The search for Valentine is on as Clary and Jace venture to Idris and while they delivered a very promising episode, could the series be burning through key plots too quickly?
This week’s episode was directed by Paul Wesley, the very same man who played Stefan Salvatore in The Vampire Diaries, and visually it was a brilliantly directed episode. Perhaps there could be a little bias in there, but it did feel as though the episode potentially surpassed its predecessors, and he must have done well as Paul has already been invited back to direct in Season 3.
Although ‘Day of Atonement’ felt as though it was more of a filler episode, there was just enough plot points to progress the overall plot slightly.
The episode opens with a flaming pentagram with a body rising from it, and the narration by Sebastian (Will Tudor) reveals that it is him with his burnt flesh, just as we saw at the end of last week’s episode. From now on, Sebastian will be referred to his rightful name, Jonathan.
It’s interesting to see how the series have twisted his character, as this iteration was actually banished to Edom by Valentine (Alan Van Sprang) and then freed with the aid of Azazel, the Greater Demon. Whilst there, he was shown how to draw power from his demon blood, so it seems Jace (Dominic Sherwood) and Clary (Katherine McNamara) aren’t going to be the only ones with certain gifts. Could Shadowhunters bring more of Valentine’s experiments into play down the track if they survived? It would make for some interesting episode ‘villains’ if done correctly.
The Morgenstern’s aren’t the only family reuniting this episode as Robert Lightwood (Paulino Nunes) returns as the Clave’s envoy after the Institute’s failed transfer of Valentine. Things aren’t peachy for this family either after Max reads confidential information causing him to get into trouble.
Clary’s Got Her Mojo Back
While things are still awkward between Jace and Clary, the two work together to find Valentine. Jace’s request to visit a cabin in Idris was denied, but as Clary stares at a map and a score sounding very similar to that of The Flash plays overhead, a rune appears to her. Once drawn, she creates her own portal leading them to Idris, which thankfully had some dollars put towards its CGI after some recent fails.
Jace’s shock at Clary creating a portal is short-lived when Clary begins to not feel so well, and without the aid of their steles, she’s unable to activate her iratze. Luckily Jace has the parabatai bond so Alec (Matthew Daddario) soon recognises something is amiss and discovers the two are missing with portal shards littered throughout the room. After a reluctant agreement from Mr Lightwood, Alec sends Isabelle (Emeraude Toubia) after them.
Meanwhile, Clary gets separated from Jace and sees and angel. An angel which turns out to be a younger and hotter looking Ithuriel (Benjamin Sutherland) as he has his strength back. He tells Clary that Jonathan is alive, but in her current state, she’s unable to comprehend.
Izzy To The Rescue
Dressed in all black and ready to kick some butt, it is great to see Isabelle’s character returning to normal after her poor arc as a yin fen addict. She reaches Jace and lends her stele so he can activate his iratze, which is conveniently placed on his abs for muscular abs money shot. Isabelle reveals that Lake Lyn has hallucinogenic properties if the water is ingested, and this is clear when the find Clary and she begins to fend them off.
Surprisingly, she does quite well for herself, especially when she’s going up against two Shadowhunters trained practically from the womb whilst also out of her mind. After smashing Izzy’s stele, they have no way to heal her, but once Jace grabs on to her to calm her down, he manages to activate one of her runes, just as he has done for himself before. Naturally, this causes a ‘moment’ between the two, which is to be expected.
A Lewis Get Together, Plus Maia
Now it’s not all action in this episode as Maia (Alisha Wainwright) finds Simon (Alberto Rosende) to be moping over his recent breakup. After he announces he is fasting and atoning for his sins in honour of the Jewish holiday, Yom Kippur. Alongside many holidays and traditions, there’s typically a family get together, so Maia turns up to escort him to his family dinner. She introduces herself as Simon’s girlfriend and gets along quite well with the three Lewis women.
After their dinner, it seems as though Simon is feeling a little better about himself and comes to the realisation he never really got to know Maia when they were seeing each other. Maia leaves after giving Simon a sweet kiss on the cheek, so it seems we will be seeing more of those two in the next few episodes.
The Truth Comes Out
A few minor secrets and truths are spilled this episode too. When Alec thanks his father for helping him keep his position, he enquires as to how he did just that. Robert reveals he convinced Inquisitor Herondale by blackmailing them with the secret the Clave are hiding, which happens to be the Clave never recovered the Soul Sword and its location is unknown.
But have no fear, because Jonathan has it of course, and he’s ready to send it along with Valentine to Edom as punishment. But before he does, Valentine grabs hold of the sword to convince Jonathan he does care about him since he can’t lie whilst holding it.
When Izzy, Clary, and Jace make it to Valentine’s cabin, the two are nowhere to be seen, and instead, they’ve relocated themselves to Jonathan’s apartment where they play happy family over a dinner. How quaint.
Lastly, Jace discovered journals at the cabin which contain details about Valentine’s experiment and he notes that himself and a boy named Jonathan were at opposite ends of an experiment. It is here that Clary finally realises her brother is truly alive.
Overall, if you cut through the clear cheesiness of the show and the fact that it’s never going to be a series which stands out, the show is doing well for itself this season with improvements on dialogue, filming, and acting. The only concern is how they’ve modified the series and brought reveals forward, such as Clary and Jace not being siblings and the fact Sebastian is Jonathan, as these did not happen until the third book, City of Glass. While there’s no issue in changing plots, because it is an adaption after all, it’s concerning to see some very pivotal moments brushed over so early and relatively quickly in the series without the attention it deserves.
I suppose this keeps the series at a constant rather than having constant filler episodes where nothing affects the overall arc, but being a television series, they have so many opportunities to develop characters and explore their arcs as well. It’s definitely difficult to tell where they are going with the series sometimes, and this is great when it comes to someone who knows the Shadowhunter world inside and out, so it will be interesting to see just what this season will end on.
Shadowhunters returns next week with ‘A Dark Reflection’.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Let us know in the comments below!