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Shadowhunters: How Are Thou Fallen

“No one is innocent in war.”

In a show about Angels and demons, imagery of the fall from grace was inevitable. I just didn’t expect it to be so literal.

Valentine is the epitome of a negative change arc. He had the perfect family, a loyal Parabatai, and the makings of an outstanding leader. However, his desire for power and glory is destroying everything he once held dear. We’ve witnessed how his decisions led to his wife’s death, caused both his Parabatai and his children to turn against him, and made him a pariah among the people who might have followed him.

This episode represents the nadir of that arc. As deranged as some of his choices have been, an argument could be made that his quest to rid the world of all things demonic was the logical conclusion of the purpose for which Shadowhunters were created. No justification can be made for torturing an Angel. It is a sacrilege of the highest order. It’s even a bridge too far for Cleophas.

It’s not like Cleophas was a saint. She became an Iron Sister because she believed Valentine was dead, not because she’d lost faith in Valentine’s cause. She even disavowed her brother once he’d been turned. So, it’s no surprise she’d seek him out at her first opportunity.

Yet even an acolyte as devoted as Cleophas can’t condone Valentine’s actions. Her pretense of redemption becomes real as she tries to stop Valentine from harming the Angel Ithuriel. I honestly thought Valentine was going to kill her as the culmination of her redemption arc, but maybe they are saving that for a future episode.

Clary is literally on the side of Angels, but she is proving that she can be just as ruthless as her father. She shared her secrets with Cleophas because, as Luke’s sister, she was family. Once Clary knows Cleophas was a Circle member, she isn’t stupid enough to trust her. Yet, she has no problems using Cleophas to stop Valentine, even when it means defying Luke. Luke may have reluctantly agreed to Clary’s plan, but I imagine when this is all over, Clary and Luke are going to have some words.

Speaking of Clary and Angels... Ithuriel can communicate with Clary. Why only her? And how did Valentine know the new runes were Ithuriel’s doing? As long as we’re asking questions, what about the vision Ithuriel shared with her and Jace? Does this mean the Soul Sword will be destroyed, that it should be, or something completely different? Aren’t the Downworlders safe now that Valentine has lost his pet Angel?

Isabelle’s fall is much more intimate. Her yin fen addiction is affecting her perspective as well as her actions. Izzy redefined what should have been a brief clarifying conversation with Clary into an act of betrayal on Clary’s part. She’s also lying and would have stolen the yin fen if there’d been any to take. Her need for yin fen has made her more and more reckless. Please tell me Magnus recognized the warning signs and tells Alec she needs help.

This brings us to the one bright spot in a dour episode. Magnus and Alec. It took a season and a half for them to go on a date and only one episode to hop into bed. And yet... neither of them took it lightly. Magnus understands how sex can change a relationship and he wasn’t anxious to put what they have at risk. Now that Alec has publicly acknowledged his relationship with Magnus, his only worry is the normal first-time jitters. Not that I’m belittling his concerns. It’s an important step for anyone.

At least it should be. Jace is burying his feelings for Clary by sleeping with any female who will let him. And if Magnus is comparing him to Casanova, it must be a pretty long list. Is this what he was like before he met Clary? Or is this what happens when he’s untethered?

I’m not justifying his behavior, but he has been going through some things. He recently found out the love of his life was his sister, his father is evil incarnate, and, oh yeah, he shot Jace up with demon blood. Not to mention Jace has been demoted and pushed out of the Institute. Here’s hoping that rescuing Ithuriel puts him back on the path of righteousness.

Last but not least, we have Simon, whose only possible connection to falling is in his feelings for Clary. Which is a shame because his attraction to Maia is real. If it hadn’t been, I doubt he'd be worried about his wrinkled shirt, and he certainly wouldn’t have listened to Jace. Simon should know by now that the secret to any relationship is authenticity. Even if Simon did everything Jace told him to, it never would have worked for him.

I liked that Maia, knowing what Jace had said and done, gave Simon a chance not to be a jerk, and had the decency to forgive him even though he had been. Plus, she still wants to be his friend knowing he’s still hung up on Clary. She even gave him good advice.

To be fair, now that Jace is off the menu, Clary has finally noticed what a catch Simon is. Unfortunately, attraction isn’t the same thing as love. I don’t see this ending well.

As good as I thought the episode was, the best parts had more to do with tiny character beats rather than major plot points or even my precious character development. It was Magnus’ shock that anyone would buy him a gift. Luke’s resentment over Cleophas’ betrayal. Izzy’s joy at her brother’s happiness despite her own problems. Or how fast Jace was willing to ride to Clary’s rescue.

The characters were the reason I continued to watch this show despite some outrageously lazy storytelling. The storytelling is finally catching up. This is fast becoming one of my favorite shows rather than just a guilty pleasure.

3.5 out of 5 versions of Blade Runner

Parting Thoughts:

Easter Egg Alert: Jem’s addiction to yin fen is a reference to the Infernal Devices trilogy, the precursor to the series this show was based on.

Alberto’s ability to imitate Jace without any words was impressive.

That’s not how my book club works...

Jace’s advice to Simon sucked except about the James Bond impression. Simon should never do that EVER again.

Who’s the mysterious bespectacled Shadowhunter? Is this someone we need to pay attention to, or just random Shadowhunter #7? Isn’t that Raj’s job? Also, was it just me or was she giving off Velma vibes? All she needed was an orange sweater...

Quotes:

Valentine: “The storm is coming.”

Alec: “Seriously, why do they call it fatty tuna?”
Magnus: “I don’t think obese tuna sounds any better.”

Simon: “It’s okay, right?”
Clary: “No, that’s unacceptable. I am your only friend.”

Jace: “I’m a little tied up.”
Kaelie: “Not yet, you’re not.”

Isabelle: “I’m kind of over this whole togetherness thing.”

Magnus: “Never trust a stingy warlock, Maia.”

Isabelle: “You staying out of trouble?”
Simon: “Well, I haven’t been kidnapped in a while.”

Jace: “Isn’t it time we kissed and made up?”
Maia: “Or, I could just rip your face off.”
Jace: “That’s another way to go.”

Simon: “Will you be my Obi-Wan?”
Jace: “Who?”

Luke: “I couldn’t save your mother, but I’ll be damned if I put you in jeopardy.”

Isabelle: “It all makes sense now. That’s why you didn’t want me to meet Jessica Hawkblue. Wait, was there ever a Jessica Hawkblue?”

Cleophas: “I have to make amends.”

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

1 comment:

  1. > Once Clary knows Cleophas was a Circle member, she isn’t stupid enough to trust her. Yet, she has no problems using Cleophas to stop Valentine, even when it means defying Luke.

    That was my favorite part of the episode. Clary was both smart and reckless, a combination that really worked. I liked how she knew Cleophas was up to no good, but basically decided to disconsider Luke's plans and run with her own very risky idea.

    Although I like the overall story, I'm not sure I like some of the choices the writers are making:

    - I know Magnus and Alec are a fan favorite couple, but I just don't see what's the big deal about them yet. Magnus wanted to take things slow for Alec's sake, Alec disregarded him, and that wasn't addressed. We barely learned how their first time was for both of them.

    - I'm not sure I like Izzy's addiction storyline. Surely the writers could have cooked something better for her character arc? Well, at least it's allowing the actress to show she can act.

    - Simon and Maia looked sooo cute together. And I agree with you, Shari, that it was pretty awesome of her to give him a second chance. So why would the writers bring Simon and Clary back to the table? What a boring turn.

    ReplyDelete

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