Previously: Simon's Daylighter status has made him v. popular in the Downworld; Sebastian is secretly keeping an unknown someone hostage; and the Seelie Queen forces Clary to kiss the one she desires the most AKA JACE.
After Clary subconsciously chooses Jace over him at the Seelie Court, Simon goes on a plasma bender at a breeder den. He's even a murder suspect for a hot second, before he figures out and stakes the real killer: plasma enabler and fellow vampire, Quinn. Raphael compels Simon's way out of trouble with the mundane police, but it isn't as easy to wipe the slate clean with Clary, as Simon's going to need some time apart before trying to go back to being BFFs only.
Also attempting a return to normalcy is Magnus, who's still shaken up about the trauma uncovered by the Valentine body swap. Memories of discovering his mother's suicide, getting blamed for it by his stepfather, and then burning said stepfather to death -- a painful history that Magnus shares with Alec, bringing the two of them even closer together.
Decidedly not-so-normal behaviour, however, is Sebastian's, which his visiting cousin, Aline, picks up on. That's because the Sebastian we know is an impostor who's been holding the real Sebastian Verlac against his will. (JENNY CALLED IT.) Until Real Sebastian tries to escape and meets his untimely demise by Fake Sebastian, anyway, and the deception remains in place.
Last but def. not least, Alec has convinced the Clave to transfer Valentine to Idris as a show of good faith to the Downworld. Only, Valentine doesn't quite make it there. A coerced (and later killed) Shadowhunter Duncan delivers Valentine to Fake Sebastian, who then reveals his true appearance to be deeply burned and his true identity to be Valentine's son!
• Jace supporting Alec's decision not to tell the Clave about Luke's attempt on Valentine's life. Parabatais 4EVA!
• Jace telling Valentine off and removing Impostor Dad's Circle rune, even if it turned out to be a short-lived victory against his abuser.
• Huh. Today I learned about fingerprinting as a part of Little League background checks, thanks to Simon's prints being in the police system from when he had coached a team. The more you know!
• An Asian woman Shadowhunter! AND Aline even survives the episode! (I had my doubts, y'all.)
• Malec relationship growth!
• Our first look at Alicante, which totally has a Lord of the Rings aesthetic for the setting.
• A personal peeve: the 'look me in the eye' thing to force someone to be honest. TV characters always think they're such good lie detectors!
• WHY WOULD YOU LOUDLY PROCLAIM THAT YOU'RE TATTLING ON A MURDEROUS VAMPIRE, SIMON?
• How did Ollie run out of leads when she had Simon named as a suspect? All it would have taken is one convo with his mom to discover his connection with Luke.
• For such an important mission, why did Izzy have the best fighters (i.e., herself and Jace) both lead the charge and yet neither accompany Valentine?
• ... I really can't stand stupidity in service of the plot, y'all. Give your characters and viewers more credit!
• LOLOLOL, missed opportunity for Paul Wesley to direct an episode featuring doppelgangers. (He's directing the next one.)
Shadowhunter Downworlder Daylighter of the Week:
Props to Alberto Rosende for turning in such a good performance that I nearly forgot I'm not actually invested in Simon and Clary as a couple. (Figures that I'd come closest to caring about the ship just as it's sunk!)
"Hey, make it two plasmas." - Quinn the expendable vampire, with the frontrunner for this week's worst line reading.
"Hey, I don't snore." - Concerned boyfriend Alec multitasking to defend his own sleeping habits.
"Simon, it's nothing like you and me." No, Clary, because you and Jace are actually interesting together. #sorrynotsorry
"Why is this happening to me? I'm a good guy. I'm an organ donor. I was an organ donor. Do we still give organs?" - Of course Simon would get sidetracked by vampire physiology while under suspicion of murder.
• Simon certainly had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. While I have always maintained he and Clary make better best friends than boyfriend/girlfriend, his obvious heartbreak over the Seelie Court fallout broke my heart a little. Both of those scenes were so well done, as well as great nods to the books.
• Speaking of heartbreak, Magnus's tragic flashback about his mother and stepfather was true to the books, with a twist of us learning it alongside Alec, who was lovely and comforting and supportive.
• While Sebastian's true heritage is unchanged for the show, the rest of the developments were a twist, and I loved not knowing exactly how it was all going to turn out. I was very concerned about the real Sebastian the second he managed to escape, and, of course, that ended terribly. The gory nature of the not!Sebastian reveal in the last scene was shocking, unlike Valentine's escape from the Clave via not!Sebastian, and I can't wait to see where we go from here.
• How can a Shadowhunter change where a portal takes them? At least this seems consistent with the body-swapping episode, but it just seems like a major design flaw. Like, why even have the best warlock in town make a secure one when anyone can switch their destination on a whim?
• Even though the show would be wise in keeping the actor around as long as possible, what's going to happen when Fake Sebastian is exposed? Is the character just going to keep wearing Sebastian Verlac's face? (I am assuming, of course, that the ruse won't continue past this season. And that he will. (Apparently, I'm already worried about the long-term implications because I want Will Tudor to stick around.))
Next episode: "Day of Atonement"