‘Shadowhunters’ Review: The Pacing Puzzlement

(Freeform/John Medland)

Is anyone else’s head spinning after the latest episode of Shadowhunters?

“A Window to an Empty Room” delivered revelation on top of revelation, which should have been exciting.

Instead, the hour alternated between info dumps and characters suddenly being far smarter than they have been all season.

The pacing of the show is a disgrace.

(Freeform/John Medland)

Lilith continues to villain monologue her dastardly plans. She has Jace right where she wants him and even though she erased his love for Clary, he still understands what’s happening.


Let’s assume she’s talking about the fact that she turned him into a Mundane Murderer. As a Shadowhunter, he’s sworn to protect innocent lives. So that would clearly mess him up.

Except, the past episodes led us to believe that Clary was the only thing that broke the spell she had over him. So if that’s the case, how could Jace interact with his family and act like everything was normal?

Shouldn’t he have been skulking in the shadows, waiting to murder at any moment? And if Lilith only needed one more mundane, why didn’t she instruct him to grab the first one he saw?

(Freeform/John Medland)

I know, I know. That wouldn’t have been as dramatic as Jace targeting Charlie, and then Ollie. There was a nice layer of suspense to the family dinner. Would Jace kill Charlie? Would Izzy save him and discover Jace?

The same story played out with Simon and Maia. Heidi revealed herself to Simon, tossed out exposition dialogue to get him caught up to how she came into existence, and then Simon’s Hot/Crazy scale kicked into high gear.

Again, how can we not cringe at the pacing?

Simon fed on Heidi last season. Raphael tortured her for a few episodes, then she nearly killed him, and now she’s finally sharing her brand of insanity with Simon. Then—boom—he turns her over to the Praetor and everyone’s safe again.

It’s enough to give viewers whiplash.

As a book fan, I do appreciate the nods to Simon and Izzy (Heidi mistook Izzy for Simon’s girlfriend). And I recognize this as the Maureen story. I just wish the show writer’s had taken more care with the execution.

Of course Heidi could show up again. We still don’t know much about the Praetor. Speaking of, why would Kyle abandon his mission to protect Simon? Again, book fans, we know the answer, but onscreen, it doesn’t make much sense.

(Freeform/John Medland)

(Okay, it makes a little sense given the New Jersey anvils and Kyle making excuses not to meet Maia. But logically, a protector should not flee the scene).

Did anyone else wonder why Maryse returned out of the blue? She’s been de-runed so things are super awkward at the Institute (Shadowhunters are not a friendly crowd in general. Even less so to those they consider traitors).

It crossed my mind that she might be Jace’s target since she’s living as a Mundane now. But she still has angel blood so I assume she doesn’t count. In addition to poking around her children’s love lives, she and Luke seem to be sparking.

(I could ship it).

But Luke might be a little busy at the moment now that Jace attacked Ollie.

(Freeform/John Medland)

Magnus and Clary teamed up with to figure out what’s up with the greater demon controlling the owl and also to compare notes on their loves lives (we’ll get to Malec in a moment).

This is the part where characters suddenly remembered they’re smart. Magnus tested Clary and declared the greater demon she was looking for was the same one that had corrupted the ley lines. Then, he contacted a silent brother to help them.

Once Clary learned from Brother Zachariah that Jace never arrived at the Silent City, Magnus realized the woman who asked for the love erasing potion was likely the greater demon controlling the owl.

The group was not fast enough to stop Jace from attacking Ollie, but Luke did shoot him a few times so his owl mask disappeared, giving Clary confirmation on her suspicions.

Seriously, my head is spinning.

(Freeform/John Medland)

It’s good that it’s out in the open; especially since Lilith is one mundane away from resurrecting Jonathan. But can you imagine how much better this entire story would have been if the pacing hadn’t started out so slow only to finish at warp speed?

Finally, we have to talk about Malec and the heartbreak heading our way.

Alec’s still hung up on Magnus’ mementos and the fact that he’ll get old and die while Magnus will not. Magnus tried to reassure him, but they ended up fighting and Alec stormed out after Magnus told him to stop acting like a child.


Magnus thinks Alec feels this way because he’s never been in a relationship. He might have a point, but Random Shadowhunter made a great point, too. Nephilim love fiercely and only fall in love once.

(Let’s see if Luke and Maryse prove that theory false).

Alec is acting immature, but Magnus is discarding his feelings too easily. It’s the kind of problem honest communication could fix. But chances are they will be too busy to have that conversation any time soon.

Welcome to Angst-ville.

Miscellaneous Musings

-Brother Zachariah mentioned Will Herondale! I loved Will so much, you guys. He might be my favorite book character (that being said, don’t get me started on how much I hated the ending to that series).

-Was it really necessary for Lilith to kiss Jace in order to pass on her demon mojo? And if she wanted to screw with him, would a kiss bother him that much if he’s forgotten his love for Clary?

-What’s up with Alec’s Shadowhunter friend? I can’t tell if they’re going for a triangle that no one wants or if he’s just a random sounding board for Alec. Judging by the looks, I’m worried it’s the first one.

-Maia and Simon are so cute. Kyle’s absolutely going to mess that up, but for now, I love how she refuses to be afraid, but he still insisted on keeping an eye on her to the point he stopped blinking.

-Alec and Jace getting up in Izzy’s romantic business when they found out about Charlie was cute. These comedic moments are always great. Do more of them, show.

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.

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