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A Body Swap Raises the Stakes on Shadowhunters

Watching Magnus yelling at the Institute’s dungeons hurts, but watching Valentine bark in the iconic Brooklyn Loft and frantically search around is revolting. His conversation with Azazel shows everything Valentine is: a liar, a manipulator, and a coward. It also sets the stakes for the rest of the episode.

You Are Not Your Own

We get a scene of Clary and Simon, where Clary fails to tell Simon about the fact that she and Jace are not related. They start kissing, which sets off Jace’s cockblocking instincts, and he texts to interrupt them. Back at the Institute, Inquisitor Herondale is unleashing all her rage on Jace as she blames him for summoning Azazel in the Institute.

She wants to test both Clary and Jace in order to find out exactly what they can do with their pure angelic blood. In the biggest plot twist of the show, Clary says yes to a superior’s orders and agrees to undergo the tests. Jace agrees too, but only to keep an eye on her.

Meanwhile, Izzy convinces Sebastian to go to the Institute with her and they arrive right as Alec, Jace, and Clary were talking about the Prince of Hell, who is still on the loose. Sebastian, who turns out to be an expert on “all things Azazel”, explains that the only way to banish the corporeal form of a Greater Demon is hitting a tiny spot on his torso and that it probably can’t be done in a fight.

Alec is not impressed. He rolls his eyes and decides to work with Magnus. His calls interrupt Valentine’s failed attempts to open a portal, and he sternly dismisses Alec under the orders of Azazel. The terse treatment worries Alec and prompts him to pay his boyfriend a visit at his loft. When Alec sees the Greater Demons, he lands a perfect arrow shot, banishing Azazel from Earth’s Realm.

You were saying, Sebastian?

With Azazel gone, Valentine focuses his efforts in learning how to use magic and asks for Dot to help. She initially seems suspicious, but ultimately agrees to help. Meanwhile, Magnus is trying to tell everyone who he really is, and that infuriates Alec. The shadowhunter bursts into the cell and knocks who he thinks is Valentine against the wall. Magnus tells him about the Omamori charm and their travels to Japan. This makes Alec begin to believe him, but it’s not enough to completely convince him.

Unfortunately, when Alec talks to Jace about it, Valentine’s personal go-to victim, Jace tells Alec not to fall for his manipulations. That only makes Alec doubt himself.

Since nobody listens to him, Magnus is forced to undergo the torture meant for Valentine and that triggers memories he had spent centuries burying deep. The Inquisitor wants personal revenge against Valentine for killing her son, his wife, and their unborn child. Alec goes to the dungeons with her when Imogen decides to kill Valentine without the blessing of the Clave.

What follows is a horrifying scene in which Alec actively aids Magnus’ imminent execution, all the while looking for any clues to prove the man in front of him really is Magnus. It is only after Valentine, who lured and captured Jace, shows up and confirms the body swap that Alec dashes to stop the Inquisitor. The scene is very well acted and disturbing to watch, as Magnus appears to have lost hope and is about to be killed with the help of the man he loves.

Another revelation Valentine brings is that Jace is a Herondale; he is the Inquisitor’s grandson. Valentine proposes an exchange: let Magnus go to him and he will release Jace. Imogen agrees and Magnus arrives by himself at the loft. He performs the spell to change back and immediately jumps on Valentine in order not to let him escape.

Outside, Clary, Sebastian and Alec try to find a way to lower the wards around the loft. Sebastian does the opposite of a pep talk, going on and on about how Clary has lost everything and everyone. His theory is that Clary is suppressing her emotions. By letting them surface, she will be able to create runes again. He ends up being right and Clary creates a rune that deactivates the wards, allowing them entrance. She tackles Valentine inside a portal that leads back to his cell, successfully locking him up again.

Alec stays at the loft with Magnus. He is cleaning things up when Magnus emerges from his room, presumably after some time alone. In a heartbreaking scene, Magnus tells Alec that he is struggling with memories he had long forgotten. Alec apologizes for what happened and asks what he can do to help. There is no response, as they both sit in silence and contemplate the depth of what’s to come.

As always, Shadowhunters has a lot going on. Aside from the main plotline, we have Simon going to Izzy for help with the Raphael situation. They have a candid scene at the greenhouse where Izzy tells him about the Yin Fen, but then they decide to use Raphael’s sister to threaten him. They send him a picture of Simon and Rosa Santiago, as if to say that if Raphael can get to Simon, they can get to her. When Raphael comes for revenge (with the help of a warlock, which is pretty cool), Luke and the sun intervene, saving Simon. Izzy and Simon end the night with an endearing stroll through the rain.

Isn’t this a promising slow burn? Emphasis on “slow”

More on that on the notes.

There is also a weird exchange between Clary and Sebastian where he asks her out and Clary refuses because she already has a boyfriend. She goes to see Simon and find out he has learned from Izzy about the update on the Morgenstern family situation. Clary assures Simon that does not change her feelings for him.

Finally, Imogen goes to Jace and her attitude towards him has changed 100% now that she knows they are family. She gives him the Herondale family ring and a pep talk, while Jace does not utter a word. The scene is very powerful, and one can see the emotion coming from both the Inquisitor and Jace, and it ends with the Inquisitor promising Jace he will find out what it means to be a Herondale.

Personal Notes:

  • Despite the controversy about the last Malec scene, I am glad there was no touching. Alec was a part of Magnus’ torment and Magnus had just undergone physical and mental torture while taken his body away from him. A hug and a kiss is not the support Magnus need. He didn’t seem like he wanted to be touched at all. Having Alec sitting within reach and asking how to help was the most respectful and supportive route the writers could’ve taken for this situation.
  • There was too little Luke. In fact, just a passing scene.
  • I did not like Izzy and Simon going after Raphael’s sister and the show treating it almost like a date and definitely like an okay thing to do. It is not. You can’t make the good guys do something villainous and not call them out on it; even worse, have external circumstances (Luke and the sun) save them from the consequences. Using an oblivious older lady to threaten her brother is a villainous thing, no matter if it’s a morally gray character, a villain, or a cinnamon roll doing it.
  • It rubs me the wrong way that Imogen needed the right last name to start treating Jace with some decency. Up until then, she only had the utmost contempt towards him and now, because she learns he is her grandson, she is all proud and nice? My read of that scene was not a positive one, and I hope that was the intention.

Images courtesy of Freefrom.

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Writer and YA aficionada, Camila is a Screenwriting Student at UCLA.

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