Previously: Clary found the Mortal Cup; the Lightwoods want to restore family honour by marrying off one of their kids; Vampire Camille feasts on Simon; and Clary and Jace kiss.
Vampire Raphael pays the Institute a visit, and he comes bearing the gift of a silent and unconscious vampire fledging Simon. If he isn't turned or staked by the next sunset, his soul will be trapped for eternity. Unable to break the news of Simon's death to his Not Jillian Michaels mom, Clary ultimately decides to have him resurrected as a vampire. Raphael seizes this opportunity to overthrow Camille for kiiling a mundane and breaking the Accords, succeeding her as the leader of the vampires. And Raph's first order of business is to look after baby vamp Simon, whose self-loathing at his newly gained vampiricism has Clary doubting her choice.
With (truthful) rumours of Shadowhunters interferring in Downworlder affairs, the Clave has sent an envoy to observe and temporarily take over the Institute in Lydia Barnwell. She and Alec investigate a Valentine-sanctioned attack on the werewolves; the creature is discovered to have been made with angel blood and not magic (i.e., one of Valentine's test subjects) -- which allows more of its kind to get past the Institute's protective wards. Alec and Hot Hodge manage to take down the intruder, but SERIOUS SECURITY BREACH, Y'ALL. Esp. with Clary convincing the rest of the Shadowhunters to keep the Mortal Cup at the Institute and all...
Meanwhile, Alec comes up with a solution that both restores the Lightwood family honour and fulfills Lydia's lifelong dream of running her own Institute: strengthening the alliance between the Lightwoods and the Barnwells... by marrying Lydia.
• Clary turning to Luke over the Simon sitch. It's a small moment, but a good reminder of their familial bond.
• Spinoff idea: Lydia and Luke, paranormal police!
• MAGNUS WEARING A LAB FACE SHIELD. And also yammering on about Alec instead of focusing on the corpse in front of him.
• It finally happened: shirtless Alec training scene!
• Aside from maybe a ~look~ from Alec, there has been absolutely no reaction to or fallout from THE KISS. I know Clary and Jace were preoccupied with the Simon stuff, but what is even the point of having them kiss if it just gets ignored for the entire following episode? Way to squander that moment, Show.
• This whole Simon storyline has also been weirdly plotted. Pacing wise, the transition could have happened much sooner and spared us of excessive Simon-does-vampire-things-but-no-one-gives-a-shit scenes. And yet, this episode relies so much on Clary and Simon being BFFs, but the emotional impact hasn't been earned at all. It's like the writers have been putting off the vampire stuff until it finally had to be addressed, but then they also forgot to show -- not only tell about -- this vaunted friendship so that the viewers would actually CARE. (At least, this one didn't. Even if Alberto Rosende is trying his damnedest to sell it.)
• Proposed additions to the drinking game: take a drink whenever someone says "Accord" or "Clave", and take a shot whenever forensic pathology is mentioned. RIP our livers.
Shadowhunter of the Week:
Once it became clear that Lydia wasn't brought in to antagonize the team, I ended up liking her abrasive, no-nonsense style. (Plus: braid goals.) The actor also reminds me of Movie Izzy, Jemima West, so here's hoping the resemblance will extend to Lydia's ferociousness in battle, too.
"First rule of Shadowhunting: when something explodes, just keep walking." - Jace, on why I could never be a Shadowhunter, because I'd be FLIPPING SHIZZ.
"Magnus Bane is, uh, quite magical. He's very good at magic." - Alec Lightwood, ever the smooth operator.
"Oh, you don't have to get dressed up for me." [Alec does anyway] "Fine, but I liked what I saw." - We are all Magnus Bane walking in on shirtless, sweaty Alec.
Here's Shadowhunter Chronicles expert, Meredith (@legallyblonde), with her thoughts!
• Jace's falcon story was one of my favorite scenes of the episode. Jace was obviously having trouble getting the story out, and sharing that personal story was his way of trying to explain to Clary a sentiment he seemingly couldn't otherwise verbalize. So, props to the show for repurposing a book moment into a great show moment.
• I really like Lydia Branwell, who is not at all from the books, but her (distant) family relations are. Henry Branwell and his wife, Charlotte (neé Fairchild), ran the Institute in The Infernal Devices series, and Henry and Magnus invented the Portal together.
• A non-book element that I'm still not loving is the arranged marriage plot. Alec, stop doing things that interfere with Malec and find another way to restore the Lightwoods' honor, please.
• If a fledging vampire is buried but doesn't emerge, they'll be trapped under the earth forever. Can't someone just, like, dig them out afterwards? Why do they have to crawl out on their own? Aside from displaying Simon's gun show.
• Why is Raphael such a Clave kiss-ass? Self-preservation, or are there ulterior motives involved?
• How does NO ONE AT THE HEAVILY MANNED INSTITUTE notice that Hot Hodge is being attacked, until Alec and Izzy come in at the end? Lydia was right; their response time is abysmal. Geez, this place is poorly defended.
• Luke Garroway/Graymark, Clary and Jocelyn Fray/Fairchild -- why do the people on this show have so many last names? (Slight book spoiler: I know there are even more aliases ahead, too. )
• Speaking of repetitive ideas, who from the parents' generation weren't Circle members, at this point? And will shit hitteth the fan when Izzy finds out that the senior Lightwoods were Circle members? Chalk it up to more Maryse hypocrisy.
• Are Jace's rules of Shadowhunting and Clary's rules of being a mundane going to become A Thing? Because please no.
• Wait -- Izzy is the best forensic pathologist in New York? Maybe the demonic version is different, but the mundane one requires med school and a five-year residency. You can't just call people a forensic pathologist and then they are one, Show. (Omg, now they've got me saying "forensic pathologist" a lot, too.)
• Related to age: the core group is in their late teens -- possibly early twenties for Alec -- but this show is Gossip Girl-ing in treating its characters like they're at least a decade older than they are: Lydia being widowed, and rumours being spread about Alec settling down (not to mention him running the Institute). Has this show forgotten that it's supposed to be about teenagers?
• So Magnus' old buddy's great-great-great-etc.-granddaughter might marry his crush? AWKS.
Next episode: "Rise Up"