After a slow build up, this episode comes together to reveal Valentine’s full plan. While most Shadowhunters have long forgotten the threat, he’s been steadily building up his army to execute his plan.
Valentine appears in a seemingly innocent place, a park. He watches Madzie play, with her caretaker Iris nearby. It’s never easy with Valentine, and as he calmly speaks to Iris, his threats are made clear immediately. He knows what she did to Clary, and he’s going to take Madzie as collateral until she makes it right. It’s clear what Iris needs to do, but by Valentine’s calm demeanor we can infer it can’t be good.
Clary, surprisingly, is one of the only Shadowhunters concerned with Valentine’s growing power. Maybe it’s her drive to get revenge for her mother’s death, or the fear of losing anyone close, but she does not forget the threat so easily. Despite Jace imploring her to keep most of it a secret, the two reveal the true power of the Soul-Sword to Luke. If that isn’t daunting enough, what the angel revealed to them tops it off. They believe they saw a demon coming forward to touch and destroy the sword. Not only does Luke have to process this information on top of Valentine kidnapping his sister, but he also has to deal with the possibility of being killed by the soul-sword.
With the Institute ignoring the growing threat, this may be a mission Luke heads on his own. There isn’t a plan of attack set, and the focus quickly shifts to Max’s rune ceremony. Alec and Isabelle’s little brother is ready to join the ranks of the Shadowhunters, which takes precedent over any threat Valentine may pose. Max returns with Maryse, who is just bursting with negativity the moment she steps inside. Alec receives the brunt of it for his involvement with Magnus, but he handles it in stride.
Last season we saw Alec complacent and ready to accept any order given to him. His growth is clearly evident when interacting with his mother. He questions just about everything she says, ready to meet her cold demeanor with biting sarcasm. He isn’t willing to hide his relationship with Magnus and forces Maryse to face the truth.
Magnus seems surprised by Alec’s fervor to stand up to Maryse and establish their relationship. But maybe not too pleased he was asked to host the pre-ceremony shindig. What Warlock wants Shadowhunters running around his loft? He agrees to help Alec, though, who doesn’t have quite the party planning talent Magnus has.
Perhaps it would have been easier to plan with Isabelle’s help. While she’s excited about Max’s ceremony, Isabelle has drawn the line in the stand between her and their mother. It may have to do with her withdrawal symptoms to Yen Fin, or Maryse’s lack of communication since leaving. Either way, Isabelle is becoming detached and utterly reliant on finding her next fix. Luckily for her, Raphael has taken pity on her situation. He saves her from a group of Vampires ready to tear into her and offers his bite to take the edge off.
Raphael can’t explain why he’s so willing to help her the first time, but I suspect it’s more than the rush Shadowhunter blood gives him. His affection for Isabelle is as obvious as Simon’s for Clary, and a one-time deal turns into a second-time visit right before the ceremony. As he tries to push her into withdrawing, the pull of Shadowhunter blood is too much, and he gives in. He seems to genuinely care about her, but Isabelle is in no place to recognize it.
For once, Raphael could stand to take advice from Simon. After years of hiding his true feelings for Clary, he finally reveals his feelings for her. Clary reacts well, and the two share a quick kiss. It seems anticlimactic; the two just don’t mesh well together, but it’s what Simon always wanted. I didn’t think he’d have the courage to come out so soon, but he stood firm and did it!
The new couple enters the pre-ceremony party optimistically, hand-in-hand and all smiles. Magnus’ party throwing skills are out of this world, sparing no expense. The Shadowhunters attending seem to have no problem partying at a Warlock’s home. All except Maryse whose displeasure hasn’t wavered once. She would have been the down point of the party if it wasn’t for an odd turn of events. Half of the group are not acting like themselves; Simon a playboy, Clary incredibly nasty to Alec, Maryse threatening to kill Jace!? They’re not unbelievable, but Magnus knows better. Their behavior is not typical– his group of friends is not this vindictive.
Magnus is right to assume an outside force is affecting them. A Warlock is messing with their minds, forcing
hallucinations. Sorry, Simon, you may have won Clary’s heart, but you are not a playboy. He quickly undoes the spell, and in the process loses his spellbook. While we’ve only seen Magnus composed, even in anger, this Warlock has crossed the line and brings out his wrath–this Warlock does not stand a chance.
It’s Iris who has been pulling strings, and she is no match for Magnus’ real strength as he takes her down. With Iris at his mercy, it’s revealed she gave the book to Valentine as he has Madzie hostage. Once she’s been tapped for information, Magnus throws her away to the Clave and tackles the real issue at hand: with Magnus’ spellbook, Valentine is in an incredibly powerful position.
Clary and Jace reveal everything they know so far, leaving the group in shock. No real plans are made; they are all emotionally exhausted from the party the newly revealed information hangs over everyone’s head. Especially with Magnus’ revelation– Clary must have angel blood.
Exploring relationships has been a strong point this season, proving no situation is black and white, such is the case with Maryse. She’s initially perceived as this prejudiced woman who wants to keep up family appearance. She’s cold, unremorseful and does little to support her children, going as far as denouncing Jace. In reality, she’s faced so much upheaval we don’t know her reasons for acting this way. We are aware she loves her children, maybe not their choices, but she still considers Jace her son. She’s facing a lot being isolated, including her husband cheating.
Alec seems sympathetic to his mother’s situation, but will they be able to build a relationship between them? Her help with Valentine would be valuable, especially with Aldertree traveling and seemingly uninterested in going after him. I can only hope with this new information at their hands, Clary will be able to get a step above Valentine before she falls into another trap.