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‘Shadowhunters’ Winter Finale Review: The Power of Pure Angel Blood

(Freeform/John Medland)

That’s more like it, Shadowhunters.

After weeks of uneven, somewhat uneventful episodes, “By the Light of Dawn” served as a gripping winter finale.

The action-filled hour moved quickly. Picking up where last week left off, Valentine used Simon as leverage to convince Clary to come to the Institute. He’d infiltrated the wards with the help of the littlest warlock.

And because the Clave is prepared for anything, the Institute had its own lightning source. Everything was in place for Clary to activate the Soul Sword, and allow Valentine to destroy the Downworlders in his path.

(Freeform/John Medland)

But Jace thought he had a better plan. After he and Clary showed Magnus their shared vision, Magnus and Dot deduced it was a metaphor. Complicated riddle short: the Morgenstern with demon blood could destroy the sword—and himself in the process.

We all knew Jace would sacrifice himself, even after he told everyone he wouldn’t. He’s the hero. That’s what heroes do. He’d rather die than let anyone else, especially Clary, be hurt. So no one, not even Valentine, was shocked when he picked up the sword.

Also not shocking, whether you read the books or not, Jace didn’t destroy the sword. He doesn’t have demon blood. Like Clary, he has pure angel blood. Not because they share a father. Valentine confirmed as much with the Soul Sword in his hands so Jace knew he was telling the truth. He wasn’t his son or Jocelyn’s or Clary’s brother.

Color me shocked…said no one.

(Freeform/John Medland)

However, I am surprised we found out this soon. Of course Jace hasn’t told Clary yet because he saw her happy with Simon, and went inside to pout. But Alec knows and he’s not big on secrets. This one will come out sooner rather than later. Now it’s just a question of how long they drag the love triangle out (#TeamClace).

Speaking of Simon, Valentine sliced his neck open at one point so he needed to feed. Everyone thought he was feeding on Clary, and almost killing her, but it turned out to be Jace in disguise. This bromance could be epic…once we get past the stupid love triangle keeping them from becoming bickering besties.

Jace’s blood not only saved Simon’s life, both from Valentine, and from the Soul Sword, he also gave him the power to walk in the sun again! Pure angel blood is powerful.

(Freeform/John Medland)

Raphael managed to survive the Soul Sword (thankfully!) because he sped out of the room. But things aren’t going well with Izzy. After he told her he wasn’t interested in sex, she realized he hid her phone to stop her from getting to the Institute. It snapped Izzy out of her daze, and she headed to the fight in time to rescue Alec and Aldertree.

As far as Raphael goes, is there a bigger story as to why he’s not interested in sex? Is he asexual? If so, will the writers give the story the focus and care it deserves? I hope so, but we know they’ve dropped the ball in the past. It’s also possible he was lying because he wanted an excuse to leave. He was trying to protect Izzy in his own misguided way.

Maia got the short end of the stick again. When she tried to stop Luke and Jace, Luke tasered her. Seriously. Eventually, she came around and agreed to help Luke. She convinced the other werewolves to help, too (although, shouldn’t Luke just be able to order them to as alpha?). Maia is an intriguing character played by a fantastic actress. Stop making her the “bad” guy. And stop torturing her.

Speaking of bad guys, apparently Aldertree is not one? Sorry, I still have my doubts. Sure, he helped Alec, and he told the story of falling in love with a werewolf, and then killing her. But he’s still shady. There’s still no explanation for why he used Izzy or why he was so anti-Jace. I’m going to need a lot more evidence of him being on the right side before I’ll stop side-eying him.

Last, but far from least, Alec panicked when he thought Magnus might have died in the Soul Sword attack. He was ready to tear Clary’s head off, and he turned his back on his Parabatai when Jace admitted he activated the sword. Alec’s grown so much this season. He’s not afraid to show his emotion and he’s started to realize there’s more to life than the job.

Obviously, Magnus survived. He’d taken Madzie away after he rescued her from Valentine’s nonsense. The reunion was beautiful, made even more so when Alec confessed his love. Magnus told him that he loved him, too. Heart eyes everywhere. Say what you want about danger and emotion, but there’s no question it’s genuine.

These two lead insane lines. One or both of them could die at any moment. It’s important that they tell each other how they feel, and stop trying to hide things or dance around them. We know there will still be obstacles, but let’s go ahead and bask in their happiness for now.

Valentine was captured, and taken to the Clave. I don’t want to say it was too easy, because it wasn’t, but I’m sure he still has a trick or two up his sleeves. And someone in the shadows made off with the Soul Sword…

See you guys back here in June for the second half of the season.

About the author

Mandy Treccia

Mandy Treccia has served as TVSource Magazine’s Executive Editor since 2016, formerly as Editorial Director from 2012-2016. She is an avid TV watcher and card carrying fan girl prone to sudden bursts of emotion, ranging from extreme excitement to blind rage during her favorite shows and has on more than once occasion considered having a paper bag on hand to get her through some tough TV moments. Her taste in TV tends to rival that of a thirteen-year-old girl, but she’s okay with that. Follow her on Twitter at @SourceMandy.