‘Shadowhunters’ 2×14 Review: ‘A Kiss From A Rose’

You’d think that at some point I’d stop being surprised by Shadowhunters.

I’m not even sure I’m surprised right now. I’m disappointed, yes. I had hoped this show would take a different direction with the various storylines it has introduced this season. Did I really think it would, though? Not really.

This season of Shadowhunters has been very frustrating to watch. I said that last episode was a filler episode, but honestly I’m starting to wonder if this entire season is just filler. There’s hardly any direction. Hardly any character development. Our favourite characters are given meaningless storylines that don’t do anything for their development or for the plot but are kind of fun so it’s fine. When was the last time Isabelle, for instance, did anything on this show?

One thing I did appreciate about this episode compared to other ones is that it was a lot easier to follow. There were two big storylines, with fewer random things thrown in to fill up time. It certainly makes it a lot easier

What are they even trying to do with Jonathan?

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So. Some stuff happened with Jonathan.

I feel like I need to clear something up regarding this disgusting man and the frankly gross way in which his storyline was handled in this episode. I know that since the midseason finale, I’ve been talking about how much I wish this show would humanize Jonathan the way the books did. I was hoping this storyline would help our main characters – and the audience – understand Jonathan by putting our main characters close to him.

This. Is. Not. What. I. Wanted.

The point of putting Jace and Clary close to Jonathan is not just to make them sympathetic toward him. That happens to a certain extent, although most of the sympathy they feel is directed toward the version of him that never existed, thanks to Valentine’s experiments. The point is for them to understand him. That doesn’t mean they forgive him. It doesn’t mean they’re now hesitant to hurt him. It doesn’t excuse anything he does. It just means they understand why he does what he does, and honestly that makes him even easier to despise.

Having Jace and Clary relate to Jonathan is also more about them than it is about him. It forces them – Jace especially – to ask themselves what really makes them better than him, what makes them good people, how they know that they’re “team good.” It pushes Jace to ask himself if he’s really that much better than his father and his brother.

This storyline does not do that. This is not what happened in the books. This is Jonathan manipulating Clary and taking advantage of her in a way that’s really difficult to see on screen, and this somehow making Clary feel sympathy for him – at least enough that she can’t hurt him at the end. This isn’t doing anything for Clary’s character. It’s not necessary. It’s just gross.

Also, I’m extremely concerned that Clary didn’t immediately figure out who she was talking to when Jonathan started making excuses for himself and claiming that everything he did was out of love. If she honestly thought Jace would say that, that really does not say nice things about Jace.

Giving Jace’s COLS storyline to Clary comes with a lot of extra responsibility to handle it properly, and honestly I just don’t think Shadowhunters can do that.

Clace being cute, I guess

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Putting aside all the Jonathan stuff, I actually liked Clace in this episode. Weirdly, I think this might be the first time we’ve actually seen them go on a date and be cute, and it’s definitely the first time it’s happened in a long time. They’re not my favourite couple, but it’s nice to actually see their relationship for once.

Also, I am very amused that a show that films in Toronto had their main couple go on a date to a skating rink. I’m sure it was really hard to find one of those.

However, as a hockey player, I have two tiny things I would like to point out. One, why was the ice super scratched up at night? Usually the Zamboni goes over it after the last group is done to make it nice and smooth. And two, why did they have to reinforce stereotypes by having Clary wear figure skates and Jace wear hockey skates? Smh.

(Realistically, it’s probably because hockey skates are way easier to use and I’m complaining about nothing, but whatever).

I genuinely did enjoy their date, though. Clary teaching Jace to skate was very cute, as was his insistence that he’s not actually that bad. I wish they’d taken it a step further, though, and had Clary teach him to do bubbles like they teach 5 year olds in skating classes, but I suppose that scene was good enough on its own.

Magnus’s magic is back (of course)

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I’m not surprised at all that this happened, but I am slightly disappointed and confused.

Let me repeat something I feel like I’ve been saying over and over again in my reviews this season: WHAT PURPOSE DID THIS STORYLINE SERVE?

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For real though. Why did Magnus lose his powers? So that we could get a few cute scenes of him trying to figure out how to live without magic and Alec being a supportive boyfriend? Those scenes were great, don’t get me wrong, but what did they do for the development of either of these characters? For their relationship? For the direction of the season? This was just some random detour that served absolutely no purpose in the long run.

Is Alec going to be upset about how Magnus is talking about his magic? Oh great, maybe we’ll finally get the conversation these two were supposed to have last season when Alec started to feel insecure about Magnus’s immortality. Remember when that problem was brought up and then completely swept under the rug? They were going to have a super important conversation and then literally just decided it wasn’t important and they should just be together without ever addressing the massive elephant in the room. This couple deserves better. They deserve actual, adult conversations and a chance to actually contribute to this show instead just being cute in the background every once in a while.

Also, why didn’t Magnus talk about this with Alec before he went through with it?

Like, I’m glad Magnus has his powers back and all, and I didn’t exactly expect him to lose them forever, but I just don’t understand why this happened in the first place. And how is it so easy for him to get them back? I didn’t realize warlocks could just give anyone magic powers. I’m also guessing he got his immortality back? How is it that easy? I’m not surprised the show would make things that easy, but it just doesn’t make sense.

I guess he’s having issues with his powers, so maybe that’ll show up later on, but right now I’m just really not understanding why this was necessary.

Sidelined

So here’s the thing. I feel like I should have an entire section to talk about Maia and Jordan, because they did take up a lot of screen time, but I also can’t really find anything to say about them because hardly anything happened. Was this supposed to be the show’s version of what happened to these two at the start of City of Heavenly Fire?

Their scenes… were not cool. I’m glad they’re finally talking about their past and starting to move forward, but this did not need to happen while Maia was claustrophobic and dealing with the fact that her entire pack was just murdered in front of her. Jordan needs to cut it out with the guilt trips, and having Maia forgive him in this very extreme situation was really not a good move at all. This conversation should have happened elsewhere, under very different circumstances, when Maia was in the right headspace to actually deal with her feelings.

There’s adversity bringing people together, and then there’s Maia forgiving her abuser while he’s dying in her arms and she’s been freaking out for hours about her situation and the trauma she has just undergone. Shadowhunters should know better.

Luke and Simon did something too, but it wasn’t particularly important and frankly I’m not even sure what they were doing or why the NYPD thinks they’re being subtle in following Luke around everywhere. It looks like Luke might be framed for the mass murder of the werewolves at the Jade Wolf, which might be interesting, but why is this necessary? Is this going to do anything for Luke as a character or for the plot of this season? I kind of doubt it.

Odds and Ends:

  • “And the Jade Wolf is freaking closed on Mondays!” was such a good line
  • I like how at the beginning Jace asks Clary what’s wrong and seems genuinely confused, as if nothing could possibly be wrong about her situation.
  • I feel like the torture storyline is supposed to be important but it’s barely being given any screen time
  • You know who else isn’t getting any screen time? Isabelle.
  • I very much enjoyed Alec threatening Lorenzo

Shadowhunters airs Mondays at 8pm EST on Freeform.

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