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Shadowhunters: Love Is a Devil

"Someone's playing with our minds."

Love may be a beautiful thing, but this episode explores all the ways it makes us vulnerable.

The Lightwood family drama continues when Maryse returns to the Institute for Max’s Rune Ceremony. Seeing her other children and getting some distance from her husband’s infidelities doesn’t hurt. The only problem is after choosing the Clave over Jace, not checking on them after the demon attack, and her general lack of approval of their life choices, none of her children are itching to spend any time with her.

I actually feel for Maryse. Given her already dicey position with the Clave, following orders probably seemed like the right decision. It was certainly the safe one. Luckily, her children are made of sterner stuff than she is.

Or are they? Isabelle and Maryse are more alike than either would care to admit. Both exude confidence and competence while hiding a massive well of insecurity. Neither can bear being considered weak. For Maryse that means hiding the pain of her crumbling marriage while being constantly compared to Robert and found wanting. For Izzy it means hiding her addiction from the people who would do anything to help her. Instead, she turns to Raphael, whose personal demons can only complicate matters.

Alec may have let go of Maryse’ obsession with the Clave’s opinion of his personal life. He’s with Magnus now and he doesn’t give a damn what anyone thinks. Having Magnus plan Max’s celebration is proof. However, Alec’s overdeveloped sense of responsibility leaves him harboring guilt over Jocelyn’s death.

Then there’s Jace. He may be the fastest, strongest, and most talented Shadowhunter but he may also be the most broken. His father is evil incarnate, his birth mother tried to kill him, the love of his life is apparently his sister, and the woman who raised him turned her back on him to save her own skin.

Even Max is not exempt. Maryse’s dismissiveness towards Jace and her intolerance of Downworlders has infected him. All of which is causing more strife between the siblings and their mother.

If you thought Clary and Simon’s budding romance would be a reprieve from the Lightwood’s dysfunction, you’d be wrong. Their bond is based on a decade’s worth of shared history. Yet her role as a Shadowhunter and his new status as a vampire and Downworlder has set them on diverging paths. And neither is sure how it will affect their relationship.

These insecurities plague our merry band and leave them vulnerable to the latest round of Valentine’s machinations even if it wasn’t necessarily part of his plan. Not that Valentine has a problem exploiting vulnerabilities. Iris’ ethics may leave a lot to be desired, but her love for Madzie is without question. Which made the decision to steal Magnus’ spell book to save her little girl from Valentine an easy one.

Iris decided to share her pain. The spell she cast left Clary feeling alone and betrayed, Jace believing he was damaged goods foisted on the Lightwoods, and Alec convinced his death was preferable to his guilt. It was an ingenious if devious plan to force Magnus to use his spell book to counteract her curse.

Yet, while Valentine may have gotten what he wanted, Iris has been sent to the Clave for justice. All things considered; she got off lucky. I’d hate to see what Magnus would have done to her if Alec had fallen off that balcony.

Iris’ spell made use of the most obvious fractures in our heroes’ relationships, but they weren’t the only ones. Luke escaped the party, but he’s not feeling any less betrayed that his daughter in all but name kept the fact that the Soul-Sword could be used to kill Downworlders from him. I’m sure he’ll forgive Clary, but it’ll take time.

Which brings us back to Valentine. He has the Mortal Cup, the Soul-Sword, and Magnus’ spell book. Not to mention Madzie, Cleophas, and Dot. If Magnus’ theory is correct than Valentine plans to use Clary to destroy all Downworlders. If so, then what is everyone and everything else for? Backup plans for his backup plan?

And what of Iris’ invocation of Clary’s blood oath? Will that compel her to act? Or create some dire consequence if she refuses to? Then again, rushing into a trap to save a young warlock is exactly the kind of thing Clary would do.

The immediate threat posed by Iris’ spell may be gone but the insecurities she leveraged aren’t. And until our heroes work through their issues, Valentine isn’t the only danger they face. This episode had enough angst to make my character-focused heart go pitter-patter. Keep ‘em coming!

4 out of 5 Angelic Rune Ice Sculptures

Parting Thoughts:

Dominic Sherwood switches between badass warrior and broken little boy effortlessly. Color me impressed.

Shadowhunters are the guardians of peace? If only.

Izzy won’t be happy that her brothers are keeping secrets from her. But then again, she has secrets of her own.


Eloise: “You can have a little venom. I’m just going to need a lot of blood.”

Isabelle: “I swear. I’ll never ask again.”

Maryse: “I was following orders.”

Alec: “How would you feel about throwing a party?”
Magnus: “Have you met me?”
Valentine: “Children have a way of making us very vulnerable, don’t they?”

Clary: “Simon, I don’t have a telepathy rune.”

Alec: “Traditions change, especially those based on ignorance.”

Maia: “Are you still bitter about getting your ass kicked by a werewolf?”

Magnus: “I hate party crashers.”

Raj: "I was this close to lining up a three-way and you guys let yourselves get spelled."

Simon: “Soul-Sword. Strange name for a weapon of mass destruction.”

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


  1. Words cannot express how much I dislike the pairing of Simon and Clary, I rolled my eyes several times during this episode. Whose idea was to pair them? Awful, just awful! It ruined a lot of my enjoyment of watching the show. Yes, Simon has been in love with Clary since forever, but he was starting to move on. Clary has never had any romantic feelings towards Simon, but she decides to date him just because he opened up about how he feels? That's it?

    Having that said, this episode's plot was really cool, very Buffy-esque, with the characters being put under a spell that made them hallucinate their loved ones were saying and doing horrible things to them.

    >Dominic Sherwood switches between badass warrior and broken little boy effortlessly. Color me impressed.

    He is good. I disliked Jace so much in season one, but once the writing for him became good, Sherwood knocked it out of the park. He is the highlight of this cast for me.

  2. The Simon and Clary pairing is straight out of the book. And there are plot reasons for it that I won't divulge here. They'd be a cute couple if I didn't feel like Simon was Clary's rebound. He deserves better than that.

    Jace felt like a stereotype in the beginning. Now he's a real live boy. And yes, he's one of my favorites, too.


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