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SHADOWHUNTERS (3A) Finale Review

By on May 16, 2018

SHADOWHUNTERS – “Familia Ante Omnia” – (Freeform/Ben Mark Holzberg)
DOMINIC SHERWOOD

 

SHADOWHUNTERS 3A FINALE

“FAMILIA ANTE OMNIA” AND “ERCHOMAI”

BY KATHERINE PFAHLER

 

 

What a finale! Shadowhunters certainly pulled out all the stops this week for maximum emotional devastation right before we head into hiatus.

While there were back-to-back episodes this week, it’s no surprise that episode 3×10 (“Erchomai”) had the most impact. “Familia Ante Omnia” definitely had some high points—getting to see a warlock battle between Magnus and Lorenzo Rey, for instance, as well as Simon having to reveal his vampire nature to his family (which is one of the most heart-wrenching parts of the books—seeing it adapted so closely makes it even more painful).

However, the majority of the time spent in this episode was in Alicante. The last episode had Clary being sentenced to death for using the angel’s wish and episode 3×09 starts out (seeming) to make good on that by taking Clary (in a very Handmaid’s Tale-esque aesthetic) to the Clave’s public execution gardens, where the guilty are being burned at the stake. This is all well and good but, just like the end of last week’s episode, it lacks any real weight. Clary is the protagonist (and it’s not exactly a secret that Katherine McNamara has been filming for 3B); she’s not going to die.

As she’s waiting her turn, we see a familiar face turn up—the warlock Iris Rouse. From her we learn Consul Penhallow was trying to revive Valentine in order to question him about Lilith (which definitely had me side-eyeing this version of Jia Penhallow the show is creating—but without the rights to the books where her character develops a bit more, there’s not much to do about it).

This gives Clary the bright idea to try her own hand at necromancy (which never turns out well) in order to buy herself some time. She manages to bring Valentine back to life with her rune powers in a scene that conveys just how dark-sided a Morganstern can be. And while it’s great to have Alan Van Sprang back, we really don’t need to see Valentine defeated, yet again. In the show’s timeline (which is, honestly, better off ignored) it’s only been about a week since he died in the first place. Having him back to kill some random Clave members is just extra drama the show doesn’t need. But with that being said, by episode’s end, Clary deactivates the necromancy rune and he dies for good. Again.

Before she can escape Alicante to warn the other about Jonathan, Demon Jace is there to collect Valentine’s flesh (a rib, no less, which is clever symbolism, show), as well as Clary herself — the final pieces Lilith needs to resurrect her son.

There’s a lot at stake coming into the final episode. Not only does Clary need rescuing, but Jace still needs to be saved from Lilith’s control, and Jonathan’s resurrection must be stopped. After Lorenzo stopped Magnus from being able to channel the warlocks’ powers to blast Lilith’s control from Jace, Alec believes the last option is killing Jace. Magnus has other plans though, since his father Asmodeus is scary powerful, and may just lend his son a hand. The problem with this, though, is that Magnus must go to Edom himself, which certainly isn’t what Alec had in mind. They share a loving moment before Magnus leaves and then boom—Magnus is once again in the same realm as his father.

It’s been a season in the making, but this episode finally delivered on introducing us to Asmodeus, played excellently by Jack Yang. He’s got just the right amount of charisma that’s just slightly masking the terrible power he possesses. He seems delighted to see Magnus again after all this time, but Magnus is clearly not happy to be there. Asmodeus, expecting an apology for his banishment, is pretty angry when Magnus needs a favor instead. Being a Prince of Hell, Asmodeus is willing to help—but at a cost. When Magnus refuses to rule by his side, Asmodeus has another price in mind that leaves us hanging until the end of the episode. The amount of Magnus backstory we got in this episode was definitely everything I’ve hoped for this season. I think having him being taken in by Asmodeus at such a young age is a great twist on the show’s part because it really adds to the fear Magnus has about seeing his father again.

With Magnus on a last-ditch trip so Alec doesn’t have to kill Jace, the gang needs to find Clary before it’s too late. Luckily Luke and Maryse are able to pick up the blood trail Clary left after being taken by the Owl. It’s definitely a smart move because it leads everyone right to Lilith’s lair for the final battle. Once the mundanes are evacuated, Izzy and Luke team up to fight off Lilith’s disciples while Alec fights Owl!Jace. This leaves Simon to get to Clary before Lilith can awaken Jonathan. With everyone sufficiently distracted, Simon manages to do just that and is able to get Clary a stele in hopes of battling Lilith. Since she is the literal Queen of Hell, it’s going to take a bit more effort than that; Simon’s going to have to put the Mark of Cain to use. The only way to have Lilith fall for it though is to put Jonathan in danger, which works out well since he’s going to need to be stopped, too. The trick works and Lilith’s deadly blow comes back to her sevenfold.

Getting back to Alec fighting Owl!Jace, it’s definitely one of the most tense scenes in an episode that kept me on the edge of my seat. When the Owl gets the upper hand and it looks as though Alec is done for, Magnus shows up to save the day and blasts the Owl with enough magic to rid Jace of Lilith’s control for good. Even though I logically know Alec will be fine, seeing him lying on the ground with an arrow in his chest is definitely intense, especially when we find out Magnus is unable to heal him since the price of Asmodeus’ help was Magnus’ magic (!!!!!).

Alec tells Jace that it wasn’t his fault for trying to kill him, since he was possessed, and it’s a very touching moment that gets cut a bit short since Jace still needs to get to Clary. Once he fights his way up to the rooftop, there’s nothing there. Lilith’s death caused an explosion that completely decimated the room. Simon managed to climb back up but not without some devastating news: Clary’s dead.

Now just like with last week, implying Clary is going to die/is dead definitely doesn’t hold much weight (I would’ve preferred a more simple “she’s gone”) but it does get the job done. Also suspiciously missing from the roof was Jonathan, who Clary just so happens to be bonded with. Wherever they may be, there’s a good chance they’re together, potentially in Edom since 3B is likely to follow the plot of City of Lost Souls. The other big revelation is that Magnus no long has magic (or immortality according to the showrunners) which is a twist I definitely didn’t see coming so I’m really interested in how the show is going to deal with that in terms of Magnus coping himself, as well as how it will affect Malec (it definitely throws a wrench in the immortality discussion for sure). I think Asmodeus is playing the long game with this one, since I don’t see the all-powerful High Warlock of Brooklyn without magic or immortality for too long, but maybe just long enough that going back to Asmodeus and ruling with him is the only option to save Magnus.

Whatever does happen, it can’t come soon enough, and hopefully the wait for the second half of season three won’t be too tortuous.

Episode Highlights:

  • Alberto Rosende absolutely killed it in both episodes. It’s really heavy material to work with, even with the supernatural element, but it felt very real and grounded. Not only did I tear up at his scenes with his mom after he feeds on Rebecca, but also with his scenes with Rebecca at the hospital and when he’s forced to encanto his mom into believing he’s dead for real.
  • The Sizzy scenes in this episode were also pretty great. I think they definitely benefit from a slow burn (because I do love Simon and Maia), and I like that they’re building up a friendship between the two of them.
  • This conversation:

                   Simon: “What am I gonna do with a ‘steely?’”

                   Alec: “A stele!”

                   Simon: “I’ve heard it both ways.”

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