Synopsis of 2×20: Jace and Clary rush to make a final stand, but when a traitor is revealed, Jace and Clary may have a bigger fight on their hands than expected. Meanwhile, Alec and Izzy must fight off a large mass of demons that have unexpectedly shown up, as Luke and Simon head to the Seelie Court to deal with some unfinished business with the Seelie Queen.
After last week’s insanely entertaining episode, I was super apprehensive about the season two finale of Shadowhunters. It always seems like the midseason and season finales of this show can be a little discombobulated. Often bogged down by some of its more mystical mythology without much proof of substance, I was worried that the culmination of the mortal instruments plot arc would be dissatisfying, and there were definitely moments that threatened it.
But, plot arcs like the Seelie Queen and Jonathan and the various romantic relationships all saw some sort of conclusion or bookend, ends that leave us wanting the next chapter of the story and giving us something solid to hold onto.
The episode picks up pretty much right after the fight between Jonathan and Jace. We see Jonathan washing ashore after seemingly flowing out of a park river into one of the two main rivers surrounding Manhattan. Call me out if my geography is wrong, but does this seem kind of impossible? Unless they somehow fought on a bridge like the George Washington Bridge. Maybe I’m just forgetting where they were the last episode.
No biggie. Jonathan is basically on death’s door but he uses what little life he has left to somehow use his blood to draw a pentagram on the sand. I’m not sure how much of this is him consciously calling out to his mother and how much of it is just potentially biological? The pentagram opens up a rift to Edom and brings forth demons. In what we initially assume are just flying wraiths, we find out at the end of the episode is actually Lilith, coming to save Jonathan.
Meanwhile, the Downworlders are trying just to survive in the face of Valentine and his actions. Simon quickly realizes that Maia is missing and he and Luke go to Magnus, who is busy trying to keep the wards up and Valentine in New York. In the Seelie realm, Maia is being forced to remain there while the queen asks her questions about Simon. Maia, being impulsive, tries to make a break for it, but gets grabbed. She’s made to wander the aptly named Wander Wood.
When Luke and Simon arrive at the queen’s court, Luke almost immediately deduces that the queen has already met with Valentine and made a deal with him. He’s already past the wards and in exchange for letting him pass the wards, she’s protected her people. I feel like, if the angel had granted Valentine’s wish, this the queen’s actions would have been useless. For someone as old as she is, she doesn’t seem to have as much foresight as I expected. You think she wouldn’t be so easily manipulated. Luke leaves the queen to talk to Simon as he goes to find Maia in the woods.
At the Institute, the alarms have sounded out for the demons escaping from the rift. Jace, Clary, Alec, and Izzy jump into action as the four of them go to chase down the wraiths. You’d think, knowing these are flying creatures, they’d send other archers. But then we wouldn’t get a shot of the four main Shadowhunters on the streets of new york fighting demons. It’s a pretty good looking shot of them, but kind of a useless scene in my opinion. Good for people who like to gif the show, I guess.
Attempting to fight the demons is useless, killing one sprouts like three more. It’s your basic hydra demon. And to make matters worse, Clary gets a call from Luke about Valentine. Forced to split up, Clary and Jace decide to go to Idris as Alec and Izzy stay to fight the demon. Clary portals her and Jace near Lake Lyn and they make their way to the camp set up by the consul of the Clave, Malachi. But we quickly find out that Malachi is now a circle member and the army around Lake Lyn are actually on Valentine’s side saying that Valentine is doing what the Clave has been trying to do. They tie up Jace and Clary and are ready to kill them, but seeing Clary about to get her head chopped off gives Jace enough motivation to activate his angel abilities and free himself. They make quick work of the other Shadowhunters and Jace kills Malachi.
In New York, Alec is forced to go to Magnus for help after the demons infest the city. Alec goes to Magnus and tells him about Valentine’s deal with the queen to try and sway him, but Magnus already knows, still, he’s willing to help to seal the rift to save the lives of innocents. Magnus takes Alec and Izzy to the site where the rift is and Magnus rushes to close the rift as Alec and Izzy fight off a demon. After successfully closing the rift, Magnus is exhausted but they did what they set out to do. But even with the rift closed, there’s no signs of the demons in New York, which bodes ill for them, but it’s not an immediate worry.
Jace and Clary finally make it to Lake Lyn and no one is there. They have a brief moment of hope, thinking they beat Valentine to the punch, but no dice. Valentine stabs and kills Jace, explaining that he had to kill him because the two of them together are too dangerous. I have a hard time sympathizing at all with Valentine, sometimes he seems like he’s actually capable of loving his kids, but he’s 99.9% a manipulative sociopath. At the Institute, Alec collapses after sensing that Jace is in pain and sees his parabatai rune disappear. This episode is full of emotional scenes that are dramatized for maximum emotional effect, but this is definitely one of the more impactful ones. The flashbacks of seeing Alec and Jace together had me clutching myself, even knowing that Jace would manage to survive this. With his last breath, Jace tells Clary he loves her and then dies.
Furious, Clary attacks Valentine, but he easily knocks her out. When Clary comes to, Valentine has the cup and the sword and drops them into the lake to call forth Raziel. Valentine asks for his wish, which is not only to kill all demons and Downworlders but also any Shadowhunters who protect them. It’s pretty hilarious when the angel essentially replies, “That’s… not what heaven would want.” Because it takes all of like ten seconds for Clary to grab a stele and free herself from her bonds to attack Valentine again. Their fight scene is pretty great. I’ve had an issue with how easily Clary seems to learn how to fight especially when you account for the fact that Alec, Izzy, and Jace have been training all their lives while Clary went to art school. But the fight with Valentine is accurately mismatched. It’s only during Valentine’s hesitation in killing her that Clary gets a chance to grab the knife and kill him.
With the angel still there, Clary gives her blood to him and the angel recognizes her as someone with angel blood and also as Clarissa Morgenstern. She asks for him to bring Jace back to life, and the angel grants her wish and then disappears. This episode is a great look at Clary and Jace’s relationship and the parallels between their near-death experiences — or in Jace’s case actual death — and what they’re willing to do for each other. Jace is unable to break his bonds initially when he’s caught by Malachi despite his desperation and anger, but when Clary is about to get her head cut off his angel abilities manifest and he is able to overpower the group despite being outnumbered.
Despite Clary’s wish, Jace seems cautious of coming back to life. Probably because he, like we, know that there’s always a consequence to what is basically necromancy. Alec, Izzy, and Magnus arrive to see Clary and Jace kissing and are happy to see that they’re okay. But instead of revealing what happened, Jace lies to Alec about him dying and coming back to life. You’d think Alec would question this more, seeing as his parabatai rune actually disappeared in front of their eyes, but he’s probably just happy to see Jace alive. They hug and I’m realizing that everyone who lied to anyone in this episode sealed off their lies with a hug. As the Doctor once said, “Never trust a hug. It’s just a way of hiding your face.” And boy, is that true in the last third of the episode.
In the Seelie realm, Luke finally finds Maia. He encounters a pedantic Meliorn along the way in the Wander Woods but he’s pretty quickly silenced by an irritated Luke. Simon joins her and Luke and the queen allows them to leave, clearly having made a deal with Simon. When the Shadowhunters and Magnus make their way back from Idris seemingly unharmed and having saved the Downworld, there’s a huge celebration at Hunter’s Moon. Friends makeup and couples come together. Simon and Clary are best friends again, Maia and Simon are going steady, Maia and Jace do the equivalent of approving of each other’s significant others, Clary and Izzy strengthen their bond as friends, and Alec and Magnus make up.
I would have been really disappointed if the episode actually ended so clean cut, but beneath all of this camaraderie, there’s more to uncover. What did Jace see when he died, if anything? He leaves Hunter’s Moon and seems to be struck by pain. When Clary asks why Jace lied to Alec he tells her it’s better left unsaid, Jace you know that that’s not true right? What are the exact parameters of Simon’s deal with the Seelie Queen? I typically love Sarah Hyland, but she was laying it on a bit thick for this role and I almost wish they could bring the kid back. The frosted lip gloss and crazy eyes are not doing it for me. When will Alec find out the truth about Jace’s death and resurrection? It’s interesting also to note the parallels between Jonathan and Jace, one presumably will be resurrected by his demon mother, while Jace is resurrected by an angel. Yeah, they went pretty heavy handed with that one.
In the end, this was a far stronger season finale than the first and left me excited for the third season. Sure, this show is constantly oozing cheese and melodrama, but I like it that way. But please, let’s nip this Ollie plot in the bud on like episode one of season three. We could live without that.
Gems of the Finale
Alec: “Okay. be careful.” Jace: “When am I ever not careful?” Jace, literally, every day of your life.
That time Raziel was like, “No, bro. Mass genocide is not heaven’s wish.”
Jace: “You could have had anything else in the world, and you chose me.” This line was so cheesy it could have been made into a quesadilla, but I love cheese so this really got to me.
Izzy: “I really wish Max were here.” You’re at a bar.
Magnus: “I can’t do anything without thinking of you.” I’M DEAD.
Alec: “I don’t think I can live without you.” I’M DEAD ALREADY, STOP KILLING ME MORE.
Jace: “We won. Everything’s good.” Words said by every protagonist just as shit is about to hit the fan.
Drunk Luke should be a feature every couple episodes, enough to cheer up the mood but not too much to indicate alcoholism.
— Shadowhunters (@ShadowhuntersTV) August 15, 2017