Note: Written in June of 2017, much closer to this episode airing. Hence why it sounds like I just watched the episode for the first time and why I don't know things that happen later in the show.
This episode was incredible. I'm in love with so many aspects of it.
Jace is truly a masochist if he decided to spend time at the same bar where Clary and Simon are having a date. Or maybe he's trying to prove to himself that he doesn't actually care, which doesn't seem to be working out well for him.
The mutilated Shadowhunter was a shock. Since this is something new from the books, I truly had no idea who could have been behind it. I liked having to try to figure something out instead of having a pretty good idea of where it would go from the start.
Also, though, I love how that was used to explore the prejudices that Shadowhunters hold towards Downworlders. That was where this episode was at its absolute best. I loved, loved, loved Simon explaining to Clary that he couldn't submit a DNA example because of what happened to his family in the Holocaust. That made it so real and also made a very important point that I'm extremely glad the show is delving into. And, of course, Simon turns out to be right when the Clave then decides to insert GPS trackers in all Downworlds.
On a bit of a tangent, how hard would it be for the Shadowhunters to get those things into every Downworlder? I don't doubt they'd try, but that sure seems like a task that would take awhile and, meanwhile, not help so much with finding the filler. This is the Clave we're talking about though. Of course they'd go for it.
Speaking of the Clave, this is the most menacing they've been, but except for Inquisitor Herondale, we still haven't actually seen the Clave. This was try of the books compared to where we are in the show, but I have to say that I'm excited to see the whole Clave and Idris at some point. (Because they have to show us Idris eventually, right?)
Jace's conflict over wanting to please his grandmother now that he knows he's a Herondale but also knowing that what she's asking him to do is wrong is absolutely excellent. Imogen's characterization has been excellent so far. It's just how I picture her. She believes fully in the Clave and holds prejudices against Downworlders, but she one hundred percent believes that she's on the side of good. I'm hoping, since she's still alive and getting to know Jace, that maybe we'll see Jace actually getting through to her and making her change. Or maybe she'll just stay prejudiced forever. Who knows? (I'm kind of thinking that she's going to die by the end of the season to be honest, but since she's already lived past when she would have in the books, there's no telling what they'll do. I'd like to see her stick around a bit longer.)
Imogen knows just what to say to appeal to Jace, with her speeches about the Herondales always following their instinct and doing what's right (with "what's right" undoubtedly having been twisted over the past century and a half or so). She's right about that being what Jace needs to do, of course, but unfortunately for her, Jace's instinct is not telling him to do what she wants. I love that. I'm hoping, too, that her recognition that he is really a Herondale and that he believes that the Clave has done wrong will do something to convince her to come around.
I find it quite interesting that, considering how strict the Clave is, it's also perfectly all right for Imogen to appoint her own grandson as head of the Institute and it's not criticized as favoritism at all. Very interesting how that works. (This is sarcastic, of course, because it makes complete sense that the Clave would work through favoritism while being convinced that it's impartial.)
One tiny complaint I have is that the Malec aspect of this episode wasn't explored further. I know that the "show more Malec" screams can get exhausting, but I don't mean that in a blind "I just want more Malec" sense. I just think this episode hinted at a conflict in their relationship that I would love to see be dealt with more in depth.
Magnus is a Downworlder, and Alec is a member of a group that, by and large, despise Downworlders. That complicates their relationship, and it's made more complicated by the fact that Alec is, even when he doesn't realize it, influenced by the prejudices that have been pushed on him since he was born. I'm glad that was acknowledged, but I almost wish that the resolution hadn't been so brief.
Alec clearly recognizes that he was wrong, but I wonder if we could have gotten more from him over why exactly he was wrong. Or maybe this is just coming from a desire for more Malec, and I don't completely realize my own biases. I don't know. I just feel like seeing Alec acknowledge exactly what he did wrong more at length would have been nice. That being said, this could very well be dealt with more in the future (and I feel like it has to be to a certain extent).
I am so ready to see Isabelle train Max. Will we be seeing more Max now, though, or is the bulk of his training going to happen off screen? I'm hoping we'll at least see more of him than we did in the past, even if he's not in every single episode. There's a lot of room for character growth with Max, and that would be nice to see. Plus, I just really want to see tutor Izzy more. It's awesome, and I feel like being an authority figure for Max could really help Izzy after what she's been dealing with lately.
It was also no surprise that Max would go after Izzy even once told to stay in the Institute, and it was a given that he would be kidnapped once he had. Still, I like seeing Max involved in such an important plot point, and I was genuinely worried that he might end up dead, when I wasn't at all that worried about Clary earlier in the episode. (Clary is, after all, the main character. She's going to stick around for a while.)
As for Kaelie being the one behind it all, that felt a little out of left field. I didn't suspect a Seelie until Raphael said he was suspicious of them. I'd honestly figured it was another Shadowhunter before that trying to blame Downworlders. (I still don't quite get why Kaelie wanted the blame to fall on other Downworlders.) It seems quite the turnaround from before with her, but I liked that they at least explained that her brother had been killed.
Meliorn not only not being responsible but also helping them find Kaelie also made me happy. For anyone who hasn't read the books (and I don't consider this a spoiler), Meliorn is not all that great in the books. The TV show is making him much more complicated. He's not an ally of the Shadowhunters at all times, but it's been made clear that he cares about doing what is right. I wouldn't have been surprised if the Meliorn from the books was killing Shadowhunters, but seeing him work with Izzy and even Raphael (Seelies, Shadowhunters, and vampires all together) made me happy. I really appreciated that.
Finally, Jace turns the Institute over to Alec. One of the first things I thought when Imogen made Jace head of the Institute was that Alec really should have gotten the position. Everyone knew it. I love that Jace acknowledged that, and I love Alec's line about the Clave never appointing him because he's dating a guy who's a Downworlder, a reminder of both the Clave's prejudices towards Downworlders and their homophobia.
When Jace made Alec head of the Institute instead, I wasn't surprised exactly, but I hadn't quite been expecting it either. It was so nice to see and definitely what needed to happen. I also love that everyone knew it needed to happen. I can't even tell you how excited I am to see Alec be in charge of the Institute in the upcoming episodes. I'm so ready for it.
I almost forgot to even mention the Jace and Maia scene. Truthfully, I don't feel I have much to say about it. It was...interesting, but I don't feel as if it's going much of anywhere in the future. I don't know though. Maybe they'll surprise me and do more with that. We'll see.