I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed an episode of Shadowhunters as much as I enjoyed this one. Actually, let me rephrase that: I can’t remember an episode of this show that was as good as A Dark Reflection. As I’m sure many of you know, most of the time, when I enjoy an episode of this show, it’s because I’m laughing at it.
But lo and behold, I actually thought this one was pretty good. This season, I’ve mostly found the storytelling Shadowhunters to be stale, predictable and lacking heart, but this one was refreshing. I was interested in the plot, I like what they’re doing with the characters (although some of that is a bit inconsistent with that they showed us earlier on in the season), and the book content added to the story without feeling like cheap fanservice. Not to mention that the emotions were well balanced and kept me engaged throughout the episode.
Let’s start with the main plot of this episode: I am very confused about Sebastian’s sudden character development in A Dark Reflection, but I’m pretty sure I like it.
The thing is, recent revelations about Sebastian’s character infuriated me because I felt like the writers were undermining his character by turning him into a literal monster, complete with the disgusting appearance and the years of constant torture. In this episode, I got to see the Sebastian I’ve been looking for all along: an extremely lonely man who wants nothing more than to be loved, but who is so unable to understand love that he thinks kissing his sister is okay. Someone who somehow manages to be completely human and completely un-human at the same time.
What confuses me about the writers suddenly doing exactly what I wanted them to do with this character is that it’s inconsistent with the way they’ve been portraying him up to this point. What was the point of giving him magic flower-killing powers? Or having all his flesh ripped off? I don’t quite see how that’s constructive to portraying him the way he was portrayed in the books. Still, I like where we’re going with his character.
Also, one of my favourite lines was the one in which Valentine said that the two of them could be heroes. Again, inconsistent with the way they’ve been portrayed recently, but a positive change. Valentine wants to be a hero more than anything. Sebastian, not so much, but if it makes people like him, he’ll take it.
THE MORTAL HAND MIRROR
I was a little bit confused about the whole Mirror storyline in this episode, but I think I’ve figured out where the show is going with it and I’m on board. I’m guessing Jocelyn left a trail of hints leading to the real mirror, so that Clary could figure it out on her own and nobody would know the truth.
Interesting tidbit of information: does Jocelyn know the truth? I don’t think anyone but Hodge had figured it out in the books.
Also, another development that I like but that kind of negates a lot of what the show has done in the past: the Mortal Instruments being used to summon Raziel. If that’s still true, what on earth was the point of the whole “THEY CAN DESTROY ALL THE DOWNWORLDERS!!!1” storyline if this was the plan all along? You created plot holes and made your villain less believable, and for what? What was the point?
WE NEED THE SEELIE QUEEN
So the Malec breakup happened. I’m of two minds about this development. On one hand, I’m okay with Magnus and Alec facing obstacles that don’t have to do with the fact that they’re both men, and I have complete faith that they will emerge from this argument stronger than ever.
On the other hand, am I the only person who thought that was a little sudden? I totally understand Magnus getting mad at Alec about the Mortal Sword, but after everything they’ve been through, I certainly didn’t expect him to break things off so quickly.
Mostly, I’m shocked that Magnus would turn to the Seelie Queen so suddenly, although I guess that does make more sense in the TV Show world. The Shadowhunters writers haven’t exactly made much of an effort to redeem the Nephilim, with pretty much everyone outside the main cast being evil or just a total bitch. In the books, Magnus has a lot of reasons to trust Shadowhunters over the Seelie Court. In the show? Not so much.
So despite how sudden this change was, I’m cautiously optimistic that it will work out in the long term. Also, Malec will be fine. No good ship is complete without a touch of angst and adversity.
WE NEED TO SAVE MAX LIGHTWOOD RIGHT NOW IT’S URGENT
I think my favourite thing about A Dark Reflection was all the Max Lightwood, and I am not even remotely okay with that ending.
I loved Max’s eagerness to head out into the field, and I loved how we got to see how much Isabelle cares about him. As good as Max has gotten at training, she’s still terrified something will happen to him. Also, Simon is adorable and I need a full episode of him introducing Izzy and Max to Star Wars, please.
I’m also dreading what’s going to happen in the next episode, but I’m excited to see how it’s going to affect Izzy’s character. In the book series, it’s a massive turning point for her, and I definitely hope the writers do that in the show too.
The one big difference I’m noticing, though: Isabelle isn’t in the room with Max. Will she still blame herself as much as she does in the books? Will it make a difference? I don’t know, but that should be interesting to see. Even though I’m really, really dreading that storyline.
THINGS THAT DO NOT MAKE SENSE, A LIST
- The Clave actually approving Max for a mission. I know they’re at war, but since when do they allow kids into the field?
- Sebastian still being able to kill flowers. I still don’t understand how that’s a thing.
- How did Jocelyn know where the mirror is? And why would she leave a trail of clues for Clary to figure it out? Does Clary need to know its location?
- How did Valentine know where to go to look for the Mirror?
- Why didn’t Jace even try to stay behind to fight Sebastian? He doesn’t have the Mirror. Clary doesn’t need him. Isn’t it his job to protect downworlders, anyway?
OTHER THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- I’m intrigued by Clary’s desire to help Sebastian. It’s going to backfire massively, of course, but it says a lot about her character.
- Is it just me or did that warlock look a lot like Book Luke?
- I laughed when Sebastian killed the flowers. Throwback to that cringe scene in episode 2.
- I’m still not that into Simon and Maia as a couple, but I don’t hate it.
- Also, I like Maia and I’m excited to see more of her.
- “Catching Simon is easy” was my favourite line of the episode by far.
- Alec does not trust Sebastian at all. That’s interesting.
- I need the full version of Simon’s song, and now.
Shadowhunters airs Mondays at 8pm on Freeform.