Shadowhunters really threw me for a loop with that episode title.
Anyone who has read the books recognizes Hail and Farewell as the thing the Nephilim say when one of their own dies. When Max was almost murdered two episodes ago, I looked at the title of this one and assumed it would be the funeral. You know, dealing with Max’s death.
And then he didn’t die, and I figured there would be a massive character death. That had to be the case, right? Why else would they title it that? As it turns out, the death was… Sebastian. Both versions of him, I guess. Not the most exciting death. But one that doesn’t mess up world building or character development, and actually opens a lot of doors in terms of exciting book content that could be introduced in later episodes.
Overall, I enjoyed this episode immensely, and I’m very pleased with the direction the show is taking, despite a few minor gripes I might have. Shadowhunters has been on a really good run lately, and I hope next week’s season finale keeps the momentum going.
SARAH HYLAND, QUEEN OF THE DOWNWORLD
Let’s start with the main source of my confusion surrounding this episode. The season-long quest to repair relationships between the Clave and Downworld has taken a strange turn. The three downworlders who have historically had the closest relationship with the Clave (both in the books and the show) have suddenly and without much reason decided to completely separate themselves from Shadowhunters.
Up until last week’s episode, Magnus, Luke and Raphael were trying to make peace between Shadowhunters and downworlders. Even now, Raphael seems fully aware of the fact that the his alliance with the Seelies could very well mean war for the Shadow World. None of them seem to trust the Seelie Queen. So why on earth have they decided that they should make deals with the Seelies, who clearly have ulterior motives, before the Nephilim, who are already kind of on their side (in the sense that they’ve been making a clear effort to repair relations and obviously want to catch Valentine).
Here’s the thing: I can believe that the Downworld would break away from the Clave and do things their own way. I understand why they would be distrustful of Shadowhunters and feel like their fellow downworlders would be more motivated to find Valentine. It’s a bit of a stretch to believe that werewolves, vampires and warlocks would actually work together, but I can sort of see it in this case. What I can’t see is those three groups giving the Seelie Queen permission to essentially rule over them and speak for them in all negotiations with the Nephilim.
ARE WE WORKING WITH THE CLAVE NOW?
Next up in Strange Alliances That Don’t Make Much Sense, since when do our main characters trust the Clave enough to report everything they learn to the Inquisitor? Wouldn’t they be careful with this information given the kind of shady stuff the Clave has done in the past?
I think the reason this bothers me so much is because it kind of takes away our main characters’ agency. Part of the fun of stories about kids or teenagers is watching young people go off on their own and figure out how to save the world without the help of adults. Shadowhunter books are all about groups of kids taking on way more responsibility than they should be able to handle, and going behind the Clave’s back to do good in the world, thus exposing their government’s many flaws. Because really, where’s the fun in young people following all the rules and doing exactly as they’re told?
Shadowhunters often has its main characters obey the Clave’s orders and report directly to important, influential people. Consequently, there’s less excitement and theicharacters have less control over the story. Even with Alec in a position of authority (meaning he’s calling most of the shots), it still feels like we’re watching the Clave solve all these problems, with Alec, Isabelle, Jace, Clary and company being nothing more than particularly talented soldiers. I thought the tension between the Clave and the downworlders might push our main cast to diverge a little bit from the government, but instead it seems to have had the opposite effect.
CLACE MAKES ITS TRIUMPHANT RETURN
And here we go again.
I have no expectations for Clace 2.0. I don’t feel particularly strongly about the couple right now, or about any couple in Shadowhunters aside from Malec and occasionally Sizzy. In season 1, Clary and Jace as a couple was a cringe-fest the likes of which I have never seen on television before. I believe I once referred to their romance as a “montage of teen movie clichés.”
This show has evolved enough over the last year and a half that I don’t think this new version of Clace is going to be nearly as bad as the old one. The thing is, I was really digging their dynamic as brother and sister and I’m sad that that has to change. Maybe the writers have finally figured out these characters and the chemistry they’ve built over the last season will translate into a good romance, but I doubt it will be as good as the brother/sister relationship they had. Still, it’s happening whether we like it or not, and I have more faith in the writers now than I ever have, so maybe it won’t completely suck?
Or maybe they can just be pushed to the sidelines and we can focus on Malec any time we need a good romantic storyline. That sound good?
So. The battle between Valentine’s sons happened. Jace won. Sebastian is dead, in the same way he is dead at the end of City of Glass.
Now, the question is this: are we going the book route? Will THAT storyline from City of Fallen Angels and City of Lost Souls happen in season 3? I must say, I’m wary of the show moving through book content too quickly, but I love that whole storyline so much, and Dom Sherwood and Will Tudor are so good together, that I’m really excited about that possibility.
Also, for that to be possible, we all know what has to happen to Jace in the season finale. I can definitely see the show ending things in a similar way to the third book, with the scene on the beach. (I’m trying to be slightly vague here in case someone is reading this and hasn’t read COG yet. Is it working?) Does that mean that next week’s episode could be the last we see of Alan Van Sprang? That’s a sad thought.
I am a little bit nervous about how everything is going to be resolved, though, with Maia in the Seelie Court and the downworlders basically rallying against the Shadowhunters. I imagine the writers will have to leave a few storylines to be wrapped up in season 3, but I just really hope they don’t try to cram everything into one episode. My personal preference would be to get to Idris, do the whole thing with Raziel, and leave it at that. Clary’s new rune can wait until season 3, when we can fully explore the Shadowhunter/Downworlder relationship and, presumably, the war that is brewing in the Shadow World.
I’m excited, but nervous. The ending of City of Ashes was epic, and Shadowhunters didn’t do much with it. I hope they do a better job with City of Glass.
THINGS THAT DO NOT MAKE SENSE, A LIST
I’ve been compiling the final tally of Things That Do Not Make Sense for Shadowhunters and Once Upon A Time, and let me tell you, Shadowhunters is doing more ass-kicking in this section than any of its characters have done on screen since the series premiere.
- How did nobody investigate the house where Valentine and Sebastian hid the real Sebastian’s body? Was it glamoured?
- Since when do we trust Inquisitor Herondale?
- Magnus actually agreeing to ally himself with the Seelie Queen.
- Luke and Raphael going along with the plan.
- Luke’s pack not liking the idea of hunting down Valentine on their own. Weren’t they the ones who wanted to separate from the Clave and hunt him down?
- Luke’s pack not knowing what “Beta” means.
- The Inquisitor clearly not being very careful with top-secret information that Valentine desperately wants.
- The Seelie Queen being recast mid-episode. It’s almost like they suddenly realized they made a mistake and fixed it at the last minute.
- Simon not recognizing the Queen. She looked older, but she hair and makeup wise, pretty much the same.
- Why have warlocks never done this thing where they prevent shadowhunters from leaving a certain area? Wouldn’t this have come in handy a few times?
- Everyone thinking there’s no way to track Sebastian. HAVE THEY NOT HEARD OF THE ALL-POWERFUL PARABATAI TRACK? Or just… really convenient changes to the world that are brought in whenever we need them?
- Y’know, the downworlders seem pretty good at this whole Tracking Valentine thing… why didn’t they try it earlier?
- Sebastian being able to tell that he’s being tracked.
- I’ve said this before, but really, how many ways are there to track people in this world? And how many ways are there to keep people from tracking you?
- Jace not even trying to kick Sebastian while dangling from a chain.
- Jace being able to keep up with Sebastian when, as far as we know, this version of the character doesn’t have super fighting skills like the book character.
- Isabelle slashing at nothing while approaching Sebastian on the bridge.
- Why is Clary the one healing Jace’s runes and not Alec? I know they need the bonding moment, but runes drawn by one’s parabatai are a lot more effective.
OTHER THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- I actually really liked the dialogue in this episode.
- Just felt like mentioning that Raphael Santiago is now one of my favourite characters in this show.
- As a student, it physically hurt to hear Simon admit that he was wasting his college fees. USE THAT MEAL PLAN, SIMON.
- That brown-haired woman at Magnus’ house better not have been Tessa. THAT BETTER NOT HAVE BEEN TESSA.
- I was so prepared for it to be her. I was certain they’d do it. Please don’t touch her. Please.
- I really love Catarina though.
- When they started talking about using Jace’s connection to Sebastian to track him I wrote down “PARABATAI TRACKING?” and I’m so disappointed they didn’t go that route.
- “Dramatic, sexual hug” is also a thing I wrote down during this episode.
- Shirtlessness? In Shadowhunters? I am in shock.
- “He made you spaghetti too?”
- No joke, I had to rewind the episode to make sure I heard that line correctly. Then I laughed for about 5 minutes. Then I tweeted about it.
- The spaghetti thing has turned into the best running joke this show has and I still haven’t figured out if it’s intentional or not. I also don’t care because it’s fucking hilarious.
- Also, if Shadowhunters starts selling spaghetti-related merchandise, I will buy it in a heartbeat. I’m not joking.
- I think of Valentine every time I make spaghetti now. Can someone please reassure me that I’m not the only one?
- They mentioned the spot Valentine told Jace and Sebastian about! Nice book reference.
- “Father taught me too” is not nearly as good a line as “Guess we got the same birthday present that year.” Just saying.
Shadowhunters airs Mondays at 8pm on Freeform.