After watching this week’s episode of Shadowhunters, it seems safe to say Jace and Alec’s parabatai is on perilous ground.
If you didn’t read Cassandra Clare’s best-selling book series by the same name before the Freeform show (like me), you may be thinking, “What the heck is a parabatai?” But while it very well sounds like it could be an infectious disease or, you know, that tropical fish that swims up your urethra, parabatai is actually the term for a pair of Nephilim warriors bound together by a lifelong bond.
The term is derived from the ancient Greek expression heniochoi kai parabatai, which basically translates to “charioteers and side-men.” Hmm, a precursor to the modern day “wing man” perhaps?
In any case, on tonight’s episode, Jace explained to Clary what parabatai means and specifically what it means between he and Alec. By episode’s end, though, it’s clear trouble is brewing for these bonded boys. Here are a few reasons I could totally foresee a major shakeup in their future.
1. Love is in the air
You’d have to be pretty oblivious not to notice the intense chemistry between Clary and Jace. You’d also have to be pretty oblivious not to notice the seething tension between Alec and Clary — or between Alec and Jace over Clary. Listen, it’s not like they’d be the first bromance in history to have a heart-shaped wedge driven between them thanks to a love interest. While Jace’s feelings for Clary might not sever his bond with Alec, they definitely don’t do the duo’s parabatai any favors.
2. Resentment is floating around, too
You know how these things go. You get a little inkling of resentment tickling at the back of your mind and then someone actually validates that inkling, which is exactly what happened tonight when it was implied Alec was in Jace’s shadow. Once validated, that inkling sprouts roots, takes hold of your brain and grows like a weed. Judging by Alec’s comment to Jace at the episode’s end — “I’m older than you, Jace… I’m not in your shadow” — Alec’s resentment is in full bloom.
3. Simon still isn’t really safe
Most of tonight’s episode centered around Clary’s driving need to save Simon, and Jace’s driving need to help and protect Clary. This, of course, was the very reason he and Alec kept bumping heads. So, yay, they ultimately save Simon! Or, wait, did they? Next week’s preview teases that Simon could be turning into a vampire or have been tainted by evil in some way. If that’s the case, we know the drama is far from over and Clary won’t stop trying to rescue her BFF. In turn, Alec won’t stop trying to shelter Clary and the whole cycle of conflict will continue to snowball.
4. Parabatais can be broken
The reality of the matter is that, although rare, parabatai bonds can be broken. This most often happens in the case of death (fingers crossed eye-candy Alec is around for a long time), but it can also happen if one of the parties becomes a Downworlder or a Silent Brother, or if they leave their life as a Shadowhunter to be with a mundane. All of which are possibilities, however slim.
5. This is TV
Let’s be real — just because things happened a certain way in the book series, does not mean they will happen verbatim in the TV series. In fact, the odds are extremely high that the show will stray from the story line at some point or another, because it has to find a way to remain fresh and unpredictable and relevant if it has any hope of longevity. So all of the above things may very well lead up to a break in Jace and Alec’s bromance, because that kind of drama makes for good television.