Shadowhunters “Morning Star” Review (Season 1 Episode 13)

In a way, this episode had everything we’ve come to expect from Shadowhunters. There were laughably bad green-screen shots, terrible special effects and random character interactions galore, as well as the lack of any real tension in the plot we all know and… well, love’s not the right word. “Morning Star” was, in short, a mess of a finale, one that at no point provided any more sense of why we should invest in this world and its characters than any other episode this season.

The biggest problem with Shadowhunters has been the downright sluggish pacing. The majority of this season has put the main plot on the back burner, with only occasional episodes dedicated to fleshing out Valentine as a big bad. Even with those attempts, though, we’ve never really gotten a clear picture of who the guy is. As a result, nothing he does in this episode feels like it matters as much as the show wants us to. The same can be said for Hodge’s betrayal or Camille being released; they’re such broadly-sketched characters that these moments involving them feel hollow.

And if I’m being honest, the whole show has felt hollow. Even when I was appreciating it’s goofier moments, I was still never able to make a genuine connection with any of the characters. The only character I ended up liking was Magnus, and that’s because he seemed as fed up with all of the shadowhunter nonsense as I quickly became.

But perhaps the worst offense this season finale committed was the absolute lack of closure it gave us. This is a book that was adapted in the space of a single movie, so an entire season of television should have the room to craft a satisfying narrative out of the same material. Instead, we were given an unending line-up of narrative cul-de-sacs along the way, and the show left us on an emotionally unsatisfying cliffhanger, with Jace going off with Valentine because he’s maybe his real father. And that’s a fact we only found out a few weeks ago.

Maybe this has all worked for fans of the books who were able to bring in established feelings for this world and its characters, but for a new viewer? Shadowhunters has been an incomprehensible show, one that never offered enough to pull the uninitiated in. Maybe the show will find a better path in its second season, but I don’t imagine there’ll be many disillusioned viewers returning to find out.

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