War is coming to Shadowhunters. While penultimate episode set the stage for an epic season finale, it did a bit more for Jonathan and Jace.
Fighting for a common cause– the removal of both Valentine and Jonathan — is a lot harder than it appears. The Downworlders do not trust the Clave. The Clave has trouble uniting itself, let alone the rest of the world. And no one trusts the safety of a world with Valentine and Jonathan on the run.
Spoilers ahead for “Hail and Farewell.” Proceed only if you have watched.
Shadowhunters is on an incredible run. The second season contains amazing character work. None more so than the triangle of Jonathan, Jace, and Clary.
“Hail and Farewell,” sets the stage for what is bound to be an epic finale. But it does so only because it gives Jonathan and Jace closure.
For Jace, this season is nothing short of torture. Reliving scenes from his childhood as Valentine remains an ever present figure is no easy feat. And, as we saw at the top of the episode, Jonathan is having a rough go at things.
These two are trapped in psyche of childhood. Perform well for father and feel love. Fail and feel abandonment and loss.
As Dominic Sherwood touched on in his interview with Hypable, “We’re discovering that basically no matter how strong or how powerful [Jace is] there’s still this lost, little ten-year-old boy who lost his parents.”
In speaking to Will Tudor, he explains that Jonathan starts to crack as he finally sees his plan coming together. “Obviously at the beginning he seemed to have the lid on… But underneath he’s had all of these big issues regarding his father and how he mistreated him as a child. Now, as he’s with Valentine, his plan is finally coming to fruition, those pressures are really starting to show.”
And they certainly show in “Hail and Farewell.” As Jonathan can be seen trying to punch his way through a NYC rooftop. He’s cracked beyond repair. Aggressive and trapped in his own head, he cannot see the calculated moves necessary to get out of New York. After all, his plan is long past due. Valentine is there, working alongside him. He’s both won and lost.
On the one hand, Jonathan proves to Valentine how useful he can be. He summoned Azazel, learned how to draw out power from his demon blood, gained access to the Institute. All things that should roll Valentine over with delight. But while Valentine proves he is impressed using the Soul Sword to prove his words are true.
Yet Valentines concentration on the Mortal Cup and the Mortal Mirror outweigh any familial connection. Valentine’s mission, what he wants, always comes first. Maybe Jonathan should have sent him to Edom when he had the chance.
Despite all the action and Downworld meetings, this episode contains one truly important moment– Jonathan and Jace’s final showdown.
Jace and Clary’s ability to track Jonathan and overpower his cloaking rune not only betrays his and Valentine’s location, but it forces Joanthan to experience something he never wanted to live through again– his father leaving him because he was a liability.
Hell bent on revenge and anger, when he finds Jace, Jonathan drags him to a bridge by the neck bound in chains. While he has Jace strung up, it is the words he uses that he thinks hurt Jace the most. Jonathan was in constant competition with his angelic brother. Always behind, kept in the shadows.
But the showdown between angel and demon ends in tragedy for one and triumph for another. Jace wins because he has a family. Izzy arrives in him to occupy Jonathan enough to give Jace a chance to use their father’s teachings against him. And Jonathan dies alone.
Words, even if they are the truth, don’t make up for the years of burnt flesh, demonic residence, and emotional scars left by Valentine. He dies because Valentine, yet again, saw him as a liability and chose self-preservation and power over his son.
There is no lack of romantic drama this season. But the familial conflict is the heart of this series.
Whether it is Luke and the pack feeling torn apart or Izzy and Alec protecting Max, family (chosen or blood) drives season 2. Clary must now destroy the only remaining connection to her bloodline.
It is her chosen family (even if one of them turns romantic again) who are going to step into her life and defend what she holds dear– a world where both Shadowhunters and Downworlders live together.
And that is not going to be an easy task.
Shadowhunters season 2, episode 20, “Beside Still Water,” airs Monday, August 14 at 8:00 p.m. ET on Freeform.