Rarely do you see a young adult fantasy show tackling issues that are happening in the real world. It could be a coincidence, but it’s nice to see the show isn’t blind to current events.
With Valentine back in custody, it doesn’t mean New York City is any less exciting. Downworlders are attacking Shadowhunters, slicing off their runes, and leaving them for dead. It’s a gruesome message for the Shadowhunter world– whoever is behind it is ready to go to war.
In response, Inquisitor Herondale takes the fear mongering approach and requests DNA samples from the closest Downworlders to Clary, Alec, Isabelle, and Jace. Everyone is okay with this; no one questions it until they start asking their friends. Magnus, for example, is extremely put off. Especially after the abuse he faced being in Valentine’s body. Alec doesn’t get why he’s thrown out after the request.
Then there’s Clary who, like everyone else, doesn’t understand why what she’s asking is so offensive. If Simon has nothing to hide, why won’t he provide a DNA sample? Simon, being the understanding guy that he is, breaks it down for her. His bubbe is a prime example of why it’s wrong. She was asked to wear a star to identify herself as Jewish, just for fun, and that turned into a train ride that killed all of her family. Marking those who are different, just to keep track, is never for a good reason. Clary gets it right away and is shocked the Clave could request this of anyone.
More Shadowhunters are being attacked, including Clary, who is nearly a victim before Simon comes to her rescue. The unreasonable demands do not stop at a DNA request. Instead, they become bolder as the continued attacks set off Inquisitor Herondale to demand all Downworlders have GPS chips implanted. This is the line for Alec, who isn’t comfortable with tracking his friends like this. Jace, ready to prove himself at the newly appointed head of the Institute, goes through with it.
Jace thinks he’s got all the power now, enough that he walks into a Downworlder bar and tell them what will be done. Bystanders don’t begin attacking him until Maia is tagged with a GPS chip against her will. That’s when Luke steps in and tells them to wake up. This is how wars begin, and after everything that happened with the Soul Sword, it’s quite easy to jump into one.
At first, it’s not clear if Jace shares in Inquisitor Herondale’s morals. Perhaps his desperation to fit in with his birth family is what is driving him. Jace’s peaceful expression as he hears of his father and mother’s personality and looks says it all. To make the Herondale family proud, he’ll follow orders. His wake-up call comes when Maia is captured near the body of a dead Shadowhunter. It is presumed she is the killer and thrown into a cell with Simon, who had refused to leave the scene when Clary was brought in injured.
Clary, once conscious and briefed on what is going down, is the voice of reason. She points out it’s New York and anyone could have been around that body. Maia is just the only Downworlder tagged at this point. Slowly, the wheels are turning for Jace, and he realizes that this has gone too far. Inquisitor Herondale finds this the perfect time to take her leave back to Idris. For someone so obsessed with blaming Downworlders without completing much of an investigation, she doesn’t seem to bothered after Maia was captured.
Logical Isabelle steps in to save the dead; she’s well on the road to recovery thanks to support groups. As the chaos unfolds, she completes an investigation of her own with Raphael’s help. He’s reluctant, but they smooth over their issues, and he reveals some history to her. The Shadowhunter’s death is not the work of a Vampire, that’s for certain. After Shadowhunters forcibly removed their fangs in a war long ago, they vowed never to stoop to such a level. By process of elimination, they believe this is the work of a Seelie.
How an entire organization can ignore a simple investigation is beyond me. Isabelle follows the clues to Merliorn, a Seelie Knight who Raphael doesn’t trust. With little time and her younger brother suddenly missing, Isabelle follows Merliorn to locate who is behind it all. They are led to a young woman, who is taking revenge for her brother’s death. She’s ready to take out her next victim, Max. Isabelle doesn’t let that happen, though, quickly taking out the young woman.
With the case closed, Jace has to face the fact that his emotions got the better of him and clouded his judgment. He releases Simon and Maia from their jail and resigns as the head of the Institute. Jace knows he’s not cut out to be a leader and hands it over to Alec. He doesn’t care who he is dating, or what his family has been dragged into– he has a good head on his shoulders and knows who would be the better leader. His last act as leader is an apology to Maia, by removing her GPS tracking device. She’s appreciative of the gesture so much that she thanks him by getting down and dirty in the alleyway behind the bar. There is that young adult romance that had been largely absent this episode.
While everyone is able to relax in the end, listening to Simon perform his music, it’s clear this won’t be the last attack Shadowhunters face. Already disliked for their treatment of Downworlders, how is anyone able to ignore their reaction? I don’t believe the Seelie woman was acting out apart from others, and the sentiment that Shadowhunters are trying to eradicate them is shared by many.