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‘Shadowhunters’ 3×20 Review: ‘City of Glass’

‘Shadowhunters’ 3×20 Review: ‘City of Glass’

It’s the last regular episode of season three of Shadowhunters, and now all that’s left is the 2 ½ hour finale. This episode was underwhelming and cringe-worthy in a lot of ways, as Shadowhunters episodes usually are, but it had its good moments too. I can’t say I’ll be particularly sad when this show ends, but, yeah, there were a few scenes that got to me in this episode.

DARK CLARY


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We open the episode with our first real look at Clary completely under Jonathan’s influence. I can’t say I was particularly impressed with her scenes. They felt pretty generic, like everyone was just trying to make her seem super evil for the shock value but there wasn’t anything else to it. Jonathan is still creepy as hell with his inability to understand that there are different kinds of love, but honestly, this thing has been going on for long enough now that it’s starting to get old.

I did appreciate that Clary was eventually brought back by the people who love her. Her scenes with Jace were actually pretty good. I was slightly underwhelmed, however, with the scene where he stabs her. Maybe it’s because I’m comparing it to the book scene, but I just felt like it should have been a bigger deal than it was. Why isn’t it harder for Jace to make the decision to stab her? In the books, Clary isn’t sure it will work when she does the same to Jace, but does it because 1) it’s the only chance she has to save him 2) she knows Jace would rather die than stay tied to Sebastian/Jonathan forever and keep doing bad things and 3) if Jace is truly more good than evil, he will survive, and she believes in him. What was Jace’s thought process when he stabbed Clary? Did he know it wouldn’t hurt her, but only destroy the bond?

Also, why didn’t he try harder to get to Sebastian? Two birds with one stone, and all that? They didn’t seem too far apart in that scene.

And finally, why isn’t Sebastian at all affected by Clary being stabbed? Actually, how does it even make sense that Clary was holding him back?

THE SERUM

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Last week’s episode raised the question of who should get the last vial of the serum developed by Aldertree that can turn downworlders into mundanes. We saw Maia and Jordan angry at the Shadowhunters for keeping the discovery of this vial to themselves, and at the very end, we learned that Jordan had stolen it for himself.

Maia and Jordan made a good point in that episode: while it’s never okay to force that kind of change on any downworlder, there are some who would kill for it. Becoming a downworlder is a really big deal, and it can be very traumatic for a lot of people. Maia certainly knows this, as she had her life completely turned upside down after she was bitten. And she’s certainly not the only person who’s been through something like that. If the shadowhunters have the ability to give people the choice to reclaim a normal life – or to reject being a downworlder altogether – they should absolutely use it.

This episode throws all that out the window, because of course it does.

When Jordan admits to Maia that he stole the serum, and suggests that she use it, she refuses. The reason she gives is one that she definitely what I expected her to say last episode – that it’s too late for her to live a normal life, and that she can’t give up all she’s found since becoming a werewolf.

Yeah, obviously. But I guess we needed to have her say something super out of character so that Jordan could take the serum?

Jordan also admits that he’s dying. His silver poisoning wasn’t cured completely, and the only thing that can save him is the serum. And yet, for some reason he refuses to take it?

So hold on. This man is convinced that Maia can only be happy as a mundane, but also doesn’t think his death would affect her that much? What does he think Maia will do as a mundane? All her friends, her new family, are people she found through downworld. It’s not like she can forget about the shadow world, either. There’s no way she’d be better off as a mundane.

Oh, and also, he actually tried to get back together with Maia a few episodes ago, knowing that he was dying? And just didn’t think it was worth mentioning? Holy shit, dude. That’s messed up.

We don’t really get a good answer to why Jordan doesn’t take the serum and become a mundane. Maia decides that it’s too powerful for anyone to hold on to, which I guess it’s true, but it kind of negates what she and Jordan were saying last episode.

A THIRD PERSON, AGAIN

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Oh hey, remember that thing I was complaining about a few episodes ago? That thing where every time an important conversation happens between two characters, it has to happen through a random third person? Simon and Isabelle can’t get together without Rebecca telling them to, Magnus couldn’t decide to talk to Alec about what he’s going through without talking to Maryse, etc, etc? Well, it’s back.

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Specifically, Maryse is back as the only person saving Magnus and Alec from eternal misery. After hearing about their breakup from Alec, Maryse goes to Magnus for answers (definitely a perfectly normal thing for any parent to do). Magnus, who has spent the day trying not to let his dad bring him over to the dark side, tells her enough that she’s able to piece it together.

Look. I’m glad she figured it out and all, but don’t you think Magnus could have done that himself? It’s not like Asmodeus was being particularly subtle.

Aside from that issue, I did really like how their reunion played out. The show was clearly trying to call back to City of Glass when they had Magnus show up to the big battle saying he got stuck in traffic. And the proposal was super sweet, as were their last words to each other before Magnus sacrificed himself. I’m glad these two were back together.

However, now I’m circling back to a question I had earlier in the season, which why did we have to do this in the first place? Of course Magnus has his magic back. We knew this would happen eventually. Did he really learn anything from this whole ordeal? Did Alec? I’m not sure. It kind of felt like drama just for the sake of drama.

CITY OF HEAVENLY FIRE

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Of course, the very end of the episode sets us up for a short trip to Edom, which we knew was going to happen eventually. Jonathan is there, after all, and it makes more sense to chase him down than to wait for him to come back to this dimension.

And of course, Magnus is also in Edom, and, well, his new fiancée isn’t going to let him get away that easily. Obviously, we’ll need a trip to save Magnus and kill Jonathan before he… well, actually I’m not really sure what Jonathan is planning, because he never really specified that on the show, but I’m sure it’s something very evil. Oh, and not to mention that a certain very popular couple is clearly about to get together and a trip to Hell might help speed things along…

I can’t count all the times this show has let me down after I got my hopes up. But what the hell? For one last time: I’m excited to see what Shadowhunters does with this part of the source material.

Shadowhunters airs Mondays at 8pm EST on Freeform.

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