Shadowhunters – Season 2, Episode 9: “Bound by Blood”

Shadowhunters – Season 2, Episode 9: “Bound by Blood”
Grade: C+

In the ninth episode of the second season, Shadowhunters dips back down in quality—or at least, I just think the episode didn’t work. From the cliche set of a creepy carnival to an annoying plot, the newest episode wasn’t my favorite of this season. This is the worst grade I’ve given an episode of Shadowhunters season 2.

Though the episode have an interesting premise: Clary’s hand becomes charred and mangled, spreading over her arm—it’s a countdown for Clary to find Madzie, being bound by her oath to the warlock Iris. Both Jace and Simon help her, eventually achiving their goal until Madzie turns against them and Simon is kidnapped by Valentine. Meanwhile, Maia and many other downworlders, knowing Clary has the power to activate (ugh, that word) the sword that would kill all downworlders, want Clary dead.


HIGHLIGHTS

Clary’s favor
for Iris and the awful charring hand spell was interesting. This specific plotline worked really well going through the episode. I loved the curse of her hand being charred, growing closer to her chest and heart. It gave the episode an immediacy and pace that worked nice, however Clary does little of the action which annoyed me. Some of the elements to this didn’t quite work for me (Jace meeting with Valentine in the restaurant, Clary almost dying (I never like main character almost-deaths because we know they aren’t going to die), and the worst part about it (which made it below in its own lowlight section) how quickly the favor being (not) completed fixed her hand. Other than that, I liked the premise. It could’ve been a great side episode that didn’t need Valentine involved at all—or less involved. I’m just not a fan of how they’re going about the adapting of the books. There’s a good way of doing it (following the plot of the books in most episodes, having fun side episodes that play with the characters) and a bad way (the way Shadowhunters is doing it.)

LOWLIGHTS

The oath not really being completed
bothered me greatly. Why did the spell break after Madzie was returned to Clary, and not Iris? Immediately after, Madzie stole Clary away and she was back in Valentine’s clutches, so Iris still doesn’t have Madzie and so Clary should have her hand still charred up until she’s returned to Iris. You’d think that Iris would’ve made the binding spell a little more specific? Like, “find Madzie” could’ve been done by Clary knowing she’s with Valentine and that’s it, spell broken. Iris still didn’t have her, so technically Clary failed to return her safely to Iris, so why is the favor supposedly done?

Carnival theme
was just weird and annoying. It’s like they went, “What’s a creepy, overused motif that is shown over and over again with supernatural/urban fantasy/horror films? Carnival! For no reason! Great!” Like, not necessary. It added nothing. I get that they had Valentine want Madzie to enjoy her time with him, but, like, a lot of ice cream could’ve done that. Relocating your entire evil lair and science experiment creatures for that sole reason was stupid.

Maia
wanting to kill Clary made sense in the episode, but felt out of place for the character. Maia being locked up and escaping didn’t really go anywhere, her claustrophobia wasn’t really explored at all, even after she said that Luke “knew what she’d been through” to have it. And how did she even escape? How was that so easy? I don’t get any of it. As much as I love Maia, her role in this episode was useless.

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