It is time for the fourth season of Shadowhunters. And it has done very well, it has garnered a large audience, it has a large number of fans, it has a budget. It can definitely afford to put some of the main characters through acting classes.
Last season Clary decided to use her angelic wish so she could continue her quasi incestual relationship with Jace and at the same time a big scary demon woman, Lilith, came back to save her evil demon son, Clary’s actual brother (who also wants to do incest with Clary because this is the Mortal Instruments and we have a theme), and guy who can act, Sebastian. Magnus decided that the 5 minutes of screen time he and Alec have together mean it’s perfectly ok to fuck over his people and continue to be a good little servant to the Downworld, while Luke runs his pack in his own attempt to be a good servant and do fuck all for his actual people; Maia joins him in being the second in command of not actually doing fuck all for their actual people. His partner on the police force has also found out about the monsters out there. Meanwhile the fairy queen is out of her ever loving mind and allying with Magic Nazi Valentine because if at least some of the Downworld weren’t dubiously evil to a ridiculous degree, Luke and Magnus’s subservience would be even more nauseating. Simon is her guest because of that whole daylight walking vampire thing. Izzy and Raphael are… just… there. Doing stuff. And by stuff I mean moping, not to be confused with anything actually meaningful.
And every experienced adult Shadowhunter who has ever lived have all checked out to, I dunno, play bingo or something, and are quite content to let these over-dramatic teens and early 20s run everything.
Lo, we have summed up the last season.
And we open with Lillith - who is either covered in tar or this season is going all in in really really bad blackface. I would say the former is the obvious choice but, y’know, Shadowhunters. She wants to wake up her dead evil son so he can return her naked tar embrace. I say again, incest is a thing on this show
It’s Clary’s big special day where everyone gathers around and says how special she is. Which is basically every day, but in this case she’s being officially honoured as a full Shadowhunter and no longer in training despite the complete hot minute she’s actually spent doing that training. This is a day to rejoice apparently, with side issues with Alec who is kind of pissy that Jace died and both Jace and Clary are lying about it. They’re lying because that wish she used to resurrect Jace? That’s the only wish that nagel will grant. Could have used it for world peace. Could have used it to end world hunger. Could have used it for infinite clean power. Could have used it to forever ban pineapple on pizza. But nah, she resurrected Jace
She’d do it again in what would be a romantic moment except acting lessons are not in the budget alas.
What we do have instead are more convoluted unnecessary angst. So despite both dreams and the reality of them both rolling around half naked, Jace keeps having dreams about him murdering Clary because of his evil brother/3rd spoke of the incest love triangle. Because we need more angst
Clary also goes to Izzy, the new weapons master - seriously are there no Shadowhunters over the age of 30? She goes to pick her preferred weapon which is some kind of mystic ritual. She picks two long knives. And later learns from Luke that one is Valentine’s and the other Jocelyn’s because she has epic light and darkness in her. Or she’s just good with long knives
Can you imagine life as Clary? She had corn flakes this morning, with almond milk. Jocelyn liked cornflakes and lo there is light in her; but Valentine had almond milk. This is a momentous sign.
Magnus and Alec reunite, saying hello across a large room because this is the affection they show. Magnus has lost his job as High Warlock on account of not actually giving a shit about his people and constantly siding with the shadowhunters. He pretends not to care, being far happier selling stuff.
Alec has also got a job offer to go back to Idris (which is off limits to Warlocks so will mean separation because there always have to be something keeping them apart) as a council member because there are, again, no Shadowhunters over the age of 30. Magnus insists that he’s super happy with this turn of events as well
It takes another warlock telling Alec that actually, no, Magnus isn’t happy to be peddling potions rather than being the most respected warlock (no-one says “really, you need telling this? Really? I thought you were in love with him?!”). So he and Magnus talk about maybe communicating a bit more and Magnus tells him that he’d rather Alec not end up going to the one place on Earth he can’t follow. Finally they kiss after keeping several feet between them for some time.
Luke is also focused on his pack… hah no, not really. Luke is worried because Ollie, his police partner wants to know more about the supernatural since she was attacked by a werewolf 5 years ago (but not turned). He lies to try and cover everything but since his cover includes “I’m a member of a motorcycle gang” when he doesn’t even own a bike, you can imagine how convincing he is.
Lillith is up to something dastardly - sending out a demon to possess a nice man to bring back sacrifices. The man, a nurse called tim, also murders his wife which gets the police involved. Luke is quick to recognise a possession so calls in some Shadowhunters while he tries, belatedly, to stop Ollie from confronting the suspect. Since she thinks the supernatural doesn’t exist (or has been told that) she chases the super fast super strong demon. And hey, i’ll have some praise for Shadowhunters here, the depiction of the possessed person is super super creepy and scary
Luke, as a wolf, has no chance. Nor does Ollie. But clary shows up with her angel weapons - and she throws her knives at it. These would be the non-throwing weapons that she only has two of them
Of course she does
So instead she resorts to throwing sunlight from one of her Deus Ex Runes to kill it.Lillith feels it and is super pissed, but she has other recruits to call on.
And Luke decides to tell Ollie the truth because running around facing down demons with a hand gun is not going to achieve much except a nasty nasty death
More dramas: Raphael is apparently holding a female vampire captive using a vampire drug he got under false pretences from Magnus to do it.
Izzy flirts with a cute doctor who is likely to be prevalent in the future with his chocolate acquiring powers
And Simon is in the fairy realm. And I ask again whether we’re really supposed to think Simon is the Not Hot one because, really? Really? Or that he is substantially less hot than Jace? The fairies tell a terrible lie about him being the best musician since Bowie and then brand him with a spear. This isn’t some weird fandom, but it is a ceremony that only a daywalking vampire can survive so I guess they don’t do it often
The fairy queen doesn’t reveal what it actually does but she does let him go, so he goes back to Maia to explain where he’s been and why (to allow her to leave the Seelie realm).
So that’s a lot of plot hooks - alas I feel the whole focus on Jace and his weird nightmares may actually dominate them all. This is the habit - Jace and Clary, despite being the least interesting characters on this show, inevitably dominate it. Literally every other character on this show is more fascinating - and not only is more fascinating but could actually be far far more so if they were actually allowed to grow and develop. Instead we will have Clary and Jace and the angst keeping them apart.