Shadowhunters S2E1, Review – Mea Maxima Culpa

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We’re back for the back half of season two, and there is no holding back– we jump back into the aftermath of Valentine’s battle within the Institute. There is no clear winner, with both sides facing heavy casualties and dealing with the consequences of what took places.

The first half of the season felt slow, mostly thanks to much-needed character development, but towards the end, it picked up as the plot drove further. Thankfully the break has not cut the speed down, and we head in tackling several issues at once.

Appropriately, we are welcomed back with a rising sun, one both Clary and Simon can enjoy together. After drinking Angel blood, Simon is someone entirely different. The functional depression he fell into being confined to the night has disappeared as a new, hopeful reality sets in. Simon fully takes advantage of this predicament, immediately taking to leading a “normal” life.

The danger he’s put himself in doesn’t quite hit him right away until the very end when Raphael confronts him. Instead of easier, Simon’s life got a whole lot harder.

Throughout the episode, Simon’s problems appear to be the most cut and dry one. Everywhere else, lives are falling apart, and bonds are being tested. Trust gained months ago is about to break.

Jace is going through a rough time healing from his time with Valentine. It’s clear he still some of his family by his side; Alec is one of his biggest supporters. Maryse made her peace with Jace earlier, but after everything that has gone down, she remains in Idris. We first see Jace and Alec partaking in a typical sparring session. It’s not one we’ve seen for so long as the world has been falling down around them. It’s important their parabatai bond remains, as it is the only stable relationship they currently have.

Isabelle remains shockingly absent in both Jace and Clary’s lives. She typically checks in with her adoptive brother and Clary, ready to be their support. It’s not by choice– the effects of Yin-Fen have not magically disappeared, and Isabelle is suffering from such intense withdrawal all Alec can do is sit there and watch her suffer. The pain has her so desperate, she nearly throws herself at Raphael for help, but is rightfully turned away. In her desperation, she’s almost taken out by a powerful foe before a Shadowhunter named Sebastian comes to her rescue.

With some of the most powerful members of the Institute distracted, this demon is free to run amok. His destruction is first noticed by the police as he leaves an entire bar dead. Luke is called into action while dealing with discourse within his pack. It’s difficult to lead a double life as both leader and a police officer with his pack falling to pieces. He doesn’t make much headway with the investigation, as Maia’s interruption takes precedence

With hardly any support around her, Clary is sucked into a somewhat precarious situation with Jace and Alec. Despite being thrown off from the confession that Jace and herself are not related, there is a bigger issue at hand: Isabelle is missing. This leaves Alec to reach out to Magnus for help searching. They should know better than to take on tasks like this on their own. They use Valentine as a bargaining chip to raise the demon who they think took Isabelle. This turns south for a couple of reasons; Isabelle is with Sebastian, and the demon causing a ruckus looking for the mortal cup is Azazel, a prince of hell.

As predicted, everything goes downhill relatively quickly. While Clary can’t subdue Azazel with her sun rune, Jace manages to produce a rune just as wild to get the prince of Hell out of there. It seems like the group has dodged a bullet, but Magnus leaves the area with a weird attitude, even cursing himself out! No punches are being held back, and more questions arise the deeper we dive with Valentine.

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