The ending of last week’s Shadowhunters episode was a real shocker to fans of The Mortal Instruments book series.
*** SPOILERS BELOW for Episode 10, “This World Inverted” ***
The episode ended on a cliffhanger with Jace and Clary in Valentine’s Chernobyl hideout (where he has been presumably experimenting with Downworlder and Shadowhunter blood in order to make an army). Someone starts rattling a cage in the hideout. Jace opens the cage and — lo, and behold — it’s his father, his real father — Michael Wayland.
(In the books, Jace thinks he is Jace Wayland, Michael Wayland’s son, until he finds out that he is actually Jace Herondale, the son of Stephen and Celine Herondale. It’s complicated, I know.)
Jace had previously told Clary that he had witnessed his father’s death. But that’s not the only reason why this revelation is problematic.
One of the major storylines of the first three books in the Mortal Instruments (upon which Shadowhunters is based) is the attraction/revulsion between Jace and Clary. They are drawn to each other when they first meet, and then they are told by Valentine that they are brother and sister. Clary already knows that Valentine and Jocelyn are her parents. Jace knows Valentine as his father, but he was raised apart from Jocelyn.
They both struggle with the appropriate feelings of revulsion that a brother and sister should have toward each other until they find out that Valentine lied and that Jace is no relation to Clary, him being the son of the aforementioned Michael Wayland whom Valentine killed and impersonated (raising Jace as Wayland’s son, whom he had also killed).
Fans of The Mortal Instruments were indeed waiting for this development to become apparent. The tormented Jace/Clary relationship is really the heartbeat of the first three books in the series, and the television show can’t possibly measure up without including it. (Some fans are ready to bail on the show already after last week’s episode.)
But, unfortunately, it seems like they’re planning to skip right over it. Maybe they thought it was too sticky of an issue to portray on screen.
I’ve had almost a week to think about it, and I can’t figure out how Shadowhunters can fix this. If Jace knows Michael Wayland as his father, how will Valentine be able to fool him into thinking otherwise? Also, how will the show explain Michael Wayland still being alive?
Fairly enough, Shadowhunters has enough drama as it is. (I’m a huge fan of the books, but I also love the TV adaptation — even with all of the book-to-TV changes.) However, it just won’t achieve the level of intensity that it could if it leaves out this major part of the plot.
Barring some major, unforeseen twist that the showrunners have up their sleeve, it seems we’ll have to be content with a pared down version of the complex Shadowhunters drama.
The next Shadowhunters episode airs Tuesday, March 22nd at 9pm EST on Freeform.
Shadowhunters has also been renewed for a second season.