Spoiler Warning. Angels, I’ve been struggling this season. We’re only four episodes in, but I feel like we’ve seen so many repeated plot points and wayward trajectories that I’m holding on to this finale by a thread. A final season shouldn’t mean a failing season, but that’s what it feels like to me.
Through Lost Souls, Original Sin, Beati Bellicosi, and A Kiss from a Rose, we watched Clary be captured by Jonathan, flee into the beautifully shot snowy hills of Siberia (seriously, gorgeous shots here, so kuddos for that at least), get captured again, attempt escape again in Paris, captured again, escape again, get tricked into thinking Jonathan was Jace but figure it out to escape yet again – only to let Jonathan get away. Seriously, we are four episodes in and Clary is her own walking Amber Alert.
I understand this is a key problem with episodic television, but like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Shadowhunters is more than another whodunit in the Downworld of the week. There is a large story and plot at play. Doubt me, then google The Mortal Instruments. It took Cassandra Clare two trilogies to tell this story. So why are we being subjected to a rehashing of the same plot over and over again this season?
I’m ok with the Clary/Jace switcheroo. Jonathan took his sister instead of her boyfriend. Fine. Bold move, but have the balls to stick with that move. Keep Clary fighting from inside with Jonathan as Simon and Jace and the Scooby gang at the Institute fight him from the outside. But don’t keep thrusting her back into the arms of Jace. Where is the tension in that? Where are the stakes when we know Clary will escape after every episode? And why should we want to watch the same damn thing every week?
My disappointment also lies with the subplots. The random story line of Iris trying to kidnap Madzie went nowhere. Was it all to make Magnus lose his powers? Who cares because he got them back already. Here lies my issue: why should we invest in a story with no stakes? Of course Magnus has his magic back because these story lines don’t have consequences past one episode.
I want to love this season. It’s the last season, and I’ve come to love this cast – flaws and all. But the writing and lack of stakes is leaving me frustrated. It isn’t like they don’t have a wonderful, internationally loved blue print to go by. My hope is this is the desperate scramble to produce before the heart of the story kicks in, before the stakes are elevated, before the drama unfolds. Is this show perfect? No, it never has been. But it has been fun. It has its fans who deserve more than what they’re being given right now.
At least we still have this:
Watch Shadowhunters on Monday 9/on Freeform. Photos courtesy of Freeform.
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