Why Shadowhunters' Series Finale Ended Clary's Story The Way It Did

Clary Katherine McNamara Shadowhunters Freeform

Warning! The following contains spoilers for Shadowhunters' series finale. Read at your own risk!

Shadowhunters had a lot of ground to cover in its finale, and a lot of endings to take care of before officially closing things out, possibly for good. Some endings, like Magnus and Alec's marriage, were joyous occasions, while others were more bittersweet. In particular, Clary ended up creating a rune to kill her brother Jonathan, which was emotionally devastating enough, but there was still a bigger price she had to pay.

Creating the rune to kill Jonathan meant that Clary would lose her powers and, in turn, lose her memories of life among the Shadowhunters, and the ability to see the friends she made. It was a tremendous sacrifice that Clary willingly took on, but expectations were flipped in the show's final moments, when she actually saw Jace again, meaning the Angel's punishment may not have been a complete success. So, why would ShadowhuntersI' series finale end her story the way it did? Showrunner Todd Slavkin explained:

The show is so much about sacrifice. It's a theme that has run since Season 1 of what the Shadowhunters do. I think what intrigued us with Clary was that she really was about sacrifice. She's drawing these runes all the time, and we felt like there's got to be a sacrifice for that. How you kill Jonathan, and we knew we had to kill him if this was the finale, he's our big bad villain, and we knew it would be perfect if she had to do it. We knew how emotionally destructive that would be. So the fact that to save the world she sacrificed being a Shadowhunter was a very Clary Fairchild-Fray thing to do. A great thing the audience could root for. Then we loved the idea that love beats the power of the Angel. That Clace, that love between those two? Like, fuck the Angels, excuse my language. No matter what they've done, [that ending] felt so romantic to end the show on and so hopeful. We really wanted the last image to be hopeful and not devastating.

While it wasn't the happiest and most permanent route Shadowhunters could've gone, the decision was in line with Clary's character. Plus, it does have a deeper meaning than what viewers may have initially assumed.

As Todd Slavkin told TVGuide, the Angel's power is strong, but not so much that it was able to completely erase the powerful love that Clary and Jace shared for one another. With that force as a building block, there's hope yet that Clary could become a part of the Shadowhunters' world once again. Slavkin wanted viewers to leave the episode with much more optimism than pessimism.

I think hopefully you finish and you're wiping your eyes, but you're like, 'That's cool! I could see this all coming back.'

Co-showrunner Darren Swimmer added that Clary's final arc added a bit more tension to the finale, which kept it from becoming a "straight line towards the happy ending." Shadowhunters had to do something to keep dedicated viewers on their toes while watching, so it doesn't seem as though it was a hard decision to shake things up and leave them a bit ambiguous for Clary.

That ambiguity could also serve as a way to bring the cancelled Shadowhunters back, provided a network is interested in doing so. That network wouldn't have a problem getting either of the showrunners involved, as both men stated that, much like the cast, they'd love to return and tell more stories.

Slavkin: We would love to! We'd be there with bells on.Swimmer: Absolutely.

Right now, Shadowhunters doesn't look as though it has a means to return, but that's not to say it'll stay that way forever. Streaming services have become a second home to several cancelled shows, and some have even been revived for new runs on places like Netflix or Hulu.

Shadowhunters could go that route, although fans may have to start binging it on Hulu to get it on any decision maker's radar. CinemaBlend will keep an eye out for updates, and continue to report on the latest and greatest headlines in television, movies, and pop culture.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick contains multitudes and balances his time reporting on big happenings in the world of Star Trek, the WWE, reality television, and other sci-fi shows.