The much-awaited season 3B of Shadowhunters is finally here.
There’s something special about knowing that the show is doomed from the start. It definitely influenced the way I watched the episode. If I had to pick a feeling, a red thread that united all characters in the 40-minute episode, it is helplessness. Magnus felt helpless for losing his powers. Jace because he can’t undo his actions. Izzy, Alec, and Maia wished they could help their loved ones. Luke clinging to a fool’s hope. Clary, who can’t escape her captivity, and the fans, who can only watch from the sidelines as the tragedy unfolds and the end draws nearer.
so it begins
“Lost Souls”, is not a season premiere but the first episode fans have seen in a year. It starts right into the action as we follow the legendary Lightwood siblings chase a rogue faerie. I confess that I had no recollection of this faerie and didn’t remember why they were chasing him at all. If there was an explanation even provided or needed from the previous episode (it wasn’t – the whole point of the scene was to mention and introduce Seelie magic decoys used again later). Jace, who blames himself for Clary’s death, is more than happy to throw himself in the path of unnecessary danger – but then again, isn’t he always? – and to die for no good reason.
The sad and slow sequence of Simon’s depression and grief was beautiful and really conveyed his fragile emotional state. I’m grateful to the showrunners for dedicating one moment to Magnus’s grief for Clary, showing him lighting a candle on his balcony.
As soon as the opening credits end, we move to the true beginning of the episode. Clary wakes up and is welcomed by a beautiful man – her brother, Jonathan (played by the wonderful Luke Baines) whom she somehow recognizes on sight. She isn’t fooled by his charm and welcoming demeanor and does not believe him reformed for one second. In all her impulsiveness, she attempts to run away. Even though they’re in the middle of a frozen wasteland in Siberia and she doesn’t have a stele or a phone. Great plan, Clary! What’s worse is that she knows Jonathan saw her and still decides to leave even though we all know he’ll catch up to her in no time if he wants to. She obviously doesn’t go far before she collapses out of exhaustion and hypothermia. Maybe you should’ve eaten something first?
In New York, all is as well as it could be. Magnus is struggling to put eyeliner on without magic. (The showrunners have no idea many mundane women manage to do that every day!) I’m sure Izzy would’ve been happy to help. His day is lit up when Catarina stops by to drop off Madzie and we are delighted to see Malec parenting, which ranks high in fanservice.
some help and tender moments
Maia is back and goes to see Simon, but the dynamic between them is off from the first moment. Something broke and it’s nobody’s fault. It’s great how they’re still able to care about each other and be friends. Simon doesn’t want to even go outside because he fears he’ll hurt people and Maia is determined to help him.
Jace’s grief and guilt over his actions as the owl are turning dangerous. Izzy finds him with a dagger in hand, and they share a nice moment of connection over how much they loved Clary. I wish we saw more of Izzy and Jace’s dynamic. I’m not sure if you all caught it – I had to watch it a second time to notice – but Jace softly grabbed Izzy’s hand and kissed it. It was a unique display of affection that stabbed me in the heart.
The big antagonist of the episode – and a B-rate villain at that – was the warlock Iris Ross. She’s Madzie’s nana. She shows up at Magnus’s apartment to take back Madzie. Magnus is again reminded of how powerless he is as he can’t do much to protect himself or ward his apartment. Iris does in fact capture him later and Magnus fits all the tropes for a helpless but frustrated, damsel in distress. Not used to needing help, he feels embarrassed that Alec and Izzy came to his rescue.
all about izzy
It seems like Izzy will delve deeper and deeper into Downworld this season. She will likely uncover a plot of torture where Downworlders are taken to be experimented on and tortured (Valentine, dear, is that you?). I loved her only powerful line this episode: “Downworlders have rights. Even if they’re prisoners.”
My favorite character unfortunately keeps not having a storyline of her own. but is stuck being somebody’s sidekick. Maia goes to see her asking for help on Simon’s behalf. This will inevitably lead to Sizzy going on adventures and developing feelings for each other. While they’re a beloved ship from the books, I hope Izzy’s personal arc will not stay static. It was clever, the way they had Maia seek out Izzy, and basically “hand” her the responsibility of helping Simon. This way the writers can say she blesses their future union, avoiding all kind of petty jealousy or animosity between the two women. We’ll see what happens, I guess.
in other news
In other Lightwood news, Alec is met by Consul Jia Penhallow. For some reason, the writers have decided to make her a mean, heartless person. I don’t know if there’s a reason for this that there just isn’t time to explore – poor planning, alas – or if it’s just the intrinsic misogyny of hating women in positions of power. The assumption that a good woman just can’t go places without being mean, that she just can’t have earned her role fairly, is a bit offensive. I know this show means well and they think they are a beacon of equity, but there is nothing feminist about this. Jia is one of the most compassionate people in the Clave in the books, and she and her husband Patrick raised Aline with love and good principles, not meanness.
Alec reminds his parabatai he can’t live without him, so he’d better stop trying to hurt himself and have no value for his life. Alec orders Jace to take time off. He reluctantly goes to see Luke, the only person who loved Clary more than anything. He doesn’t have anybody to fall back on. But this time around, Luke didn’t give in to his animalistic side like he did when he lost Jocelyn. He dropped his job and the pack, dove deep into research, and developed a conspiracy theory about where Clary might be. Jace looks at him like he’s out of his mind. It’ll be funny to see his face when Luke’s proven to be right.
In Siberia, Clary stabs Sebastian in the throat with a kitchen knife. She’s in for a heck of a surprise. When he bleeds, she bleeds too! As usual, with the way she is written in the show, the girl acts before she thinks. She comes up with half a plan and enacts it before coming up with the second part. If she’d paused for one second to think, she might’ve realized that the pretty demonic rune she and her brother share isn’t just a tattoo. After nearly dying at her own hand, I hope she’ll be more careful in the future.
This episode didn’t strike me as a masterpiece for structure, plot or characterization. However, the fandom has been starved and I know mostly loved it. Luke Baines shone like a diamond, and I can’t wait to see where he’s going to take Jonathan Morgenstern.
I have to admit I’m intrigued by the major plot change. In City of Lost Souls, the fifth book in The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, where the episode takes its title, it is Jace who is bound to Sebastian, and it’s to him that he speaks the iconic line “We are one now, little brother.” Unlike Clary though, Jace is also mind-controlled by Sebastian and fully believes in his cause, so there are little chances for rebellion or escape.
My wish for these last 10 episodes is no more fandom wars. I hope we can end this on a note of positivity. Opinions can be shared on all platforms with respect. What I hope to see from the show is good opportunities for all characters. Cut it with the fanservice. Don’t limit great characters to interactions with their significant others, and challenge their limits with storylines that actually make sense in the grand scheme of things.
Until next episode, ShadowFam. Find me on Twitter and come chat with me and share theories at @ladymultifandom!