There’s two groups of TV show fans: the ones who look forward to the season finale and the ones who dread it. We here at SDN belong to the second group. Knowing our showrunners and writers, we expected – and feared – that 2×20 would be an emotional rollercoaster. We were right.
Remember when it seemed as if Jonathan Morgenstern was dead? Well, he most definitely is not. That’s what we gathered from the first scene of the season two finale. We see Jonathan waking up on a beach – pale as a ghost, heavily injured and alive, but barely so. Although he is so close to death, he still has one last evil plot up his sleeve. Before he collapses on the sand, he manages to open up a rift to Edom, clearing the way for… a swarm of dragons.
No, you didn’t read wrong. Shadowhunters extended its vast range of supernatural creatures with freaking dragons. And they look really scary, thanks to Folks VFX who did a great job on making those evil, scaled flying creatures look so real. They also cause a whole lot of trouble this episode, but more about that later.
After the beach scene, the episode switches locations and we get to catch up with Luke and Simon. They are at Magnus’ place, asking him for help with getting Maia out of the Seelie Court. But since Magnus is upholding an alliance with the queen, he can’t exactly barge into her court and demand Maia’s release. Therefore, Luke and Simon have to go on their own.
Before that happens, we catch up with Maia herself. She has been kidnapped by orders of the Seelie Queen (who is still portrayed by Sarah Hyland in the finale) and boy, is she angry. That was actually really refreshing to see. After everyone in the Shadow- and the Downworld trying to reason with the queen and not upset her too much, it was so much fun to watch Maia not giving a damn about who she’s talking to and just lash out on her. While her guards are definitely not amused by it, we can’t say that the queen didn’t deserve it.
Back at the Institute Alec, Izzy, Jace and Clary head out to fight the dragon demons. This results in some pretty cool action scenes in the streets of Toronto… uh, New York. We loved to see them back in the field again, especially Alec. Don’t get us wrong, we love him as Head of the Institute, but it was time he got out of that office.
Being a shadowhunter may come with having a lot of cool skills, but last time we checked, flying was not one of them. So naturally, the squad can’t really do anything against the dragons, especially since they surprised everyone, including us, by going into hiding. While Jace and Clary head to Idris to stop Valentine from reaching Lake Lyn, Isabelle and Alec head back to the Institute. They need help – and not just anyone’s, but the help of a certain High Warlock.
This was when we got to know what may be the world’s biggest Malec shipper – after Matthew Daddario. She’s a shadowhunter and her name is Isabelle Lightwood. We loved seeing her practically blackmail Alec into asking Magnus for help. Her tiny, sly smile when he finally agrees said everything. The Malec fandom owes you one, Isabelle.
Izzy’s little intervention leads to the first Malec scene of the episode. Unfortunately, it is a rather painful one. Magnus doesn’t even bother trying to hide that he would rather be anywhere else than standing in front of Alec at that moment. And even though Magnus eventually agrees to help, we were suffering with Alec. It’s not that we were expecting Magnus to fall back into Alec’s arms as soon as he showed up at his door. But that cold, distant “What do you want, shadowhunter?” really hurt. If we had any unimpaired pieces of our hearts left, that line and the cold look that came with it, would have been their downfall.
Beside still water
While Alec, Magnus and Isabelle plan how to stop the demons at the Institute, the plot shifts to Idris and clears up a big discussion fans had during the weeks leading up to the finale: we learn who is the one to die.
As many have been expecting, it is Jace. Valentine murders him in cold blood, stabbing him in the heart as soon as Clary and Jace arrive at Lake Lyn, leaving him absolutely no chance to survive.
This is where the worst part of the emotional rollercoaster starts. First, there’s the shock of Valentine stabbing Jace (even though some of us expected that Jace was going to die –Valentine appeared out of nowhere, okay?!). And then there’s the other characters reacting to it – first and foremost, Clary and Alec.
Over the course of the past two seasons, we’ve had many heartbreaking moments on the show – but nothing could have possibly prepared us for the scenes following Jace’s fatal injury. Clary is so devastated as she watches Jace slowly fade away, we could barely stand watching her break down at the river. Especially as Jace used his last breath to slip an ‘I love you’ while looking straight into her eyes. Way to break our hearts yet again, Todd and Darren.
And don’t even get us started on Alec. Back in 2×01, Alec said that if Jace were to die, part of him would die as well. In 2×20, we get to see that. It is just as painful as Alec almost dying in 2×03. The showrunners really hit us with everything they had – Alec crashing to the floor mid speech, screaming in pain, his parabatai rune fading and those haunting flashbacks. Both Kat and Matt did an amazing job portraying their character’s grief and hurt, especially since there wasn’t any dialogue during those scenes – just the background music and close ups of their faces. We may or may not have needed a couple of tissues ourselves as they broke down in tears.
Neither Clary nor Alec have time to grieve, given that Valentine is about to raise the angel Raziel from Lake Lyn and eradicate all downworlders from the planet. Clary’s pain and shock about losing Jace then seems to transform into pure rage as she lashes out on Valentine.
Unfortunately, she doesn’t stand a chance against him with her few weeks of shadowhunter training and Valentine knocks her out pretty quickly. But not without letting his guard down and giving us a glimpse into the mad genius that is Valentine Morgenstern. From the moment they met, Clary has been Valentine’s weakness. Although he tried to act all ruthless and cold around her, he never managed to completely hide his humanity from her. 2×20 is the peak of that. Valentine seems truly sorry for killing Jace, he even lets Clary grieve for a moment before he handcuffs her to the ground. Just as he is about to raise the angel, he takes a moment to explain why he killed Jace and – which shocked us the most – apologizes for doing it. It’s rare that we’ve seen him this honest with other people, if we’ve ever seen him like this at all. We don’t wear hats when we watch TV shows, but if we did, we would have taken them off to honor the amazing performance of Alan Van Sprang during that entire scene. Alan showed one more time what an amazing actor he is – especially when Valentine finally reached his goal and uses the three Mortal Instruments to raise Raziel from the lake.
The moment when Raziel rises from the water was another one of our personal favorites. The lights, the scenery, the angel hovering over the lake – voiced over by the talented Anthony Head – and the special effects department really brought on their best game for the finale.
It seems like we were not the only one amazed by the sheer beauty of that sight, as Valentine is distracted enough for Clary to free herself from the handcuffs and attack him once more. She is still weaker than him, but this time, it is an emotional fight. Even though Valentine is still stronger and a much better fighter than Clary, he is not at the top of his game. On the contrary – he is distracted. Clary makes use of that distraction and in one last, desperate attempt, she manages to slice through Valentine’s throat and eventually kill him.
After that, she uses Valentine’s wish, granted by the angel Raziel, to bring Jace back from the dead, leading to an emotional reunion between the two lovebirds and to what seems to be a happy end – for now.
Parties, reunions and cliffhangers
Season two has been significantly darker than season one and in the final ten minutes of the finale, we finally get to see some lighter, happier moments. And by light and happy, we mean Simon and Maia making things official, a sweet Clizzy moment and, the funniest of them all, drunk Luke (that was the second time we cried during the finale – but this time, the tears were brought on by laughter.)
While we really enjoyed seeing everyone loosen up and have fun for once, there was still one thing that was unresolved: Alec and Magnus. We weren’t sure if the producers would keep them broken up until season three or let them get back together in the season finale, but luckily, they had mercy with us and opted for the latter. What we got was a truly beautiful scene of Malec clearing things up and getting back together – we enjoyed every second of it. Although it was set in the alley behind the Hunter’s Moon, it felt special. The lighting, the cinematography, Magnus’ tiny little smile and Alec’s hopeful puppy eyes – that scene was so soft and perfect, it had us melting into a puddle.
Making arrangements for season three
Theoretically, that beautiful Malec scene would have been a good way to end the season – everything was fine, everyone was happy and well. But this is Shadowhunters, also known as the show where nothing is ever truly alright.
The end of season two is the best example for that – beyond that happy, cheerful party atmosphere things are going downhill fast.
In order to get Maia out of the Seelie Court, Simon made some shady deal with the Queen and finds himself at her court once again. Jace has been acting weird ever since he came back from the dead. Luke’s partner Ollie suddenly turns up at the party, confronting drunk Luke about him being a werewolf.
Oh, and how could we forget that super creepy final scene, where Jonathan – or Jonathan’s body, we are not quite sure whether he is still alive – suddenly lies in some sort of cave full of dragon demons which, as we watch, all but transform into one woman who we then see leaning into Jonathan telling him “I’m here now, son.”
Clearly, the first plotlines for season three have been set. And judging from everything that already happened in season two, we are in for a wild ride. It has been one hell of a season, definitely darker and more mature compared to season one and with better, more compelling storylines and shocking cliffhangers. We loved to see our characters evolve, take on new challenges and responsibilities and witness them grow as people. We observed alliances rise, shift and crumble again, watched our characters tackle new problems each week, laughed, cried and enjoyed ourselves very much.
We cannot wait to see what’s in store for us next year. 2018, you better hurry up.
Journalism student with a soft spot for fantasy novels and dark chocolate. I’ve always loved to write and hope to make a living from it one day. On ShumDario News, I write articles for the website and help with updating and projects.