I went into episode four, Day of Wrath, with more hope than I’ve had about Shadowhunters in a very long time. This was the first episode with the new show-runners, who I’d heard pretty good things about. I wasn’t expecting a drastic change in plot and dialogue, but I was certainly looking forward to a slight jump in quality, not unlike the one we saw in the production value from season 1 to season 2.
Here’s the thing: I had to leave halfway through this episode, so I watched it in two parts. After the first half, I came back home ready to write a glowing review about how much this show has improved and how much I loved the pacing, the dialogue, the Clace, the Malec, everything.
And then… well. Some things happened. Some things that I did not agree with. I still think the show is headed in the right direction, but there were definitely some decisions made in this episode that I did not like at all.
Are my senses deceiving me? Were there actually Clace scenes that didn’t make me want to throw up? Clace chemistry? Believable Clace angst? Either Kat and Dom have suddenly figured out their characters, or the problem was the writing all along (I’m leaning toward the latter), because this is Clace.
It’s no secret that I hated Clace last season. Like, so much. It was awkward and cringey and terrible. I went into this season just hoping that Clary and Jace could be separated for as long as possible, dreading the moment they would be reunited for good… and then it happened… and it didn’t suck?
It’s like as soon as the siblings plot was introduced, everyone on the show figured out this couple, and miraculously, they didn’t forget it. This is happening. Book Clace is here. I am so excited.
CITY OF BONES
I loved almost everything that happened inside the City of Bones, because it was all so true to the books. The set itself was creepy and exactly how I imagined it. Also, Dom Sherwood turned in one hell of a performance as Jace. I’d definitely call him the most improved actor so far.
We’ve always said that the cast is great. We don’t blame them with the subpar writing that they have had to try to deliver, week after week, in a way that hooks the viewer. Now, will we say that the writing was outstanding? Nope. But we will say that seeing the scene where Jace has the soul sword – we stood up and clapped. Dom portrayed the pain that Jace was feeling with such strength and vulnerability, that we wanted to jump through the screen and rescue him. Sherwood has come into his own as Jace and there is no doubt in our mind that he can deliver as the character. We look forward to seeing him week after week.
I’m pretty sure the scene in which Valentine murders the Silent Brothers and breaks Jace out of prison is the first one that’s been almost straight out of the books. Yes, they erased Clary’s part in it, but you know what? I was weirdly okay with that. It allowed Jace to shine.
The only thing I really didn’t like was Hodge’s inclusion and death, because both served absolutely no purpose. We need Hodge later on, and we don’t need him right now. Maybe Shadowhunters can find a way to work around it by finding Simon another cellmate in City of Glass and figuring out another way to obtain THAT important information. Still, why did Hodge need to be in the Silent City? Couldn’t Jace have been totally lonely like he was in the book? Isn’t his appearance much more shocking in City of Glass than it was in this episode?
Magnus was the other MVP of the episode, continuing to win me over despite his very un-Magnus attitude. I’m trying to separate my mental image of Magnus Bane from this iteration, but it’s much harder than I thought it would be. Magnus kind of stands out among fictional characters, and I so wish my version of him could have appeared in this TV show.
Anyway, I really enjoyed his interactions with Raphael, and was glad to see that the writers hadn’t forgotten about that relationship. I’ve said this before, but Raphael is probably the character that has surprised me the most on this show, as I really didn’t like him when he first appeared but he has since evolved into one of my favourite characters. I genuinely look forward to every moment he spends on screen, and this episode was no exception.
For Magnus, this episode was very much about letting go of the past and embracing the future. He rejected Camille once and for all, opened up to Simon about his troubled past, and finally scheduled a first date with Alec.
Speaking of Malec, that wasn’t bad either. The dialogue was a bit awkward at times, but the actors’ expressions and body language really said a lot. They’ve definitely found chemistry and I’m excited to see where their relationship goes this season. That date had better happen soon.
Probably my biggest problem with this episode was the introduction of demon possession. I don’t think it works at all for the show, and like most of Shadowhunters’ additions to the Shadow World, it did nothing for the plot except make it even more confusing.
First of all, I’ve already had enough of people not being who we think they are with that stupid shapeshifting rune. You don’t need to add demon possession to all this.
Also, how can a demon even possess a Shadowhunter that easily? Aren’t they repelled by the runes? Don’t Shadowhunters undergo a ritual at birth that protects them from demon possession? That’s kind of important later on.
The show needs to find it’s mythology and stick with it, but it needs to make sense.
Which of course brings me to my biggest problem with this addition to the show canon: this completely negates the second half of the book series. How are they going to proceed with all the stuff that happens in City of Fallen Angels, which of course leads to the stuff in City of Lost Souls, if all shadowhunters can be so easily possessed by demons?
Alright, I’ve got to hand it to my editor here: Erin predicted Jocelyn’s death way before the episode aired, and even predicted that Alec would be the one to kill her. Me? I didn’t think Shadowhunters had the guts. I figured the ominous “someone will die” in the trailer was referring to one of the random shadowhunters at the institute that nobody cares about. Or Aldertree. That would be lame, but it’s not like they would actually kill off a main character who’s supposed to be important later on. Right?
Honestly, I can understand why the new showrunners would like to kill of Jocelyn. She is of zero importance right now, and I have complained numerous times about her presence. But the thing is, I think she’s more valuable asleep than awake or dead right now. She kind of has a role later on in the series, and killing off Clary’s mom opens up a whole new can of worms that I’m worried the show won’t have the time to deal with just yet. There’s a lot going on in Shadowhunters right now, so do we really need to deal with a major character death just yet?
I would’ve been fine with the new showrunners just putting Jocelyn back to sleep. But hey, I don’t like her, and we don’t need her just yet, so whatever.
Editors Note: I believe that they killed off Jocelyn to move the story forward. Decter made a mistake by waking her up. We know that he didn’t read the books and couldn’t figure out how to piece together the story. The show runners were placed in a shitty situation, having to correct Decter’s huge mistakes in season one. A lot of that is going to drive us away from canon.
THINGS THAT DO NOT MAKE SENSE, A LIST
Slightly fewer than last week, but I’m not getting my hopes up for this becoming a pattern.
- Clary telling Jocelyn to just “let the Clave know she’s on their side” as if it’s that simple.
- Why doesn’t she propose using the Moral Sword to figure out if Jocelyn is telling the truth? YOU WERE LITERALLY JUST TALKING ABOUT THE FUCKING MORTAL SWORD.
- Alec acting like Clary is the last person he can ask for help. Dude. Have you seen how many people there are in the Institute?
- The rune that can sense demon heat signatures. Um why didn’t you just include a sensor? It has a cool tie to the Infernal Devices and everything.
- Demons having heat signatures. I’m pretty sure demons aren’t mammals.
- Raziel creating a rune that can sense heat signatures. I don’t think those existed back when he created shadowhunters.
- Aldertree torturing Raphael. Oh my god how is he allowed to do that? Is he a secret former member of the circle?
- What happened to Simon moving back in with his mom? I swear that was a thing one week ago.
- Did Simon not foresee ANY of these problems with his mom? I foresaw them. All of them. They’re right there in my episode 3 review.
- Jace already having dreams about killing Clary. Uh slow down. We’re not at book 4 yet.
- Jocelyn being sent to Idris. Since when has she rejoined the Clave?
- Luke thinking he can follow Jocelyn to Idris. He. Is. A. Werewolf.
- Valentine apparently having something to do with the fact that there is a demon in the institute. I just don’t understand.
- Demon possession in general. This should count for, like, five things that don’t make sense. Just whyyyyyyy?
- Camille locking a box so that all the vampires she sired can open it. There’s gotta be a better way.
- The fact that Jace gets a lifetime in prison for being a traitor to the Clave but Isabelle can get de-runed for talking back to the head of the institute.
- Aldertree knowing so many personal details about Jace’s life. How does he know all this? Probably some rune we’ve never heard about. Apparently that’s the answer to everything in this show.
- Camille trying to encanto Magnus.
- Magnus being able to teleport Camille to Alicante. THERE ARE WARDS.
- Dot still being alive.
- The protagonists having to do all the work in getting rid of the demon in the Institute. Um. Again, there are other Shadowhunters in the institute. Many of which are much older and more experienced than the main characters. If you want to get rid of them, that’s cool, but don’t just have them stand there and do nothing?
OTHER THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- No worst quotes of the episode this week, partly because I had less time to write this review, but mostly because there weren’t any quotes that really stood out to me. If I had to choose one, it would be. “Kill me like you killed my falcon.” So congrats on that, Shadowhunters.
- Actually, there were a lot of really good lines. I laughed a few times. There were some quotable moments, and some emotional ones too. It was nice.
- Still, the plot and pacing need a whole lot of work. You don’t have to put everything in one episode.
- Simon’s “Man, you are everywhere!” when he sees Raphael is hilarious.
- “Does the institute have, like, a Twitter feed?” Considering all the technology there, I wouldn’t be surprised. If they do – someone send us the handle, we want to follow.
- Also, if I know anything about fandom, somebody has definitely created an institute Twitter feed.
- I really liked that scene with Clary and Isabelle bonding and talking about their moms.
- “No one in Idris is gonna teach you how to fight in 5 inch heels” was another good line. Very Isabelle.
- I love Isabelle and Clary’s relationship in general. It’s probably my favourite change from the books (and one of the only ones I like).
- I know I’ve said this before, but Dom really killed it in this episode. NOW I understand why Cassie wanted him as Jace.
- Catarina shoutout! I’m not sure how I feel about her being introduced, but I hope they do her justice.
- Also, I caught that Blackfriars Bridge reference.
- Magnus sees Raphael and Simon as his children. I’m not crying. You’re crying.
- I really didn’t get the point of that scene at the end with Isabelle. It had the opportunity to be really powerful, revealing her hidden thoughts like Supergirl did in Falling, but it really didn’t sound anything like Isabelle to me.
Shadowhunters airs Mondays at 8pm on Freeform.