Let me start by saying that Major Arcana, the seventh episode of Shadowhunters, had almost nothing to do with the book. The only episode not to follow a specific section of City of Bones, there were definitely some very weird moments and some things that didn’t make sense. But somehow, it worked. Perhaps better than any other episode so far.
For the first time, I wasn’t upset about the changes. I thought they added something. For parts of the episode, I actually liked Jace, and saw some chemistry between him and Clary. I was entertained from start to finish, the script wasn’t terrible, and I only cringed a few times. Mostly, it was fun, and showed just the slightest touch of the magic from the books.
As always, no time has passed between the end of last week’s episode and the beginning of this one. Clary knows that the cup was painted into her mom’s tarot cards, and begins to formulate a plan to extract it. Luke informs her that he was keeping the cards in his desk, and the mission suddenly becomes a whole lot easier.
But not so fast! Luke’s recent actions have not gone unnoticed by the police department, who arrest him under suspicion of murder before he can get the cards. Suddenly, the mission falls on Clary and Jace, who had been waiting outside for him. They visit him in the interrogation room to find out the exact location, use a few glamour runes to infiltrate the building, and their interactions are… not totally cringe-worthy?
Somehow, Clary and Jace manage to make it fun and lighthearted, as they play the role of a fighting couple in order to distract the officers and grab the tarot cards. Clary forces the ‘other ten percent’ line into their dialogue, and then slaps Jace, and while it’s out of place and not nearly as good as the book scene, I’m glad they at least included the line in some form.
Unfortunately, the tarot cards have been removed from Luke’s desk, and ‘Clace’ exits the building without the Cup, or a means to get it.
Enter Izzy and Alec, who decide to break even more rules despite their ongoing family drama. Alec has decided not the dwell on the arranged marriage stuff, and this time it’s his turn to give a speech about accepting yourself and not changing who you are. It’s clear that Magnus has already made a huge impression on Alec, and it’ll be interesting to see how his character evolves throughout the season. As for Isabelle, I’m glad we’re seeing a more serious side to her, though I’m disappointed that it’s her mom’s decision and not her own. You can’t have everything, I guess.
Isabelle calls out Alec for being secretive, announcing that she’s broken up with Meliorn as a way to become more serious, saying she needs to date someone more shadowhunter-like, but Alec still refuses to cave.
They decide to go help out their friends at the police station, and when it comes time to distract the lady at the front desk, Isabelle steps aside, claiming that her brother would do a better job at distracting her… and that it might be good practice for asking out Magnus. Predictably, Alec is anything but smooth, stumbling over his words and knocking things over. It works, though, as he manages to toss Isabelle the key. They’re in.
Simon is (finally) turning into a vampire!
Alberto Rosende killed it in this episode. Okay, he kills it in every episode, but he was especially good in this one. Transitioning beautifully from comedic to emotional, Simon’s scenes were the best part of a very strong episode.
Right from the start, we know that things are still very weird with him. He’s hallucinating Clary after having sex with Maureen (?!?!?!?!) and seeing blood pretty much everywhere. His best scene comes at Java Jones, where he’s watching vampire movies and taking notes to figure out if he’s turning into a vampire or not. A bite of his bagel confirms it: he is not a vampire, because he can still eat garlic. Classic Simon.
He calls Clary to ask for her help, but she doesn’t have time to talk to him. Jace grabs her phone and hangs up for her, and the look on Simon’s face is enough to make anyone hate Jace.
Things take a turn for the worse when he’s confronted by his mom and sister, who received a call from Maureen and have reason to think that he might be on drugs. A painfully awkward conversation ensues, one which ends with Simon breaking his desk in a fit of anger. Later, he leaves a tearful message on Clary’s answering machine. “I think I need to talk to you more than I’ve ever needed to talk to you in my life,” he pleads, and it’s heartbreaking to know that Clary is too busy saving the world to worry about her best friend.
In the end, Simon looks for answers at the Dumort, where he’s attacked by Camille. Finally, it looks like the show will stop dragging out his storyline and actually turn him into a vampire.
Clary finally finds the Ace of Cups in her mom’s deck of cards, but she can’t figure out how to pull it out of the picture. It’s a start, though: at least she has it, and Valentine doesn’t.
When she’s attacked by demons, she figures it out, reaching into the card and coming up with the Mortal Cup just in time to control her attackers. I still don’t like that the Cup can control demons, and I don’t understand why that change was necessary.
Anyway, Clary emerges victorious and tells the good news to Jace, who immediately asks her for the cup. Acting on instincts, Clary pulls out a seraph blade (which she mysteriously didn’t have when she was being cornered by demons) and stabs him with it. For one horrifying second, she thinks she was mistaken and that she actually did kill Jace, but he soon turns into a demon, confirming her suspicions. Apparently, all demons look the same in this show. Also, they’re all shapeshifters, because why not?
Cup in hand, Clary goes back to the institute to talk to the real Jace, and they share a long, passionate kiss. While I’m very disappointed that the greenhouse scene (my favorite in City of Bones) wasn’t included, the scene wasn’t terrible. I admit I’ve been dreading all Clace interactions since the beginning of the season, but they were actually pretty cute in this episode. Jace even seemed likeable.
Shadowhunters airs Tuesdays at 9pm on Freeform.