Shadowhunters has grown into a truly exceptional show, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t still struggle to maintain its footing at times. The mid-season finale, “By the Light of the Dawn,” is but one example of this. From the beginning, this episode gives us a clear indication of where our favorite characters will end up: in the Institute fighting Valentine and trying to stop the Soul Sword from being activated. Therefore, everything in between which doesn’t serve that purpose felt almost intrusive, distracting viewers from the primary storyline.
That doesn’t mean that this episode has nothing to offer. It does, and for that reason, it manages to redeem itself. Not only is a lot of ground covered story-wise in a relatively short time span but several crucial revelations arise in the process. Most important of all, we learn quite a bit about a number of characters, knowledge which will undoubtedly play a role in the future.
Before we discuss what could happen, however, let’s first focus on what did happen: Valentine makes his move on the Institute, sending in the child-warlock Madzie to do the dirty work. Once settled, he delivers a message to Clary and her friends regarding Simon’s fate if she doesn’t immediately surrender herself into Valentine’s custody. Naturally, the others are opposed to this ultimatum as it would put the entire Downworld at risk. To make matters worse, Valentine cuts Simon’s throat and makes it apparent that he intends to let Simon bleed out if they don’t meet his demands.
In the midst of all this craziness, we get to spend some time with Raphael and Isabelle, witness a confrontation between Luke and Maia, learn some more about Aldertree, and observe Jace and Luke have a reflective talk about parabatai. But the meat of the episode resides in the moments spent with Valentine as those are the ones which will have the most profound effect on all of the characters.
Suffice it to say, the Soul Sword is accidently activated, Simon is saved, and Valentine is surprisingly taken into custody. But that doesn’t mean that the crisis is over. Valentine is able to use the Sword against a group of Downworlders before it mysteriously disappears and he is brought down, which is bound to cause strife between the Downworld and the Clave. Moreover, the method by which Simon is saved result in some very interesting side-effects: he can now walk in the sunlight. How will other Shadowhunters react to this development? I have a hunch that they won’t just shrug it off. And then, of course, there is Valentine’s confession to Jace, which forces him to once again reevaluate his relationship with Clary.
As you can see, there was lots of drama with more to come later on. So, what were the best moments of Shadowhunters 2.10, “By the Light of the Dawn”? Here are my picks, and feel free to share yours in the comment section below!
Madzie Shows Up At the Institute
Immediately, we’re thrust into the action: there’s unrest in the Downworld, and Shadowhunters are preparing to leave the Institute in order to restore order. However, before they can, little Madzie shows up—and she wreaks havoc on the Shadowhunter forced gathered there. How she dismantles the wards is unclear, but that hardly matters. What does matter is that the Shadowhunters in her vicinity are killed. Luckily, she chooses to spare Alec, but our momentary relief is punctured when Valentine comes strolling through the doors in her wake. At least Alec is able to inform the others as to what happened!
Raphael Admits That He’s Asexual
While this scene doesn’t play a large role in the overall plot, it is nonetheless important. While lounging on the couch with Isabelle, Raphael reveals something personal about himself: he is not interested in sex. When Isabelle asks him if becoming a vampire made him this way, he answers no; he’s always been uninterested in sex. Not only is this uncharted territory for Isabelle and in the realm of the show but this is also uncharted territory for television in general. With so little asexual representation on television, it’ll be interesting to see how Shadowhunters chooses to handle this. Hopefully, they won’t fall victim to the asexual tropes that have been present in other shows.
Clary and Jace Pull One Over On Valentine
Valentine isn’t the only one with some tricks up his sleeve, and that’s a good thing. In order to both save Simon and prevent Clary from getting into Valentine’s grasp, they devise a devious scheme: disguise Jace as Clary via a glamour rune and trick Valentine’s henchman into letting him into the Institute. It works, and Jace is able to feed Simon some of his blood. The consequences of this, however, are two-fold. Not only does this cause the glamour to fade, exposing Jace, but it also changes Simon—for the better, if I do say so myself.
Isabelle Shows Up in the Nick of Time
Only Isabelle would be able to still kick serious butt while detoxing from vampire venom! When Alec and Aldertree find themselves outnumbered outside the Institute, they brace themselves for a difficult scuffle—but then Isabelle appears, in all her glory, taking the four Circle members down as if it was nothing. And then, as if this moment isn’t epic enough, we get to see Aldertree finally looking guilty about what he did to her. Is there hope for him? Probably not.
Jace Learns the Truth about Who He is
I’ll admit that this came a lot sooner than I thought it would, but I’m happy that we now know the truth. Let me set the scene for you: as Jace and Valentine are struggling for control over the Soul Sword, Valentine admits, under the sword’s influence, that Jace isn’t really his son. Therefore, Clary isn’t his sister, so Jace doesn’t have to agonize over his feelings for her anymore. Of course, it’s not going to be smooth sailing; Clary and Simon are still very much an item, so I sense a love triangle on the horizon.
Alec and Magnus Reunite
My Malec-loving heart almost burst during this scene! After Valentine uses the Soul Sword against the Downworlders inside, Alec is frantic; no one can tell him if Magnus got out in time, and he can’t find him anywhere. Finally, Alec sees him outside of the Institute and engulfs him in a hug. Then, he tells Magnus that he’s never felt fear like that before and the two of them say “I love you” to each other for the first time (squeeee!).
Simon Shows Clary His New Ability
Last but not least, we have the moment that Simon drags Clary outside to show her his new ability to walk in the sunlight. Clary is deliriously happy, and the two of them kiss outside on the steps like, well, teenagers. All the while, Jace watches them. Undoubtedly, he will tell Clary about what Valentine revealed, but will he make a move on her? We’ll have to wait and see!