The final season of Shadowhunters has lacked narrative cohesion, but “Aku Cinta Kamu” is finally starting to get the overarching plot on track.
The biggest problem with this last season is that it failed to establish Jonathan as a formidable villain. I haven’t read the books, but Jonathan as an adversary has been creepy more than frightening. His incestuous obsession with Clary is extremely off-putting, and it has driven his motivation more than anything this season. They even made his backstory solely about Clary. “Aku Cinta Kamu” is the first episode in weeks where he actually put effort into finding the Morningstar sword, which is supposed to be his raison d’être.
Not to mention, there were a few instances during the season where it would have made better sense for Jonathan to be the instigator. For example, bringing Heidi back and having her start a war between the vampires and the wolves served a greater purpose – establishing Maia as the new Alpha, among others – but it didn’t need to be Heidi who did that. Having Jonathan be responsible would have both helped establish him as a villain to be reckoned with and also been right up his alley in eliminating Downworlders.
This season has felt very fractured. It seemed like nothing was connected and characters were often off doing their own thing. It wasn’t until “Aku Cinta Kamu” that I realized just how everything fit together. The Downworlder torture subplot – which I found a far more interesting mystery than Jonathan’s weird Clary hangup – was necessary so that they could reforge Glorious, the only weapon that can separate Clary from Jonathan. While we’re still dealing with the ramifications of the pack’s destruction, we learned in this episode that it is also connected to the Downworlder torture, as Maia and Jordan discovered the existence of the serum. It’s possible that Maia would have taken the serum before the pack was killed, but now that she is one of the only ones left, she has more of a reason to try and return to her old life.
I am so proud that Maia was able to rationally work through her frustration at Simon seemingly withholding the serum from her. I was expecting her to steal it, so I was pleasantly surprised that it was Jordan who swiped the vial instead.
I love Malec. I’ve often said that their relationship is one of the better developed on television, particularly for an LGBTQ+ romance, and I continue to stand by that statement. I’ve never felt that it detracted from the main story because their scenes tend to be character-driven, which is just as important for a TV show as the overall narrative. This season in particular, because Magnus’s struggles since he lost his magic are directly related to the events of their battle against Lilith. Actions have consequences, and sometimes shows don’t bother showing us those consequences. It is odd to see him so separate from the rest of the cast, but I will never say no to happy Malec flashbacks.
That said, Magnus wandering around remembering how happy he was in his relationship with Alec has already happened. No doubt this was necessary to establish Magnus’s state of mind, which would explain why he accepted help from Asmodeus. Could this have been achieved in some other way, say, for example, Magnus visiting various haunts that he and Alec have been to over the course of the series? Yes. But what’s done is done, and now we have to deal with Magnus’s broken heart potentially causing problems for the Shadowhunters. You normally see this sort of plot with women, so this is a refreshing change.
I know there is a supersized finale after next week’s episode – which would have been the season finale had the show not been canceled – but “Aku Cinta Kamu” didn’t really do that great of a lead-in to the end. I mean, Jonathan still doesn’t have the sword, Magnus is now seemingly with Asmodeus, and our heroes have lost a lot of their allies. There is a lot still to resolve, and it doesn’t feel like they can get it all resolved in one episode.
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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