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Shadowhunters: Dust and Shadows

"Take this time to grieve and plan for what lies ahead."

That this week’s episode centered on the impact of Jocelyn’s death was no surprise. How dangerous the combination of Clary’s grief and Alec’s guilt was.

Grief is both universal and utterly unique. Which is why Clary’s friends can offer her platitudes but are unable to bring her comfort. She needs to find that for herself. Last week, Clary attempted to find it through vengeance. This week, denial and bargaining are the name of the game.

Clary isn’t the first character newly immersed in a fantastical world to believe that magic can solve any problem. Why can’t her mother be brought back to life if Simon died, and is still kicking around? Unfortunately, fantastical as these worlds may be, magic has limits. Or at least it comes at a price that may be extraordinarily high.

In this world, bringing someone back from the dead runs the risk of a demon taking the loved one’s place. Or of them not coming back "right." There’s also the problem of owing a warlock an unspecified favor. Yet, while Clary is smart enough to be suspicious of all the above, she’s still desperate enough to proceed.

Then there's Alec. He barely has the coping mechanisms to address his minor faults, much less to deal with the death of Clary and Jace’s mother. Being around his Parabatai would normally be a comfort, but now it only adds to his guilt. Between Jace, the Institute reminding him of his failures, and his fear of facing Clary, he escapes to Magnus'.

I have to admit, this was my favorite scene in the episode. Not just because Magnus offers Alec the baggage-free comfort he couldn’t get from Jace. But also, because Alec, despite his own pain and without jealousy or judgement, takes time to ask how Magnus is doing after his confrontation with Camille. It was one of the few moments I didn’t want to yell at the characters.

With Magnus' support, Alec finds Clary to seek absolution. Instead, she offers him a way to make amends. He leaps on board. Yes, Alec's guilt is almost equal to Clary’s grief. But while Clary is ignorant of the potential dangers, Alec should have known better.

Especially, when both Magnus and Jace are against it. Granted, Clary may not have told Alec of Jace's response. But I find it hard to believe Alec wouldn’t suggest Magnus' input. Considering how much Magnus adores Clary and the lengths he’s already gone for her, refusing this request should have given them both pause.

Instead, they land on Iris Rouse’s doorstep, where the unintended consequences of Valentine’s war continue to pile up. As if Jocelyn’s death wasn’t enough, it has also led to Iris’ warlock-making business. Clary will be Iris’ latest host.

This left me with a multitude of questions. Was that the favor Iris intended to exact? Or did she intend to wipe Clary’s memory and hold on to the favor for some future date? And exactly how long is the incubation process? Alec would have brought the wrath of the Shadowhunters down on Iris way before nine months were up and killing him would have created more problems than it solved.

Before Alec (or Izzy and Jace, for that matter) can ride to Clary’s rescue, she seemingly creates a new rune capable of destroying demons. One would think that could come in handy. However, Jace tells her to keep both the rune and her newfound ability under wraps. So, I’m sure that’s the last we’ll hear of it. Not.

Clary and Alec aren’t the only ones still suffering from the demon attack. Isabelle’s shoulder hasn’t healed. If Aldertree is to be believed (always a dicey prospect) it’s due to a venom infection. Venom from what? Her shoulder injury was a stab wound, and the demon didn’t infect any of its other hosts.

While we’re at it, did it bother anyone else that he made inspecting her injury personally a condition of her getting the assignment? I can understand wanting to insure she’s fit to be in the field, but any doctor in the Institute would be better qualified to make that determination than a former field medic. Even if it doesn’t smack a little of quid pro quo, it was just plain creepy.

And I know the Shadowhunters live by different rules, but should Aldertree really be handing out drugs? Especially a drug as powerful as yin fen seems to be. I have no proof that Aldertree isn’t what he appears to be, but I don’t trust him. And whether he’s trying to help Isabelle recover in time for the visit to the Iron Sisters or not, this does not bode well.

Yet, and it pains me to say this, I agree with Aldertree’s assessment of Jace. Given the damage Valentine wreaked with the Cup, keeping the Soul-Sword out of his hands should have been a priority over saving a perfectly capable Shadowhunter. At best Aldertree would have defended himself and the sword would still be in the Clave’s possession. At worse, Aldertree’s death is no great loss.

That said, Jace didn’t display a lack of discipline, just a lack of judgement. Keeping him locked in the Institute instead of doing the one thing he’s good at makes no sense. Banning him from field duty is fine for a punishment, but not a long-term strategy. Unless he’s the new Hodge. Please, don’t let him be the new Hodge.

Meanwhile, Simon takes Clary’s advice to the extreme. Instead of visiting his mother, he tells her he wants to move back home. He did not think this through. His mother may have acclimated to his behavior, but his sister Rebecca isn’t buying any of it. She opens his windows in daylight and dumps his stash of blood. When Rebecca squeals on him to his mother, Simon reluctantly tells Elaine the truth. Not that she believes him. At least not until she sees him chowing down on a rat. She claimed she’d love him no matter what. Looks like that may be put to the test.

This episode may have been filled with well-worn tropes, but that didn’t stop it from covering new ground or being engaging. Though it did make me yell at my TV.

3.5 out of 5 unspecified favors

Parting Thoughts:

The Clave wouldn’t let Simon or Luke come to Jocelyn’s funeral and they wonder why the Downworlders are resentful.

Speaking of Luke, he’s MIA in wolf form. I have a bad feeling about this.

We finally learned the significance of the keris blade. I almost wish we hadn’t. I can’t imagine the psychological damage of knowing your mother killed herself rather than raising you.

I assumed Simon would tell his mother about Jocelyn’s death, but I guess it would bring up too many questions he can’t answer.

In the books, Isabelle is a notoriously bad cook. So Jace’s comment is an Easter egg for book fans.

Another book note: The reason demons can’t impregnate Shadowhunters has to do with protections that are placed on babies in the Shadowhunter equivalent of a Christening. There is a part demon – part Shadowhunter warlock, although I never read anything that implied she’d be harder to kill than any other warlock.


Jace: “Hey, same side. Remember?”

Magnus: “Losing your mom, it’s not something you make better with magic.”

Simon: “I’m not going to leave you until I know you’re okay.”
Clary: “What does ‘okay’ even mean?”

Jace: “I spent my whole life fighting my emotions. Look where it landed me.”

Iris: "'Dark magic' is a term used by warlocks who are afraid of their own powers.”

Elaine: “You don’t have to explain yourself to me, Simon.”

Rebecca: “So none of this behavior seems... crazy to you?”

Isabelle: “I made some food for her, but she didn’t want to eat it.”
Jace: “Can you blame her?”

Simon: “Mom, for the last time, World of Warcraft isn’t a cult.”

Iris: “You can save the redhead, but she still owes me a favor.”

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


  1. > Which is why Clary’s friends can offer her platitudes but are unable to bring her comfort.

    Great line.

    I still couldn't believe that Jocelyn was gone, so I was pretty sure Clary would succeed in her attempt to bring mom back. I finally accepted it when the episode ended with a funeral sealing Jocelyn's fate. Since we didn't get to see Valentine's reaction, though, I came up with a theory that this episode established that people can be brought back to life so that later it will be revealed that he secretly resurrected Jocelyn. So maybe I didn’t accept it?

    Aldertree’s behavior is wrong. For a second there, it seemed like he genuinely cared about Isabelle, but dude is just playing her. He is designed to be that character we love to hate, and so far it’s working.

  2. You should know by now that only the leads can be brought back to life. Unless, it's an alternate dimension. Then all bets are off.

    Raj used to be my least favorite character. Now it's Aldertree. He's the worst!

  3. I take that back. There is one non-lead that comes back to life on this show. Unfortunately, it's not Jocelyn...


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