The big winter finale of Shadowhunters season 2, titled “By the Light of Dawn,” is here — and it’s full of twists and turns. In it, Clary is forced to approach the Soul-Sword, but is she forced to activate it? And does the Downworld come together to try to stop Valentine’s evil plot?

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Clary’s Choice

Right at the top of the hour, the Institute is infiltrated when Madzie shows up, chokes a bunch of Shadowhunters to death while Alec is forced to listen in another room, and Valentine and a bunch of minions follow her in. And when Clary, who is back at the weird warehouse that Valentine had previously set up shop in along with Jace and Luke, gets a call from her father, he shows her that he still has Simon hostage — and she doesn’t have much time to save her vampiric boyfriend.

Clary is given an ultimatum: if she doesn’t show up at the Institute in an hour, Simon will die. Valentine, of course, wants her there to force her to activate the Soul-Sword, which is capable of destroying any Downworlders in its path. So, clearly, that’s not a great offer for Clary to take her father up on. As it turns out, Valentine doesn’t need lightning to activate the sword because there’s an angelic power core at the Institute that will mimic that power needed. 

But before the group can decide what to do next, they hear a voice. It’s Dot, and she reveals that there might be a way to destroy the sword after all.

Jace Revealed

They bring Dot to Magnus, who helps her heal from the injections that Valentine forced on her. She tells them that she heard Valentine talking. With his demon blood, if Jace touches the Soul-Sword, he can destroy it. Though initially Luke doesn’t believe or trust her, when Jace and Clary are able to show Magnus the vision they were given by an angel in a previous episode, he tells them she’s right. Angels, he explains, communicate in metaphors, and the star in the vision was the morning star, which the name Morgenstern literally translates to. And Morgenstern is Jace’s last name.

The catch? If Jace touches the sword, it will be destroyed, but he likely will be as well in the process. He reassures the others that he only wants to get it to the Clave where it will be safe, but I think we all know that’s not how that would go. Later, he explains the whole thing to Alec on the phone, and Alec repeats again that Clary can’t be let near the sword — just as he’s attacked at the Institute.

At the Institute

Aldertree shows up and helps Alec fight his way out of trouble, and the two team up to get to the power core and shut it down before it can be used. Alec isn’t Aldertree’s biggest fan, thanks to what he did to Izzy, but desperate times and all that. When they get to the control panel to get into the core, Aldertree explains that he doesn’t have any sort of key to get in, but he does know codes to override the control mechanism.

While he works, Alec makes it clear that he’s not happy to be working with Aldertree, and Aldertree says that Alec is wrong about him. He explains that once, long ago, he was in love with a werewolf named Eva. But following an attack by a Shax demon in which it sounds like her whole pack died, she went berserk and he was forced to kill her when she attacked him. Now he doesn’t think any Shadowhunter and Downworlder can ever be together, which is likely a comment on Alec’s relationship with Magnus.

Meanwhile, Simon is still being held by Valentine, and he tells the older man that Clary had always wanted to know her real father, questioning why it doesn’t bother Valentine that Clary hates him and why he’s not willing to change for her. Valentine basically uses this delicate information against him when he next video-calls Clary and tells her what Simon told him — before he slits the vampire’s throat right before her eyes. 

The Plan

Clary demands that Magnus portal her to the Institute, as Valentine has warned that Simon likely has 30, maybe 40, minutes before he bleeds out entirely. When they make their way to the grounds of the Institute, Raphael shows up with some of his own minions, who apprehend Magnus, while Raphael moves in to bite Clary before she can get inside and potentially hurt them all. 

But just then, Luke and Jace — along with Maia, who got into a little fight over being locked up by Luke but then is incapacitated by Luke’s stun gun and has to go with them — appear, and Jace explains that he can destroy the sword. There’s no point in killing Clary, he says, because Valentine will just find another way to activate it. He’s willing to work with the vampires to get past Valentine and his men and get to it, if they agree to leave Clary alone.

So after some arguing between Luke and Maia, the rest of the pack shows up, as do the Seelie led by Meliorn. They are all united — for now.

Saving Simon and Finding Madzie

Clary makes her way into the Institute and is brought before Simon, who doesn’t have much time left. She offers him his blood, and at first he won’t take it, but she insists. But then it seems like he can’t stop drinking, and Valentine orders his men to stop him. When they do, Clary is revealed to actually be Jace, who would have died if Simon wasn’t stopped in time.

Meanwhile, the real Clary and Magnus make their way around the Institute, eventually running into Madzie. Clary goes on but tells Magnus to stay and help the little girl. Magnus approaches her and is very kind to the little girl. He explains that he’s a warlock too and that her nana isn’t there; Valentine has been using her and her abilities and lying to her. When he says he wants to help her, she believes him. Hopefully, now she’ll actually have a good magical influence in her life.

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Jace and Simon are able to fight their way out of the office that Valentine is holed up in, and Clary fights her way further into the Institute. But she’s apprehended eventually and dragged before the Soul-Sword by Valentine himself, while Jace and Simon watch tensely nearby.

The Sword is somehow tapped into the power core, which Alec and Aldertree have been unable to disable up on the roof. Valentine explains that he wants her to activate it so they can rid the world of Downworlders and so he can keep her and Jace safe. Just as it looks like he’s going to force her to grab hold of it, Simon swoops in and knocks Valentine aside, just in time for the Downworlders waiting outside to storm in to help.

Up on the roof, Alec and Aldertree are unable to bypass the system to shut down the core, and they’re suddenly approached by a small group of Valentine’s fighters. But right then, Izzy shows up and kicks all of their adversaries’ asses. This is impressive because just before, she had been hanging out at Raphael’s, likely getting high on his venom. He had left her there after seeing the calls and messages from Alec on her phone and after rebuffing her advances — possibly because he’s asexual? That will likely be explained later. Anyway…

Izzy nearly passes out after the fight, and she apologizes to her brother while he holds her up. Does this mean Izzy has finally realized how much her addiction has affected her and their relationship?

The Twist

A few select players like Luke and Maia are still outside the Institute, but inside, a large group of Downworlders show up just as Jace goes to the Soul-Sword, seemingly to destroy it while he has the chance. But when he grabs it, it isn’t destroyed. He’s just knocked aside, and as Downworlders flood into the room, Valentine gets a hold of the weapon.

Valentine is able to use the Sword against the Downworlders, and all the ones in the building scream in agony and die, right in front of them all. Except for Simon, who curiously seems unaffected. In the chaos, Valentine disappears. When Alec rushes in, he asks whether Clary activated the Sword. Jace reveals that it was him, which must mean that he has angel blood, not demon blood.

Just then, Alec realizes that Magnus isn’t there and rushes to find him when Clary tells him they were split up. Because if he was in the building, the warlock is a goner.

Another Revelation

Outside, the Downworlders seem unaffected by the blast that Valentine set off with the Sword, and Maia is convinced that Jace tricked them all. But Luke isn’t so sure, and he orders her to get the rest of the pack to safety at the Jade Wolf. He then goes after his old parabatai, Valentine.

When Luke tries to stop Valentine from escaping with the Sword, Valentine stabs him, though it doesn’t seem like that’s the weapon he uses to do it. Before the crazed Shadowhunter can finish him off, Jace stops his father, demanding to know why Valentine used him.

And Jace learns a lot more than he bargained for from Valentine in that moment. Valentine reveals that he’s not Jace’s biological father after all and that Jocelyn and Clary are not Jace’s family either. He’s holding a sword that forces him to tell the truth, so he can’t be lying. They fight, and eventually Clary shows up and is able to grab the Soul-Sword, which was thrown aside in the melee.

Back to the Institute

Clary gets some sort of vision of a rune again and draws it on the sword in her hands. It glows and does … something — deactivates or something — and she drops it to the ground. Nearby, Jace is about to land a killing blow on Valentine, but Clary tells him to stop since he’s the only one who knows where the Mortal Cup is. So Jace doesn’t kill him, but while they’re focused on that situation, the Soul-Sword disappears. Great.

Jace brings Valentine into the Institute, where he will be interrogated to find the whereabouts of the Sword, though he swears he doesn’t know where it is. Outside, someone else shows up at the Institute as well: Magnus, much to Alec’s extreme relief.

They embrace, and Magnus explains that he had already taken Madzie away when the Soul-Sword took out Downworlders in the building. Alec then tells him that he never knew fear like the fear he felt when he didn’t know if Magnus was alive, and goes on to tell the warlock that he loves him. 

Magnus tells Alec that he loves him too, and the two kiss. It looks like these crazy kids are gonna be just fine.


While surveying the bodies inside the Institute as various Shadowhunters wander around, Simon is paying respects to Alaric, who died in the attack, when sunlight from a nearby window shines on him. But, to his shock, it doesn’t harm him.

As Izzy tells Raphael, who escaped the blast and has come inside the Institute to see if she needs any help, she never wants anything from him again. As Jace is explaining what he learned about his parentage to Alec, Simon runs to find Clary. She’s sitting with a hurt but healing Luke, and he pulls her to come with him, as he has something to show her.

Simon drags Clary outside, despite her protests, and they both rejoice when he is unharmed by the sun. Jace, who decided to go tell Clary that they aren’t siblings after his talk with Alec, comes outside to talk to her but sees them joyfully embracing and backs down. 

Elsewhere, a mysterious figure is walking through a park at night, holding what appears to be the Soul-Sword. Uh oh. That’s gonna be a big deal later.

Why is Simon no longer harmed by the sun? And when will Jace tell Clary the truth? Plus, who has the Soul-Sword now?! (They really should take better care of that thing!) Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Shadowhunters returns Monday, June 5 at 8/7c on Freeform. Want more news? Like BuddyTV’s Facebook page.

(Image courtesy of Freeform)

Josie Cook

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV