Shadowhunters: By The Light of the Dawn Recap
Synopsis of 2×10: The New York Institute is attacked as Valentine’s plan for the Soul Sword grows close to fruition; the Shadowhunters race to save their loved ones and the rest of the Downworld; some of the Downworlders target Clary in their plan to stop Valentine.
As far as midseason finales go, this one wasn’t too bad, but as per usual, it felt a little jumbled and definitely a little rushed.
With the Soul Sword now in hand, Valentine uses Madzie to open up a portal at the Institute. In the process, she manages to kill all of the Shadowhunters who have come to defend it, though she spares Alec. You’ve got to feel for her, she’s being manipulated in the worst way possible and she’s helping someone who is literally trying to rid the world of her kind.
Once inside of the Institute, Valentine takes Simon to Aldertree’s office where he calls Clary and threatens Simon’s life. He needs Clary to activate the Soul Sword and orders her to come to the Institute. Unsure of what to do, Clary is ready to go and save Simon, but Luke and Jace both agree that that is way too dangerous. They find Dot, who they bring back to Magnus’, and she tells them that Jace can destroy the sword when he touches it. Magnus analyzes Clary and Jace’s vision from the angel — which definitely should have been the first order of business — and Magnus gathers that their visions are talking about a demonic Morgenstern. Jace interprets that to be himself and assumes that Valentine wanted him under his control in order to prevent him from derailing his plan.
All this is to say that Valentine is a master manipulator and is not only ruthless but also a master manipulator. Jace is ready to self-sacrifice, Valentine knows that about him, he knows that Jace wants to be the hero. So Jace goes to the Institute, knowing full well that touching the sword will kill him, but it will also destroy the sword. Luke goes with him, and they leave Clary with Magnus. Back at the Institute, Alec is essentially a one-man team holding down the Institute until Aldertree appears and the two team up, though reluctant for Alec, who is still upset and untrusting of Aldertree after finding out about the yin fen.
Speaking of addictive vampire venom, we come in on Izzy and Raphael, who are seemingly oblivious to what is happening. Despite their closeness, Raphael reveals that he’s asexual, which surprises Izzy. He then leaves the apartment, but not before hiding Izzy’s phone and reading her missed messages from Alec telling her the Institute is under attack. From his perspective, it makes sense, however, how he thought that wouldn’t just permanently destroy his relationship with Izzy is beyond me.
Simon tries to reason with Valentine by telling him that all Clary has ever wanted was to know her real father, but that backfires. Valentine calls up Clary and slits Simon’s throat with the Soul Sword in front of her and Magnus and orders her to go to the Institute or Simon dies. With that as incentive, Clary begs Magnus to portal her to the Institute.
On the way to the Institute, Maia comes out of nowhere after breaking out of the cold storage that Luke locked her in. If Luke is surprised by the attack, he really shouldn’t be. That was a dick move, Luke. But he’s no stranger to dick moves, as he stuns her before she can turn and takes her with them.
They all manage to converge at the Institute, with Clary and Magnus portaling in outside. Raphael stops them before they can go in, ready to kill Clary to save the Downworlders, but Luke and Jace come in to save her with Maia in tow. Jace reveals his plan to destroy the sword to the group and the Downworlders seem begrudging but they are willing to trust him. Man, that’s going to backfire after the events of this episode.
On the roof, Aldertree and Alec are trapped because of the powercore or something, honestly it’s all kind of hard to keep track of since this convenient angel power core seemed to come from no where. They argue about Downworlders and Aldertree reveals that in the past he was in love with a werewolf named Eva who was attacked by a Shax demon. He had to kill her because she was out of control, which one would think he should blame the demon and not the girl, but okay whatever. The Circle members eventually bust onto the roof and come to attack the two of them, but an exhausted Izzy comes to their rescue before collapsing from withdrawal symptoms.
In another twist of fate, the show uses my most hated plot tool — the disguise ruin — but I actually like the way they do it. Jace comes into the office as Clary, and he lets Simon drink his blood to revive him. He reveals his identity to Valentine, who hilariously replies with, “Shapeshifting, that’s original.” I literally can not.
The team fights and kicks ass but somehow they all end up exactly where they don’t want to be, with the sword. Jace and Simon have some really cute scenes together that just confirms that they are the greatest comedic duo on this show. Jace intends to touch the sword, but touching it only activates it for Valentine, who uses it to kill all the Downworlders who have charged into the Institute. I’m confused by just how many important main character Downworlders died, but by my count, none of them did. All that the scene revealed was that Jace has pure angel blood within him, and as a result of this, he is not Valentine’s son.
Valentine faces off with Luke, who almost gets killed by Valentine until Jace comes in and stops him. Valentine drops the truths on him while holding the Soul Sword that he’s known the whole time that Jace wasn’t his son, which means Clary isn’t his sister and Jocelyn isn’t his mother. Dropping the sword, Clary picks it up and sees a vision for a rune. Drawing it on the sword it burns her and then disappears when she drops it. Jace defeats Valentine but Clary stops him from killing him because they still don’t know where the Mortal Cup is, and now that the Soul Sword is gone, we really only have one more mortal instrument.
With the danger gone, everyone reunites. Magnus saved Madzie and also managed to protect himself from the blast from the Soul Sword. He reunites with Alec and they have an emotional moment where Alec tells him he loves him. It’s really cute. I demand more. Raphael sees Izzy again, who is done with him because he hid her phone and potentially put her brother in danger. Jace also reveals his parentage to Alec and then tells him that he intends to tell Clary that they are not siblings.
He’s got some bad timing, because Simon also finds out that he can be in the sun now. Whatever happened when he drank Jace’s blood changed him, and not only was he not affected by the Soul Sword, but he can go outside now! He and Clary celebrate while Jace watches on. One is the lonliest number, Jace. The episode ends with a hooded figure holding the Soul Sword, which should come to no surprise at this point.
As far as finales go, this episode checked off the important points, but it was jumbled. I enjoyed seeing Magnus and Alec reunite, but one of my favorite characters in this episode was Jace. Seeing him with Simon and hearing how ready he was to sacrifice himself for the cause and to save Simon’s life was genuine in a way that speaks to the potential of this show. I guess we’ll see if they keep doing awesome scenes like that, or if this was a rare occurrence.