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SHADOWHUNTERS “A Problem Of Memory” Review

BY The Screen Spy Team

Published 5 years ago

By Andrea Dixon

 After a week-long hiatus, Shadowhunters returns with a tear-jerker of an episode that sees its characters reeling from the aftereffects of the events that have taken place so far in this half of the season. The episode is aptly titled “A Problem of Memory” as one character struggles to remember while another tries to forget. There are also a couple of brief character introductions that serve to shed some much-needed light on the shadiness that is Sebastian’s character.

Faced with the harsh truth that Clary obviously has feelings for Jace, a heart-broken Simon indulges in a night of debauchery and wakes up the next day covered in blood with no memory of what happened. Clary manages to corner Simon and get him to talk to her, but I think it’s safe to say that Climon is splitsville. Clary and Luke work together to exonerate Simon from his supposed crime proving the infallible strength of their familial bond. With this storyline, Alberto Rosende is able to showcase the range of emotions one experiences when going through a break up, and we also witness his best fight scene yet.

Harry Shum Jr. also gives an extremely emotional performance when his character Magnus finally faces head-on the painful memories of his past that have plagued him for the three episodes since his stint in Valentine’s body. Malec fans rejoice as we are treated to a scene of a shirtless Alec waking up in Magnus’ bed for the fourth day in a row! However, Magnus is not there with him as the memories have been making him lose sleep. Alec is there for Magnus in the way that Magnus was there for Alec earlier in the season when Jace went missing and when the demon entered the Institute and possessed Alec to murder Clary’s mother. Mental health continues to be an important focus in the show and one of the biggest reasons why the Malec relationship is such a positive and enlightened force.

The arrival of a new character named Aline, who has ties to Sebastian, inadvertently agitates Sebastian’s cover as it forces him to get more information out of his prisoner in order to maintain his charade. Anyone who is familiar with the books upon which the television series is based knows that Sebastian is not who he pretends to be. I was wondering if all it would take to expose him would be for someone who knows the real Sebastian to show up at the Institute and identify him as such. The scene where it is revealed that Sebastian is wearing the face of the prisoner in his closet (the real Sebastian) came as a surprise to me. The ability of Shadowhunters to glamour themselves as anyone they please tricks me every single time!

The real Sebastian manages to escape his captivity only to meet his demise soon after at the hands of his imposter, and no one is the wiser. I find myself mourning the fact that we will never get to know him, since he seems to be the polar opposite of the person impersonating him, who is obviously deranged (and much less handsome we later find out… ahem). Aline looks like she might meet the same fate, but thankfully she survives because she seems like another interesting and well-rounded addition to our cast of characters.

In typical Shadowhunters fashion, a bomb is dropped on us at the end of the episode during Valentine’s transfer from the New York Institute to Idris. Turns out there’s another mole within the Institute (besides the fake Sebastian). A Shadowhunter named Duncan hijacks the portal, taking Valentine to our imposter friend. (There really needs to be better security at the Institute… but Sebastian’s in charge of that particular sector, so never mind!) Valentine is then made to look upon the terrifying face of his captor.

We are now at the halfway point in the second half of the season and that means that things are really going to be revving up from now until the season finale, and the reveal of Sebastian as a formidable villain is a key catalyst in setting everything in motion.


Additional notes:


  • What does Sebastian plan to do with Valentine now that he has him in his possession, and how long before everyone figures things out about him?
  • In the promo for the next episode, it looks like Clary has mastered a new rune that allows her to create portals. How many new runes will she have mastered by the end of the season and will she and Jace be able to use their powers together?
  • The next episode is directed by Paul Wesley; actor (and sometimes director) of The Vampire Diaries His extensive familiarity with the young-adult fantasy genre makes him an ideal fit for this show, and it should be interesting to see if his layers of knowledge translate through the lens of his camera.