Shadowhunters “Major Arcana” Review (Season 1 Episode 7)

Well, it only took half of its run, but Shadowhunters finally produced an episode that I would dare to call enjoyable. The series is still plagued by immeasurable problems in its execution, narrative, and CG work, but “Major Arcana” did a good job of showing us what might actually make these characters likable. If anything, it needs to lean harder into its goofier elements, and it might actually be a fun, weekly diversion, even if fans of the book would prefer another route entirely.

What held this episode together is that, for the first time, it felt like actual progress was being made in the season’s overarching storylines. While Clary and Jace’s infiltration of the police station was similar to a lot of their other adventures, it was in service of actually finding the mortal cup as opposed to just introducing another supernatural species. It also helped that they went right into the action this week, with the majority of the episode focused on the mission in question.

This is also where the show found success with some delightfully goofy moments. The standout was Clary slapping Jace as an excuse to rifle through Luke’s desk. It’s a dumb little moment that has no right to work, but it does because of the over-the-top way the characters sell their performances. The way Jace played along, casually admitting to only cheating on Clary two or three times, got a legitimate laugh out of me, and it showed that the character is capable of more than constant brooding. I also like how ridiculously prepared Jace is with his numerous runes; I’m sure there’s a shark repellant one somewhere on his body.

Even Simon’s story arc benefited from a healthy dose of silliness. From seeing a coffee press suddenly overflow with blood to his constant visions of the women in his life, Simon’s struggle was far more comical than dramatic, but it worked for a character who’s frequently been treated as the butt of jokes anyway. The perfect topper was his envisioning himself with vampire fangs, which are in the running for worst prosthetic yet on the show with how unnatural and bulging they looked in his mouth. It all makes the show hard to take seriously, but that goofy slant might be exactly what the show needs to provide any sort of satisfaction long-term.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments!