I know I’m not the only Shadowhunters fan who went into this episode with extremely low expectations. If you read my last recap, you know that I was very mad with the show’s portrayal of Isabelle, and how they’ve been sexualizing their female characters in general. I’m still mad about that stuff, and the show will never be perfect in my eyes until it fixes these problems. However, I actually didn’t hate this episode. I actually liked parts of it. And that’s all for one reason: Magnus Bane
This man stole the show. Harry Shum Jr. embodies Magnus in a way Godfrey Gao never could have. I loved everything about him. I loved his line about the dead sea that was taken straight from the book, his flirting with Alec, and his cool dance moves whenever he performed magic. Magnus is the only character besides Simon who felt like he had been pulled out of the books, and it was very refreshing.
That’s not to say the episode was perfect – I certainly had plenty of problems – but Magnus was definitely a positive. Malec is actually working, guys. We’re getting Malec. It’s not cheesy and forced like Clace. This is happening, and it’s amazing.
Finally, a lead
We open with Clary waking up from a nightmare about Magnus taking her memories, raising that old forgotten question of “why did they need to tie her up just to take her memories?” from the pilot. Also, why is Clary getting memory fragments when those memories have literally been taken out of her head and fed to a demon? We may never know.
Anyway, she wakes up with Jace sitting at the end of her bed, except it turns out he’s actually Simon and she was hallucinating. Awkward! After a bit of talking, they finally figure out that Magnus is the one who took her memories, and set out to discuss this with the shadowhunters.
Is this show just going through one annoying cliché at a time with Clace? Last week, we had “guy teaches girl how to use weapon so that he can put her arms around her” and this week we got “Girl walks in on guy working out without a shirt”. Can we try for some original stuff, please? It’s kind of hard to build chemistry when your audience is cringing from the overload of cheesiness.
Simon, you poor baby
Did anyone else just want to give Simon a hug this episode? I mean, I want to hug him every episode, but especially this one. Our poor mundie best friend stormed out of the institute after finally freaking out at Jace, and spent most of the episode wondering if he was turning into a vampire, as he has apparently developed a weird obsession with blood. We ended with him standing outside the Hotel Dumort, and all book fans know exactly what’s going to happen next.
This storyline is definitely being introduced way too soon. Simon’s vampire obsession did not even start until City of Ashes, and introducing it so early in the season feels awkward, especially since the plot is already overcrowded and we’re still getting used to the world. The show definitely could have benefited from waiting until the end of the first season, if not the second season, to make Simon a vampire.
Once the squad finds out that Magnus is the key to getting Clary’s memories back, they encounter a major roadblock: Magnus has gone into hiding, because he’s being hunted. While this is not at all true to Magnus’ character and certainly doesn’t add anything to the plot, it does lead to the introduction of Isabelle’s necklace. The shadowhunters decide to lure the High Warlock out of hiding with the promise of the jewlery. And a party. The party is very important, even if it is not thrown in honor of Chairman Meow’s birthday this time.
Isabelle helps Clary get ready for the party in a scene that includes way too much cleavage and bare skin from both of the girls. Stop. Sexualizing. Them.
Once they arrive at the party and come face-to-face with Magnus, he explains himself. Apparently, he fed Clary’s memories to a memory demon, because why not? Breaking Clave law and endangering basically the whole world by summoning a greater demon is totally no big deal, right? He also lets Clary know that Dot is dead, because apparently he can sense other warlocks’ magic. He refuses to help them, but conveniently leaves a ring behind when he leaves, giving Jace the opportunity to track him. Except that the tracking rune doesn’t work, and Jace has to combine forces with Alec in some weird parabatai tracking thing.
About Jace and Alec…
I don’t quite understand where the show is going with this relationship. So far, they’ve told us continuously that Jace and Alec are parabatai and mean a lot to each other, but all they’ve shown us is them bickering and disagreeing on just about every subject. They discuss trust, as if it’s not a given with parabatai. Alec talks about not being in Jace’s shadow. They argue constantly. I don’t see any connection between them, despite how often the show has mentioned the strength of their bond.
Fending off the circle
There must be a lot of circle members, because they seem to die very often. The shadowhunters find Magnus just in time, since Valentine has already found and attacked him. Clary saves a young warlock from a circle member and Magnus acts like it’s the most heroic and wonderful thing she could have done. The whole sequence is very forgettable, as Shadowhunters fight scenes tend to be, but it leads to Magnus finally agreeing to help them, and bringing them to his new hideout.
Magnus and Alec are the cutest. I’m still gushing over their interactions. Magnus noticing Alec when he shoots a demon is perfect, and their first interaction is amazing. Matthew Daddario has a beautiful smile, and Malec already has the best chemistry of any couple in the show besides Clary and Simon.
Their best moment comes when it’s time to summon the demon, and Magnus asks for a helping hand. “Pretty boy, get your team ready” he commands, and Jace steps forward, only to be pushed back by the warlock. “Not you. Him.” And then Alec looks adorably flustered as he realizes that Magnus thinks he’s the pretty one. These guys are too cute.
The greater demon
Jace puts some random rune on Clary because apparently the angel gave shadowhunters runes for summoning demons as well as dark marks for evil cults. I certainly hope the show has a slightly different explanation for the runes, because at this point they’re getting a little bit ridiculous. Anyway, Clary colors in the pentagram and everyone holds hands to summon the greater demon – the same demon, in fact, that they summon in City of Lost Souls, because why not?
Just like in the book, the demon requires that they each give up a memory of the person they love the most, and that person’s face flashes in the air just for dramatic effect. When it’s Alec’s turn, Jace’s face appears, and this is treated like a huge revelation. Jace is shocked, and Alec tries to deny it, saying that the demon tricked him. I don’t understand why this is such a big deal, because, as I mentioned earlier, Jace and Alec are parabatai. Of course Jace is the person Alec loves most, that’s what it means to be parabatai. The demon obviously isn’t only talking about romantic love, since Clary sees her mother and Isabelle sees Alec, so this says absolutely nothing about Alec’s feelings for Jace. Who else would be the person Alec loves the most? Isabelle? Max? None of them are as important to him as Jace is. This should not be a revelation, this should be common knowledge.
Alec steps angrily out of the circle, letting the demon loose, and it tries to kill Jace. Clary picks up a seraph blade and suddenly has a decision to make: kill the demon and lose her memories forever, or let it take Jace and maybe get them back if it cooperates. Obviously, she chooses the former, and kills a greater demon with one blow, because apparently that’s something that you can do in the TV show. Seraph blades are magical, you see. Demons, vampires and even greater demons just disintegrate at the first touch of adamas. Makes perfect sense.
Valentine talks to Clary
Once they return to the Institute, without Clary’s memories but with Jace, Clary’s necklace starts glowing and she gets a message from Valentine, saying that he wants the Mortal Cup. Now, I’ve already made my feelings regarding Valentine pretty clear, and I’m still not impressed. He’s still very cliché, and very, very evil. He even poisoned a bunch of his followers earlier in the episode, which is not something that Valentine would ever do, and generally acted like a psychopath.