So I enjoy Shadowhunters. I don’t love it but I don’t hate it. When you’re bored and it’s summertime, there always has to be that one show you actually keep up with. Like I’ve mentioned, I’m not a massive book fan nor a massive show fan so I stand in the middle. I enjoyed 2B for the most part, though there were issues I had with the plot and the inconsistencies with the writing. Overall, I enjoyed Season 2 of Shadowhunters. It was a million times better than Season 1 (which was pretty trashy, let’s be real) and they made some really great improvements. The show is far from perfect or incredible, but I see a lot of potential there.
*SPOILERS FOR SEASON 2B
*This includes my thoughts on each episode, if you’re not interested, you can skip to my thoughts on the plot overall.
S2EP11: I don’t really have many thoughts on this episode, it was honestly kind of forgettable, besides the ending. We are introduced to Sebastian who was a delight. I remember not wanting to like him but Will Tudor is too good at being adorable and pure. But I really didn’t like how Izzy’s yin-fen addiction story came to a close and thought it was far too convenient.
S2EP12: I’m going to be honest, I really don’t like the whole Valentine and Magnus body/ Freaky Friday switch. I didn’t see any purpose in it, besides having a gateway into Magnus opening up about his past. Don’t get me wrong, I loved that Magnus opened up about his past in the future episodes, but I felt the gateway into that could have been a little different. Additionally, I agree with Matthew Daddario who said that Alec was out of character when he assisted the Inquisitor in attempting to execute Valentine. I knew Alec wasn’t going to believe Magnus in Valentine’s body because that too would be OOC. I mean, do you remember how he reacted when he met Sebastian? Total mistrust (he does go and trust him later on which frustrated the hell out of me). But he already had those suspicions in his heart and I don’t think he would just go along with the execution. Also, there’s another awkwardly cut off Malec scene. Is anyone surprised? -_-
S2EP13: I actually really enjoyed this episode, I really liked the beginnings of political tension between the Shadowhunters and Downworlders. There were a lot of parallels between real life racism, especially with Maia’s line on being black and being a werewolf (bless Alisha Wrainwright). The one thing that was ridiculous was that the person was just one rogue Seelie (ironically the one Jace hooked up with) and it was ridiculous how much damage this one Seelie did. Alec became Head of the Institute which I’ve been waiting for since forever. It’s so important to finally have the first openly queer leader in the Shadow World. Also, Magnus and Alec had their fight (Magnus’ frustration was understandable), but the reconciliation was only 20 seconds long! They easily could have cut off one scene (cough*cough* Jace & Maia hookup). The hookup which was completely out of the blue, but if you go back, you can see the supposed sexual tension. In my opinion, they actually seem to have more chemistry than Clace. Either way, it was totally unnecessary and it completely undermined the idea that a boy and girl can just have friendly banter without them being sexual or romantic towards each other.
S2EP14: In this episode came the iconic Seelie Court scene in the books. Personally, I hated that scene in City of Ashes when I read it because it really made me uncomfortable (even with knowing that Clace weren’t siblings). I’m glad they changed it to Clary and Jace knowing they weren’t siblings, which made it a lot less awkward. I don’t really have an opinion on this scene, I think it was adapted well. Alec held a Downworlder cabinet meeting and finally took the first step to improve Downworlder relations which– FINALLY.
S2EP15: This episode was definitely the most emotional episode of the entire season. There was a huge focus on Simon and his heartbreak over Clary and really everything that happened in the past few months (none of which were his fault). However, I do think that there was too much of a focus on Simon and not enough on Magnus. The Shadowhunters social media team promoted so much Malec and Magnus in this episode and it really didn’t live up to what I was expecting. That doesn’t mean that the scene where Magnus opened about his past wasn’t amazing, it was probably my favorite Malec scene ever. But I think the click bait way of promoting leads to a lot of build up and no follow through. I found Magnus’ trauma and PTSD to be more important than Simon’s heartbreak.
S2EP16: So this episode was directed by Paul Wesley, which I’m sure no one was aware of. Seriously, the amount of promoting they did with Paul Wesley directing this episode was ridiculous. Regardless, it was a pretty enjoyable episode. Alan Van Sprang and Will Tudor on screen is golden, since both are probably the best actors on the show (Harry Shum Jr. as well). There is finally some discovery on Sebastian/Jonathan’s backstory which I have a lot of thoughts about (see plot). Simon had his Yom Kippur dinner which was a great job on Jewish representation (written by a Jewish man) and Maia and Simon were adorable.
S2EP17: The hunt for the Mortal Mirror is on and of course Jace and Clary are absolutely reliable participants to search for it. Dot was also brought back in the worst possible way. Is she dead? No one knows. Isn’t Magnus friends with Dot? Is he not aware that his good friend is supposedly dead? Lack of continuity right there. Alec decided to hide the info about the Soul Sword from Magnus (which was understandable in his position), but of course he had to go tell Jace and Clary. What exactly was the point of them knowing at that point? Speaking of, the Magnus and Alec’s fight was golden and had some of the best acting. The facial expressions were too funny and the delivery of the lines were so in character. The best fights always seem to be the ones where you can’t really pick a side. This episode was written by Hollie Overton (author of Baby Doll) and another reviewer mentioned that the script was written too much like a novel and I agree. There was clearly too much going on and it felt like it was written in a narrative format rather than a script. Screenwriting and writing prose are vastly different and it can be hard to differentiate the two but I felt like it was glaringly obvious in this episode.
S2EP18: The hugely anticipated Malec episode has arrived. Definitely one of my favorite episodes of the season and not just because of Malec. I think it was definitely one of the more well rounded and balanced episodes of the season. Sebby is finally revealed as Jonathan/Demon Toast Man. Honestly, the way they were all blindly trusting Sebastian was ridiculous. Especially ALEC. This dude don’t trust anyone and you’re telling me he just put the new charming guy as head of security? I would have liked to see Alec notice more of Sebby’s suspicious behavior. Max is hurt in this episode and I really wish the extent of his injury was shown. It was just shown him being slammed into a desk and now he’s in danger of dying? Being slammed into desk usually results in a concussion, not anything truly life threatening. They could have shown Max being stabbed which they didn’t even need to show it on screen. (I did want Max to die which I talk about more in depth in the storyline section). Magnus looks back on his times with Alec with flashbacks, which were all wonderful and really defined Malec’s relationship. I’m going be honest, I wasn’t expecting them to break up at the end. But the break up was another amazing scene and had some of the best acting yet again. It was heartbreaking to watch, but I was also very impressed with how far Harry Shum Jr. and Matthew Daddario have come.
S2EP19: This episode was… meh. The fighting sequences were done really well and I enjoyed those. However, whoever wrote this episode definitely did not follow through with consistency. Specifically with the parabatai rune. How did Alec feel Jace when he cut his hand but not when he was being hung? It was incredibly inconsistent and just plain lazy writing. Catarina was introduced and she’s already my queen, I loved the scene with Magnus it just felt like Magnus and Catarina being the best friends they are. Madzie is back and cute as ever. It makes my heart happy to know that she’s finally safe and happy.
S2EP20: To be completely honest, I was underwhelmed which is a pretty unpopular opinion. I knew exactly what was going to happen and nothing really surprised me. They made it a little too obvious that Jace would die. Though I didn’t actually think I would have a reaction when Jace died, it definitely tore at my heartstrings. Part of the reason was definitely because Alec was clearly affected by Jace’s death. One of the biggest mishaps in the books was that Alec didn’t seem to be affected by Jace’s death and I’m really glad they fixed it. Jace is resurrected and everything seemed to be fine. So where exactly is the cliffhanger? The ending showed the whole thing with Lilith who is the big bad in Season 3 and Simon who promised the Seelie Queen something, though it’s not clear what he promised. There really wasn’t a huge cliffhanger, just some a lot of things left open ended. Malec has a reconciliation, Luke was adorably drunk (Why did Ollie have to ruin it?), Simon and Maia were really cute. It was a pretty satisfying end, overall.
Storyline: The main story line in 2B was mostly on Jonathan who was introduced as Sebastian Verlac, former yin-fen addict and from the London Institute. At first, I really liked the direction the Sebastian was going. Will Tudor is an incredible actor and he did an amazing job as Sebby/Jonathan. It was when he was introduced as Demon Toast Man or burnt lasagna (as someone eloquently put on twitter) that I decided I liked Sebastian’s story line in the books better. The show already has terrible CGI to begin with and then they introduce this hideous thing. Valentine wasn’t able to control Jonathan’s psychotic urges, so he sent him to Edom (hell) and as a punishment they burned his skin off? I think I would’ve liked this idea more if Jonathan had a Zuko-like scar and still looked remotely human. It’s not that I want a pretty looking villain, it’s just that making him hideous was so conventional. What makes Sebastian so manipulative is his charming, British golden boy attitude. Also, what was the point of Aldertree? I thought it would be a better twist if he was actually Sebastian/Jonathan in disguise. There would have been more of a connection there. Also, Sebby seen as a puppy, loyal to his father was a little overdone, especially at the end. Valentine did die, so hopefully we will see more of a manipulative Sebastian in the next season. I really hope that they do the parabatai bond with Jace, since that was really interesting. At this point, I do actually want them to follow certain plot points from the books, since the plot only gets interesting from here in the books.
Izzy’s yin-fen addiction ends when Sebastian gives her a drop of some concoction that happens to heal her. This was absolutely stupid and quite frankly OOC for Izzy. Obviously, Izzy wasn’t in the right mindset, but you would think she’s learned her lesson on accepting mysterious concoctions from strangers (Ahem, Aldertree?) The one thing I did like was that she went to mundane therapy. This really shows the stigma and complete ignorance of the Clave and their views on mental health and addiction. These ideas are seen as mundane and are taboo topics in the Shadow World (as is sexuality and gender identity). The fact that mundane therapy helped Izzy can potentially lead to the integration of therapy in the Shadow World. Or at least I hope that’s what they’re leading towards. I’ve mentioned this previously but I DO NOT LIKE RIZZY. Their entire relationship was based off drug addiction and was extremely toxic and unhealthy. At this point, there was some foreshadow and I really don’t want them to follow through with it. Listen, I am all for an asexual relationship, but I don’t think this the right way to do it.
Simon is now a Daylighter and that’s explored a little bit, though not too much. He’s now seen as an anomaly in the Downworld and of course the Seelie Queen took an interest. There was a little bit with Simon’s family and Jewish heritage, though nothing else. I really want more of Simon and see him as more than a love interest. In the beginning of 2B especially, he was just a love interest to Clary which was unfortunate. Speaking of Climon, it went on for too long and got to the point of annoying. They were cute in the beginning, but no one even liked the ship, so why go along with it? Though the break up scenes were definitely my favorite Climon scenes (I know, I’m cruel). The acting was especially great in those scenes. Clary and Simon’s friendship is still really great and I’m so happy they’re back as best friends. Simon and Maia are super cute (they deserve the Cutest Downworlders award), but I like them more as friends. Speaking of Maia, loved my queen. I’m so happy that another WOC became a series regular. The scene where she opened up about Jordan was one of my favorite scenes and again the acting was amazing.
Sadly, Luke didn’t get nearly as much screen-time as he deserved. Ollie was introduced as his new, bubbly partner. When I read, Luke’s “new female partner,” I groaned. Luke is still mourning Jocelyn’s death, why must you give him a love interest? Turns out, Ollie has a girlfriend and they’re really cute. I’m not sure where they’re going with Ollie and Sam’s story but I’m here for it. Also, love the Garrobane BROTP. I need more of Luke and Magnus working together and just being Downworlder friends.
I don’t have much to say about Clary and Jace. I’m sorry, but they are not my favorite characters. A few book fans were talking about how Jace is so much more emotional than he is in the books, specifically with the scene where Jace was crying and Alec comforted him. Personally, I like that Jace is far more mature and open to emotions. I mean the dude is around the age of 21, you can’t expect him to be an angsty asshole like he was in the books. Though I do agree he could be less bland and have more of his sarcasm. This is more on the writers than Dom since I think he could do a really great job on the snark. I just wish the writers would make him more three dimensional. My favorite line from him was definitely, “Did he make you spaghetti too?” ICONIC. Also, Jace was killed with a pocketknife? Really? They could have at least used a seraph blade. -_- There was more Clace this season and I was just meh with it. But the courtyard scene was so cringe worthy and cheesy especially with the background music. How convenient was it for Clary to want Jace to get shirtless to put a rune. And of course rom-com worthy staring is included. I was actually dying with laughter at that scene because it was so ridiculous. They could have made the scene better by having Jace and Clary working together rather than making it romantic. I think we can all agree than Malec is so much more authentic than Clace.
In the first season, I really hated that Magnus was only portrayed as a love interest and there were only hints to his past. There was more of a focus on Magnus Bane as the High Warlock of Brooklyn. In 2A there were hints with him helping new Downworlders, his suicide attempt and past with Camille. Here there was more of a focus on his past trauma and PTSD and his worse memory being killing his step-father. In the books (as far as I can remember), there weren’t many moments with Magnus being truly vulnerable. Seeing him breaking down and really losing it made him more human and authentic. Harry’s acting was incredible and he’s probably one of the best actors out of the entire cast. Alec became Head of the Institute which was well deserved. I think out of all the characters, Alec had the most character development. We see this emotionally stunted, repressed and miserable human grow into his own. He’s confident in his position, he’s become more open minded and isn’t held down by the archaic traditions of theClave. Alec is the only select few of the Shadowhunters willing to make a change. He still has so much to learn (like having Downworld leaders speak for themselves rather than try and protect or speak for them), but having him as leader did give Downworld leaders hope. Alec definitely had one of the best character arcs this season .
MALEC: I think we can all admit that the Malec storyline was the best story arc this entire season. 2A was all about developing their relationship, but now that it’s solidified, their are more complications coming its way especially Alec being Head of the Institute. There was a lot of political tension and the two try to balance out their relationship which is obviously becomes difficult when Alec doesn’t tell Magnus about the Soul Sword which leads to their break up.
It is true that Magnus has been neglecting his job as leader of the warlocks in New York. Magnus kind of lets warlocks do their own thing, he’s not exactly a strict leader. But obviously after the Soul Sowrd being missing, he needs to band together the warlocks and teams up with Seelie Queen in order to keep his people safe. A lot of people didn’t like how Magnus was being mean to Alec or that he was being too dramatic about the missing Soul Sword. But you have to remember that this man has been a minority his entire life. When you’re faced with the genocide of your people and your partner what would you choose? Personally, this plot line is so much better than the break up in the books. It’s far more realistic and isn’t over petty drama. Obviously the two reconcile at the end of the season. A lot of people were skeptical things weren’t going to end well, but that would be poor decision making from the showrunners. When I first watched the ending scene in EP 20, I really didn’t like it and thought it was too rushed. I still think there should have been more to it. And how exactly did Magnus come to the decision that he could have both? They could have moved the Ollie story line to Season 3 instead of leaving it hanging. But I do understand that it doesn’t mean things are perfect for Magnus and Alec and they still have a lot more to work through.
I’m sure if you watch the show, you would know that many fans had complaints about the cutoff Malec sex scene in S2EP07. There was a huge controversy over censorship in showing a gay couple getting equal representation and the lack of consent in the scene. I’m going to be honest, I didn’t want a sex scene it’s not something I look forward to seeing in a ship I like. But I do understand why people wanted equal rep. because the straight couples were able to have those scenes, so why couldn’t Malec get equal treatment? One of the biggest surprises of the season was that they actually listened and followed through. I think it’s important to note that the writers of shows rarely ever listen to their fans. I know one of the showrunners said they planned on adding flashbacks from the start, but let’s be real, those scenes were totally based on the rightful backlash received. I’m glad the scenes didn’t sexualize Magnus and Alec’s relationship, especially with the cat eyes scene. It’s rare to find an LGBTQ+ relationship that is healthy and not feshtisized and gets enough screentime. Malec had the most screentime than any other couple on the show, well deserved screentime at that. Out of everything, I was mostly satisfied with Malec this season.
There was a lot of speculation on Max and his coming death. A lot of people wanted him to live, while others wanted them to follow the books. I actually wanted Max to die as well. Now before you call me a heartless monster, hear me out. It’s not like I want an innocent twelve year old child to die. It’s that Max’s death was vital to the storyline. Not just because it provided development for all of the Lightwoods, but because it raised the stakes. The Shadowhunters and Downworlders are at the brink of war and when an innocent child dies, that’s when you know that this is truly war. It makes things far more realistic and brutal and shows the writers and showrunners aren’t afraid to kill off their characters. Obviously Max didn’t die which was a little bit of a disappointment (again, not because he’s a child). I think that they do have more opportunities in the future to add it in, though I don’t think they will.
I will say that fans of the show don’t seem to have as much of an attachment to Max as people did in the books. I think people tend to love Madzie more because she represented a younger child, a warlock who was manipulated into using her powers to kill people. She was even more innocent and adorable, I think what made her special was that she didn’t speak much, she was shy and expressed more with her actions than words. Max represents an innocent child who is privileged and is mostly seen causing trouble (very much like Jace). He’s been brought up in a conservative association and holds on to the those ideals (i.e. calling Magnus a demon). More people seem to connect Madzie more because of her struggle. If she ended up dying, the fandom would probably erupt into flames and people would come with pitchforks at the writers.
Overall, Season 2 was enjoyable and there seems to be a lot of potential for Season 3. The plot can be ridiculous and their is lack of consistency, but the show has more POC and LGBTQ+ that I’ve seen in any other YA adaptation so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. I will be watching Season 3 so there will be reviews of each half of the season. 🙂
Predictions/Theories/What I Want to See for Season 3:
- There will most likely be a bigger time skip (I’m hoping there will be one) like there was in City of Fallen Angels
- The parabatai bond between Sebby and Jace might be a thing. Hopefully, Alec will be affected as well.
- Jordan will hopefully be introduced not as a love interest but as a harmful person apart of Maia’s past
- Things will start off as a happy even if Jace is still suffering (when will the dude get a break?)
- Maia and Simon will break up over Simon lying/hiding about his partnership with Seelie Queen
- Sebastian will have a “relationship” with the Seelie Queen (though I really hope he doesn’t).
- Magnus’ lineage with being Asmodeus’ son and Edom plotline will be brought up
- The immortality issue might be brought up with Malec, but instead of Alec trying to find a way to make himself immortal/ trying to make Magnus mortal, Magnus might be trying to find a way to make himself mortal.
- What I want to see: I really want a conversation on Alec’s sexuality. I want him to admit to Jace that he was in love with him before. I want Jace to console and accept him like he did in the books. I want him to come out to Magnus (where he actually calls himself gay) and for him to have a conversation on him being an openly queer leader in the Shadow World. I want Magnus to be supportive and encouraging which would also be the perfect opportunity for him to say, “I think of myself as a freewheeling bisexual. “
- Alec needs to say (doesn’t have to be S3), “Straight people. Why can’t they control themselves?”
- More Magnus & Maia, Garrobane, Clizzy, Izzy & Alec training scene, Jalec scenes, Maia and Alec interactions, more Aline, Aline & Alec interaction, Aline & Helen, Alec & Catarina interaction, more Madzie and Madzie and Alec.
- Lastly, what we’ve all been asking for, Magnus fighting without his magic. Harry himself has asked for this, so hopefully it happens. Please and thank you. 😉