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Shadowhunters: Major Arcana

“This should be easy.”

This week all eyes were focused on retrieving The Mortal Cup. Well, all eyes except Simon’s but we’ll get to that.

Given Clary’s run of bad luck, she should have known retrieving The Mortal Cup from the Police Station wouldn’t be a walk in the park. However, it was the first time all our heroes were working towards a common goal, Shadowhunters and Downworlders alike. For that I was grateful. Especially since The Powers That Be’s attempts at an Ocean’s Eleven style plot created multiple cringe-worthy moments.

I think Isabelle and Alec are slowly morphing into each other. Isabelle’s attempt to be the model Shadowhunter continues. Along with her new wardrobe, comes a new work ethic as she completes Alec’s work in his absence. An absence due to Alec spending the night with a Downworlder. Unfortunately, I believe him when he says nothing happened. I just think there is a whopping unvoiced “yet” attached to his statement.

Alec’s walk of shame leads to a conversation about being true to oneself. A conversation Alec promptly deflected. I’m of the opinion that Alec has no idea how he feels or what he wants. At least not when it comes to relationships. Which is why I laughed when Isabelle complained Alec never tells her about his personal life. I’m convinced he doesn’t have one.

Their role reversal also led to Alec’s awkward attempt as pickup artist. Although his obvious discomfort was amusing, I’m unsure what message was being sent. If the new and improved Isabelle has put aside such childish antics, how is Alec learning to do them a good thing? I can see the need for Isabelle to realize her actions may have long-term consequences, and Alec to understand work can’t be the sole focus of his life. But if the argument is each of them needing balance, hitting on an unsuspecting police officer is not the way to make it.

Just to clear the air, let me state unequivocally I like Clary and Jace as a couple. Despite his arrogance and her stubbornness, you can see why they are attracted to each other. They have similar approaches to danger and risk (head straight towards it), they have the same stupid sense of humor, and their chemistry is off the charts. My issues are laid squarely at the feet of lazy writing. All of which was on display in this episode.

I believe Jace when he says it’s his job to retrieve The Mortal Cup and rescue Clary’s mother. It is also true his feelings for her go well beyond obligation. Jace’s actions upon arriving at the Institute and finding her missing were an acknowledgement that his concern for her well-being outstripped his desire for the Cup. Clary had a similar moment of realization when she believed she’d stabbed Jace and not a demon wearing his face. All proof of why they work as a couple.

On the other hand, stopping mid-threat to acknowledge Jace’s sacrifices on her behalf, while Alec is covering their escape and Isabelle is scouting ahead, makes Clary appear either lovesick or thoughtless. Another example of bad writing was having her say she panicked when Jace complained about her slapping him. It wasn’t panic. It was the 10% of her plan she pre-apologized for. Stuff like that drives me insane. We won’t even go into the bad double entendres or well-worn tropes. At least the actors are talented and likeable enough to pull most of those off.

And can I ask a stupid question? Whose murder is Luke being accused of? The Alpha’s? The Circle member Vargas questioned him about a few episodes back? Regardless, why were they running his gun through ballistics? Neither of them was killed by a gun. And last time I checked, being near the scene of a crime did not constitute guilt, despite the fact he’s guilty as hell.

A moment of silence for Vargas. RIP.

While the above hijinks were ensuing, Simon was having a meltdown. The realization Clary and Jace are the real deal sent him into Maureen’s arms. Being Simon’s rebound girl would have been bad enough. Simon hallucinating Clary made it better and so much worse. It probably saved Maureen from being strung along because of Simon's fear of hurting her feelings. She doesn’t strike me as the type to pine for him after what he did. Unfortunately for Simon, that turned out to be the best part of his day.

The only comedic moment that actually landed for me was the dueling napkins for “I am Becoming a Vampire” and “I am Not Becoming a Vampire.” The second being conveniently blank. Although, if we’re using vampire movie logic, he could have added walking in sunlight and seeing his reflection to his love of garlic.

His mother and his sister’s concern were played more for laughs than pathos. For me, this meant the most heartbreaking moment was when Simon got Clary’s voicemail and realized he was on his own. His return to the Hotel DuMort gave him the answers he sought. Unfortunately, it also came with unintended and, most likely, disastrous consequences. Given next week’s title, I suspect Simon’s trials and tribulations will be on full display.

As a precursor of things to come, I liked the episode. We’ve established the Shadowhunter version of the Scooby Gang with all the attending interpersonal dynamics (read: drama). And they located The Mortal Cup. Plus, Simon’s vampiric issues are about to be resolved after weeks of set up. All good things. However, it failed the most basic requirement, being a well-produced hour of television.

2.5 out 5 Demonic Activity Reports

Parting Thoughts:

I knew Izzy was seeing Meliorn, but I thought it was a “friends with benefits” kind of thing. Having his picture makes it seem a tad more serious. Am I wrong?

Just as an FYI, you can only get demon pox from sleeping with a demon. Why would you do this? It leads to a lovely full-body rash, insanity and your own transformation into a demon. So there’s that.


Magnus: “If Valentine started creating Shadowhunters or gained control of demons, it’d be like Beyonce riding on a dinosaur through Times Square. People would notice.”

Maureen: “You were amazing.”
Simon: “Like ‘Fifty Shades’ amazing?”
Maureen: “Like ‘pon farr’ amazing?”
Simon: “I love it when you speak Vulcan.”

Alec: “I realize you’re trying to take some of the family heat, and I appreciate it, but you can’t change who you are.”
Isabelle: “Really? And you can?”

Vargas: "Don’t worry. I get it. We always fall for the bad boys right? Oh, is that just me?"

Jace: “You know what, I’m going to bring Alec with me next time. I don’t think he’s ever slapped me in the face.”

Alec: “This is a disaster.”
Jace: “Demon Pox is a disaster. This is an inconvenience."

Clary: “Simon, are you okay?”
Simon: “I’m not sure. I haven’t been kidnapped yet today.”

Alec: “I don’t say this often, but I agree with Clary.”

Isabelle: “It’s not like this is the first time Alec has saved your life. Doubt it’ll be the last.”

Simon: “I’m still human?”
Camille: “Well, of course you are. Or at least you would have been.”

Shari loves sci-fi, fantasy, supernatural, and anything with a cape.

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