Malec was, without a doubt, the most anticipated episode of Shadowhunters since the moment the episode title was revealed. When Magnus and Alec first met, I was blown away by the chemistry between the actors, and extremely excited to see their relationship develop. While there were a few moments where I worried about the direction the show was taking with them, for the most part, I was on board the ship. And this episode, which centered around the two characters and had them finally getting together, was definitely one of the stronger ones this season.
I loved this episode. I still had a few problems, but I thought it was well written, brilliantly acted and… um… that scene, guys. Holy crap. I’ll get to it later (and gush about it because it was perfection). But overall, I genuinely enjoyed the entire 40 minutes. It wasn’t perfect, and I wasn’t a fan of the way we got to this point, but in isolation, this episode was far and away the best of the season, and gave me a lot of hope for season 2. Well done, Shadowhunters. Keep up this quality of work and you just might win me over (as long as you fix your boring plots, bad dialogue and inconsistent world building. Baby steps).
Right from the beginning, this episode is all about the wedding. Seemingly everyone is trying to talk Alec out of it, but he’s staying firm in his stance that he needs to protect his family.
Isabelle decides to throw him a bachelor party, which eventually ends up being an excuse for him and Jace to finally talk things out and kind of make up.
But before he goes through with the wedding, Alec has a meeting with Magnus. He goes to the warlock’s house, where he talks about how shadowhunters don’t marry for love (a change I absolutely hate). Magnus gives a speech about love, but Alec turns him down. He can’t do this, he says, he needs to do what’s right for his family. Magnus needs to back off.
Now, I have made it clear from the start that I love TV show Malec. They are the best. They’re my OTP and I actually look forward to their scenes, which is more than can be said of most of the other couples in Shadowhunters. When they first met, I was extremely optimistic about the direction this was taking. I was excited to see the start of their relationship, from their first meeting to their first date to their first kiss, because we didn’t see that stuff in the books. In The Mortal Instruments, we only saw Malec after they had been established as a couple and come out to the world, so I was eager to see the development of their relationship.
But the thing is, it isn’t believable yet. I don’t understand how Magnus is so in love with Alec after one meeting, and vise versa. I don’t like that Magnus comes off as desperate and obsessive when he talks to Alec, because I know that that’s not the show’s intention. I don’t see that attraction anymore, because it’s being rushed. And not in the way Clace is being rushed – with too much kissing, which we’re not getting enough of with Malec – but in the sense that their dedication to each other is unrealistic for two people who have only just met. These two actors have incredible chemistry, and I still swoon every time they’re in a room together, or even every time they mention each other because their flirting is just so adorable and so true to how I pictured their relationship in the books, but it’s not enough. That spark is still there, but it feels really awkward when they talk about love despite barely knowing each other. I want to savour their relationship. I want the writers to kill me with suspense. I want to eagerly anticipate every single episode just because I might get a tiny glimpse of my OTP.
So while I’m extremely glad that Malec got together – and I’ll get to that later – I’m also disappointed that this episode came so soon, and that we didn’t get more Malec before it. I loved the wedding scene so, so much, but it would have been so much more powerful if they had already dated before the engagement, if Alec had gotten a taste of the life he could have with Magnus and had to decide if he wanted to continue with it or marry Lydia. But he didn’t. All he had to decide was whether he was going to give Magnus a chance.
Clary calls up Simon to ask him to be her date to the wedding, because it would be a little awkward if she went with her brother. Simon clearly takes this as an invitation to pursue her romantically, and it’s clear throughout the episode that he’s thinking about it. I don’t think Clary thinks of him that way yet – she doesn’t know he’s in love with her, does she? – but I’m sure she’ll get there eventually. In the books, her failed attempt at romance with Simon ends up being an important part of their relationship, and something that eventually helps push her toward Jace. They’re not meant to end up together, but this is something that they need to explore for them to finally realize that. And considering the chemistry the two actors already have, I’m excited.
Clace is dead (for now)
Alright, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I kind of ship Climon more than Clace in the show.
Clace has mostly been awkward and badly written, with zero chemistry between the actors and scenes that are downright painful to watch. But I liked them better in this episode than I ever have.
The brother-sister dynamic is really working. Though everyone seemed to accept it way to soon, Kat and Dom both do an excellent job at accurately portraying the awkwardness of their situation and the tension between them. We first see how truly uncomfortable they are when they sit down at a table with Magnus, and the dynamic persists throughout the entire episode, culminating in a touching scene where Clary gives Jace the J.C box and delivers a little pep talk. I liked how Dom portrayed Jace’s inner darkness and self-doubt, because that’s an important part of his character. The show may have erased his sense of humour, but at least they’ve left that in.
Is it weird that I like Clary and Jace better as brother and sister than I ever did as boyfriend and girlfriend? Yes, and that is certainly not how I expected to feel when the show first aired, but who knows? Maybe a bit of time away from each other will make me ship them again. Maybe they’ll build some chemistry and the writers will figure them out. Oddly enough, this is the first time I’ve felt like I’m seeing the real Clary and Jace.
When Clary can’t figure out how to wake up her mom, she turns to Magnus, who has no idea what to do. They pull up a list of three warlocks: Catarina Loss (nice shoutout!), Tessa Gray (NOPE you are not bringing her into this show and also she’s not a warlock so she can’t make potions anyway) and Ragnor Fell. Are those the only three warlocks they know about? I mean, I can name one more off the top of my head and I’m pretty sure there are plenty more roaming about.
They find the peapod at his house, and he tell them about the book of the white before being attacked and killed by a demon. We see Magnus’ heartbreak as he watches his oldest, immortal friend die before his eyes, something that we didn’t get to see in the books. But that’s not the end of him! Magnus spends the rest of the episode hallucinating Ragnor as he thinks about his love life.
While I was disappointed that he had horns instead of green skin (how could you miss out on all the green jokes, Shadowhunters? How?), I still enjoyed his character and wish he had gotten more screen time. The actor is one of my favourites (both because he’s a great actor and because he’s a huge fan of the books). Also, did anyone else catch Magnus calling him “my little dear Cabbage”? Thank you, Shadowhunters. I needed that.
By far the best scene of the episode, and perhaps the entire show, is the wedding itself. Maryse and Robert congratulate Alec on making the family proud with this wedding, and the music starts. Lydia starts to walk down the aisle. The wedding begins.
But just as she’s about to rune Alec, none other that Magnus Bane appears at the end of the aisle, having been invited by Isabelle. Maryse demands for his removal, but Magnus announces that he’ll only leave if Alec tells him to. Alec now has a choice to make. Unsurprisingly, he chooses Magnus. He leaves Lydia at the altar, walks over to Magnus, and kisses him in front of everybody.
Despite the cheesiness, I absolutely loved this scene. It was beautifully done and perfectly suspenseful. I loved the meaning of it, and I loved the chemistry between the actors. This was the best scene ever and I wish there had been more buildup to it. Please excuse me as I watch that wedding scene over and over and over again because it was the greatest. So I guess I’m kind of conflicted about Malec. I’m not totally satisfied with their portrayal, and I really think the show could have done much more with them, but that amazing scene kind of made up for it.
Awkwardness follows, as Maryse practically disowns her son, and Simon echoes all of our feelings as he fangirls over them. Lydia totally accepts it, as if she wasn’t just left at the altar. Once they get away from everyone, Magnus and Alec start to talk about their future.
When they get back from Ragnor’s house, Clary and Jace jump to conclusions about there being a traitor in their midst, assuming that Valentine sent the demon that killed Ragnor despite the fact that they have the cup, which controls demons, so there’s no way Valentine could have possibly sent the demon. Clary immediately suspects Lydia, since she was the one to suggest that they seek out Ragnor Fell, and confronts her about it.
But she’s not the traitor. Hodge is. At the end of the episode, he steals the cup and uses his ring to summon Valentine. I guess we’ll see the repercussions of that in the season finale.
Shadowhunters airs Tuesdays at 9pm on Freeform.