Essential Plot Points:
- Clary and Simon are making out in Simon’s canoe.
- Jace interrupts them with a horn (in Shakespeare that’d be a dirty joke).
- Clary suddenly develops a really nasty case of eczema.
- Clary and Jace go to see Magnus (Alec is there, of course, being all doom and gloom).
- Magnus diagnoses Clary with having la chair brûlée – the sign of a blood oath in operation. If Clary doesn’t find Madzie before the supernatural eczema reaches her heart, she’ll die.
- At the Institute Aldertree summons Izzy. He seems surprised that she’s recovered from Yin Fen addiction so quickly.
- He asks her out for dinner in a rather forceful, creepy, stalkerish manner. She turns him down.
- Clary enlists Luke and his werewolves in the hunt for Madzie. She also insists that Simon helps. Jace is not impressed.
- When Clary goes to fetch Simon she’s attacked by a werewolf. Clary fends it off and it transforms into Maia.
- Maia is trying to kill Clary to stop Valentine from using her to activate the soul-sword.
- Valentine’s new lair is in disused carnival, because he just loves a good villainous cliché.
- He’s planning on raising Madzie himself so he has an unconditionally loyal warlock (such touching naivety – clearly he’s never had to parent a child through its teenage years).
- Valentine is using Dot to inject some imprisoned test subjects with a magical potion (purpose of which yet to be revealed, but it won’t be good).
- Izzy is actually having dinner with Raphael, who’s a great cook despite being a vampire. He cooks every Sunday for his “little sister”… who’s 78 and in a home.
- He ends up sinking his fans into her again. She’s loving it.
- Luke locks Maia in a cupboard despite knowing she’s claustrophobic.
- Clary, Jace and Simon find a tramp in the park from where Madzie was abducted who has Madzie’s scarf. He refuses to give it to them until Simon trades Jace’s leather jacket for it.
- They use the scarf to magically track Madzie but Jace is concerned they’re being lead into a trap because finding the scarf was too easy.
- Clary says she would rather die than let Valentine force her to activate the Soul-Sword. Jace promises he will kill Clary rather than let Valentine take her alive, but Simon refuses.
- At the Hunter’s Moon pub, Meliorn, Magnus, Raphael and Luke meet to discuss the Valentine problem.
- Meliorn is in Seelie armour which means he’s ready for war.
- He accuses all the others of being too close to Shadowhunters, outing Raphael’s fling with Izzy in the process. He says the Seelie want Clary executed on sight to stop her from activating the Soul-Sword. Only Raphael agrees this is the right course of action.
- With Clary out of earshot Jace admits to Simon he only told Clary what she wanted to hear and would never kill her, then goes off to face Valentine alone so that Clary isn’t put in harm’s way.
- Maia goes full werewolf, trashes the cupboard and escapes.
- Back at his apartment Magnus tells Alec about Izzy’s Yin Fen addiction and her tryst with Raphael.
- Jace tracks Valentine and Madzie to a cafe. There’s a brief spaghetti-western-style staring match then Jace gives Valentine an ultimatum; if Valentine doesn’t let him have Madzie then Jace’ll let Clary die from the blood oath she made with Iris. And Valentine desperately needs Clary alive.
- Alec bursts into Raphael’s apartment and finds Raphael feeding on Izzy.
- Raphael tells Alec that it was Aldertree who got her addicted to Yin Fen and that he actually really loves Izzy.
- That doesn’t stop Alec laying into him… Magnus stops him with magic, and Alec angrily tells Magnus not to interfere with family matters.
- Alec drags Izzy out, and Raphael tells Magnus that what he said was true – he does have feelings for Izzy. But Magnus reckons he’s just high on her Shadowhunter blood.
- Izzy tells Alec where to get off and storms away.
- Jace returns to Simon and Clary with Madzie in tow. Madzie cures Clary…
- …Then opens a portal and vanishes with her
- They emerge in Valentine’s carnival of doom.
- Downwolders start attacking mundanes all over Manhattan. Jace realises the attackers are all Valentine’s experiments.
- At the Institute Alec commands the Shadowhunters to find Clary. Aldertree tries to countermand that order thinking the Shadowhunters should concentrate of fighting Valentine’s experiments. Alec threatens to make public the fact that Aldertree supplied Izzy with Yin Fen unless Aldertree basically hands over command to him. GO ALEC!
- Jace finds Clary chained up in the otherwise empty carnival and frees her. But then Valentine and Madzie appear and Madzie magically freezes Jace. Clary tries to reason with Madzie but Valentine’s been giving her lots of sweeties and and extra credit on her cell phone, or something, so she’s having none of it.
- Simon appears and tries to hit Valentine, but Valentine grabs him. Then Madzie opens a portal and she, Valentine and Simon vanish.
“It’s a trap! It’s a trap! It’s a trap!” “What shall we do?” “Fall for it!” That just about sums up the tactical acumen of Team Clary this week. We half-expected when Jace returned to the van with Madzie for Simon to say, “Wasn’t that a little easy?” followed by Jace doing a Homer Simpson-style “D’Oh!”
“Bound By Blood” is an episode that – cringey Climon making-out scenes aside – has been barrelling along nicely until it all falls apart at the end. As you can tell from the lopsided “Good” and “Bad” sections below, there was a good deal more to enjoy than to moan about. But the clumsiness of the final few scenes mean you leave the episode recalling more of the bad than the good. It leaves a strange aftertaste, like if Raphael had fed on Izzy’s blood after she’d been on a an asparagus binge.
The problem is, Valentine’s actions don’t make any sense – in context at least. After going to so much trouble to get hold of Clary, why leave her alone for Jace to find? And why then take Simon instead of Clary? And why do his entourage need to vacate the carnival anyway? Admittedly we’ve know that Valentine is playing a long game, so his actions will presumably be explained in a future episode, but that doesn’t make watching the climax of this episode any less irritating. It’s not like the show’s doing a Legion or a Lost and deliberately setting itself up as a puzzle; you’re simply left confused as to whether there’s method in the madness or it’s just really clunky plotting.
It doesn’t help that the whole scene is shot in a non-committal, bland way that suggests the director wasn’t sure what the important beats were either.
The sudden decision to turn Maia into a killer also doesn’t ring true. One episode she’s urging Simon to get together with Clary, the next she’s trying to become the saviour of her kind by ripping Clary’s neck open in broad daylight? Even if the arc plot demands that she goes down this path, you’d think she be at least granted some scenes of internal conflict first. Instead she simply comes across as unhinged.
But there is a lot to enjoy elsewhere. On the Malec front, it’s Alec who takes the limelight this week, with a great performance from Matthew Daddario as he rages against Raphael and Magnus, and puts the screws on Aldertree. And while Malec’s relationship hits a wobble, Raphael and Izzy (Phizzy?) fill the gap with their extraordinarily sultry shenanigans – has making tacos even been so sexual?
The Council of Elrond at the Hunter’s Moon pub is fun too. While we have some issues with Meliorn returning in full-on git mode (his attitude feels a little contrived to save on having to write more nuanced dialogue) it was great seeing him out all his colleagues around the table as Shadow-bangers. The fact that he is one too, but he dismisses that because he’s clearly above being influenced by such things, is a marvellous moment of political doublethink.
It’s also good that Valentine’s plotting finally seems to be shifting up a gear with his experiments attacking mundanes. Again, we’re not sure why they’re doing it, but at least it’s clear from the script that we’re not supposed to know why yet. Valentine needs to start feeling like a credible threat by this stage in the season, and these attacks help affirm that.
- Those Raphael/Izzy scenes really are sizzling with sexual tension, aren’t they? Their slightly kinky relationship is everything that Climon isn’t.
- Clary is pretty handy with an oar. Maybe that should be her weapon of choice. It’s a hell of a gimmick.
- “I’ve been working on my fighting skills.”
“Oh, really. You wanna take this outside and give these fight skills a test run?”
“Anytime… as soon as the sun goes down.” This and…
- “It’s too easy.”
“It wasn’t easy. That jacket’s at least two sizes small on that guy. I’m just a great salesman.” – To be fair, while the Clary/Simon relationship isn’t working for us, there are some great Jace vs Simon moments, in which Simon very comes across as the guy who still can’t quite believe he’s got his girl and so goies overboard with the one-upmanship as a way of staking his claim. Rather brilliantly, Jace couldn’t really care less.
- “La Chair Brûlée.”
“I’m guessing that’s not a dessert.”
- “My little sister lives there. She’s 78.” This attempt to “humanise” Raphael is a little on-the-nose but the matter-of-fact way he reveals the age of his sister still hits you with a jolt.
- Alec taking Aldertree down was an air-punch moment, and excellently played by Matthew Daddario, especially the oh-so-condescending way Alec pats Aldertree’s arm.
- In fact, it was a good week for Daddario who totally nailed Alec’s Hulk-out on Raphael and his subsequent (albeit misplaced) anger with Magnus.
- Maia trying to kill Clary felt like cramming a round character into a square plot hole. It may have made sense if we’d not see Maia since her introductory episode but we’ve seen a whole other side to her character since and what we saw here really didn’t chime with that.
- Similarly, Meliorn seems to be suffering from “character-determined-by-plot-requirements” disease.
- The entire final scene was confusing because there seemed to be no logic to Valentine’s actions. Next episode may reveal what he’s up to but this is the second time this season we’ve been left with a cliffhanger that just leaves you wondering if you’ve missed the scene that explains what’s happening.
- We’re still not buying into Climon. We’ve seen less chemistry on a Amish school syllabus. In fact, being with Clary is making Simon slightly annoying and whiny.
And The Random:
- “You may have lived through the fall of Rome, but even the Dark Ages couldn’t have been this dark.”
“Alexander, I know things seem bleak…” Are Alec and Magus talking about Valentine, or Trump?
- We’d almost forgotten Meliorn existed. We last saw him in the tenth episode of season one, “The Word Inverted”.