Previously: Clary once wanted to be an artist, as per the show's helpful reminder when this becomes plot relevant again (like Dot, whom Valentine experimented on); Valentine has the Mortal Cup to raise his Shadowhunter army; Jace has been coerced to join Valentine; new Institute head Victor forbids our Shadowhunters from looking for Jace (not that that's ever stopped them); Simon is the Worst Vampire Ever; Jace violates the Accords by killing a vampire; and Jocelyn tries to kill Jace, before he and Valentine portal back to Valentine's secret freigher.
Alec is hurting without his parabatai, and he's lashing out at the Fray ladies: Clary, for all the trubs coinciding with her arrival in the Shadow World; and Jocelyn, for wanting him to find Jace so that she can kill him. (I mean, he's not wrong.) Through Luke's Iron Sisters heritage (his mom is one), Jocelyn has an adama that allows communication through a parabatai bond -- with a low survival rate for the parabatai initiating contact. But it's a risk that Alec is more than willing to take, and one that he and Jace both feel the impact of via matching nosebleeds.
Valentine continues his gaslighting offensive against Jace, since Jace not turning Valentine in must mean that he agrees with Valentine's ideology on some level. Which now includes abducting human fighters to convert into Shadowhunters -- a plot that the Clave fails to thwart, since any Circle member intercepted in the act will just kill themselves out of loyalty to Valentine.
As for Jocelyn, she tries to justify that li'l murder attempt on her own son with his inherent demon blood evilness. Feeling down and yearning for normalcy, Clary heads to the Brooklyn Academy of Art (which she's only ever been accepted to, mind you, and hasn't ever attended), where Jocelyn and Luke fail to bring her back to the Institute, but Dot succeeds in kidnapping her for Valentine after a 14-episode absence. Under Dot's control, Clary convinces Jace that he's the only one who can prevent mundane by Downworlders. But Dot's true allegiance eventually shines through, and she openly helps Clary and Jace escape off of Valentine's ship. (RIP Dot again?)
Meanwhile, Victor blackmails Simon into finding out who's responsible for the now-exterminated vampire den by threatening his access to Clary and the other Shadowhunters. Simon inadvertently turns the heat onto Raphael, who redirects him to the real culprit, Camille. With help from Magnus, who's dedicated to mentoring any Downworlder discovering their powers on their own like he once had been, Simon portals to Camille's winter home in Agra (which is in India, if you couldn't tell from the musical cues). No such luck in finding her, but Magnus reclaims a few of his possesions left behind post-breakup, and Simon tames a fire-breathing snake guarding a box impervious to warlock magic that could lure Camille out of hiding.
• ALEC AND THE PUNCHING BAG. Which Tumblr doesn't seem to appreciate as much as me, since I can't find a proper GIF of it.
• HELL TO THE YES, Clary and Luke both calling Jocelyn out on withholding the truth.
• I always appreciate when shows put uncommon pairings together, like Magnus and Simon. Even if Magnus mostly just left Simon on his own. (Obvi, I would, too.)
• I'm sure there will be more of them in the next episode, but Baby Alec and Baby Jace!
• I understand why Present Day Jocelyn was just put in a wig for her quick scene with Evil Baby Jonathan, but that's supposed to take place before the flashback episode with younger actors. Be less sloppy, Show.
• Clary might have resigned to being useless, but she didn't even activate her anti-tracking rune when she ran away from the Institute. WHAT THE HELL, CLARY? (Also, that's 2 episodes in a row that she's willingly given up her stele. She really needs a win soon.)
• UGHHHHH another older dude leering at Izzy, THE SHOW KEEPS DOING THIS. Her actor might be 27, but Izzy herself is still supposed to be a teenager! (Based on Izzy being the same age as Clary in the books, and TV Clary being 18.)
• Simon keeps repeating that Raphael's threatening his bits, but Raph was describing what the Clave does to vampires who violate the Accords. LEARN TO LISTEN, SIMON. Or at least stop with the grand leaps of logic, as was also prominently on display when you surmised that Jocelyn is always right from her advice on tattoos and douchebags.
• The first of two things that probably only matter to me: so many stills from this demon-fighting show with vampires, warlocks, and werewolves are just of people dispassionately standing around.
• This scene was completely distracting to me, because omgggggggggg try a little harder to pretend that Toronto is NYC, Show. Second Cup is a very Canadian chain that definitely does not have any locations in New York.
Shadowhunter of the Week:
There will undoubtedly be more Alec talk (than usual) next week, so I wanted to focus on a different Lightwood. Ughhhh, POOR IZZY. Her begging Alec not to risk his life and him doing it anyway reminds me of the ceremony that revealed who everyone loves the most: Alec for Izzy, and Jace for Alec. (Izzy's Ralph Wiggum heartbreak is also great wordless acting by Emeraude Toubia.) And ugh, now I'm angry about the one book spoiler that I do know about Izzy, because SHE DESERVES THE BEST.
"Clary, you have no idea how much I loved your brother. He was my baby boy." - I was all set to groan about this line from Jocelyn, until it made me think of an inapproriate Always Sunny reference.
"Jace is some kind of evil flower-killing monster that deserves a death sentence?" - Well, sure, Clary; when you put it like that, it sounds ridiculous.
"I'm just some girl from Brooklyn who went out to celebrate her birthday and came back with a present she never wanted.... and can't return." "You don't want to return that present. It's a blessing." - I don't want to undermine a good Clary and Izzy scene, buuuuuuut I'm going to anyway because of this clunky metaphor.
"What are you so afraid of?" "Where do I start? Elevators, snakes, clowns, Raphael trying to burn my junk off." - Wait -- elevators, Simon?
• Obviously, Valentine is an absolutely terrible person in the books, but his actions on the show continue to drive this point home in alarming fashion between his constant manipulation of Jace, using Clary to influence Jace's actions, and kidnapping mundanes to turn them into Shadowhunters (a non-book action).
• Jocelyn telling Clary about the demon experimentation Valentine did on their first child, Jonathan, happened much sooner than in the books, and I'm curious to see how that affects both Jace and Clary. Semi-related, another clever nod to the books was Aldertree trying to blackmail Simon into being a spy. We also got a brief nod to the Iron Sisters!
• Parabatai tracking is a terrible notion that never ends well, so please stop doing it, even if we do get shirtless Alec as a result.
• The scene between Izzy and Clary, where Clary is fighting against her Shadowhunter heritage, isn't from the books, but it was probably my favorite scene of the episode since it was so well done for the two characters.
• Fine, I'll bite (HAR). What's with the wavy wand, Magnus?
• Why are all tracking methods so dangerous in the Shadow World, and why do they all involve gratuitous shirtlessness? (Fanwank: maybe Alec just got shirtless since he doesn't know any other way that it's done.)
• Valentine claims that Jace's Clave upbringing has brainwashed him into believing Downworlders as allies and Valentine as the enemy. But dude -- when have you ever not tried to be unequivocally evil? He who wrongfully experiments on others is never on the right side of history.
Next episode: "Parabatai Lost"