Tonight, Shadowhunters season 3 episode 17 delivered to you so much of the good stuff you’ve been probably hoping to see from this season — epic romance, dramatic action, and as painful a moment for Magnus Bane as we’ve seen. It also gave us one of the finest Harry Shum Jr. performances of the whole series, largely because his character is starting to come apart at the seams.
Entering the episode, Alec had plans to cultivate the most romantic proposal possible for his great love, one stuffed to the brim with everything romantic that one could possibly want. Think in terms of a wonderful dinner in a pristine setting where Magnus could feel adored and away from all of his concerns. He’d been through a lot lately and this proposal was meant to be reassuring and healing — almost a light for the two in the darkness.
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Unfortunately, over the course of this episode we ended up seeing Magnus only get more immersed in the darkness. The timing just wasn’t right for the proposal as he showed up to the date drunk, belligerent, and eventually in the midst of a full-scale breakdown over how he wasn’t the same guy he used to be and felt fundamentally useless. All Alec can do right now is support him and hope that things get better. If they don’t, we’re going to be left in a position of perpetual heartbreak with these characters for whatever comes next.
While there was sorrow and pain for Malec, there is still hope for the future. Elsewhere in the episode, the hope for the future was a little more direct and right in front of them. Take, for example, with Clary Fairchild as she had an opportunity within this episode to actually see her relationship with Jonathan be severed slightly thanks to heavenly fire, the one thing that she needed in order to make it happen. We don’t think that she is out of the woods with him by any means, she can thank Simon’s undercover prison mission for it. We learned a lot about the inner workings of that place there, including how secret tests and operations were being used there in order to turn supernatural creatures into Mundanes.
This storyline for Simon was intense, and it was also effective in giving us a chance to meet Helen Blackthorn on the TV show. She’s someone who proved rather useful in exposing what was going on behind the scenes there — even though she wasn’t as much of a part of the solution as she originally thought. This was an episode where she was able to see the truth about what was happening at the establishment and try to use that to eventually make the world a little bit better. We don’t know how much we’ll see of Helen given the limited amount of time the writers have this season, but there’s SO much more here that could be mined.
For Simon though, he can leave his undercover mission feeling a little bit better about his skills — and also hopefully, Raphael will get a chance at redemption after we learned about what transpired with him being “cured” within the walls of that prison.
No matter what you watch Shadowhunters for, it feels like “Heavenly Fire” brought it. With Clary and Jonathan, you’ve got a battle of good versus evil. Meanwhile, with Magnus/Alec you’ve got your heartbreaking love story and with Simon’s mission, you’ve got a bit of an uncover police epic with a little bit of political intrigue. Whether you’re thinking about a lack of institutionalized oversight or just overall corruption, there was a maturity within this part of the episode tonight that was surprisingly topical … though it’s hard to say just how much of this episode was intended to be that way.
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What did you think about Shadowhunters season 3 episode 17 overall? Did this story live up to some of what’s in your mind? Share below! (Photo: Freeform.)