyes and his power of death as he kills all of the flowers. Distraught, Jocelyn visited Ragnor Fell and he warned Jocelyn that in the future Jonathan would only leave death and destruction in his wake.

Someone give Clary a hug!! *cough cough Isabelle*

Disturbed by this new “evil flower killing monster” revelation, Clary speaks to Simon about it all who tries to explain to Clary that maybe she shouldn’t jump to conclusions either way. That neither side is black and white and to remember what they did in fact see; Jace killing that vampire and saving Valentine by jumping into the portal. Clary is starting to feel alone, confused, and distanced within the Institute, as everything she has known has come apart and everything she thought she knew – her mother; her stability- is falling apart.

Alec is still angry, in fact more so after last week’s fiasco and finding out what Jocelyn did as they almost had Jace home and safe again so he’s taking it all out on a punching bag. Matt Daddario is really killing it this week and you can feel that his panic level and frustration is up to 100. More like 110, as he takes it all out on Clary when she tries to speak with him. She argues that Jace is her brother too and she is not her mother but Alec pushes back, saying that she doesn’t really know Jace. Sure they might be siblings by blood, but Alec grew up with him and the two formed a bond like no other that would tie them together forever. It’s always sad when these two argue but at least Alec is making sense here, and unlike his book hatred for Clary, it’s not solely coming out of place of jealousy or blind hatred. He points to Clary saying that everything went wrong for him and his family since she had come into their lives and that he did everything to help her find her mother and now she tries to kill Jace. Izzy comes to stop him but it’s getting to Clary. “When are you going to realize you don’t belong here, you never have,” he snaps at her and it’s a hunting thought that follows Clary throughout the episode and is clearly the theme this week.

Meanwhile Valentine is going around fight clubs and martial art tournaments in search for stronger mundanes whom he can turn into Shadowhunters with the Mortal Cup since it is a high ratio of those who do not survive the conversion. Announcing their plan to target these places and the Circle Members who have been abducting the Mundanes,

“Do you feel the eye daggers I’m throwing at you”

Lydia announces the game plan to the Institute and once again Aldertree undermines her. Luckily Lydia isn’t here for that crap and continues on her merry way, shooting daggers at him.

Clary asks Izzy to let her come with them but Alec steps in and says that she doesn’t belong with them, doesn’t she get the picture. Izzy looks back at her with sadness but leaves with Alec anyway and it really hit my heart when she did because Izzy has been Clary’s biggest supporter. Clary is really feeling alone and sad; so alone that we get a heartbreaking soundtrack of her in her room and it’s actually a really beautiful quiet moment; one of the few this episode. She reconnects with her passion in art and the life she was heading towards before all of this. It’s the only thing that has actually tied the two worlds, the two lives she has led, together with the powers she has.

Luckily I’m not heartbroken for very long and Isabelle comes in to talk to her and comfort her, assuring her that she doesn’t feel the way Alec does. Emeraude and Kat have really proved themselves to be upstanding actors and this scene only showcased it (and my incessant want for Emeraude to play Arianne Martell in a real adaptation of the Dorne plot from ASOIAF). Clary believes what Alec is saying, feeling like she doesn’t belong there but Izzy insists that that’s not true and letting her know she will always have her back. “You have a new life now, you have me. That’s not gonna change.” With an arm rub and a beautiful smize, it’s safe to say that was another scene to add a notch to your belt of incredibly gay Clizzy moments and I think practically everyone died while watching it, shipper or not.

I’m just a baby vamp…leave me alone please…sir

Tasked by Aldertree to get vamp intel for him or else he’ll bar him from hanging out with Clary, Simon is confronted by Raphael who orders him to find Camille so she can take the blame for the vamp den as it was hers not his. Thus Simon makes his way to see Magnus to ask for help in finding Camille, the only other person who knows her well enough to track her down. Simon and Magnus are apparently in Agra, India (or at least as best as ABC Fam- Freeform can do it- aka throwing the Taj Mahal in the background) and visit one of Camille’s many apartments she keeps all around the world. Magnus starts raiding the house for all of the belongings he claims are his that she never returned to him and Simon is left to look for Camille alone. Forced to face his snake fear and finally come to terms with what he is and what he can do, Simon confronts what we find out later is Magnus’ “baby” that he gave to Camille as a gift and finally masters the encanto power, defeating the snake. Magnus, seeing Simon for what he is and where he is, remembers a time when he was a lost and alone Downworlder learning to use his powers and promises to help Simon out and be there for him.

Clary escaped from her room, of course, and left behind her stele and seemingly the Shadowhunter life as she makes her way to the art school she got accepted to in the pilot. Poor Clary is trying to be normal and go to school and just draw, but can I say, that school has incredibly lax security. Who let her in the building? She isn’t even enrolled yet!!

Jocelyn goes to talk to Luke and Luke tells Jocelyn that she’s gotta start being truthful with both him and Clary about everything. Lying only gets them into more trouble and Jocelyn asks Luke to help her talk to Clary because she knows she’ll listen to him. They’re super cute. However, when they get there Jocelyn doesn’t exactly let Luke do the talking and Clary runs out.

“For 18 years you made me believe that I could live a normal life. This life. But I can’t can i? No, cause I’m not a mundane. I’m not a Shadowhunter. I’m not anything” – Clary (excuse the cries…)

On her way out Clary runs into Dot who looks a little worse for wear and Dot portals her away before Luke and Jocelyn could catch her to, you guessed it, Valentine’s ship, as he needs her to convince Jace of his views on the Downworlders. Dot shows Clary a horrible future of Downworlders doing dark deeds and under a spell, Clary tries to convince Jace about Valentine’s ideals. Delighted to have his tow children by his side, father of the year Valentine asks Clary if she will come with him to hunt the Downworlder he’s after but Jace steps up so Clary doesn’t have to go, as much as he doesn’t want to himself.

Izzy and Alec take matters into their own hands, checking out a Fight Club, and Izzy challenges one of the sexists giant dickheads to a fight. Of course she kick his ass and Alec watches on, a proud brother. A Circle Member, as predicted, do come for the dude, but when they get there it’s actually Izzy glamoured and she and Alec corner him. However, sworn an oath to Valentine, he slits his throat before he allows himself to be questioned. It’s a sick sort of devotion that Valentine inspires and forces in his followers; clearly not even respecting his most devoted as equals or worthy beings to live.

Convinced that Clary is with Valentine because of the veins of Dot’s face coinciding with Valentine’s injection marks, Luke gives Jocelyn a piece of Adamas that can be used to find her through the Parabatai bond. Jocelyn says she wants to do it to find Clary and Isabelle and Alec agree, with no other leads and no where else to turn. says they don’t have a choice

However, almost ready to go, Jocelyn mentions the risks involved with the Adamas bond, claiming that it can be taxing on the mind and body and that most who have tried it haven’t come back to talk about it. Isabelle, realizing this could mean Alec’s death puts her foot down and refuses to go through with it. “I’ve already lost both parents to Idris and a brother to Valentine. I’m not gonna lose you too.” However, Alec begs her to let him go through with it, claiming that he can’t live with out him, indicating that his life would be lost anyway should they lose him. Poor Isabelle, however, feels the same way about Alec but loves him too much to refuse him.

You tried to shoot our brother, YOUR SON, last week…are we really supposed to trust you?

Clary wakes up in a cage (wow another Father of the Year award for you Valentine) and confronts Dot, convincing her to no longer use the spell on her and let her free to rescue Jace. The two commemorate their bond as they remember when Dot brought Clary back gelato one day, from Rome, after Jocelyn grounded her for sneaking out.

Ready to go, Jocelyn tells Alec that he needs to stay near the surface when he goes down, and Isabelle chides him, with tears in her eyes and fear for her bother, insisting “If you go to deep, by the angel Alec, I will kick your ass when you get back.” These two really have excelled in developing the relationship between the two siblings and it shows. Alec initiates the bond and the process starts.

Valentine has the awesome white haired werewolf captive from Luke’s pack and is charging her with a crime she insists she didn’t commit. Jace, frustrated and confused, holds a seraph blade to her throat but Clary interrupts before he does something he regrets again. Clary, not under a spell this time, tells Jace the truth and the run to the portal that Dot holds open for them. Jace kills two of the Circle members (wow the fight choreography and the weapons have improved so much!) but Alec makes the connection as they start to run towards the portal. It catches both of them and Alec starts seizing and fitting. Jace starts to bleed through his nose and collapses but with Clary’s support, they seemingly make it out. However Alec doesn’t stop fitting, despite losing the connection, as Isabelle calls for him with heartbroken shouts. And, of course, being the heartless asshole he is, Valentine kills the werewolf anyway. (RIP aweseome werewolf; I will miss you!!! I wish we could see more of you!!!)

Images Courtesy Of Freeform

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