I'm so happy to be talking about new Shadowhunters episodes again (maybe how long it took me to get this review up doesn't show that, but I promise it's true), and I'm glad that season two will be longer and give us more episodes to talk about.
There is a slightly different tone in this episode than there was in season one. You can tell that some things have changed with the production, and while they seem to predominantly be for the better, it did make it a little difficult for me to believe that almost no time had passed since the season one finale. I feel like that was a natural consequence of a season break and the changes made though, and it wasn't something that detracted much from my enjoyment of the episode.
My primary difficulty in believing no time had passed was the scene between Clary and Jocelyn in that greenhouse thing. It was strange to me that they were having that conversation right then and in that building when it didn't seem like a natural progression from the scene of her waking up. Again, though, I know that was because of the season break, so it's not something I'm dwelling over.
I like that the show has shown us immediately that Jace isn't on Valentine's side. They're also doing an excellent job of showing how abusive and manipulative Valentine is. While that's something that's hard to watch, I like that they're not shying away from making it clear that Jace has been abused and is now being abused again by Valentine.
Victor Aldertree is an intriguing character. We haven't learned anything positive about him yet, and I wonder if it will stay that way or if he'll show a better side later in the season. I could see it going either way, but I do like the idea that he's now in the Institute and overseeing things for the Clave. It's clear that he won't be as swayed as past heads of the Institute, and that will make everything more difficult for the main characters.
When Luke's pack locked Simon in the storage unit I was so frustrated. I really feel for Simon. He has nowhere to go. Going to Luke was his last option and then he essentially gets kicked out of there too.
Of course I have to discuss the Malec in this episode. It was perfect. I loved Magnus insisting that Alec's actions at the wedding were for himself and not Magnus, and the fact that Alec went to Magnus and apologized had me absolutely melting. I'm so excited to see what's in store for them over the rest of the season. I sense that it will be good things even if there's tension at times. I'm very optimistic about how their relationship is being handled.
The end of the episode, of course, is Jocelyn attempting to kill Jace and Valentine jumping in front of the arrow. I have a feeling we'll see Valentine using this to manipulate Jace in the next episode. (Note: You're only reading this now, but I wrote it before episode two aired, so I've seen what happens now.) He has already been trying to convince Jace that Jocelyn doesn't love him, and he'll use this as proof (and not be entirely wrong). I'm sure he'll build up his sacrifice as proof that he's the one who truly does care about Jace. That's probably why he jumped in front of the arrow at all. I have no doubt that Jace will struggle with what happened in the next episode. While I am sure it will undoubtedly make for a great episode, I know it will be one of those storylines that's frustrating to watch.