Home Featured TV Shows All TV Shows Movie Reviews Book Reviews Articles Frequently Asked Questions About Us

Shadowhunters: By the Light of Dawn

“Please let this work.”

Well, they certainly ended the mid-season with a bang. Trust was the name of the game this week. Yet, we're the ones left wondering who to believe.

For all Raphael's talk about how much Izzy means to him, he took advantage of her trust. I understand his reasons. His obligation to protect himself and his people outweighed his budding relationship. There's something to be said for self-preservation. That he didn't think there'd be consequences is that I found surprising. I'd have thought Raphael was pragmatic enough to realize that hiding the fact that Alec was in danger and he planned to kill Clary might affect their relationship.

Luke made the opposite choice. Maia's assessment isn't wrong. Luke chose to protect Clary over his pack. His decision makes as much sense as Raphael's. Not only is Clary like a daughter to him, he was a Shadowhunter long before he was a Downworlder. Old habits die hard.

Yet, who made the right choice? Narratively, we should side with Luke. Killing Clary was wrong and there's a valid argument to be made that it wouldn't have helped, given that Jace also had angel blood. Yet, Luke's faith in Jace and the rest of the Shadowhunters got Alaric and half of Luke's pack killed.

Trust, or the lack thereof, also comes into play in any discussion of Jace and Valentine's relationship. Valentine may not be Jace's biological parent (YAY!) but he not only raised Jace, he knows Jace's every strength and vulnerability.

Telling Clary and Jace that they were siblings isolated Jace and made it easier for Valentine to manipulate him. I originally thought telling Jace he had demon blood flowing through his veins reinforced that isolation by making him believe he was damaged goods and unworthy of love. Was that all it was, or was Valentine playing the long con for this moment?

Speaking of Jace's unfounded beliefs, what of the comment from Jace about letting Simon kill him? Was that guilt talking? Or is this another self-destructive way to prove his love of Clary? Is withholding the news of their non-sibling status the next iteration? Or is the damage Valentine has wrought so deep-seated that Jace doesn't believe he deserves to be happy. I said it before and I'll say it again. Jace may be strongest, fastest, best, but he's also the most broken.

Valentine's plan worked. Sort of. But none of it would have been possible without the angel's vision. Did Valentine know about the vision and use Dot to obscure its true meaning? Or was it just a happy accident that the vision fed into his plan?

On an angel adjacent topic, I suspect that Jace's angel blood is why Simon is still among the living, and possibly the reason he didn't turn into ash in the sunshine. Is this a permanent condition? Or will it wear off as Jace's blood get's diluted? Does this mean he can drink from Clary and or Jace if he ever needs to walk in daylight?

Returning to our discussion of trust, are they trying to redeem Aldertree? Or is this a case of villains believing they're the heroes of their own story? What he went through with Eva was horrifying, but Eva was a victim, too. Her status as a Downworlder had little to do with it. A mundane with a gun or another Shadowhunter with a seraph blade could have been just as much of a threat to Aldertree once a Shax demon drove them mad.

Regardless, Aldertree's going to have to work a hell of a lot harder to win Alec over. Especially when he's still spouting the same old lies. Yin fen did nothing to stop Isabelle's non-existent venom infection, which was his original reason for giving the drug to her. And yin fen not only prevented Izzy from visiting the Citadel, it almost got her killed. If Alec and Izzy hadn't been on the outs, he would have known enough to call Aldertree on his lies then and there.

That said, can we talk about how badass Isabelle is? She took out four of Valentine's henchmen on her own, despite her obvious withdrawal symptoms. Speaking of which, what will she do now that Raphael is not an option? Will she finally trust Alec enough to take care of her?

We couldn't end this discussion without mentioning Alec and Magnus. Their problems had less to do with trust than with Alec's anger issues. When last we left them, Alec had sent Magnus packing for the crime of not letting his boyfriend kill someone Magnus considered his son. Hmmm. However, when faced with the possibility that Magnus might be dead, Alec realizes how much Magnus means to him. While I was happy to see the reconciliation and the mutual declarations of love, there needs to be a much longer conversation in their future.

Last but not least is Madzie. If there was anyone destined for serious trust issues, it's her. She is too young to understand the consequences of her actions now. However, she's going to need some serious therapy once she's old enough to realize Valentine used her to commit murder. That said, if she did that much damage on the promise that she'd “see Nana again,” what is she going to do once she finds out that she can't? That's if the Clave lets her live that long. She killed a dozen or so Shadowhunters and they're not known for their mercy.

Finally, we're left with the mystery of who walked off with the soul sword. Be they Shadowhunter or Downworlder? Because there's now power in the ‘verse that makes me think they're a mundane.

Valentine may be in custody. However, the amount of collateral damage makes this more of a reprieve than a triumph. Which is appropriate for a mid-season finale.

4 out of 5 Soul Swords

Parting Thoughts:

This is the first instance of Ace representation I can remember seeing on network television. And while I didn't think it was the healthiest of relationships, I was glad it was Raphael's actions and not his revelation that led to his rift with Isabelle.

Simon's speech about Clary wanting a dad was heartbreaking. One because it was true and two, because it didn't make a difference. A fact proven when he told his henchmen to stop Simon from feeding on his “daughter” rather than trying to save her himself.

I'm glad Dot is safe. By my count, she should have been dead 3 times over by this point. That said, given everything that's happened, will they ever trust her again?


Clary: “That's a suicide mission. No way.”
Jace: “Says the girl who was willing to die for the Downworld, what, yesterday?”

Raphael: “Your brother has nothing to worry about. Your happiness, your well-being is all I care about.”

Magnus: “I'm not used to feeling so…powerless.”

Aldertree: "I'm not the Big Bad you think I am.”
Alec: “No, you're worse.”

Maia: “Who's lost perspective? Who protects Shadowhunters over their own pack?”

Valentine: “Even the sly mouse will walk into a trap if it wants the cheese badly enough.”

Luke: “Then why are you here?”
Alaric: “I trust you.”

Jace: “Hey, you know how you can thank me... Shut up.”

Alec: “Magnus, I love you.”
Magnus: “I love you, too.”

Simon: “What the hell?”

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

No comments:

Post a Comment

We love comments! We moderate because of spam and trolls, but don't let that stop you! It’s never too late to comment on an old show, but please don’t spoil future episodes for newbies.