Contains spoilers for those who are not familiar with The Mortal Instrument series.
Hooray! Valentine finally got a clue and moved out of Chernobyl!! It may be too late for him to not feel some effects of radiation poisoning over his 12 week villainous vacation, but he’s moved to New York to be closer to family (torment Jace and Clary) and friends (torment Luke) in his final days. I’ve repeatedly commented on the ridiculousness of his lair (Pilot – Who Are All These Peeps; Raising Malec; Moo Shu No Go; The Kiss List; Grab Your Towel!; This World Inverted … Is Better List). I’m glad to finally see him packing up shop and moving to Renwick – where he should’ve been all along.
I also have to give props to my reader osbiannight, who totally called the glamour rune! (See comments of This World Inverted … Is Better List) Nicely done!
Before we delve into what worked in this episode, let’s get the big turd out of the way: the trial. What was that mess? If you’re going to deviate from the source material, at least do it well. The Magicians constantly air episodes that only contain a fraction of the book but are compelling, true to the characters, and push the plot of the show forward. Isabelle’s trial was a hot mess. Was it even a trial? The Inquisitor had no control over her courtroom. She called Magnus out of order to which he declared the trial out of order. She couldn’t contain the witnesses from going off on her and her court. If this is how The Clave runs their judicial proceedings, they really are no threat. They are disorganized and incompetent. And I can’t see what the long-term story implications of this trail are. I guess just to show that The Clave isn’t an awesome force of do-gooders, but couldn’t this have been handled in an original fashion – or perhaps how Cassandra Clare unfolds this in the novels?
We got Magnus and Alec alone a few times. Always good. But Magnus totally Indecent Proposal-ed Alec. Even I, a huge Malec fan, struggled to sit through this moment without squirming. I’m trying to figure out why. I think it felt over the top because Magnus is just too forward at the moment (he’s way smoother than this) and Alec doesn’t seem to have a reaction to it. He simply takes the harassment like it’s his duty to carry on with his job while being constantly objectified. It’s not ok in the real world, and it’s not ok in Shadowhunters.
The second alone time with Magnus and Alec, the exchange of the bow and quiver, was better – but I wish they cut the line about Magnus being unhappy too. It would’ve had more impact if he focused on Lydia and Alec making a wrong decision for themselves and didn’t turn it into a selfish plea. I really hope Magnus stops groveling and gets some dating advice about not throwing yourself at your crush.
Valentine’s been using a glamour for a decade or more while raising Jace. Um…ok. Whatever. Granted, the actor portraying Michael Wayland (Adam Harrington) totally looked like he could’ve been Jace’s father (or older brother, but hey that’s Hollywood). Nice casting there. But the scene would’ve had huge impact if they came across Valentine (Alan Van Sprang) and Jace ran to him, ecstatic to see his father.
Instead, we had a drawn out episode of Clary being suspicious, so when we see Valentine we all knew he was in disguise the whole time. The impact was lost. Although, I did totally get a chuckle out of the Best Dad mug.
I guess when you set up a world full of James Bond technology with tons of Shadowhunters in the Institute, you would grow up knowing what Valentine looked like, so the TV show creators had to change his appearance. But…not really, seeing as Jace, Izzy, and Alec had no clue about The Circle or the Lightwoods involvement, and no one was allowed to talk of it. So…yeah, no point to the glamour. Nice try, Shadowhunters.
There were two scenes that I did love. Well, a scene and a half. I give a half to the moment between Jace and Clary after his blood transfusion. It goes to Jace. Granted, he’s recovered superfast, but I’ll chalk that up to Shadowhunter powers. (Btw, the blood came from Raphael. Where did the IV and tubes come from?)
I like Dominic Sherwood’s subtle acting in this scene. Maybe because lately we get so much Jace Face.
Lying on the sofa and twirling his stele between his fingers, Sherwood was subdued and internalizing everything. He did a great job of answering questions with a look from his eyes and a twist of his mouth. Honestly, I wasn’t listening to a thing Katherine McNamara was saying the first time I watched it. I kept admiring Sherwood. In fact, I wanted to rewatch this scene more than this one.
Yes, I know. I’m crazy.
But my favorite scene was at the end between Simon and Luke. It felt like the most honest scene of the episode and true to the books – even though it never happened in the novels. Simon fumbled explaining his lack of a love life to Luke, who knew he was talking about Clary and Jace and dropped the bombshell on Simon that Clace cannot happen. They are brother and sister.
The love between Downworlder Luke and Shadowhunter Jocelyn compounded with the news of Clary and Jace being siblings gives hope to Simon – and to viewers who need more passionate love triangles than MaLydEc.
And now we’ve come to the end of City of Ashes. Two books in less than a season. Whew! I feel like we finished a half marathon.
- Anyone else agree that Magnus needs to play hard to get?
- Valentine glamour rune: yea or nay?
- Chernobyl is now vacant for other villains to claim. Who makes it their new lair?
Catch up on Shadowhunters here.