We are back on track, all caught up with what has aired of Shadowhunters currently. Last night’s episode 1×09 “Rise Up” gave us lots of action, drama, and character building. Clary and Jace are closer to finding Jocelyn, Alec and Lydia think they are close to figuring out how to restore the Lightwoods name (they aren’t) and Izzy’s relationship with Meliorn is coming back to bite her in the ass. Remember way back when in that post I made with all the need-to-know terms, well we’re going to need that again. Lydia, working on orders from the Clave (the ruling body for Shadowhunters) arrests Meliorn (a seelie) on suspicion of getting information from Izzy and giving to Valentine. His punishment is going to see the Silent Brothers (remember those weird dementor-like dudes that tried to read Clary’s memories? Yeah those guys. They don’t love Downworlders so this pretty much means Meliorn is going to die. This weeks episode is an episode where we see every single one of the main characters dealing with some really morally exhausting problems.
Let’s get this started! The episode starts with Simon running rampant through the streets of New York, and Raphael trying to reign him in. Simon at the moment, in his hungry newly created vampire state, blames Raphael for his transformation because he forgets the moments after he came out of his grave and that Clary is the one who made the decision to change him. Jace, Clary, Luke and Raphael all work to find Simon and bring him to the vampire’s lair and feed. Clary and Jace separate because they learn that Alec was injured by the Forsaken and Jace feels he needs to return to the Institute to help Alec and Izzy after Meliorn is arrested. They kiss of course, and mention that they have to have a conversation about their relationship.
When Luke and Clary find Simon shortly after, Simon and Clary discuss his transformation and it is clear that Simon is furious at Clary for being selfish and making the decision to turn him into a Vampire. They take him to Raphael at the vampire lair and Simon decides he has to feed and also side with the vampires and accept his fate. In choosing to be lead by Raphael (the new leader of the vampires because it looks like Camille is out of commission at the moment), Simon seems to understand that he is going to have to find a way to interact in this world. Clary, Simon, Luke and Raphael all decide that they are going to help Jace and Izzy take back Meliorn, because the Clave has finally gone too far in sentencing him to death when the evidence is not strong enough.
Back at the Insitute Alec is badly injured from the Forsaken (his wound seriously is not healing well) and Lydia and Izzy argue about arresting Meliorn. Since the Forsaken got in to the Insitute because they had angel-blood infused in them, Magnus is called to add more magical protection to the Insitute. He offers to help heal Alec’s wounds but Alec resists, acting cold around Magnus. Alec’s father, Robert, argues with Alec and finds out that Alec knows the Lightwoods were once apart of the Circle. Alec makes his anger known and swears to fix the families honour through his marriage to Lydia on his own terms.
When Alec tells Izzy and Jace about marrying Lydia both of them are angry and it seems Izzy is personally offended because she has been the only one fighting for Alec’s well being. Alec also tells Jace and Izzy about their parents being a part of the Circle but unlike Alec, the other siblings are not as angry and seem to think Alec’s reaction is too far. Meliorn tells Lydia that Clary has the Cup and the rest of the team goes behind Alec’s back (including Magnus) in order to get the Cup out of the Institute and back in Clary’s hands. After helping Jace and Izzy get the Cup Magnus confronts Alec and he learns about his engagement to Lydia. Magnus is distraught and though he tries, can’t play it off as a joke. It is clear that he has developed feelings for Alec but isn’t sure how to handle this news, and when they part ways Alec, as always, looks conflicted. Lydia shares how being sympathetic to Downworlders one time got her husband killed and Alec, who already is having problems with his allegiances, sides with her.
Alec and a few Shadowhunters take Meliorn to see the Silent Brothers and Izzy, Jace, Clary, the werewolf pack and the vampires help create diversions to help Meliorn escape. Clary and Jace confront Alec and get Meliorn free. Jace argues with Alec, challenging the way he’s been acting since Clary showed up. The two of them get into a fist fight and Jace yells that he knows why Alec has been acting this way, and the he knows that the marriage with Lydia is because of Alec’s feelings for Jace. Jaw drop moment, I was not expecting Jace to know, because he has seemed oblivious this entire time, but it just made the fight even more emotional. Jace is in the right, the Clave and their opinions and Laws are wrong and Clary, Jace and Izzy and their opinions about accepting Downworlders clearly is the morally right way to think. However, despite agreeing with them, Alec cannot separate his duty, reputation and his repressed feelings from the right thing to do at the moment. The episode ends with Meliorn and Izzy reunited and Meliorn freed. It turns out he is part of the key to finding Valentine. Also, Simon, still mad at Clary but coming to terms with his new role in this messed up world.
Episode Grade: A-
THIS SHOW HAS GIVEN ME SO MUCH THIS WEEK!!!!!! I knew it had the capability to produce a good solid 42 minutes of television and it delivered. “Rise Up” was full of betrayal, duty, prejudice, acceptance and moral quandaries. Alec’s continued emotional problems are quickly coming to the surface, and even though he fought with Jace I think there is even more outbursts to expect, especially because the entire episode he is snarky and snaps at both Izzy and Jace. Simon also, is beginning his journey to understanding how to live as a vampire. This episode was a fantastic episode for both plot, action and character building. Which up until this point hasn’t really occurred all in one episode.
Also, with the admission that Jace probably knows that Alec is in love with him and their subsequent fight and separation (Jace says he would rather die than fight on different sides of this problem), once again this show is exploring the nuanced ways that these brother’s relationship has layers upon layers and that their relationship, especially because of their Shadowhunter bond, is crucial to their survival. In exploring the many different sides of this relationship, while also establishing Magnus as a love interest for Alec (and complicating that with Lydia), Shadowhunters is delving even deeper into ideas of masculinity and how nuanced it is as well. The preview for next week also hints at an Alternate Universe being the way to find Valentine and those are my favourite type of episodes in shows so I am sure that it will run with the themes of this episode and give us another spectacular 42 minutes of TV.
Girls! Girls! Girls!
We now have three young women at the centre of the plot. Clary, Izzy and Lydia. This episode, because of the focus on betrayal, loyalty and duty examines all three women’s ways of dealing with these issues. Firstly, Clary’s flaws are attacked head on. Clary by far is the least interesting character in this entire show to me. That doesn’t mean she isn’t doing things for good representation of girls on television or that she should be hated for her actions, but its just pretty much a fact that Izzy and the boys are better written characters. This is primarily because one of Clary’s flaws is that she is exceptionally selfish and that she uses people she claims are her friends. This is most obviously shown in her relationship with Simon. She has an uncanny ability to make everything between them about her, with little to no regard for anyone’s feelings. This episode however, allows Simon to challenge her selfishness. Also, despite her flaws, she also is completely in the right in terms of her attitudes towards acceptance and the way she wants the Shadow world to change and become more accepting. So despite her completely annoying qualities this episode fully embraced her attitude and has set her up as the one who will guide the old boring Clave into the 21st century.
This week Izzy also is given even more to, and more emotional depth to explore. She is still acting as a diplomat and taking on more adult responsibilities, but Meliorn being arrested, and Alec completely ruining his life by getting engaged to Lydia sends Izzy into a frenzy and she gets just as mad as Alec but just in a different way. I was most interested this episode in the ways that the girls are dealing with these problems differently. Izzy is dealing with her two brothers making her choose sides, and her brotherly relationship with both boys is put to the test. She is annoyed at Jace for how he breaks the rules but it does not compare to Alec and his new attitude and commitment to marrying Lydia and enforcing the Law so heavily. Her feelings and worry for Meliorn and her anger at Lydia’s attitude also adds to her anxiety. Where Clary makes rash decisions, Izzy’s slightly more refined anger comes through in her unleashing the same kind of snark as Alec, and her warrior instincts helping free her boyfriend.
Next up is Lydia. Lydia is honestly pretty much a girl version of what Alec will be if he goes down this road of following the Law to a T and not seeing the bigger picture in terms of the consequences of following these archaic Laws. Lydia so far, even though she was just introduced, has proven to be just as interesting a character as Izzy or Clary. The only thing is at the moment she is being pitted against them. What is good though is that the girls aren’t being pitted against each other for any petty reasons, but rather because at the moment Lydia is representing almost all of the bad things that the Clave represents. This episode, as well as 1×08, add context to why Lydia has clung to the Clave and the Law, and has added depth where her being evil or boring could have easily been the route the show took. This episode pretty much was an almost flawless episode in terms of my expectations for this show, and most of it was because it continuously challenged the characters.
Next up on the blog:
Saturday: We’re going to talk about the ways that representation matters across the board and how that intersects with feminism and representation of young women.
Wednesday: Shadowhunters 1×10. This episode takes Jace and Clary through some sort of portal that lands them in an Alternate Universe. I expect it will be genius and I unashamedly enjoy Alternate Universe episodes (Fringe, The Flash, etc. have all done this) so I’m sure it will be another great episode and that the way the mirror the characters in the Alternate Universe will spark much discussion!