Synopsis of 2×19: After centuries of being lied to and treated poorly by The Clave, the Downworlders decide to come together and take matters into their own hands as the hunt for Valentine and Sebastian intensifies.
Wow, can we talk about how fantastic this penultimate Shadowhunters episode was? Yes, it still delivered cheesy lines and melodrama to the max, but this still stands as one of my favorite episodes of the second half of the season.
One of my biggest complaints about this show is its inability to keep its storylines succinct. It branches out on character development but often sacrifices the beat and tempo of the main plot. This episode thankfully did not have any such problems. And I’m not saying shows can’t have multiple plot lines ever episode, but it takes a lot to have it all working together cohesively, even the best shows falter when it comes to this aspect of episode writing. All of the main characters gathered around the capture of Valentine and Jonathan and it worked so well that gives me a lot of hope for the finale episode next week.
The one thing I’m glad we didn’t get any of this week was the Ollie storyline. I’m sure that had much more potential in the writer’s room, but right now it seems useless to me and unnecessary. It’s a good seed to plant but not something that’s even in my peripherals right now.
As far as penultimate season episodes go, Shadowhunters has come a long way. “Malec” was my favorite episode of the first season, but it didn’t have as much moving parts as “Hail and Farewell” and this episode exceeded my expectations. It has surpassed “Bound By Blood” the midseason penultimate episode by leaps and bounds, an episode somehow so forgettable that I had to read my own recap to figure out what even happened.
Remember the sexy tamales making scene? God, we have come so far. Though there was a lot more Jace and Simon bromance in that episode, I do miss that. But I also miss Malec, so you can’t really have everything.
The episode opens up with Jonathan rushing back to his apartment and cleaning out his space before the Shadowhunters chase him down. It’s interesting to watch his relationship develop with Valentine, as it always feels that despite his blood relation to Valentine, he will always be playing second fiddle to Jace. At the very least it’s clear that Jace understands Valentine in a way that Jonathan never will. He continuously gets emotionally manipulated by Valentine, whereas Jace sees clearly.
With Valentine and Jonathan out of the apartment, Jace, Clary, and Izzy bust in only to find the fully dead body of the true Sebastian Verlac. They say their last words to him, but he turns into a possessed Shadowhunter like Jocelyn. It’s a nice little cue to the audience to remind you of said possession and what Valentine is capable of with the mortal cup, it’s also to cue you in when the forsaken come in droves at the end of the episode.
Checking in with Imogen, Jace, Clary, and Alec tell her that the true mirror is Lake Lyn and that they have this upper hand against Valentine since he won’t leave New York. The lake is supposed to be where the angel Raziel rose from when he came to this world. The information supposedly stays between them, but somehow Valentine finds out later that the mirror is Lake Lyn. Can we talk about how suspicious this is? Who is his leak in the Clave? It obviously isn’t Imogen, but seriously, we need to crack down on security here.
Speaking of security, the Downworld cabinet is gathered by Alec to go over what he knows, but there’s a shift in the dynamic. After Magnus broke up with Alec last episode, he seems to have firmly planted his feet in alliance with the Seelie Queen. Although Luke and Raphael are still cautious about allying against the Clave, afraid that they’ll start a war, Magnus seems set on his plan.
The only catch is that the queen will speak for the Downworld, and at the cabinet meeting she finally shows her face and rejects helping the Shadowhunters and instead tells them that they don’t need their protection anymore. She says that they’ll just capture Valentine and lose him again and that the purpose of the Clave was to protect them, but they’re not really being protected.
The queen and Magnus leave while Luke and Raphael stay behind to talk to Clary and Izzy respectively. Luke promises to catch Valentine and Jonathan or die trying, which is about the most ominous foreshadowing I’ve ever heard. LUKE CAN NOT DIE. Raphael makes up with Izzy and apologizes to her, he confesses that there’s something more between them. He also deduces that there will be a war between the Clave and the Downworld if they keep siding with the queen. Hmmm… I smell a plot for season three.
Maia gathers the pack and tells them that they need to find Valentine, but Russel is stirring shit again by asking why they need to listen to her. After getting the ass kicking of a lifetime you’d think he’d just listen to Maia, but Simon comes to her defense and says she’s the beta of the pack. Can we talk about how cute it is that Simon is a part of Luke’s pack and that they’re no longer regarding him as some nobody? It’s kind of precious. Another side note: WHY IS SIMON’S MOM BUYING A MEAL PLAN? DEAR GOD. The two of them have a sweet moment when the pack leaves only to be interrupted by Clary.
She’s here on business, though is happy to see Simon happy. Knowing the Seelie queen has taken an interest to Simon, she asks him to go talk to her and try and prevent a potential war from happening. He agrees and heads to Central Park, where he’s greeted by the queen in the form of Sarah Hyland. I’m sure there’s some more symbolism to the queen appearing older, but I think mostly the showrunners probably just saw the opportunity to hire Sarah Hyland and took it. Hyland herself is no stranger to the cast, as she is the long time girlfriend of Dom Sherwood aka Jace. She’s a welcome addition to the guest star list, even if I’m not a fan of the accent.
Simon correctly deduces that she wants war. The queen wants him by her side, but she refuses him. This is the second time he’s denied her. The Catholic in me wants to reference Peter and his denial of Christ, but I think that’s a little too far reaching. Then again this mythology is rife with bastardized Christian allegories so maybe it’s not that far fetched. Regardless, I’m not sure how smart it is to smart mouth the Seelie queen, but Simon does so anyway.
Meanwhile, in Brooklyn, Magnus has gathered the warlocks to his loft and we see him with Catarina and Madzie and a bunch of other warlocks. He and Catarina discuss taking on the Clave and decide to put up wards around the city that keep portals from being created and also stop any one with angel blood from passing the wards.
In the park, we see Valentine and Jonathan ready to portal to Idris after finding out about the true mortal mirror — again, I would like to discuss security strategies with the Clave ASAP. But, the warlock they’ve captured to create a portal informs them of the wards and says they can’t even fly out of the city to try and get in. Cornered by the wards and then again by Luke’s pack, who come and chase down Jonathan and Valentine and their turned Shadowhunters, they have few choices left.
And although Maia and Luke don’t manage to capture the two of them, they do find out about the wards in time to tell the Institute. I find it interesting that Magnus didn’t inform Alec about this, I mean I know they’re on the outs, but seriously? Not even a like fair warning? He knows they’re the good guys right?
Valentine brings Jonathan to a graveyard where the Shadowhunters have a large cache of weapons. At the same time, Clary has a vision of her runes and an idea of what they can do to track Jonathan. She needs Jace’s help, to use their angelic connection and her Morgenstern blood to track Jonathan. Despite the slight awkwardness of a shirtless Jace just embracing Clary, the scene is actually really beautiful. Their runes light up and they’re bathed in this angelic light before they’re able to undo the power of Jonathan’s anti-tracking rune. Still not sure how they did it exactly, but it was pretty neat.
With his anti-tracking rune gone, Valentine is quick to drop Jonathan. Although he tricks Jonathan into thinking he’ll come back for him, I think we’re all of the belief that it’ll be a cold day in hell when Valentine thinks about anyone but himself. Also if Jonathan had been listening, he’d know that this is exactly what he always does. Valentine controls all the pieces and that includes his own son.
The Shadowhunters arrive at night to the graveyard where they tracked Jonathan and realize it’s another demon trap. The mourners of the nearby funeral have been turned into forsaken like the dead Sebastian Verlac. Jace and Alec team up and Clary and Izzy also team up, there’s a little moment of them dancing about Clary and Jace’s moment but it’s all quickly pushed aside when the Forsaken attack. I’ll admit I rolled my eyes a little at them taking this time to talk about their romances, but it was also kind of perfect. This show does best when it’s operating between this epic urban fantasy and a melodrama between a bunch of emotional people.
When the Forsaken attack, Clary, Izzy, and Alec fight them off while Jonathan takes Jace captive. He drags him out onto a bridge preparing to hang Jace. Jace goads Jonathan into letting him go so they can fight head on. Despite Jonathan being the better fighter, ultimately stabbing Jace, Jace easily gets under his skin. It almost makes you wonder whether Jace is more like their father, using his cutting words to do more damage than a seraph blade ever could.
Izzy breaks up the fight right as Jonathan is about to kill Jace, she uses her whip which holds the element that Jonathan has developed a weakness for. Which, I’ll say that it didn’t really hurt him last episode, I don’t know how they thought it would be effective this episode. Regardless, this gives Izzy a good moment to confront this guy that’s been playing her and hurting her family members. She artfully uses her whip, even though she’s somehow wearing six-inch heels on a mission, and it’s enough distraction for Jace to stab him in the back. He then kicks him into a river, which I assume is TV sign for “he’s out of the picture for now, but definitely not dead”.
Back at the Institute, Clary heals Jace up and the two have an emotional moment about losing each other. Aside from the kiss that I think has been built up perfectly in this season, it’s actually a poignant moment. Jace says, without hesitation, that people die in war. While Clary has certainly gained a lot of skill as a Shadowhunter, it’s clear in this scene that Jace is a true soldier. He understands the risks and price of war, this has been made clear time and time again. It feels deeply true to his character the same way Clary’s emotional side rings true to her nature. She literally can’t afford to lose anyone else having lost her brother once again and hearing Luke say he’d be willing to die to stop Valentine, it’s got to be hard on her.
Meanwhile, downtown we see Luke get the update about Jonathan, but he is stopped by Simon who reveals that Maia is missing. For a hot second, I thought we were going to have to stomach Ollie, but thankfully none of that for this episode. We see her wake up at the Seelie court as Meliorn tells her that the queen is dealing with another pressing matter.
And of course, she’s meeting with Valentine. Although she seems ready to kill him, he is there to make a deal with her and apparently has something she wants. The two have a night stroll through Central Park, which I can say is scary enough as it is.