Saturday, March 25, 2023

Shadowhunters Season Finale Breaks Promises and It Is Awesome

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It is no secret for anyone with a Twitter account that Shadowhunters has not been the most balanced-marketed show out there. From a heavy hand when it comes to the show’s couples, to a disconnection between the advertisement and what was really being depicted on the show, the problems are not few. It is not an understatement, then, to say that the Season Finale was over-sold. We were promised a death, brutal violence, as well as an unresolved ending for everyone’s favorite couple.

Instead, we got a well-written, acted, and paced episode. It was way better than all of those promises could ever hope to deliver. I don’t know what happens between the production team and the marketing team, but if that means Season 3 will keep up with what Season 2B started, I’m all for it. False-advertise away.

Beside Still Water

Right off the bat, we learn Jonathan is not dead. Exactly no one is surprised. However, what nobody predicted was that he would use his dying breath to call out for his “mom.” And he does that by letting his blood form a pentagram in the sand. There were many theories about the episode, but none talked about Jonathan opening up the rift between Edom and New York.

From there came the most menacing demon the show has ever shown: a fire-breathing bat-like dragon demon. As the shadowhunters are still concerned with locating Valentine, the aerial alarms go off, alerting to the new threat. Alec, Izzy, Jace, and Clary go see to it and although Alec shoots the thing down, it only serves to create miniatures demons.

So, excuse me. A fire-breathing, bat-and-hydra-like dragon demon. Edom is sure looking like a place to avoid.

But the new demons – a rare sub-species of Edomai – growing in numbers is only another problem on top of what is really at stake. When Luke and Simon go to the Seelie Court in search for Maia, they find out that the Queen has made a deal with Valentine. He is out of New York and on his way to Lake Lyn. It is interesting to point out that the Queen didn’t seem particularly secretive about negotiating with their mortal enemy. As long as she has some alone time with Simon, she couldn’t care less about Luke breaking havoc in the Court or telling on her to the others.

You gotta admire the Queen’s tenacity. She has her priorities set: cute Daylighter, Seelies, the rest of the downworlders. In that order.

With no word from Consul Malachi and his army to protect the lake, the shadowhunters have to make a decision. They can’t let the city under attack of the Edomai, but they also cannot just ignore Valentine. So, they decide to split up: Clary and Jace will portal to Idris via Portal Rune while Alec and Izzy will stay and defend the city.

The first two arrive just a hike away from Lake Lyn, but they intercept a shadowhunter army on their way. Consul Malachi is there, though unfortunately for Jace and Clary, he reveals himself to be a Circle Member. Another “plot-twist” that is just bad-writing. This personification of deus ex machina arrest our heroes and then lays out an overly dramatic explanation to the two people he intends to execute anyway.

For all that Consul Malachi talks about their angelic mission, he forgets he is dealing with the two shadowhunters that actually have pure angel blood in their veins. Jace, though, remembers that when Clary is about to have her head chopped off. With the help of his golden eyes, Jace is able to free himself and, together with Clary, they kill Malachi and his guards.

I hope this opens up a spot for Alec – or a decent shadowhunter at least – to run for Consul in Season 3.

Finally, Jace and Clary get to Lake Lyn but there is no sign of Valentine. Until Valentine indeed shows up and plunges a knife right into Jace’s heart. This is the death we were promises, and that most everyone knew would happen. But knowing and seeing are different things.

Jace’s death is haunting as the show gives us both Clary’s and Alec’s reactions to it. As Jace lay dying, a crying Clary can barely believe she is seeing the man she loves die. In the Institute, Alec is taken by excruciating pain, as flashbacks cloud his mind and his Parabatai rune disappears. Jace is dead.

Taken by grief and rage, Clary blindly attacks Valentine and gets knocked out in the process. But she wakes up in time to witness him raising Raziel. Valentine asks for the immediate death of “all evil-blooded creatures; demons and downworlders alike. As well as the disloyal shadowhunters who protect them.”

This sure is an impressive entrance.

Although the Angel answers that the death of downworlders is not Heaven’s wish (take that, Malachi), he says that the blood of angels compels him to grant a wish. However, before Valentine can spill his own blood on Lake Lyn, Clary gets to him. They fight, Valentine with calculated exasperation, and Clary with raging tenacity.

But Valentine is a better fighter and he throws Clary to her back over and over again. It is only when he is done playing and tries to kill her that Clary finds an opening. She slashes his throat open and then stabs him four times over.

With the Angel still there, Clary runs to stop Valentine’s wish. Raziel tells her to pick another, but only one. Clary looks over Jace’ body and wishes him to come back.

The Angels grants the wish and Jace is brought back to life. However, there are consequences to what Clary calls a miracle. Aside from hiding his death from Alec and the others, Jace is also suffering from something else not even Clary is aware of. What this may bring we will only know in Season 3.

Meanwhile, Izzy is able to locate the rift between Earth and Edom. Alec goes to ask Magnus to help, and their exchange is equal parts funny (“duh”) and gut-wrenching (“what do you want, shadowhunter?”). Magnus is beyond pissed off that he has put his hopes in the Seelie Queen’s treacherous hands, only to be betrayed by her as well. But Alec is having none of Magnus’s lashing out. The rift has to be closed and Magnus is the only one that can do it.

Together with Izzy, they find the same beach where Jonathan washed up to. The body is no longer there, but they quickly find what they were looking for. However, before Magnus can close it, another Edomai appears and knocks Izzy down. Alec covers for Magnus while he closes the entrance. This action sequence might not have been the best of the season, but it was fun to watch anyway. The High Warlock has never been more powerful, sealing the rift and blasting a moving Edomai all at once. It drains him, but as Magnus says to a worrying Alec, “you can’t get rid of me that easily.”

And we are all thankful for it.

Can we please get more of this trio? Like, a lot more.

Alec is not the only one doing the worrying, though. When he feels the bond with Jace breaking, Magnus is quick to go to him. He portals Alec and Izzy to Idris, just to find Jace and Clary safe and sound. Or so they believe.

While this was happening, Luke and Simon come back from the Seelie Court with a very distraught Maia. The Seelie Queen let them go, which sounds fishy to Luke. But by the end of the episode, as all the characters attend a party at the Hunter’s Moon, Luke is too happy and too drunk to care. Still, he probably isn’t drunk enough for answering Ollie when she shows up and asks him how long he’s been a werewolf.

Maia, on the other hand, remembers very well. When she inquires Simon, he does his best – which isn’t very good – to dismiss her worries. But we learn that he has caved into the Seelie Queen’s wishes that he moved to the Seelie Court. That is why she allowed Maia to leave. We will see how this play out.

The party is also a moment for reconciliation. Clary and Simon go back to being best friends, but it is Alec and Magnus that protagonist the most endearing scene of the night. Wearing his heart on his sleeve as always, Alec tells Magnus he cannot live without him. Magnus confesses he hasn’t been able to stop thinking about Alec. He also has realized he doesn’t need to choose between Alec and the downworld. He can have both. They ditch the party after a tender kiss and the reminder that relationships take effort. Malec is back together and I for one am excited to see how they will work out their differences from now on.

But not everything is great. Jace’s dark secret spirals to alarming levels as, somewhere in a cave, all the Edomai come together to form a mysterious figure. She walks up to Jonathan’s motionless body and calls him “son.” Jonathan’s pleas were answered after all.

We might have gotten rid of the father, but now the mother is here. And she has everything to take over the role of the biggest villain of the show.

January cannot come soon enough.

Personal Notes

  • Luke knocking off Meliorn with a Seelie spear might have been my favorite moment of the episode. The Alpha has no time for word-play, his beta is in trouble!
  • Jace seems set on keeping his death a secret from everyone. He also isn’t telling Clary about his permanent pained state. This will blow up on his face: yes or absolutely?
  • For a second there I thought the Parabatai bond was really gone. I’ll play devil’s advocate here and say I would love to see how it would be developed if that was the case. Not to mention spoilers from the books, but watching Jace choose Alec as his brother in arms regardless of a magical bond between them would’ve been epic.
  • Izzy and Clary calling each other “sister” was a tear-inducing moment, for sure. I just wish it hadn’t come right before Clary swears to keep another secret from Izzy. Stop this non-sense. When will those two be able to talk?

Images courtesy of Freeform


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