- Izzy is attacked by the vampires she goes to in search of Yin Fen (which is derived from vampire venom).
- Raphael arrives and calls the vampires off.
- Izzy is suffering Yin Fen withdrawal symptoms and Raphael reluctantly agrees to give her one last hit of vampire venom (though it’s obvious neither of them believe this will be the last tim). So he bites her; it’s all very sensual and it seems the old bitter enemies may be discovering there’s a thin line between love and hate.
- Lightwood matriarch Maryse returns from Idris to the New York Institute with Alec’s little bro’ Max in tow. He’s passed his SATs in kick-assery (or something) and is ready for his rune ceremony.
- Maryse asks Alec to arrange the ceremony because daddy Lightfoot won’t be attending – he’s busy polishing swords in Idris in preparation for the war against Valentine.
- Izzy and Maryse stare daggers at each other.
- Max tells Alec that mom and dad fight all the time and one of mum’s issues is that Alec is dating a Warlock. It’s not clear yet if homophobia or maleficophobia is her main issue.
- Alec asks Magnus to organise the party before the ceremony, as two-fingers to Maryse and to show that their relationship is “not going away”.
- In a park Valentine, uninvited, sits down next to the witch, Rouse (from 2.05 “Dust & Shadows”), and threatens her goddaughter to get her to do his bidding.
- This episode’s going well so far, isn’t it? Oh hang on… here comes Clary to put a stop to that.
- Simon meets Clary late at night and finally confesses his love for her…
- …AND THEY KISS!
- Oh well, this is happening: the most unconvincing screen relationship since Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen in The Phantom Menace. Let’s deal with it.
- Maryse receives her invitation to Max’s rune party, which will be held at Magnus’s apartment. She’s not happy but Alec says live with it.
- Later, the party’s going well. Clary and Simon turn up on their first official date. Maia tells Jace she now knows he didn’t kill Gretel so she’s glad she didn’t kill him (but they still have a marvellously sparky exchange which could be he start of another ’ship).
- Maryse turns up and is all icy but Magnus refuses to take the bait.
- Then Clary sees Maia and Simon kissing!
- Izzy secretly meets with Raphael and begs him to bite her again. He refuses. So Izzy slits open her own arm; Raphael cannot resists the potency of her Shadowhunter blood and feeds on her again.
- Back at the party Max starts acting like a complete tool, being mean to Magnus and Jace, telling him he’s not his real brother.
- Maryse then attacks Jace, telling him she should have killed him years ago because of his demon blood. Jace knocks her unconscious.
- Meanwhile, Magnus realises that Clary is only hallucinating Simon getting jiggy with Maia, and that other people are acting out of character too. It becomes clear that Maryse wasn’t trying to kill Jace but apologise to him.
- Someone is magically heightening their insecurities and making them see things.
- It comes to a head when Alec attempts to throw himself off a building in shame for killing Jocelyn.
- Magnus saves Alec then magically cures everyone else of their mystical paranoia.
- But then someone steals Magnus’s spell book. He puts the apartment building on mystical lockdown, but cannot find the culprit…
- …until he realises that it’s one of his cats, who’s actually Rouse in disguise.
- After a fabby Warlock fight he gets the better of her. She says Valentine now has his spellbook but she doesn’t know what he wants it for.
- Before Magnus portals Rouse to the Clave, Rouse calls in her blood oath bargain with Clary; she demands Clary rescue her goddaughter, Madzie, from Valentine.
- Clary then tells everyone about her super-runes, the angel and the vision the angel gave her and Jace.
- Magnus surmises that she must have angel blood – that’s why she has a connection to the angel – and if so, then Valentine could use her to operate the Soul-Sword and destroy all Downworlders.
- Maryse and her sons settle a lot of their differences, then Maryse reveals the true reason she’s arguing with their dad is because he’s having an affair. She asks them not to tell Izzy because she adores her dad, then returns to the Clave.
Blimey, we wanted to give this a one-star rating and dismiss it all as a bad dream (or maybe an Iris Rouse-created illusion). But despite the near-debilitating effect this new relationship between Clary and Simon has on the show (we’ve seen more chemistry between a Brussel sprout and a swing bin) there’s actually quite a bit to enjoy about the episode, and some of it comes from unexpected quarters.
For instance, after a season and a half of being about as noteworthy as the Institute’s carpets, Raphael suddenly becomes very interesting indeed in a delightfully dodgy relationship with Izzy. So far Izzy’s addiction story has been fairly humdrum stuff but here it steps up a gear as the Shadowhunter and the vampire become dangerously interdependent. Good to see Raphael getting some backstory as well, which explains his look heavenwards at the start of the episode.
The party shenanigans are good value too even before everyone gets drunk on Iris’s spells. Jace continues his recent improvement. He’s so much more fun when he isn’t moping around Clary, and he has a number of great scenes here; not just his verbal sniping with Maia but his adorable annoyance at Magnus’s cats and his slightly embarrassed admission that he can tell through his parabatai link that Alec’s been shagging (“It’s… I can, uh… I can just… I can sense that he’s happier”). You have to wonder what it used to feel like in the past for the virgin Alec to experience Jace’s “happiness”?
When everybody start hallucinating the tension shifts up a gear. It’s like one of those high concept episodes of The Next Generation where the crew would all suffer reality-warping visions thanks to some alien disease, only with more teenage hormones flying about. Perhaps the script could have had a little more fun with the concept before going full-on with the major trauma: SIMON’S KISSING MAIA! ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE! A few snarky remarks here. The odd unmotivated insult there. A bit of build-up would have been welcome. But that’s a minor quibble. Watching Clary’s jaw drop at Simon and Maia snogging, and Maryse flinging axes at Jace have a shock entertainment value of their own.
We were left wondering, though, if Max is always that obnoxious or if he was worse than usual because of the magic paranoia floating about? His mum’s comments later suggest the former, but in which case, yes Maryse… very poor parenting.
Also, we’re not convinced by Maryse’s explanation about Robert having an affair – it feels like there’s more going on there. We’re also mystified why neither Jace nor Alec went, “With who?”
But for all the good stuff, the episode cannot paper over how ill-matched Clary and Simon are. Okay, the show has to roughly follow the major beats in the books but this development is so desperately unconvincing on screen you have to wonder why the producers are pressing on. It might have helped if Clary hadn’t immediately snogged Simon’s face off when he poured his heart out. Maybe if Clary had laughed, or looked confused, or simply said, “I need a time out on this one,” it wouldn’t have come across quite so much like Snow White suddenly leaping into bed with Dopey. Sure, we’ve had longing looks from Simon at Clary but nothing to suggest that sexual interest might be reciprocated.
The other main problem with the episode is another bout of infodumping. The main plot has been a pleasingly pacy, character-driven affair, but everything comes to a grinding halt when the dialogue becomes bogged down with Soul-Swords and angels and visions again. Magnus’s sudden guess that Clary must have angel blood because of something some bloke once told him down the pug seems to come from nowhere. A revelation that profound needs to announced with a little bit more drama, surely?
Hopefully next week we’ll learn angels are allergic to vampires…
- “I’m actually happy I didn’t maul you to death.”
“Why, so you can slowly annoy me to death instead?” – The entire Jace/Maia scene is just wonderful, full of acerbic comebacks, then finishing on a surprisingly tender note.
- “And now that you guys have taken things to the next level.”
‘He told you?”
“No, he didn’t have to. We’re parabatai.” – Magnus’s face as he starts imaging the horrific possibilities of parabatai porn is a picture.
- To be fair, while we don’t buy into “Climon” one little bit, Katherine McNamara does an impressive job of looking happy with the situation.
- The big Warlock battle is good fun.
- The two Izzy/Raphael scenes are positively crackling with sensual and sexual frisson. Considering how bland Raphael has been up till now (and he still has very annoying hair) we’re massively impressed with how emotionally charged these moment are. He brings out the best on Izzy, too, by bringing out the worst!
- Clary and Simon – NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! We have no problem with the geek getting the girl, but they’ve never really been convincing as BFFs let alone as a romantic couple.
- Even worse, the episode then teases Simon might still have the hots for Maia instead… BEFORE RIPPING THAT HOPE AWAY FROM US!
- We’re in a sulk…
- In other news, you can’t help feeling the show could have had a lot more fun with the party scenes with everyone laying into each other and hallucinating.
And The Random:
- The words that Max speaks at his rune ceremony do not appear to be taken from the books, and are a creation specifically for the series. For the record, he says, “To the Angel I entrust my life, and vow to uphold the laws of heaven. I take this mark to honour Him, to bring His light into me. And vow to uphold the laws of heaven. So I may join the ranks of the Shadowhunters, the guardians of peace.” Not as snappy as, “In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight. Let those who worship evil’s might, beware my power: Green Lantern’s light!” is it?
- Is the show for desperate for ratings it’s turning to cure fluffy animals to pull in viewers?
- If Izzy thinks that angel is a shooting stars, she’s seen some pretty spectacular meteor showers – that go in reverse, from the Earth up into the atmosphere – is all we can assume.