Go ahead and take a deep breath. Then another. Maybe one more for good measure.
Did that help your head stop spinning after the latest episode of Shadowhunters? It’s okay if you still need a moment. We do, too.
“You Are Not Your Own” picked up where the midseason premiere ended: Valentine lurked in Magnus’ body, outraged at living inside a warlock. Meanwhile, trapped in Valentine’s body, Magnus endured torture, and a near execution at the hands of Inspector Herondale.
Clearly we all wanted to hate her, right? Just like Aldertree, she bulldozed her way into the Institute, hated Clary and Jace on sight, and treated Alec and Magnus like second class citizens. She berated them for not following the rules one minute, and then planned to kill Valentine with the cameras off the next.
If you haven’t read the books, I’m guessing Clary’s brief exposition into the inspector’s tragic backstory probably didn’t resonate much. Losing a child is awful, and an understandable reason for wanting revenge, but on its own, it’s not really enough to justify her being mean to everyone we love.
But holy bombshell, show! They wasted no time revealing Jace is actually the long lost Herondale heir. Valentine literally cut him from his dead mother’s womb because he hated the family so much. Then, he kidnapped Jace (again) to use as a bargaining chip with his grandmother in order to get his body back.
Shadowhunters is burning through their source material at a solid clip, and I love it. They’re mixing things up just enough to keep those of us who did read the books on our toes. I did not expect this revelation so fast. It’s great, though, especially for Jace. He deserves a solid foundation to draw from after everything he’s suffered.
As for Clary, she’s suffering, too. Even though she’s happy and seemingly secure in her feelings for Simon, she chose not to tell him the truth about Jace. She claimed she was looking out for him because he had nothing to worry about, but we all know better than that, right? We saw those looks they exchanged during that training session.
(Side note: her decision not to tell Simon was a bit hypocritical after she gave Jace the honesty speech last week).
Clary almost had a third suitor (and spoiler alert: this is another plot line from the later books in the series). Sebastian arrived at the Institute to lend his expertise. He took a particular shining to Clary, and encouraged her to tap into her emotions in order to reactivate her power. It worked, but there was something creepy about the way he stressed how alone she was in the world.
For argument’s sake, we could believe it’s because he can relate. He told Izzy he’d lost his mother. And while it’s true Clary doesn’t have a traditional family, she’s got Simon, and Luke, and Jace, and Izzy, and Alec, and Magnus so she doesn’t need whatever loner vibe Sebastian is selling. Alec’s instincts not to trust anyone are right on the mark with this one.
Can we get more Simon and Izzy team-ups, please? They’re so much fun together. On paper, nothing should work about their friendship, but it does on every level. Izzy helped Simon gain leverage against Raphael…which, unfortunately, led to Raphael attempting to kill him (damn it, Raphael, we were rooting for you!).
It also gave Izzy a chance to share her past trauma with someone who understands. Simon knows all about addiction because of his mom. He offered to introduce Izzy to a support group. And he initially backed off from the favor rather than putting her in a position to be near temptation.
Now that even more people know about Simon being a Daylighter, it’s a safe bet this will lead to more trouble for him. And possibly for Raphael, too. Could the reason he’s so anti-Simon be that he’s afraid of losing control of his vampire army? Maybe they’d rather follow a Daylighter.
Finally, Magnus and Alec, you guys. Obviously we already knew Alan Van Sprang was the best. But how great was he as Magnus trapped in Valentine’s body? My heart broke when Magnus pleaded with Alec to believe him. And when he called out to “Alexander” in a desperate effort to survive, it hurt so much to watch Alec walk away.
Now that everyone is back in their correct bodies, the question is where do they go from here? I don’t think Magnus will hold what happened against Alec. He did, after all, ultimately believe him, and save him. And Valentine is manipulative so we can’t blame Jace for dismissing Alec’s initial concerns.
But what Magnus saw under torture probably isn’t going to fade with a good night’s sleep or two. Will the show explore more of Magnus’ long, complicated past? I hope so. I want to learn more about him, and I want to watch Alec learn more about the man he loves, too. The story possibilities are endless.