When last we left our heroes, Simon supersped off from the cemetery after rising from his grave as a newborn vampire. Raphael, his apparent vampire-mentor now, supersped after him, while Clary stayed behind crying and Jace comforted her.
Now, we open with Simon running awkwardly down an alley before he’s intercepted by Raphael next to a decrepit food truck. He sees his reflection in the truck’s shattered window, and asks Raphael if he’s not actually a vampire. Raphael’s like nah, bro, you still dead as hell, but it’s OK, I’ll take you back to the DuMort and fix you a nice hot blood sundae. Simon throws Raphael against the food truck and runs off.
Clary and Jace catch up to Raphael. OK, um, how did they know where to find him? He supersped off, so it’s not like they could easily follow him. Did Jace do a magical tracking thing? Did Raphael leave a little trail of blood crumbs for them to follow? Eh, fuck it. The dynamic duo bitch out Raphael for letting Simon run off, and Raphael says he can’t look after Simon “until [Simon] is ready.” Jace derisively tells Raphael they’ve had “enough of his help” already. Um, excuse me? If Raphael hadn’t brought Simon’s dead ass to you and instructed you on how to resurrect him, and if he hadn’t organized the coup against Camille, y’all would still be dealing with her shit and Simon would still be in the wind. Sure, you could argue that Raphael was responsible for Simon being kidnapped to start with, but Raphael was acting on Camille’s orders. And while I grant Raphael’s motivations are as fluid and ever-changing as the plot demands, I still argue that he’s still largely in the “plus” column as far as what he’s done for Clary and Jace.
Jace calls Alec for help. Alec’s fresh off the fight with the zombie he and Hodge killed, and is getting patched up by his father when the phone rings. Isabelle tells Alec to focus on healing and takes the call instead. She fills Jace in on the zombie attack and the results of the autopsy. Yes, I know it’s called a “forsaken” but fuck that, it’s a zombie and I’ll damn well call it a zombie. So Valentine created a zombie with Seelie blood and angel properties which presumably enabled it to get past the protective wards.
Jace wants to bring Clary with him back to the Institute, but she insists on finding Simon instead. She argues that she “singlehandedly battled a shax (sp?) demon” as evidence she can take care of herself. Now, I know Clary is supposed to be a Mary Sue and all, but considering she’s only been a Shadowhunter for like, eight episodes, she’s still new to this shadow world and still not properly trained on how to use her powers. Jace suggests she have Luke help her, which actually makes perfect sense, seeing as Luke is also a downworlder and more qualified to help Simon than Jace is. Jace tells Clary to be careful and they make out, because nothing gets those hormones flowing like vampires and zombies and werewolves, I guess.
At the Institute, Magnus is adding more protective wards, but he can’t guarantee they’ll work because “even [his] magic has limits.” I agree; it can’t make this show not awful. Magnus flirts awkwardly with Alec who’s clearly uncomfortable and feigning disinterest. Maybe if I were a fangirl for this pairing I’d be squeeing with delight, and considering Alec and Magnus are the characters I hate the least and also the best looking of the dudes, you’d think I would be. But the poor development of these characters combined with utterly bland writing and hip teen dialogue-by-numbers ensures these two have all the spark of dryer sheet.
Meliorn breezes in because this episode clearly isn’t cheesy enough, and I can smell the cheap cologne and hair gel from here. Isabelle is shocked to see him, but he’s none too pleased with her after receiving his Dear John Seelie letter. He coldly informs her that he was summoned by the Clave. Lydia shows up and has Meliorn arrested for “soliciting state secrets from a Shadowhunter,” presumably Isabelle. Leather-clad grunts haul Meliorn away, and Isabelle tries to plead his case to Lydia. Lydia assures Isabelle she is not to blame and that the Seelies were probably colluding with Valentine all along. Isabelle counters that Valentine probably killed the Seelie scouts sent by the Clave and used their blood to make the zombie—all things we, the audience, already knows. Masterful writers of suspense, this lot.
Isabelle goes to Alec, who’s training again, but this time he’s in a singlet because it’s not a scene with Magnus. Wait, I don’t get it… so Alec was too injured to talk to Jace on the phone earlier, but not too injured to train? His arm is the problem, not his vocal cords. Isabelle expresses concern for Alec’s injury, but he shrugs it off though he’s clearly in pain. Jace arrives and informs Alec and Isabelle that their parents are being sent back to Idris. Everyone’s outraged except for Alec, who informs them that his and Isabelle’s parents were Circle members. They made a deal with the Clave prior to the Uprising and were pardoned in return, hence no Circle runes like Hodge’s. This information has broken Alec’s trust in his parents, and Isabelle is dismayed he would even question their loyalty. Jace leaps to the Lightwoods’ defense, claiming to know better than Alec does what kind of people his own parents are. Don’t you just love this guy? And by love, I mean “want to punch in the face?”
Lydia interrupts this discussion, telling Jace he’s “quite the legend back in Idris.” For what, douchebaggery? He tells Lydia not to believe everything she hears. Ironic, given that he’s this show’s reigning king of Informed Attributes, but at least he’s self aware, I guess. Alec and Lydia take this opportunity to announce their engagement, to everyone else’s collective horror.
Simon runs back home, where he and his mother have a tearful reunion. Simon vamps out while hugging his mother. Given the sexual undertones of vampire bites, what is it with this show and incest??? Also, seeing as this show has borrowed absolutely nothing from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Simon’s face still looks the same minus his fangs and mildly constipated expression.
Lucky for Simon’s Mom, Clary runs in before Simon can do anything. Clary spins some tale of identity theft, claiming she needs Simon’s help. His mother remains none the wiser. I seriously have to question how this woman could hug her son yet never notice he has no heartbeat and no breath. She does notice that he looks pale and that his glasses are gone, because those are the key vampire-identifying details here. OK. So Clary and Simon share this super dramatic convo about Clary needing his help and it’s obviously a veiled reference to a deeper issue. If Simon’s Mom picks up on it, she doesn’t let on. She just makes Clary promise to take care of her son. Yeaaahhhh, it’s a little late for that, Mama Simon.
At the Institute, Alec tells his father he knows about him and his mother’s past with the Circle. Robert tries to explain himself with the usual justifications for keeping dangerous secrets from loved ones: he wanted to protect his children, and hoped they’d do better. Alec claims his parents just wanted him and Isabelle to restore the family’s good name, and sees his marriage to Lydia as a means of redeeming the family after his parents’ treachery.
Clary and Simon leave Simon’s house. Clary confesses that she’s the one who decided to let him become a vampire. I’m uncertain why Clary keeps taking the blame for what happened to Simon. I mean, yeah, she had a part in it, but so did a lot of people. Isabelle dropped the ball protecting Simon, Raphael did the initial kidnapping, and Camille actually turned Simon. Of all the morons in this show Clary is probably the least accountable for what happened. But Simon has to act all dramatic and overwrought like the’s the only asshole to get turned into a vampire or something, and to Clary of all people—a girl who’s just lost her mother, found out she’s some magical weirdo, and is being pursued by Darth Valentine whom she’s just learned is her father. But I guess it’s not as traumatic for Clary because Shadowhunters are good magical creatures. Simon and the 100’s Jasper are really duking it out for the Whiny Pissbaby award. I’d say I hope they both die but Simon’s already dead, so one down, one to go.
Back at the Institute, Jace, Isabelle, and Alec watch Meliorn’s interrogation. Without much provocation at all—seriously, he’s chilling on a couch in what looks like the most comfortable interrogation room ever—Meliorn tells Lydia that Valentine’s daughter has the Mortal Cup.
Jace and Alec quibble about the Cup, with Alec threatening to hand the Cup over to Lydia himself if Clary doesn’t do it. Jace agrees to talk to Clary but implores Alec to let Clary be the one to hand over the Cup. Alec leaves, and Jace sends a selfie to Clary.
Turns out he wants Clary to copy the rune on his arm, which will block her from being tracked by other Shadowhunters. I love how there’s a rune for everything on this show. Hey assholes, can I get a rune that will write this recap for me? Oh, and bring me some kimchi ramen while you’re at it. I gotta keep up my strength here.
Jace tells Clary that the Clave knows about the Cup and they think she’s working with Valentine. He instructs her to go somewhere safe and wait for him. After hanging up, she suggests the Jade Wolf, which Luke rejects as the Clave knows of their relationship so it’s the first place they’d look. I have to question how Luke knows everything Jace just told Clary. Even though Clary had Jace on speaker phone (um, way to be stealth, Clary!) she’s standing several feet from Luke and Simon and the phone’s volume doesn’t seem that loud. I suppose I could buy Luke having like, super werewolf hearing or something but people in this show always seem to conveniently know things without any clear explanation why.
The gang end up at the DuMort. Raphael agrees to harbor Simon and Clary, but makes Luke wait outside seeing as the vampires and werewolves have a longstanding enmity. Hey, show? The cliché train called; y’all just derailed it.
At the Institute, Isabelle sees Meliorn being escorted out and demands to know where they’re taking him. Lydia tells her he’s going to the Silent Brothers, where he’ll presumably be tortured. Jace and Isabelle can’t change Lydia’s mind, and Alec’s no help. So Jace and Isabelle turn to Magnus for help. During the course of this convo, he makes another amazing facial expression that sums up my feelings on this plot twist.
Jace wants Magnus to steal Alec’s stele long enough for them to grab the Cup from the vault. Magnus wants no part of this, but Jace and Isabelle warn him that if the Clave is going this far to torture info out of some budget LotR extra, what does that mean for the rest of them? Magnus finally caves but says they’ll owe him.
At the DuMort, Raphael locks Simon and Clary in a cage to supposedly protect them from the vampires and vice versa. Raphael also plainly admits he’s fucking with them, seeing if Simon can resist the temptation to eat Clary. Clary and Simon share another overwrought conversation about Simon’s situation, yada yada. Simon gets more and more worked up and bellows at Raphael to bring him a blood cocktail. No, seriously. The vampires actually bring him a blood cocktail.
I had wondered how Magnus planned to get the stele from Alec, and was sure we’d get some tacky honeypot scene where they flirt more and whatnot. Mercifully, we are spared that as Magnus simply magicks the stele out of Alec’s coat pocket while the latter is changing his bandage. Magnus takes the opportunity spy on a shirtless Alec, because that’s not creepy at all. Jace steals the Cup, Magnus magicks the stele back into the coat just in time, and tries to act casual when Alec walks out of his room. Alec tells Magnus about his engagement and Magnus tries to act all cool and shit but looks like he’s going to burst out crying any minute. What is it with the characters and constant crying? Did this show make a deal with a glycerine tear manufacturer? Alec tries to look tortured as well, but the only thing I’m tortured by is the fact that I’m still writing this recap.
Hodge intercepts Jace and Isabelle as they’re leaving to get the Cup to Clary. They try to flub their way out of it, but Hodge knows they’re bullshitting and calls them on it. Jace tells Hodge that Clary needs them, and the latter assures Jace and Isabelle their secret is safe with him. Jace and Isabelle leave while Hodge sips his tea in a manner that isn’t at all suspicious.
Alec is having misgivings about sending Meliorn to the Silent Brothers, and broaches the subject to Lydia. In response, she explains the circumstances of her husband’s death in greater detail. The Clave had caught wind of a demon threat at Carnivale in Rio, and interrogated a warlock on the demons’ payroll. Lydia wouldn’t allow torture so they got nothing out of the warlock. The Shadowhunters went into the raid blind, got their asses kicked by over a hundred demons, and Lydia’s husband was killed. So this is the brilliant justification for torturing Meliorn. OK, hold up a minute. How did they know the warlock would’ve cracked under torture, or that any intel he gave them would be useful? It’s not like people have never given false confessions under torture or anything. The warlock could’ve totally lied and said there were like, five demons, and the Shadowhunters would’ve still been slaughtered. Or what if, like Meliorn, he really didn’t know anything so there was nothing to torture out of him anyway? Y’all want to torture Meliorn? Tell him to explain all the leaps of logic in this fucking show.
Clary and Simon have another heart to heart while locked up. Simon complains that he never wanted anything to do with the Shadow World. O RLY? I seem to recall your ass trailing after Clary and insisting on tagging along for all of their misadventures before you got kidnapped. You can’t have it both ways. You play with vampires, you’re gonna get bit. Clary confesses she might’ve brought Simon back because she wanted them both to be different, as in no longer mundanes. Except that you kind of brought him back as a traditional enemy of your people, genius. I liked it better when Clary just brought him back out of grief and desperation. At least that reason was somewhat relatable.
Raphael lets Clary and Simon out of the cage when Jace and Isabelle arrive. I don’t recall if Clary ever informed them that she was at the DuMort, and since she drew the blocking rune, they can’t track her, either. Eh, fuck it. Clary and Luke offer an alliance with the Seelies and werewolves if the vampires help save Meliorn. Raphael is suspicious, but Clary gives a Buffy Summers-esque rousing speech which eventually wins him over. We get a tremendously cheesy scene of the characters walking into battle at the City of Bones while dramatic dubstep music plays in the background. Simon makes a joke that’s actually funny: “I hope I have better luck here than I did last time.” I also notice Jace is really trying for this “manly swagger” type of walk but it comes off more like he’s trying to navigate a massive wedgie without looking like he’s trying to navigate a massive wedgie.
Raphael and Luke exchange puns about their respective species, and while I always appreciate a good pun, these ones are too grade-school for me to do much else but roll my eyes at in an Alec-esque manner. Oh yeah, Alec isn’t here because I guess he’s been assimilated into the Clave Borg. Alec, I had faith in you. I thought you were one of the few people on this show that didn’t pass around the idiot ball but now it’s squarely in your hands. For shame, Alec. For shame. Anyway, the werewolves and vampires start growling and menacing each other and they all look about as threatening as a couple of guinea pigs squabbling over a carrot stick.
Clary jumps in to break up the fight, giving another rousing speech declaring, “Tonight we’re all downworlders.” Someone give this girl a job on a political campaign.
The gang splits up to do their respective parts in the plan. Clary and Jace are together, of course, and Jace uses his super-vision rune to spot Alec among the Clave’s forces. Clary still doesn’t know about Lydia and the engagement, so Jace throws out a couple of lines filling her in. This episode has been full of these kind of hasty explanations, since the characters were all so preoccupied with their respective plotlines that they hadn’t had time to check in with each other. While this makes sense on a practical level, it’s a poor storytelling strategy on a TV show. As viewers, we already know all this, and we aren’t really interested in watching characters explain things to each other. It just slows down the action and wastes our time. This is probably why we get all these “I’ll explain later” type remarks and characters have very little reaction to news they should find shocking. This scene is a classic example, with Clary being briefly confused by these revelations but quickly turning her attention back to the matter at hand.
Contrast this scene to Alec finding out his parents were former Circle members. That was a well-executed reveal, because as viewers, we find out along with Alec, so we’re interested in his reaction and are reacting along with him. He’s also not in the midst of a battle or some other kind of tense scene, so his reaction becomes the focus rather than a quick aside. Watching Alec tell everyone else about the Lightwoods is far less interesting because we have already done our reacting and watching Jace and Isabelle react feels like a retread. While I understand that sometimes it’s inevitable that characters will have to explain things to each other, it’s a device best used sparingly. In books, it’s easy to throw out a quick “X filled Y in on [events that happened in Y’s absence]” type line but on TV shows, you can’t really do that. That’s easily one of the most irritating things about this show. It feels like a book being clumsily thrown onscreen—and before anyone complains at me about all the changes made from the book, I’m talking about the style of narration, not the events. Storytelling methods must necessarily change from one medium to another, and this show clearly hasn’t made that a priority.
The battle gets underway and suddenly it’s just Alec escorting Meliorn to the Silent Brothers with absolutely no backup. Clary and Jace intercept him and try to make with the “convincing speech” thing, but it doesn’t work. Alec and Jace fight while Clary escapes with Meliorn. Alec bests Jace, the Institute’s finest soldier, and holds a light saber to the latter’s throat. Do it, Alec, do it! I got your back. Yeah, you’re an idiot, but you’re the most attractive idiot so I’m Team Alec here.
Jace is so far up his own ass he makes Alec’s betrayal about Alec’s unrequited feelings for him instead of, you know, Alec possibly maybe not being so whipped by Clary he might be unwilling to go along with Jace’s flagrant rule breaking. We’ve already established Alec as the Hermione of this show, so it’s not hard at all to believe he’d drink Lydia’s Kool-Aid. Furthermore, we’ve also established that Alec isn’t the type to make decisions based on emotion, and isn’t that the point this script keeps driving home with all these clichéd anecdotes about love leading to the Dark Side? Oh wait, wrong canon. Not to mention that Alec finding out his parents are former traitors to an organization he’s been taught unquestioning loyalty to his whole life might be a little more traumatic than his crush getting it on with someone else. Furthermore, Alec has the option of Magnus, who’s way hotter and more likeable than Jace and also not a quasi-incestuous option, so why on Earth would he still be hung up on Jace?
Unlike most of the characters on this show, I’m not a complete idiot, so I know the canon means for us to side with Jace and believe he’s right, because he’s a Gary Stu and everything is all about him. However, I find the textual evidence of this conclusion so unconvincing I still had to go off on that long rant about it and ensure I will never finish this fucking recap.
After essentially telling Alec he’s just pressed because Jace is tapping someone else, Jace tries to appeal to Alec on the basis of their special Shadowhunter Vulcan mind-meld bond I still can’t spell and won’t try to. Alec is like “Fuck this, I’m still Team Lydia” and that’s that.
In the next scene, Clary and Jace are back at the DuMort for some reason. Maybe to drop Simon off? I guess they had to personally escort him back? Eh, fuck it. Simon seems to have largely gotten over his Jasper Syndrome so he and Clary are good now. They hug, and there’s more bullshit love triangle shit while Jace looks on like he’s gonna cry or something.
So Simon lives at the DuMort now, right? As Raphael’s padawan or some shit. So what are they gonna tell his mother? I guess they could make up some story about Simon moving out or something but it’s not like he’ll never see his family again, and his being a vampire seems like a pretty major thing to hide from the people he is supposedly closest to… eh, fuck it.
Meanwhile, Meliorn has a face-sucky reunion with Isabelle. I guess the breakup is off? Isabelle has to get back to the Institute, so Clary and Jace will help Meliorn escape the Clave. We get more lip service of Clary Sue’s sacrifice in rallying the downworlders to help Meliorn (I still am not sure what she sacrificed. Simon? Eh, that had nothing to do with Meliorn. I guess she might’ve sacrificed her relationship with Alec but there was never much of one to begin with—eh, fuck it.) In return, Meliorn offers to help Clary find her father. We end with the most hilarious dramatic closeup over.
I refuse to believe this show isn’t trolling us.