Excuse this recap for being a bit late, I was busy watching youtube videos of guinea pigs leaping in slow motion.
In other fantastic news, Stitchers a.k.a.the superior Freeform crappy show, is back! And it’s on Tuesday night, meaning my bad acting and worse accents quota is now complete.
This Shadowhunters episode contains many of the same beloved Shadowhunters-isms we’ve seen numerous times in the past, so I’ve decided it’s time for a drinking game. If you’d like to play along, I highly recommend a nonalcoholic beverage unless you’ve got a hollow leg, as the Unicorner does not wish to be responsible for any alcohol poisoning.
Tonight’s episode hinges around a bit of a mystery, meaning you’d have to be completely brain dead not to see the twist coming from 39.5 miles away, which means you’re probably as stupid as the writers think you are, and definitely as stupid as Jace.
But I get ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning.
So last week, Clary and Jace portaled into Chernobyl from the alternate universe of boring. They find Jace’s Dad, Michael, imprisoned there, but no sign of Valentine or Jocelyn. Michael informs them he’s been here for 10 years and that Valentine took off with Jocelyn. Jace and Michael have a tearful father/son reunion before Jace’s condition worsens—remember, he was stung by the poisonous tentacle demon last week. The gang has to bounce soon if they want to save Jace’s life. Take your time, guys. To prove he’s really who he says he is, Michael shares a childhood anecdote with Jace and of course it’s some “tough love” type story because what other kind of stories can tortured
Gary Stus broody heroes have?
1. Someone tells a childhood anecdote in lieu of characterization. 🍺
Meliorn closed the portal from the Instaworld, but luckily, Valentine has a conveniently open portal Michael leads them to.
2. A quick and dirty plot convenience occurs. 🍺
Back at the Institute, Alec and Isabelle talk about her upcoming trial. They conclude that the only way to save Isabelle is to get the Mortal Cup, though Isabelle seems resigned to her fate at this point yet also defiant. She’d rather be stripped of her runes than be a part of an organization as corrupt, ineffective, and obsessed with the letter of the law to the point of forgetting the spirit of it. So basically, most bureaucracies. The Clave are holding the trial immediately, clearly more interested in making an example of Isabelle than in actual justice. Alec plans to stall as long as he can in order to get the Cup back from Jace.
3. Someone haggles over the Mortal Cup. 🍺
At the Jade Wolf, Luke tries to train Simon by setting a piece of raw bloody meat before him. Cool, so does he get a treat if he can pee in a box? Also, why is Luke training Simon? Isn’t that Raphael’s job?
Jace, Clary, and Michael burst in, hastily informing Luke that they just missed Valentine. OK… but if the Instaworld portal was supposed to bring them to Valentine, why would it drop them in his hideout after he’s flown the coop?
Palpatine Valentine’s behind it all! 🍺
Jace needs a blood transfusion, so Clary and Simon head to the DuMort to see if the vampires have a few spare blood bags on hand. Raphael initially refuses to help them but Simon confronts him with gossip he’d heard among the vamps that Camille kept some humans around to occasionally snack on but not kill. Raphael disdainfully calls the humans “Subjugates” and says Camille eventually got sick of them, so now they’re gone.
5. A creature, person, place, event, or organization has a generic Capitalized name (yes, I know you can’t tell from spoken dialogue, but you can usually imagine it’s capitalized in prose form). 🍺
I’m wondering if the Subjugates will be a future plot point, but considering how this show neglects to lay groundwork for existing plot points, I’m not holding my breath.’
I also never cease to be amused that every important (or in some cases, unimportant) entity in this show has some super generic name. I’m thinking the writers were going for dramatically vague monikers like the Alliance in Alias or the Cabal in The Blacklist but this trope kind of loses its impact when everything in the damn show has some Capitalized Name That Really Means Nothing.
Simon is still convinced Camille has extra blood lying around, so he blackmails Raphael to help or else he’ll tattle about the whole kidnapping mess. Can we move on from this shit already? I feel like we keep hearing the same threats among this group of people over and over again. Find some new drama.
6. The vampires or Shadowhunters try to blackmail or threaten each other over the Simon kidnapping/vamping thing. 🍺
Raphael retrieves the blood bags from a safe cleverly hidden behind a painting with a keypad next to it.
Simon asks for Type O universal donor blood because he and Clary don’t know Jace’s blood type. Raphael is impressed by Simon’s chutzpah and promotes him to his new adviser, which means he has to stay at the DuMort. Good, maybe this means he’ll be absent for the rest of this episode. Clary leaves with the blood bags.
Alec speaks to Lydia on Isabelle’s behalf, trying to delay the trial. Before he can get anywhere some Clave motherfuckers just march right the fuck on in from the set of a pseudohistorical B-movie.
This scene gives us some of this cast’s finest acting yet when they don’t immediately laugh their asses off the second these clowns arrive.
7. Something egregiously stupid, tacky, or just wtf-inducing even by this show’s standards appears. 🍺
Following the procession is a dour middle-aged redheaded woman who’s apparently the Clave judge. The judge confronts Lydia, demanding the latter’s word that her engagement to Alec will not affect Isabelle’s trial. The judge likens the Shadowhunters’ recent streak of rule-breaking to the Circle’s behavior before the Uprising. Right, because Shadowhunters breaking rules to fight Valentine and help downworlders is clearly the exact same thing as Valentine’s followers going around killing downworlders for funsies. Wait, isn’t that what the Clave were planning on doing to Meliorn? O, snap.
8. Someone evokes this show’s answer to Godwin’s Law, with Valentine/the Circle. 🍺
9. This show contradicts its own internal logic. 🍺
While Jace recuperates at the Jade Wolf, Michael talks to Clary. He immediately starts gushing over how fearless/loving/etc. Clary is after knowing her for maybe a few hours.
10. Jace or Clary get informed attribute-d. 🍺
Michael starts lowkey defending Valentine by emphasizing his love for Jocelyn and, if he’d known her, Clary.
Clary and Jace talk about his Dad. Clary evokes the infamous falcon story and finally figures out that Jace was the boy in it.
11. Clary is about 10 steps behind us or says something patently ridiculous, like asking the Old Spice guy if he’s her biological father. 🍺
Clary can’t reconcile that story with what she has seen of Michael’s personality after knowing him for all of a few hours. Guess Mikey’s not the only one throwing out the informed attributes. Clary admits being a little “jealous” that Jace got his Dad back while Jocelyn’s still missing, a dialogue snippet that would make sense on its own but is a bizarre juxtaposition after reminding us Michael’s a falcon killer. The convo then shifts to Jace and Clary’s feelings during their Instaworld adventure, and they make out.
Now that Jace is better, the gang gathers for story time with Michael. He says that during his captivity, Valentine injected him with demon blood. In time, Michael developed demon super powers and overheard Valentine talking about his plans. Valentine needed a base of operation closer to the NYC Institute and chose a place called Renwicks—a deserted smallpox hospital on an island in the east river, an ideal spot as Shadowhunters cannot track people over water.
Jace wants to go check it out, but Clary insists that he rest while she goes with Luke instead.
12. Jace risks his health/well-being or is just stupid for the sake of appearing manly/macho or for action-movie heroics.
Alec approaches Magnus about serving as Isabelle’s defense attorney. Wait, what? In addition to owning a club, being the high warlock of Brooklyn, and a professional hedonist, Magnus squeezed in law school, too? Well, he is 300 years old, so it’s not like he didn’t have the time, I guess. Magnus finds a loophole in the Clave’s anti-downworlder rules that will allow him to represent Isabelle. Since he’s still pouting over Alec’s engagement, he demands a price—at first he asks for Alec (can’t fault him for straightforwardness), but settles for the latter’s bow and quiver.
Clary and Luke check out Renwick’s, a name I can’t help but think sounds more like a fancy department store than a smallpox hospital. Clary is suspicious of Michael and points out some inconsistencies in his story, including something Michael said about Luke becoming a werewolf which was the same thing Luke told Clary that Valentine had said when it happened. Did this sentence confuse you or what? Well, it confused me too, so I rewound the episode and rewatched the scenes in which Michael and Luke interacted. I never found anything about Luke becoming a werewolf other than a brief line in which he tells Michael that Jocelyn got him through it. So what is Clary referring to here? Was it part of a scene that got cut? Eh, fuck it. We hear some ominous growling coming from the hospital.
Time for a fanservicey training scene! Which reminds me:
13. There’s a fanservicey training scene. 🍺
Jace is training with Michael, who complains that Jace is still weak. Um no shit? He just got stung by some poisonous tentacle demon and needed a blood transfusion to survive. Jace blames his weakened bond with Alec on account of last week’s locating ritual. He also blames Clary (wait, what? How does Clary weaken him? Is she a succubus? If so, this show just got way more interesting). Jace tells Michael about the whole mess with the Clave and the Mortal Cup and his falling out with Alec. With all that’s going on, Michael seems to think it’s Jace’s relationship with Clary that is compromising Jace’s ability to do his Shadowhunter duties.
14. Love leads to the Dark Side. 🍺
It’s time for
Lol Law and Order: Shadowhunters Unit! The trial scenes are just the same old bullshit we’ve heard week and week regarding the Clave’s policies and decisions. A memorable line from Magnus: “It’s the Cup! Put the Cup on trial!” First off, does someone really get paid to write this shit, and second, how can I get in on it? Magnus and Isabelle’s impassioned speeches win Lydia over and she rescinds her charges. Everyone celebrates until the Clave judge is like, “Fuck this, bitch is guilty, now give me the Mortal Cup or Isabelle gets kicked out of the club.” Perhaps a more accurate title would be How to Get Away With Trying to Murder A Seelie.
Meanwhile, Clary and co. plan their mission to rescue Jocelyn. Clary wants to use the Cup to control all the demons, but Michael objects on grounds that Valentine wants her to use it so he can take it from her. Clary’s like, let him try, because it’s obvious by now that the easiest way to manipulate this lot is to try to talk sense into them in the face of their rule-breaking action-flick bravado.
15. Someone breaks a rule or displays a general lack of common sense in the name of action-movie bravado. 🍺
The gang make their move and are attacked by Valentine’s lackeys. Jace, Michael, and Luke fight them off while Clary slips into the hospital. More lackeys show up, led by a guy I think is Valentine’s head lackey though I admittedly can’t keep up with this shit, and he calls Luke out. Luke tells Michael and Jace to find Clary while he holds these guys off. Jace hesitates, but Michael convinces him.
Meanwhile, Clary infiltrates deeper into the hospital—which is suspiciously absent of demons the entire time—and finds Jocelyn. I ask how she knew where to find her when hospitals are generally large and confusing if you don’t know where you’re going, but whatever. There’s a hilarious “drops the light saber” shot when Clary first catches sight of Jocelyn, who’s still comatose and suspended in a green cgi cloud.
16. A visual, image, or highly specific detail is blatantly ganked from another recent franchise. 🍺
Jace and Michael run in and suddenly there are all these demons in pursuit. Why are they chasing Jace and Michael and not Clary? Were they all asleep at the switch? Is
Palpatine Valentine behind it all?
Jace and Michael barricade the door with a rune. Clary inquires after Luke, they tell her, and she insists on saving him until Michael and Jace talk her down.
Clary busts out the cup and demands the demons find Valentine. Nothing happens. Michael wants to try because apparently he’s got more Mortal Cup mojo or something, and Clary just gives him the cup. Once it’s in his hands, he runes himself and morphs into Valentine.
17. Someone has glamoured themselves as someone else and now reveals their true self 🍺
Jace stares in shock while Clary just stands there smirking. I’d be smirking too, if I weren’t so busy drinking. Valentine tries to command the demons and nothing happens. Then, to absolutely no one’s surprise but Jace’s, Clary reveals that she’s glamoured a coffee mug to look like the Cup and busts out the real Cup. Valentine has his “Curses! Foiled Again!” moment before dropping a bombshell: Michael Wayland was a glamour all along, and he’s really Jace’s father.
#4, #16 🍺
18. A secret familial relationship is revealed 🍺
19. Real or implied incest is happening 🍺
Shit, just chug it.
OK, wait a minute. Valentine is supposed to be the ultimate supremo big bad of big bads (well, according to this show’s mythology), the guy so scary people are afraid to say his name, etc. He’s so evil and crafty he carried out a long con glamouring himself as another person, but he can’t see through a simple glamour performed by a novice (Clary)? This show has repeatedly stressed that glamours are fairly easily seen through if you know what to look for—remember Jace teaching Clary to see through glamours at the downworld Peach Pit and then at the police precinct a few episodes ago? I could kinda buy that Valentine might be exceptionally skilled at glamours compared to the demons and shapeshifters of previous episodes, but that doesn’t answer why he is so easily fooled by one. Unless he also knew it was a glamour and this was his plan all along—eh, fuck it.
20. This show writes itself into a logistical rubix cube that eventually ends with “eh, fuck it.” 🍺
After causing sufficient mayhem and fucking up his progeny’s lives with his dramatic revelation, Valentine portals the fuck on outta there.
The gang bring Jocelyn back to the Institute, where she’s still floating in her cgi coma. I wonder how this transport went. Did they like, nudge her in the direction they’re walking, kind of like rolling a big ball around? Clary gave Lydia the Mortal Cup so Isabelle is off the hook now. Jace wants to have it out with Alec in a flurry of bad acting, but Alec is over this shit already and tells Jace to get his shit straight. He peaces out, leaving Clary and Jace alone with comatose Jocelyn. Jace asks Clary how she knew about Valentine, aside from the glaringly obvious hints. Clary says Michael knew that Jocelyn was pregnant when she fled from Valentine, an interesting choice of detail considering she did not mention this to Luke during their earlier discussion of this topic.
Alec gives Magnus his bow and quiver, like he promised, and I didn’t bother to take notes on this scene because I guess it was just the same old shit, different scene, or I was too busy drinking to bother. Magnus ends up giving Alec back the bow and quiver since it was never about the payment anyway.
Luke and Simon are back in the Jade Wolf. Guess Raphael gave Simon the evening off. Luke fills Simon in on everything that happened. and Simon is heartened to see that Luke still loves Jocelyn even after becoming a werewolf. Um… why wouldn’t he? Simon’s obviously the same
annoying asshole person post-vamping and feels the same way about the people in his life. And it’s obvious downworlders and Shadowhunters can love each other, as evidenced by Isabelle and Meliorn. This is clearly a clumsy attempt at a parallel between Simon/Clary and Luke/Jocelyn to fan those love triangle flames. Luke informs Simon that Jace and Clary have been Luke and Leia’d, and Simon gets hopeful, thinking he has a chance. Clearly, he’s never watched Game of Thrones, which you’d think would be a staple on a nerdy undersexed white boy’s DVR.
21. Luv triangles. 🍺
We end on a scene of Jace being broody and tortured, and we’re stuck with (even more) emo!Jace for the remainder of the season, aren’t we?
22. A scene/event/conversation emphasizes Jace’s emo-hood. 🍺
Thankfully, that’s only two more episodes of the season—provided we’re all still standing at the end.