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Shadowhunters Season 2, Episode 7 Review

Shadowhunters Season 2, Episode 7 Review

‘How Are Thou Fallen’

If anything could pull Shadowhunters out of its recent slump, the return of Valentine as he tortures an angel ready to activate the Mortal Sword while Simon gets dating advice from Jace ought to do it. Luckily, ‘How Are Thou Fallen’ had all of this, serving as a reminder that sticking with this show through the off weeks can really pay off. This week’s episode felt like a much better balance compared to previous weeks, combining action and a deeper understanding of shadowhunter lore with believable relationship development and conflict for plot’s sake – and, for the most part, it all came together pretty well.

The driving force of the episode came from Sister Cleophas’ determination to prove Clary has special abilities to Valentine, who has well and truly shaken off his campy villainy of season one to become quite the imposing presence in this series. After a few episodes away from our screens, it doesn’t take long for Alan Van Sprang to reaffirm Valentine as a threat worth noticing and, thanks to a bit of clever world building, it’s also firmly reinstated just how established Valentine is in the lives of these characters – he’s Clary and Jace’s dad, he’s Luke’s parabatai and his followers are friends and family of the shadowhunters, making this a very personal fight for all involved.

Yet with the renewed focus on Valentine, it becomes pretty clear pretty quickly that Sister Cleophas (Lisa Berry) is not really a force to be reckoned with and serves no other purpose than acting as a means of getting the core group to the real threat. Still, it was handy to have her around right at the moment Clary’s angel-induced headaches made themselves known so she could give us all the answers – and the resulting fight scene as Jace and Clary took on Valentine’s followers to free the angel Ithuriel was very well-shot and very worth the build up to it.While a lot of the action did take place in the closing minutes of the episode, that’s not to say that the rest of ‘How Are Thou Fallen’ proved slow and uninteresting. On the contrary, Emeraude Toubia was able to step into the spotlight in a major way as her character’s yin fen addiction took a dark turn, seeing Isabelle trying to strike deals with dangerous downworlders before heading out to a vampire den to get her drug straight from the source, while Simon, Jace, Alec and Magnus all seemed to get pretty caught up in the Valentine’s Day spirit with romance and relationships very much on the brain.

Jace’s newfound turn as Brooklyn’s biggest Lothario felt a little forced, but it can be justified when you consider that he feels abandoned by the Clave and can’t have the girl he wants, so why not take some time to enjoy being with women who are willing? What’s a little harder to swallow is the way he inserts himself into Simon’s dating narrative, which is especially unbelievable when you consider that Jace and Simon haven’t exactly shared a lot of screen time this series, and weren’t exactly the best of friends before that either. However fun it was to see Alberto Rosende and Dominic Sherwood play off each other, the whole idea in general felt very random and more than a little unnecessary, especially as all it seemed to show us was that Jace treats women he doesn’t care about quite badly, and Simon is infinitely more loveable when he’s himself.Magnus and Alec’s arc on the other hand felt both earned and earnest with the pair taking a more subdued and reflective approach to consider where their relationship is going and what they want from it, leading to a cute exchange between Magnus and wolf-turned-bartender Maia (Alisha Wainwright) and a lovely moment between Alec and Izzy too.

‘How Are Thou Fallen’ marked a turn in the right direction for what was quickly becoming a disappointing series but the fluctuation in quality between episodes means I’m now approaching Shadowhunters with trepidation more than excitement. This week’s episode was the most engaging one since episode four’s ‘Day of Wrath’, and even if it didn’t quite match that one for sheer enjoyment levels, it’s still the first episode that’s ended and left me wanting to find out what happens next in a few weeks.

But it’s always been the case with this series that the good parts make the bad parts look even worse, and now Shadowhunters really needs to get a handle on its balancing and pacing issues to make every episode a level playing field once again.


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