Shadowhunters might be one of the most compelling fantasy shows on television right now but, like any series geared toward young adults, it never shies away from featuring its fair share of relationship drama. This was showcased to a massive degree in the latest episode, “How Are Thou Fallen,” which found many of our favorite characters experiencing the highs and lows of romantic, platonic and rivalrous relationships. And while this might sound like a buzzkill to anyone hoping to escape the adolescent angst which permeates so many shows on television, it actually managed to do this in a way that felt fresh and insightful.
We begin this review, as always, with Clary, who is forced to confront her feelings about Simon after finding out that he’s been hanging out with Maia. Granted, this is accomplished in a rather cliché manner—she walks in on Simon changing and is taken aback by his new vampire hotness—but it’s nice to see Clary be the one on the outside looking in for once. I do want to make something clear: I don’t think Clary is harboring any romantic feelings for Simon. I think her jealousy, illustrated by the well-placed green glow from her phone, is due to the fact that she’s been Simon’s best friend as well as crush for a number of years and she doesn’t like being knocked off her pedestal. Well, too bad, Clary; Simon’s a growing vampire, and he can’t keep pining after you forever…well, he could, but it wouldn’t be healthy.
On top of that, Clary also finds herself as an impatient mediator between Luke and his sister, Cleo, and is told off by Isabelle for disclosing secrets without consulting her, so things aren’t going so well for Clary in this episode. On the plus side, she does learn that she has a mysterious connection to the angels, but the depth of that connection is still unclear.
Let’s go back to Simon for a minute, though. His budding relationship with Maia is going smoothly—at least, it was until Jace decides to interfere because he thinks that Simon is too Simon-ish. Word to the wise: don’t ever listen to anyone that tells you to be someone other than yourself. Simon has to learn this the hard way after Jace’s “makeover” of him almost results in Maia ditching him for good. Luckily, she gives him a second chance, but she does tell him to deal with his feelings for Clary before anything further can happen between them.
As for Jace, he’s become quite the Casanova since last week’s episode. This Jace is much more in line with the Book Jace—he’s suave with just the right side of sardonic and seems to have left the agonizing in the past for a bit. Maybe it’s all a façade, and he’s just brooding on the inside now, but I confess that I hope we get to see more of this Jace going forward.
On that note, I’d like to turn my attention to Isabelle, who I hope to see change in the not-to-distant future. As one of my favorite characters on this show, I’m unhappy with where they’ve chosen to take her this season, and I’m even unhappier that no one around her seems to notice how unstable she’s getting. Maybe that could be explained by typical teenage self-involvement, but you’d think that at least Magnus would be able to pick up on the fact that something is wrong. Instead, he accepts her excuses without asking any deeper questions, and it makes me want to shake him.
Suffice it to say, Isabelle isn’t doing well. Her dependence on Yin Fen is reaching dangerous levels; her craving for the drug has made her so desperate that she even seeks out vampires to bite her in order to get her fix. Will anyone give Isabelle the intervention that she clearly needs? I have a bad feeling that it’s going to take a near-fatal accident for anyone to get a clue as to what is going on with her.
Alec especially is too consumed by his burgeoning relationship with Magnus to see anything outside of that at this point, and that’s understandable. This is his first real romance, and it’s normal for that to be his sole focus. In this episode, we see an Alec who is at war with his cautious nature. As much as he wants to take things to the next level with Magnus, his doubts and apprehensions keep whispering to him to slow things down. Even Magnus advises him to have patience, but Alec is an eighteen-year-old boy; patience isn’t exactly their forte. I just have one gripe: did they or didn’t they? It felt unfair that the episode cut away just as the two disappear into the bedroom for what is apparently their first sexual encounter. Boo, Freeform!
Last but not least, we have Luke, who has been sidelined for a great part of this season. After Jocelyn died, I feared for what would happen with his storyline, and it seems that the writers are still struggling to figure out how to draw him into the main plot. In this episode, they do a better job of giving him a prominent role to play as well as meaningful character scenes—he’s confronted by both his tense relationship with his sister as well as with his ex-parabatai, Valentine—but he is still very much a ship without an anchor right now. I hope they figure out what to do with him soon because Isaiah Mustafa is too much of a talent to be shelved.
All things considered, this episode was much more about character-building than anything else, but that doesn’t mean that it lacked profound moments. With that said, here are my choices for the best five moments from Shadowhunters’ episode 2.07, “How Are Thou Fallen.”
Alec Gives Magnus a Gift
Things between Magnus and Alec are heating up, as this opening scene clearly illustrates. However, Magnus’s new roommate, Jace, isn’t really helping the mood. In an effort to get some much-needed alone time together, the lovebirds retire to Magnus’s place, where Alec gives Magnus a sweet gift: a protection charm. Naturally, this leads to a kiss—or it would have if Jace hadn’t inadvertently interrupted them with the soundtrack of his own sexual liaisons. Nevertheless, Magnus is nothing if not quick on his feet; he turns on his stereo, reestablishing the mood and drowning out the giggling coming from Jace’s room. Well done, Magnus!
Jace Gives Simon Some Relationship Tips
This was, without a doubt, my favorite scene of the entire episode, and I’ll tell you why. For starters, how much more fun is this Jace than the old Jace? He’s witty, snarky and altogether suave without the usual cloud of broodiness that tends to follow him around these days. Plus, his banter with Simon is just plain delightful. We all know that Alberto Rosende is a master of light-hearted humor, but we’ve rarely had the chance to see Dominic Sherwood take on comedy, so this was a nice change of pace.
Luke Faces-Off With His Sister
In this scene, my irritation with Clary reached epic proportions because I felt like she was interjecting where she had no place to interject. Luke’s history with his sister is complicated; therefore, they need to work out their issues themselves without any outsiders chiming in. As such, I found Clary’s interruptions to be annoying. I understand that there are bigger problems threatening them all, but Luke deserves to have the chance to mend things with his sister on his terms and not because someone else is telling him to.
Isabelle and Alec Have “The Talk”
This was my second favorite scene of the episode because it was so simple yet so meaningful. Alec, overcome by insecurity, seeks out his sister for advice, and Isabelle, even though she is going through heavy stuff of her own, steps up to the plate. In the process, we learn just how inexperienced Alec is, which makes me think that he should take things slow like Magnus said. Nevertheless, Isabelle tells him to stop overthinking things and just go with what feels right in the moment. Given Alec’s predilection for fretting, this might be the best course of action for him after all.
Jace and Clary Set an Angel Free
In the climax of the episode, Jace and Clary succeed in freeing an angel from Valentine’s clutches. I confess to being a little disappointed at how the angel, Ithuriel, was portrayed, especially in this final scene. I was expecting some kind of flashy reveal of his true form at the end, but all we got was him showing his wings. However, his ascent back to Heaven was an impressive bit of special effects. And that vision? Breathtaking.
Luke Confronts Valentine
So, we already know quite a bit about Luke and Valentine’s backstory: used to be parabatai but, due to Valentine’s growing madness, Luke’s transformation into a werewolf and Jocelyn’s love for Luke, the two of them split apart like a tree struck by lightning. However, I’m grateful that the writers didn’t just leave it at that. We have the opportunity to see the two of them interact again in this episode, and the animosity permeated the air. I don’t think there will be any “burying the hatchet” between these two in the near future.