‘Shadowhunters’ 3×18 Review: ‘The Beast Within’

It’s mid April and only a few weeks before the series finale, which apparently makes it the perfect time for a special Halloween episode. Gotta love Shadowhunters logic.

Endarkened, maybe?


After last episode’s successful mission to retrieve the Heavenly Fire, our characters get to work finding a way to break the bond between Clary and Jonathan. The solution is apparently to use ~science~ to inject them with something, but of course it doesn’t work and they need to go back to the lab. It’s nice to see Isabelle finally doing something, but it still feels weird to see the Shadowhunters using so much technology.

Jonathan spends more time trying to evoke sympathy in Clary, and seems to be getting through to her just a little bit, and then Clary randomly has a vision of Jonathan and decides to join him? I honestly have no idea what happened in that scene.

Whatever happened, Clary came back, but evil this time. It’s unclear if this is just a strengthening of the bond forged by the rune, or if she’s more like the Endarkened warriors we see in the books and have had no indication are going to appear in the show. My money’s on the rune being stronger, but we’ll see.

Break his heart to save his life


Why? Why is this happening? Honestly. We’re what, three episodes away from the end of this series and we’ve decided that now is the time to pull out the most boring and overused trope in the book by having the most popular couple in the show break up because angst and drama and “I can’t tell you why but I need to break up with you for your own good” ?

Guys. Relationships don’t have to be full of drama. You don’t have to break up your couples and put them together again in order for them to progress as a couple. It’s possible for people to just be together and work out their problems together and not make it into this big dramatic thing. It just seems so pointless, and so out of character, to have Magnus and Alec suddenly become incapable of having an honest conversation about their relationship unless they’re breaking up.

So let’s talk about this breakup. Alec takes Magnus’s words to heart and realizes that his boyfriend is never going to be happy as long as he’s living without his magic, and decides that the solution is to have a nice casual chat with Asmodeus. The greater demon, being a greater demon, confirms Alec’s worst fears and offers him a deal: he breaks up with Magnus, and Magnus gets his powers back.

Now, let’s pause here and talk about why this doesn’t work. Yes, this situation does kind of echo the deal Alec almost makes with Camille in City of Lost Souls, but that was a very different situation and this couple was in a very different place at that point. These two were ABOUT TO GET ENGAGED and Alec thinks he has no choice but to seek out a greater demon? And he’s actually this convinced that Magnus would choose magic over his relationship?

I just feel like they could have had a sober conversation before going to Asmodeus. Figure out if Magnus is really putting his magic over his relationship. Here! I’ll even write some lines for Alec!

Things Alec could have said to Magnus before turning to a greater demon

“Hey, when you said you were nothing without your magic, that really hurt me, because it made me feel like you don’t value our relationship as much as I do.”

“I know you’re going through a lot right now and I really want to be here for you, so I’d appreciate it if you’d talk to me instead of pretending everything is fine.”

“I promise I’m not going to leave you just because you’ve lost your magic, so please believe me.”

Magnus’s side


I’ve been pretty frustrated with Magnus up to this point, but I am happy that he finally admitted that he’s being ridiculous and that he should just fucking talk to Alec. What I’m not happy about is that he admitted that stuff to Maryse.

Look. I understand that sometimes it’s easier to talk to other people about your relationship issues. I also understand why the show would put these two characters together, since they’ve both recently had to adjust to mundane life. But the show keeps doing this thing where every major conversation between two people has to go through some random third person who suddenly knows what’s best for them. My dude. You could have talked to Alec about this.

Mostly, I just don’t believe it? These two as so solid together and have been together for so long that it just doesn’t make sense to me that they suddenly don’t know how to talk to each other. It seems so out of character.

Also, I understand that I’m supposed to feel frustrated about the lack of communication between these two, but I just feel like this is such lazy storytelling and so unnecessary. You could have had these characters grow independently and as a couple without suddenly making them incapable of having a conversation and then breaking them up for no reason. This happens all the time in TV, and it always feels like the writers are going “uhhh we don’t know what to do with this couple but we have to give them a storyline so… dramatic breakup?”



Now let’s move on to another pointless storyline that served absolutely no purpose to the show. Rebecca showed up! Because it’s Halloween, apparently? And apparently she, Simon and Clary always go trick-or-treating together, no matter how old they are?

By the way, is this the first Halloween since the show premiered? How much time has even passed? I just realized I don’t know this.

I don’t dislike Rebecca, but she was here for exactly two reasons: comic relief, and pushing Simon and Isabelle together. And again, we go back to this thing where two characters can’t talk to each other without someone showing up and telling them what to do. Rebecca has never met Izzy and hasn’t seen Simon in ages, but she sees them interact once and knows they should date? And Simon listens to her? Is there really no other way we could have brought these two together?

Shadowhunters airs Mondays at 8pm EST on Freeform.

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