As Shadowhunters keep turning up dead with their runes carved out of their skin, the Institute has to figure out just who is behind it. Suspecting Downworlders thanks to a series of evidence on the bodies, they start to make questionable decisions and target “Those of Demon Blood” to protect their own people.

Being a Herondale comes with perks

Last week, Jace officially found out he’s a Herondale (just in case the audience hadn’t had enough secret family revelations on “Shadowhunters”).

Being a Herondale is, as characters repeatedly point out to the audience, like being Shadowhunter royalty. They’re an old Shadowhunter family, but not -- as Izzy is quick to quip -- like the Kennedys, because the Lightwoods hold that honor.

What this means for Jace is that suddenly Inquisitor Herondale is willing to trust his instincts instead of doubting his every move. While there are still a few points where she doesn’t allow him to overrule her, she does make him the one who will run the Institute in her absence.

Jace doesn’t protest or fight back against procedures as much as he would, either. Maybe he’s too glad to finally have family? Maybe he doesn’t want to mess that up? Regardless, it means that the Shadowhunters are quick to put procedures in place that only create more problems.

In fact, Jace doesn’t start to break from his grandmother’s orders and turn control over to Alec until she is safely away in Idryss. He’s clearly torn between his duties and his family, which is going to come back to bite him at some point.

There’s a serial Shadowhunter killer

These extreme procedures, like sending Shadowhunters out to get DNA from their friends and boyfriends, is a result of Shadowhunters ending up dead, their runes carved from their bodies, and markings and DNA on those bodies that indicate that Downworlders are responsible.

The first body looks like a werewolf attack, thanks to claw marks. Another looks like a warlock had something to do with it.

Still, another has vampire bites. As the bodies pile up, each one has the hallmark of a different Downworlder, but they all have one thing in common: the removal of Shadowhunter runes. It’s all a little too convenient, and it seems obvious that it’s the work of one person rather than multiple different murderers, so it’s strange that no one seems to be able to put that together until Izzy has a chat with Rafael six bodies later and discovers that there’s a Seelie out there who has talked about removing runes before.

Simon’s analogy

When Simon learns that Shadowhunters are taking DNA from Downworlders to match the evidence on the first few dead bodies, he refuses to give Clary anything. Instead, he tells her a story about his grandmother, whose family owned a small shop when she was a girl, where police came and made them put a star in their window, forcing them to wear the same color, not allowing them certain privileges like riding trains, and forcing her family into train cars.

Simon’s grandmother was the only one of her family to survive the Holocaust of World War II. It’s pretty certain that she wouldn’t be happy about someone wanting her grandson and his people embedded with tracking chips.

The Shadowhunters haven’t learned from the mistakes of the past and are very quick to jump to conclusions, especially the older generation. Even Alec is quick to just follow orders, as Magnus points out to him, something many German soldiers did in the 1930s and 40s as well. Dot remarks to Magnus that, “I had that shop in Salem. This isn’t my first witch hunt.” The Downworlders are older than most of the Shadowhunters who are carrying out these orders, and they’ve learned from the mistakes of the past, but the Shadowhunters still allow fear to drive them.

It’s a relevant, if volatile, topic today, and despite the neat and tidy ending this episode gives the audience, it’s definitely not the last of this particular analogy.

The verdict and what’s next

The Shadowhunter serial killer case was pretty predictable, especially since this was the first time we've seen Jace's hookup since it happened, and it’s a shame no one was able to pick up on the details before six people died and the youngest Lightwood was kidnapped. It’s a little unbelievable that Izzy, who was the best coroner in the state in season one, didn’t figure it out ahead of time. That being said, the relevance of the storyline makes it all the more interesting.

3 out of 5 stars.

In next week’s “The Fair Folk,” Jace and Clary receive a summons from the Seelie Queen while Alec tries to mend fences between Shadowhunters and Downworlders.

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