Previously: A whole season happened! Clary's a Shadowhunter, MALEC!, Valentine is Jace's father, Simon's a vampire, Valentine has the Mortal Cup to create his Shadowhunter army, and Jace has reluctantly joined his cause.
Tensions are running high at the Institute: the Shadowhunters haven't had any luck tracking down Jace, and there's a new sheriff in town. The Clave has installed Victor Aldertree as the head of the Institute, who believes Jace to be a traitor despite the gang's efforts to convince him otherwise. Victor puts the Institute on lockdown, which effectively means nothing, since Clary, Alec, and Jocelyn (who learns from Clary that her son, Jonathan Christopher, is still alive) all independently leave to track down Jace.
On Valentine's secret Shadowhunter ship, Father of the Year has been trying to break Jace from his Clave ways. Valentine also spills the beans about his prenatal experimentation on Jace to make him a Shadowhunter with pure demon blood. He brings Jace to a vampire den to work out that demon blood aggression, but Jace refuses to break the Accords. Initially, anyway, since he not-entirely-unintentionally stakes a vampire just as Clary and the cavalry arrive. Jocelyn seizes the opportunity to shoot an arrow into Jace -- whom she had just been told was her long-lost son, mind you -- but Valentine takes it for him instead, and the two of them escape via portal.
• LOL, Simon failing miserably at using encanto on Luke's not-so-hospitable pack and earning the distinction of Worst Vampire Ever.
• Clary training with Izzy! Even if I did roll my eyes at all the quoting from The Art of War -- and how it inspired Clary to glamour herself as Victor.
• Speaking of Izzy, her red jacket is such a welcome pop of colour among the sea of mundane (HAR) dark attire.
• THANK YOU, JACE, for pointing out the hypocrisy in Valentine's "a single drop of demon blood" Shadowhunter supremacist logic.
• The show really wants to show you its appreciation that it's back, with 3 of 5 male leads getting shirtless. (Although Jace was being tortured, so objectification feels icky there.)
• JACE'S HAIR. It's growing out a bit, and it reminds me of Kristen Stewart's in Panic Room?
• Huh, new opening title sequence. They're all very pretty, but it kind of looks like a ridic Top Model challenge.
• FFS, Luke and Simon have YET ANOTHER conversation about Simon's unrequited feelings for Clary. Have these two ever passed the Clary-specific reverse-Bechdel test?
• Maryse calling Jace a cancer that needs to be cut out. Wowwwww, this is the kid that you raised as your own? Way harsh, Tai.
• What's up with the electronica during the fight scenes? Is this a permanent fixture now?
Shadowhunter of the Week:
Even though it was obvi the Jace Hour, none of the gang had a standout episode, so I'm featuring the new guy who seems like a dick boss. OMGGGGG I died when Victor was using a smartphone on a tripod to record his inter(rogation)views. Makes enough sense, but it's like the least intimidating thing ever. And why even put the Institute on lockdown if everyone's still coming and going as they please?
"Besides, at my house, there's steak and vodka. I'd rather be there." - As would I, Magnus.
"First rule of Shadowhunting: don't give anyone your phone or stele." - Says Worst Vampire Ever to Worst Shadowhunter Ever.
"I'm sorry." "Continue." "I'm really sorry." "For?" - I kind of love how Magnus drags out Alec's apology because I'm petty like that.
"I'm a vampire. I'm running slow for you." - Simon continuing to make his case for Worst Vampire Ever.
• This season involves bits from the first 3 books in The Mortal Instruments, which is different than season 1. For example, we don't meet Victor Aldertree until City of Glass (book 3) and in a different Clave context. Also new and improved: fight scenes, special effects, runes, opening sequence.
• One difference that stresses me out on a personal level: Jace's storyline doesn't get this dark until mid-City of Glass. It all makes sense for the show, and I like it, but I am concerned about what all's going to happen before things improve for him.
• The show continues to handle Malec so well. The arguments between Magnus and Alec, and their subsequent resolutions, come off as real and honest for the characters and their still very new relationship.
• The conflict Clary and Jocelyn have over Jace's fate is another great example of how the show takes an idea from the books and adapts it for different circumstances while preserving the same spirit.
• Speaking of parents, all of the parents are kind of the worst in this episode, other than Luke, who is only actually a parental-type figure. This goes double for Valentine and Maryse.
• At least three of Valentine's peeps were killed during his loyalty tests for Jace. Like seriously, why does anyone work for this guy?
• Are there any non-shitty Shadowhunter parents out there? I forget how I feel about him, but is Robert Lightwood the last bastion of hope for decent parenting in the Shadow World?
• How long will Jace's sojourn to the dark side last? I'm beyond ready to be done with Valentine, even though I know full well that this season has 20 episodes.
Next episode: "A Door Into the Dark"