Previously: Clary, Jace, and Dot find the Mortal Mirror; Luke and Magnus learn that the Clave's been lying about having the Soul Sword, and that Alec withheld the information; Maia's willing to give it a chance with Simon; and Max discovers that Sebastian is actually Jonathan.
In order to preserve his secret, Sebastian attacks Max, rendering the latter in critical condition. Despite the precarious state of their relationship, the crisis draws Magnus and Alec back together. But only temporarily; once Max pulls through, Magnus makes the break official, from both Alec and the Clave.
During the time his victim was out of commission, though, Sebastian nearly succeeded in both silencing Max forever and stealing the Mortal Mirror. But he's twice foiled by Clary, who discovers his true identity and steals back the Mortal Mirror. OR DOES SHE, because our girl also figures out what her watery visions mean: the Mortal Mirror is actually Lake Lyn.
After their long-awaited date, Maia and Simon find a werewolf attacking a mundane named Bat Velasquez, who survives the change and becomes the newest member of the New York pack. Bat's attacker turns out to be Russell, the leader of those who left the pack after the Soul Sword massacre. Russell challenges Luke's position as alpha, but Luke emerges victorious, vowing to unite his fractured pack... with the declaration caught on tape by his mundane police partner, Ollie.
• MALEC OBVIOUSLY, even if it's borderline cruel to flashback to happier times during their demise. (OMG YAY FINALLY FILLING IN THE BLANKS. But also, why did it take this long to do so?!?) I highly doubt this break will be permanent, but POUR ONE OUT FOR MALEC ANYWAY.
• The fight between Luke and Russell may not have been to the death, but DANG, was it brutal, as further emphasized by the lack of music throughout most of it.
• Chills during Maia's monologue about her possessive dirtbag ex. (She never did say what became of him, so I hope he eventually turns up just so he gets his comeuppance.)
• Since I've been critical of it in the past, it's only fair that I give props to the show's much improved graphics game.
• Izzy's 'Are you kidding me, go after him' head tilt to Alec. ALWAYS LISTEN TO IZZY unless she introduces you to a rando Shadowhunter.
• HOT TAKE: Great payoff with Jonathan's pyromania coming back into play, even if it was a safe bet that he'd somehow fool the electrum test.
• HOTTER TAKE: I prefer the placement of Alec's runes to Jace's. But maybe because there's more torso (and chest hair) to work with so they're less cluttered? Let's consult the science.
• Omg Sebastian blatantly fishing for details about the Mortal Mirror; NOT SUSPICIOUS AT ALL. But it's so bad that I kind of went back around to loving it.
• I know the main focus was supposed to be Max, but all I could think about was Izzy's shoes being impractical. (And I love impractical shoes!)
• Speaking of caring about Max, though, I really... don't? Due to both characterization and portrayal. (Sorry, kiddo. But at least you still have a job!)
• Also, I'd be more convinced of Jace's concern about Max if the two of them had any interactions at all prior to this episode.
• Pump the brakes, Ollie. All you've caught on tape are a bunch of people toasting to being werewolves. Strange behaviour, but not the damning evidence that you're acting like it is.
Shadowhunter Downworlder of the Week:
It was quite a week for my fave supporting characters guarding their hearts (LOVE YOU, MAIA), but Magnus was the one who shattered everyone's -- including his own. But, of course, choosing duty before self is, like, such a quintessential Alec Lightwood move; Y'ALL ARE CLEARLY MEANT TO BE.
"So the Clave lied and Valentine has the Sword. Is anyone surprised?" - Even though she's unable to do otherwise, the Seelie Queen speaks the truth.
"What are you afraid of?" "Acid wash jeans." - So should we all, Alec and Magnus, with fashion being cyclical.
"I'm not good at the whole giving-up thing." - YOU JUST SAID YOU WERE GIVING UP LAST EPISODE, SIMON.
• I probably say something about Sebastian every week, but it's because I always want to talk about how phenomenal Will Tudor is as Sebastian. His scenes with Max and the Shadowhunters guards were terrifying (what a fight!), and his confrontation with Clary was fraught with tension until it tipped over into terrifying as well. All the points to Clary for her electrum plan and repeatedly stabbing Sebastian!
• Ever since we met Max, I assumed he was going to die (he does in the books, as one example of Sebastian being evil), so I was confused but happy he didn't die this episode! I'm still very concerned that will change, though.
• The Malec storyline was heartwarming and heartbreaking. The struggles between Magnus and Alec as opposing leaders while trying to maintain a personal relationship were so realistic, which made Magnus's choice at the end all the more tragic. While I have faith all's well that ends well for them, this episode was an emotional roller coaster in the best way.
• So many werewolf happenings: we met Bat, who I'm excited about; Ollie now knows Luke's secret, which could be problematic; and Maia shone as Luke's second-in-command throughout it all.
• Sooooo how well is Valentine going to take the news that Jonathan's identity has been exposed AND he doesn't have the Mortal Mirror?
• Luke espouses the importance of rules... and then changes his mind after reasserting his dominance as alpha. Are the wolves also dunzo with the Clave and the Accords?
• Maybe I'm developing YA face blindness, but does Bat remind anyone else of a cross between Scott McCall and Jeremy Gilbert? (This feels like a v. pointed question for Meredith.)
• Is there any greater proof of Alec's renowned discipline than his refusal of Belgian waffles? BUT WAFFLES, ALEC.
Next episode: "Hail and Farewell"