Day of Atonement was a bit of a filler episode. And yet, it was as good a filler episode as Shadowhunters could have done. It was interesting, it provided great development for the characters and their relationships, and some of the storylines carried some weight.
Not everything made sense, of course, but there were actually some pretty good lines, and nothing particularly cringe-worthy. It was enjoyable, if not epic.
DAY OF ATONEMENT
I really enjoyed Simon and Maia’s storyline in Day of Atonement. I don’t really ship them, but I think they have a fun dynamic as friends and Maia is a fascinating character.
It’s clear at this point that the aspect of being a Vampire that Simon struggles with the most is not the physical transformations, but rather the fact that he has to give up so much of his previous life. While Maia chose to leave her family for a number of reasons, including her transformation into a flesh-eating supernatural creature, Simon hardly had a choice. He loves his family and he never, ever wanted to leave them behind. I’m hoping that the two of them will be able to learn from each other. Maia can remember how important family is and maybe try to reconnect with her own folks. Simon can realize how lucky he is to be in such a supportive environment, and consequently make more of an effort to keep in touch with his mom and sister.
Of course, it’s clear that one of the things Simon is struggling with the most is keeping up with his religion. I always found that aspect of his character really interesting in the books, because it echoes real historical events. Hell, it’s not the strongest example by any means, but my High School History curriculum was all about French Canadians being told they couldn’t speak their language or practice their religion. You can find this kind of stuff in any war with a basis in religion (so pretty much all of them), including what’s going on in the Middle East right now. Simon’s situation is obviously very different, since he’s actually physically incapable of saying certain words or touching certain symbols, but his struggle is quite similar. He has to figure out how to hold on to his faith despite being a vampire.
THIS WHOLE THING WITH SEBASTIAN AND VALENTINE IS REALLY CONFUSING
I mean, what else can we expect from two absolute psychopaths?
I still really hate that Sebastian has been turned into a literal demon, with the burned-off flesh and the demon powers and everything. It kind of seems like too much. I think he’s much more compelling as a human being who has no good reason to hurt people. Book Sebastian’s only real motivation is his loneliness, and he goes to unimaginable lengths to feel less alone. That’s why it’s so terrifying and disturbing when he does everything he does.
Still, I was interested in his relationship with Valentine. I like that the show preserved some of their dynamic from the books, even though both characters are a lot more evil. Valentine wanted a super soldier, and at first he was happy with Sebastian. But eventually it got out of control and he realized he had created a monster. I didn’t like everything about this storyline in the show, but I did appreciate that.
This episode was all about repairing relationships, so of course Clary and Jace came ever so slightly closer to becoming a couple. I’ve actually been pretty happy with the way the couple has been written recently, so I’m cautiously optimistic that this iteration of the iconic couple will be better than the cringe-fest we got in season 1.
I thought we’d get the sexy manor scene from City of Glass, or at least more time in Idris, and I was disappointed when that didn’t happen. Still, the two of them actually have good chemistry now and I’m happy with them taking their time getting together.
There was a time when I liked Robert better than Maryse, and that time has come and gone. I understand why Robert lied to his kids, but I don’t like it and I don’t think he gave them any reason to forgive him. Also, comparing his affair to Alec choosing to be with Magnus? Not cool.
I honestly thought Robert’s presence in this episode was pointless, aside from the reveal about the Soul Sword. He didn’t get any significant character development, and none of his relationships with his kids progressed at all. He was cold and businesslike, just like all the other Clave representatives we’ve met. However, I did find it slightly interesting that he was willing to blackmail the Clave, which sounds more like something a Lightwood would do in the books. It suggests that he’s not entirely on Imogen’s side, and might be questioning the Clave’s methods.
THINGS THAT DO NOT MAKE SENSE, A LIST
- Why did the Clave send Robert to the New York Institute when they knew he’d be biased toward his kids?
- What does Azazel want with the Mortal Cup?
- Why doesn’t Sebastian care about the Mortal Instruments?
- And if he doesn’t care, why does he want the Soul Sword?
- How can Alec feel it when Jace cuts his hand? That’s not how the parabatai bond is supposed to work.
- Why did Clary’s portal leave shards behind?
- Simon thinking he has to explain the supernatural world to his parents in order to explain Maia’s presence. It was a weird line.
- Valentine locking Sebastian up for killing a kid.
- Whose attention was Valentine afraid Sebastian would attract? I thought the whole point of his little retreat was that nobody would be around to notice his presence.
- Actually, how many little kids were running around for Sebastian to kill? Wasn’t he supposed to be isolated?
- Valentine sending Sebastian to Edom instead of just, you know, killing him.
- Actually, why did this version of Valentine not try to use Sebastian?
- If the portal wasn’t picked up by the wards, why did Jace and Clary end up in Lake Lyn?
- Clary not recognizing Jace in the forest.
- How did Robert know about the Soul Sword and why is he the only person threatening to reveal that information?
OTHER THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- “Anybody alive in here? Anybody dead in here?”
- I’m really glad Sebastian is staying in human form because I absolutely love this actor.
- Idris is absolutely beautiful. I’m used to seeing nice Ontario forests in Shadowhunters, but this one almost as an Alberta/BC feel, with the mountains.
- “No, but I’ll convert if it means more kugel.” “I like her!”
- I absolutely loved the story about Simon being afraid that someone would have to pee on him if he got stung by a jellyfish.
Shadowhunters airs Mondays at 8pm on Freeform.