'Shadowhunters' Season 3 Episode 17 reveals Jonathan's past, but will it also push Clary over to the dark side?
Thanks to Jonathan's eerie flahbacks, we now know why he thinks of his and Clary's family ties as intensely as he does; but will finding out about his past change Clary's mind?
This article contains spoilers for 'Shadowhunters' season 3 episode 17: 'Heavenly Fire'
After weeks of teasing us with what could possibly be the reason behind the intensity of the bond between Clary Fray and her evil, twin Jonathan Morgenstern, 'Shadowhunters' has finally offered us the much-needed insight into their past that we were seeking. Thanks to episode 17 'Heavenly Fire', we now not only know the clue to sever the life-rune force that's keeping Clary (Katherine McNamara) and Jonathan (Luke Baines) connected as twins for life, but we also know just why Jonathan feels so strongly about his and Clary's family ties.
What started off with yet another touching moment between Clary and her boyfriend, Jace Herondale (Dominic Sherwood), soon turned into a nightmare for Clary. Luckily it didn't ruin the moments she shared with Jace, where she realized he was the only one able to pull her back from spiraling into the darkness of the life force rune that she shares with Jonathan, thanks to Lilith (Ana Hopkins) — the evil queen of Edom, and Jonathan's mother.
This was a sweet throwback to Jace's time under the effect of The Owl Demon, where Clary was the only one able to pull him back from the spiraling episodes he went on. But while Jace tries his hardest to keep Clary's original self-grounded, the other tension that awaits them is Jonathan in captivity at the Institute. While the rest of the Shadowhunters were interrogating Jonathan about his plans with the Morningstar sword, he claims he will speak only to Clary and we all know what this means — danger.
Jonathan doesn't even need to be present around Clary for him to harm her, so this face-off posed a bigger threat, but the twist in tale proved otherwise. Instead of harming Clary, Jonathan gives her flashbacks into his past, as a child — something that is able to make her see his situation in a whole different light. Clary wasn't expecting this, neither does she know how to handle the predicament right now, because all it did was give rise to guilt within her.
In the flashbacks, we see Jonathan burned and tortured in the towers of Edom, while Lilith — his mother — continues to bind him in an abusive relationship all under the pretext of family. While Jonathan does know he has someone other than her as family out there on Earth, all he knows about the said person is a name. And even though he tries to repeatedly prove to Lilith that a sibling bond is just as precious, Lilith only continues to punish him and keep him in captivity for doing so.
This flashback is able to rock Clary to the core because the sights she sees are exactly the scenes from one of her most recurring nightmares since childhood. Her mother Jocelyn, who was also a Shadowhunter, had been able to block all of Clary's childhood memories to help her lead a peaceful and safe life, but none of that worked out, and once Clary chanced upon this world, her memories started resurfacing too. This one involving Jonathan was one of the last memories that resurfaced and brought back a tidal wave of emotions related to what she remembers from the poor boy's dark and traumatic past.
Clary's nightmares were made of a little boy waiting all alone — scared and deserted — in a tower far away, for a princess to come and save him. And back in real time, when Jonathan screams at Clary "You were supposed to be my princess," it's not just Clary who feels struck by the humongous weight of the realization of how hard she has failed Jonathan. In a way, Clary blames herself for the monster that Jonathan has become because she feels it was her duty to have saved him. He had expected her to come for him, but she never did.
The intensity of this realization is what leaves Clary shaken and stirred all over. With her blaming herself for this situation Jonathan has landed in, there's a high chance that she might fully immerse into the dark side and succumb to Jonathan's many manipulations to have her by his side. Plus the trailer released ahead of the release of season 3B already showed a very scary Clary with eyes pitch black like a demonic entity, so maybe this flashback and bitter realization was all she needed to topple her over the edge of darkness.
In the last and final segment of the three-year-long Freeform show, we know at some point or the other, we are going to see Clary fully transform into the evil entity that the life-force ruin wants her to be. Not only do her eyes change, but she even ends up attacking her Shadowhunter friends, and doesn't hesitate to take it on with Jace either. And now with her finding out about the true past of Jonathan and all that the young boy went through, it's quite possible that her guilt drives her to join Jonathan in an attempt to rescue him from his current shackles because she couldn't save him before. And if that happens, it'll be a whole other fight for the Shadowhunters!
'Shadowhunters' returns with its episode 18 'The Beast Within' on Monday, April 15, at 8/7c, only on Freeform.