Originally planned as the penultimate episode of Shadowhunters season 3, “Aku Cinta Kamu,” sets the stage for many of the stories to reach their conclusion.
What lies beyond that hour, well, that remains a mystery.
Crafted well ahead of the series’s unfortunate cancellation, “Aku Cinta Kamu” kicked up the stakes. Clary is completely taken over by her allegiance to Jonathan, Magnus headlines the Sadness Tour 2019, and we get Jordan stepping into some trouble after he visits the Institute.
Time is beginning to creep in and become the biggest stake of the series. Will there by enough of it to settle the dust kicked up this week and whatever lies ahead in season 3, episode 20?
Magnus spends the episode grappling with time. After a brief run in with his father who restores his magic no questions asked, Magnus becomes plagued by the memories he and Alec made. The timeline they mapped out together was laid out before them together. Their love was sealed with a kiss and a lock, sprinkles and talks of fatherhood, dates, stolen kisses, mornings and nights. All of that time spent together, suddenly didn’t feel so small and insignificant as Magus made mortal life out to be when he was without his powers.
Now, with an eternity of life ahead of him, that one chapter of his life is one he cannot imagine himself living without. And the memories are distressing to witness over and over. Not just for Magnus, either.
Watching the early moments of stolen glances, the lingering brush of their arms, their first kiss, first date, first “I love you” did not exactly instill a sense of enjoyment as a fan. Though it might be only pinprick compared to the pain that Magnus is feeling, watching their memories knowing that neither of them wants to be apart hurts!
And the pain is seeping through not only to the viewer, but the parabatai as well. I am always here for a reminder that Alec and Jace are two halves of a whole. No matter how muted Alec believes he is keeping his outward expressions, there is no denying to Jace that something is amiss. For those of you keeping score at home, you know that this relationship, partnership, chosen bond for life, between these two characters is one of my favorite things about the series.
The look of concern on Jace’s face and his reluctance to go, speaks volumes about the kind of pain that Alec is internalizing. The one final turn before he heads out the door on his mission to rescue Clary hammers it home – what Jace has experienced losing Clary rivals, if not equals, what Alec is going through with Magnus. The level of sacrifice and pain, burrows deep inside.
A trio in Prague
But the mission at hand is what pushes Jace through the door and Alec into Institute leader. Jace plays into Jonathan and Clary’s hand offering himself over as a traitor of the Institute so that he can be with Clary. Another mission for the Seelie rings allows Alec and Jace to stay in contact as the trio heads to an infamous Mortal Instruments location – The Bone Chandelier in Prague. Known to be a Seelie club, the plan is to kidnap the Seelie Queen when she arrives for her liaison with a warlock.
There is cause for celebration in The City of Lost Souls, but this particular visit to Kosti Lustr echoes the passages in a different a way. After failing to lure Clary back from Jonathan’s grip in the alley, a combination of Jonathan and Clary’s charming smiles wins the trio entry to the crowded blacklight dance floor.
The literal bone chandelier looms over the Seelie crowd as they dance and drink and take drugs that rain from the ceiling. What’s a trip to Prague and a nightclub without a little hallucinogen? Jace, Clary, and Jonathan all take a drop and lose themselves to the music and the feeling of the club.
The contrast between the preceding scenes in the apartment and the actual club are what struck my attention – namely Jonathan’s behavior. It’s not a stretch to say that his possessiveness of Clary is made only worse by her now unflappable need to work with him and uphold their family name. Jonathan is obsessed with her. Credit to Luke Baines, yet again, for giving Jonathan the perfect edge of anger, intimidation, and unhinged obsession that makes him simply terrifying to behold.
Baines’ performance also allows Kat McNamara to shine in contrast to his craze. Clary may be on Jonathan’s side, but she also loves Jace and she sure as hell knows how to make her own decisions. She keeps it together while the two boys are fighting for who loves Clary more.
Jonathan and Jace gave off some “Agony” vibes, but this is far from Into the Woods. While they are both brandishing their proclamations of love and devotion, Clary makes it clear that what she says goes. If she trusts Jace he stays. If she wants Jonathan around and safe, he is not to be harmed. Their bickering is not going to help the mission and it is certainly not going to make Clary punish one or the other.
But I do believe that Jace realizes he is in too deep, the more that Clary presses against his attempts to call back some semblance of the woman he loves. And so, when he takes the hit of drugs, he gives himself over to the magic of the room.
All of his attention is on Clary, and while he does break for a second to get in touch with Alec, he cannot gain control over the drugs long enough to recalibrate and plan his next move. Instead he becomes swept up in the here and now. Here – Clary wants no one else in the room but him. Now – he leans into that feeling and is exposed for using the Seelie ring.
The new reality of their situations is painful. Alec must press forward without Magnus. Jace lost the trust of Clary to Jonathan by playing a double agent. And Magnus…Well, Magnus finds himself somewhere he never thought – at his father’s side.
Magnus may have been the High Warlock, but for the most part, he finds himself alone. He is a man about the town, but the town does not exactly welcome back the man. There are physical imprints of himself all around – a diva on stage with her voice intact, a happy bartender with a handsome tip, a window display perfectly reflecting the holiday spirit. But those are flashes of Magnus giving, not Magnus getting something in return.
There is no connection that he feels rooted in, which is what makes his decision to destroy the lock that much more impactful. This physical manifestation of his love no longer reminds him of what exists for him in this city – someone to return his love.
With his list of favors dwindling, Magnus calls upon a friend, Zachariah. The Silent Brother speaks his truth to Magnus – only Magnus can take away his own memories. He must find the strength to remove them or move on with them as a part of who he is. And while Zachariah’s words are powerful, Magnus almost decides to go through with sending Alec into oblivion!
But Asmodeus stops him. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right? And just why would Asmodeus need his son to be powerful?
Maia and Jordan do not compute
Maia and Jordan are also looking for an escape from the burdens of their past. Maia just came in to doubling down on being a leader, rebuilding her pack. She is covering up the blood-soaked walls and taking the first steps to embracing who she is in this chapter of her life.
Introducing the option for her to escape all the pressures and uncertainty that come with that was an interesting hurdle to introduce. Maia needs time to process situations, to take all the information, digest it, and then come to terms with what she is feeling and how that will inform her going forward. We’ve seen it time and time again, and I’m personally glad we’ve gotten a taste of what makes Maia tick and have seen some of these emotional journeys play out.
So, when she is presented with the idea that Heavenly Fire could be her key back to a time before she was a werewolf, she wants to know why that option is being held back from Downworlders. Why should she be excluded from having the choice to regain what she lost? Last week we saw two very different reactions to what it was like to experience the power of the serum. Maia connects with Raphael’s journey, one where he can move forward.
It tracks that she would want to know the hows and whys of the situation after meeting someone who has a new outlook on life, free to grow from the choices he made as a vampire. But Simon steps in and is able present a defense of what actually happened at the lab and remind her that she is not the only person in the room who might have a better life if Heavenly Fire was introduced as a sort-of antidote. Right now, the choice is off the table, there is simply not enough left.
Armed with that detail, by the time Maia arrives back at the Jade Wolf, she has processed Simon’s explanation. She’s taken a beat and worked out that while she would love to have a time-turner fix all, other people need it just as badly if not more than she does. There is an opportunity for her as a werewolf, she can help others in the pack, find unity in what makes her different. But Jordan has other plans and has taken the vile from the Institute.
These two are suffering from a misconnection at the moment. Their lives, though on paper seem to track quite closely, are slowly drifting apart in this episode. The kiss, the stealing of the vile, their signals are crossed, and they need to do some work to get back on the same page.
Sizzy fails to sizzle, but they forge a sword
Speaking of people who are on the same page – Simon and Izzy are definitely on the same page, speaking the same language, but closing the book before they can travel on to page two. Isabelle is given a rather incredible task this episode – forge a sword made from concentrated Heavenly Fire.
From weapons master to honorary (off the books anyway) Iron Sister, Isabelle took on the mantle of crafting a powerful weapon. Would I want Isabelle to actually become an Iron Sister? No way! Isolation from her friends is not something I think that she would like, let alone her family and friends. She already lives up the creed, “Fire tests gold,” as a shining example of how she has battled her personal (and literal) demons and come out a stronger and newly formed.
While I’m proud of what she has accomplished professionally, I am only human and want to scream at Simon “I’m no longer Clark Kent” Lewis for not making a move. You let Becky down, Simon… You let Becky down.
Now with the Heavenly Fire sword acquired, Jonathan and Clary are about to face off with the Institute.
There is only one episode left until the series finale. How are we doing?
- Isabelle’s goggles were a real treat. Safety first!
- Asmodeus can be trus… you know what I talked myself out of it before typing the sentence.
- Forget the Endgame run time, how will I make it through the two and half hour finale?
- Does Shadowhunters have to end?
- Ok, I know I mentioned “Agony” before, but the more I think about it, the more I would like Dominic and Luke to perform a rendition of it.
Do you have predictions for the not-so-final-finale?
Shadowhunters season 3, episode 20, “City of Glass,” airs Monday, April 29 at 8:00 p.m. ET on Freeform.
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