Shadowhunters S02E04 “Day Of Wrath” REVIEW
Essential Plot Points:
- Clary visits Jace in his cell in the City Of Bones, but he tells her that he’d rather she stay away – well, the whole Luke and Leia vibe must be torture for the poor lad’s libido. Not to mention he’s facing a life of imprisonment with little chance of nuptials anyway.
- Jocelyn tells Clary she’s been ordered back to Idris by the Clave. She asks Clary to go with her. Later in the episode, after a lot of prevaricating, Clary decides she wants to stay in New York.
- Jace goes on trial. Oddly nobody turns up to watch and there’s not even a live YouTube feed. So Victor gets to stitch up Jace – who can’t lie because he’s holding the Soul-Sword while testifying – by asking him if he could ever wholeheartedly serve the Clave. The answer has to be no.
- Jace is sentenced to life imprisonment next to Hodge. Yeah, he’s back – but not for long.
- Victor tortures (he prefers the word “motivates”) Raphael into finding Camille.
- Raphael goes to Magnus for help and recognises the box Magnus and Simon brought back from Camille’s Indian abode.
- It holds Camille’s grave dirt which can be used to summon her. It needs Camille’s blood to open it.
- Or the blood of a vampire Camille has sired – Simon will do. Luckily Simon has also turned up at Magnus’s place. Stroke of luck, eh?
- But Magnus – being an old flame of Camille’s – wants one last chance to talk to her before betraying her. So he gets rid of Simon and Raphael using a ruse, and summons Camille when they’ve gone. He then magically imprisons her, has a natter and then portals her to Idris.
- The Shadowhunters are sent to investigate demon activity in the city. During the mission, Alec actually starts to find some grudging admiration for Clary.
- Clary, Izzy and Alec find the body of victim of a demon attack and take it back to the Institute for examination.
- But it’s a ruse by Valentine! The body hides a hitchhiking demon who somehow passes the Institute’s security and then body hops around the place randomly killing people to cause a distraction while Valentine and his best buddies break into the City Of Bones.
- One of the random deaths is Jocelyn’s.
- In the City of Bones, Valentine steals the Soul-Sword and tries to convince Jace to join him again. Jace basically says, “You can f**k right off!”
- Handily, Valentine has also captured Victor and brought him along; so now Victor knows that Jace isn’t in league with his dad. Every cloud, eh?
- Valentine tries to forcibly take Jace with him anyway but Hodge provides a distraction by grabbing Valentine, which gives Jace an opportunity to escape his cell. Hodge pays with his life – a dagger in the forehead.
- There’s a fight, but Valentine escapes with the Soul-Sword.
- Jace and Victor return to the Institute where Clary and Alec have defeated the demon. The full impact of her mother’s death now hits Clary. Jace watches jealously as Simon comforts Clary.
After last week’s rather refreshing change of pace, there’s a bit of a backslide into the signature ADD plotting of season one here, especially as regards the way Hodge is brought back just, seemingly, to die. Jocelyn has a similarly perfunctory death. It’s difficult to feel anything for the demise of either of these characters because they’re both dispatched in such an off-hand manner. It’s not even as if the deaths are so sudden they’re shocking. They just kind of happen. Like a bus turning up or a cold call from a PPI claims firm.
Jace’s trial is a bit of a damp squib as well. We were expecting a huge set piece with crowds baying for Jace’s blood, but it ends up as four guys and a glowy sword in a cave. Much of Victor’s line of questioning is pretty obvious stuff too, though his cheeky enquiry about whether Jace still has the hots for his sister spices things up a bit.
As for the demon plotline, it just splutters around like a roman candle that’s fallen over and nobody really wants to pick it up until its runs out of power. Sure, there are some pretty fireworks in terms of the fights and gore effects but plotwise it’s not much more than a lot of frantic running and arm waving.
Luckily some of the more promising elements of the previous stick around: primarily, there are scenes which require the actors to actually act and not just deliver exposition. For the first time Victor comes across as a credible bad-ass in his dealings with Raphael, and even Valentine’s attempts to win over his son have a more urgent, desperate edge to them, with Jace fighting his corner with more conviction and zeal than previously.
Also, there’s finally some actual nuance to the characters; not everything they think needs to be said, and not everything said is necessarily what they think – especially Victor in the trail scene and Jace in that final scene. Hell, we’re not saying it’s Samuel Beckett levels of subtlety but it’s more interesting than we were getting for much of the first season.
And Magnus is as great as ever, still this show’s shining star. Hell, he even had us liking Camille for a moment. He’s definitely being written and played with more layers this season and it’s turning a good character into a great one. Last season it was difficult to imagine that he was really hundreds of years old; this year there’s a decadent world-weariness to him that makes it much more believable.
“Day Of Wrath” is slightly disappointing watch after the much more refreshingly confident feel of “Parabatai Lost”, but the show is probably still in transitional mode. Let’s hope it transitions the right way in coming episodes. We know we’ve got Malec’s first date coming up to entertain us at the very least.
- Despite our loathing of Camille, even we were swayed by Magnus’s heartfelt defence of her.
- “Wait. You think I should go?”
“Of course not. No one in Idris is gonna teach you how to fight in five-inch heels.”
- Victor going all Dr No on Raphael.
- Jace skewering two guys at once during the prison fight.
- “I always thought you were like the Energiser Bunny of warlocks.”
- It’s interesting that Victor doesn’t say to Jace, “That’s exactly what I am doing,” when Jace criticises the Clave for not coming down hard on the vampire dens. Are we seeing the seeds of possible new alliances here?
- Both Jocelyn’s and Hodge’s deaths happen with a complete lack of dramatic impact.
- Camille. You know we have always had issues with Kaitlyn Leeb’s bland portrayal of Camille so any amount of Camille is a waste of screen time as far as we’re concerned. At least she’s only in this episode for a few seconds, but she still wound us up.
- The trail was underwhelming.
- Please, please please let’s have a ban on smoke monsters in US telefantasy. The effect is looking so “off-the-peg” these days it’s embarrassing.
- How the hell did Raphael and Simon fall for Magnus’s not-so-subtle, “Could you pop next door and borrow some sugar for me?” ruse?
And The Random:
- “The descent into hell is easy”, the Shadowhunter motto (lifted straight from the books) was first used in the show in the second episode of season one, which was actually called, “The Descent Into Hell Is Easy”.
- Jocelyn did not die in this way at this point in the books (in fact she survives throughout), so this is a really major divergence.
- In the books, the Soul-Sword is also known as The Mortal Sword, Maellartach or Angel Blade. It is the second of the Mortal Instruments given by Angel Raziel to Jonathan Shadowhunter.