These last few episodes of Shadowhunters season 3 have been underwhelming, but I didn’t hate A Walk in Darkness.
On the contrary, I actually thought it one was done pretty well. It made me feel things, and in this case I’m not talking about confusion, frustration or anger. There was some of that, sure, especially the first one, but there were other feelings too. Feelings that I’m supposed to feel about TV shows. Feelings that I haven’t felt about Shadowhunters in a long time.
Because of that, I’m almost willing to overlook the fact that there was still way too much going on, and way too many convenient writing moments.
It also made me pretty excited for next week’s two hour finale, though I’ve been watching this show for long enough to know that any time I get excited about a storyline, it means I’ll probably be disappointed. But maybe this time things will be different? Please?
TEEN WOLF, BASICALLY
Did anyone else find that entire storyline of Alec and Isabelle venturing into Jace’s mind to retrieve him a little bit… familiar?
Honestly, if Shadowhunters is going to copy another teen drama, they could do a lot worse than Teen Wolf. It’s also something that a lot of other shows, movies and books have done as well, and we know this show loves its tropes.
I’m not even complaining, because I thought this storyline was actually pretty okay. I won’t waste much time talking about Jace and his interactions with the Lightwoods and Magnus while he was possessed by Lilith, because I found them pretty bland and uninteresting. Jace was clearly trying to get under everyone’s skin by insulting them, but I thought it really fell flat because he wasn’t saying anything particularly insightful. For instance, taunting Magnus about how Alec will always choose his parabatai over his boyfriend isn’t going to bother Magnus, because it’s not like it’s an elephant in the room and Jace is the only person willing to address it. As far as we know, it’s not a huge insecurity for Magnus, and Jace isn’t going to get anywhere by bringing it up.
There’s also the fact that this was clearly 100% Lilith talking, so it’s not like anything Jace/Lilith said held any weight.
Anyway, moving on.
As I said, I did enjoy the scenes with Isabelle and Alec venturing into Jace’s mind to retrieve him. I’m not sure I fully understand the magic behind that, but I gave up on understanding the worldbuilding in this show a long time ago. I was amused that they spent so much time figuring out how to use the parabatai bond to retrieve Jace, and then how to ensure that Isabelle can come with, when the solution was basically “Magnus is going to cast some sort of spell.” Of course that’s the solution. That is always the solution.
I really did enjoy the sort-of flashbacks with young Alec, Jace and Izzy, and I loved how they tied in to Alec and Isabelle’s decision not to kill Jace at the end of the episode. I was actually getting emotional over some of their scenes, and that doesn’t happen often with this show, so… great?
(Also, I can’t be the only person who half-expected different actors than the ones we got last season for the younger versions of these characters, because this show apparently likes to cast new people for every single age. At least they were consistent this time.)
I thought the strongest part of this episode, by far, was the exploration of Jace’s relationships with his adopted siblings. When Jace was (sort of) possessed in the books, there was a lot of focus on his relationship with Clary, and while I thought that worked well in the books, I’m really glad the show didn’t go that route when retrieving Jace. Their version of Clace just isn’t as strong as the book version. Focusing on Alec and Isabelle was a really good call, and I thought it was executed pretty well.
Man, that whole scene when Jace came back to. That was so good. You could see how scared he was. And how much he loves those people. Amazing acting there.
I’m sure Clace will be back soon, and I doubt I will enjoy it, but for this episode… well done, Shadowhunters. You made me feel things about Jace, and I’m pretty sure that was the goal.
THE SOUL SWORD
Last episode, we saw Clary get imprisoned in Alicante. In A Heart of Darkness, Clary was finally questioned by the Clave.
I’m nitpicking a bit here, but I feel like Shadowhunters could have done a lot more with the Soul Sword. In the books, it’s terrifying weapon. It’s almost a form of punishment in itself. I wanted to see Clary spilling her guts, with almost no control over what she says. I wanted to see how painful it is just to hold the mortal sword. I wanted fear and pain and suspense as we watched her try desperately not to reveal anything.
I didn’t want her calmly answering the questions the Consul asked her, and I certainly didn’t want her throwing the sword away from her and refusing to answer while holding it, as if that was actually an option.
It also took me a second to figure out what Clary was saying when she talked about being glad the Nephilim can no longer compel a wish from Raziel. I get that, in the show, the mortal instruments have the power to eradicate all demons and downworlders, but how exactly does that tie in to the wish that anyone can compel from Raziel? And why do the mortal instruments no longer hold that power? Can they not summon the angel any more? Will he no longer grant any wishes? There’s a good chance this was explained before, and I could probably find the answer by going back to previous episodes, but I feel like it shouldn’t be this confusing? If I, a person who watches each episode at least twice and spends a few hours a week reviewing said episode, have this much trouble making sense of the plot and the world building, there might be a problem.
Nevertheless, I am curious to see where the show takes things from here, now that Jia knows the truth about Jace, and Clary has been sentenced to death. I like that our main characters are working against their government and not with it, since that adds a level of excitement to everything. I’m guessing Clary will find a way to escape and go into hiding, kind of like what she does in City of Lost Souls. I’m also guessing the Clave will want to take a different approach when dealing with Jace, and we’ll see our main cast go behind their back to try to rescue him.
Honestly, I’m pretty excited to see what Shadowhunters does with this predicament.
But first, please resurrect Sebastian already.
LET ME HATE YOU
In this episode, we saw Maia and Jordan interact properly for the first time since Jordan bit her and ran off. While they were helping Simon track down Lilith and figure out what the demon queen is up to, they got a chance to talk. Kind of.
I understand both of their points of view in this situation. I get that Jordan feels really guilty about everything that happened, and wants to at least say his bit before Maia runs off. I also understand that Maia is still hurting from what happened, and she doesn’t want to relive everything and go through the effort of forgiving Jordan.
I think the most telling exchange happened when Jordan told Maia that she mattered to him (which, by the way, got the song “You Matter to Me” from Waitress stuck in my head for a good hour, and I have no complaints), and she responded by angrily asking him to just let her hate him.
For Maia, it’s so much easier to just hate Jordan. That way, she can blame him for messing up her life, and focus on moving forward without him. She doesn’t want to think about him possibly feeling bad about what happened, and she definitely doesn’t want to let him back into her life.
But now, Jordan has said his bit, and Maia needs space. Hopefully he’ll respect that. Wherever she’s going, and however long she takes, I’m sure she’ll work out her feelings. Maybe she’ll decide to give Jordan a second chance. But I really hope he doesn’t push her, because she is under no obligation to forgive him.
We got a little bit more insight into the world of the Seelies at the very end of this episode, when Lilith went to the Seelie Queen for answers about the Mark of Cain. I’m not sure how I feel about her taking action to address this problem so quickly, since the Mark of Cain is obviously what ultimately defeats her in the books and without it, our characters will definitely encounter some problems.
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Lilith’s interactions with the Seelie Queen, since I’ve never been a big fan of either character. It was kind of cool to see that they have history. I also didn’t hate the Queen’s justification for giving Simon the Mark of Cain. Apparently the Seelies have always been the protectors of anyone who is special and unique, which includes Simon, the daylighter. That… actually makes sense? I kind of like it.
However, it would have been really nice to get this information a little bit earlier, because I’ve spent almost half a season wondering why on earth the Seelie Queen cares so much about Simon, and this is the first development we’ve gotten in regards to that storyline.
Please, Shadowhunters, fix your pacing.
THINGS THAT DO NOT MAKE SENSE, A LIST
- Luke thinking Maryse would be able to help negotiate Clary’s release. Yeah, I’m with Maryse here. This was dumb, and I’m sure Luke could have found someone with more power.
- Whatever Jace did to prevent the Lightwoods from entering his mind. It just wasn’t explained, at all.
- Where did those chains come from? Did they steal them from Valentine? I don’t remember that. And if they did, why did the Clave let them keep such powerful chains?
- “Well, I guess if you’re the queen of Hell, this place feel like home.” THAT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE. THAT PLACE DOES NOT LOOK ANYTHING LIKE HELL.
- Clary being able to resist the Soul Sword.
- Jia believing what Clary says after having dropped the Soul Sword. Wouldn’t she be suspicious of someone giving her important information as soon as she is no longer obligated to tell the truth?
- Lilith not hurting Magnus because she’s afraid of his father. I didn’t realize his father cared so much about him.
- Jia saying that the idea that love comes above all is a mundane idea. This isn’t really something that doesn’t make sense so much as something that pisses me off. I still hate that the show is doing this.
ODDS AND ENDS:
- As I said earlier, I really like that our characters are going behind the back of the Clave in this episode. It made everything a lot more fun.
- I also really liked that Alec tried to convince Izzy to stay behind, and she wasn’t having it. These are the shadowhunters I know.
- “Round here, if the Clave kicks you to the curb, you’re considered good people” that was a good line.
- The dialogue in that scene with young Jace, Alec and Izzy. Ugh. So cringey.
- I liked seeing Isabelle sing. Also, her French wasn’t half bad.
- “Why would Lilith want to be resurrected?” Oh, Simon.
- That hug between Alec and Jace. That messed me up.
- You know what else messed me up? That line, “three go in, three come out.” Fuck, I love these guys.
- That version of Jace that appeared at the end. That was Jace.
Shadowhunters airs Tuesdays at 8pm EST on Freeform.