‘Shadowhunters’ 1×12 Review: ‘Malec’
What’s more important in life: love or honor? That’s the question that Alec Lightwood struggled with in “Malec,” as he prepared to marry Lydia Branwell as a means to honor his family’s name and do the honorable thing. But you can’t turn off your true feelings, as Alec learned.
“Malec” brought us one hell of a Magus and Alec moment that fans will no doubt be talking about throughout the hiatus that awaits us after next week’s season finale, as well as the fallout of the revelation that Jace and Clary are brother and sister, as well as a betrayal that launches us into next week’s season finale.
Let’s dive into “Malec”:
Magnus and Alec Come Together
With an episode like “Malec” consisting of the wedding of Alec to someone that was not Magnus obviously we were a little uneasy at first. But “Malec” proved to be the episode that will unite Magnus and Alec and officially begin their love story. And, man, what a way to kick it into gear.
While Cassandra Clare’s books have several significant and loving pairings, there is perhaps no pairing as beloved as Magnus and Alec. It’s no secret why: Malec was an interracial, same-sex couple that was written about during a time where same-sex couples in literature was something that was controversial. Magnus and Alec were a symbol of love regardless of the controversy that surrounded the specifics. Love is love, that’s all that can be said.
So this week’s episode focused on the origins of Alec and Magnus’ love story. While it wasn’t entirely perfect to get to this point – as there was an absence of the slow-burn that the couples of legend are born out of – there is no denying that powerful moment when Magnus interrupts Alec’s wedding and the events that followed.
Everything from the music playing in the background to the moment Magnus walks in to Alec’s face as he can’t take his eyes off Magnus to the moment Alec finally makes his decision to fight for love to this moment:I think the gif speaks for itself.
Throughout this episode both Alec and Magnus struggled with their feelings. We saw Alec repeatedly telling himself that honor is more important than love, and we saw Magnus battling between fighting for love or settling for solitude. But eventually they both got to a point where they realized that honor isn’t enough. Love is worth fighting for; worth dying for; worth living for.
Hopefully this is just the beginning of Magnus and Alec’s love story as we know that they are far from out of the woods just yet. Their love story will continue to be controversial in the eyes of the Clave – and in the eyes of the Lightwood parents – but this is when things get good. When a couple has to work through the troubles in life that are thrown their way. They work through it together. Let’s just hope we get to see that progressiveness unlike the build-up to their relationship we deserved.
Be right back: Going to watch the Malec kiss on a loop.
The Fallout of Clary and Jace
Perhaps the most reassuring thing to come out of last week’s episode was that Shadowhunters has decided to explore the Jace-Clary sibling storyline that has long been a controversial storyline. There was a question if the show would feel comfortable in exploring it and if they’d actually explore it. But thankfully we’ve got the storyline that has long tortured us in the books — it’s not something you ever forget.
While we saw the beginnings of the awkwardness last week, this was the episode where the truth had really set in and Clary and Jace were forced to deal with this revelation. And it was as awkward as one might expect, which was good because that’s how it was in the books and that essence really shone through. This obviously isn’t something that you move on from in an instantaneous fashion. It’s something that will continue to remain a struggle for both Clary and Jace especially as events around them unfold that cause them to question who they are and what’s important.
We saw Jace essentially try to focus all of his anger on the fact that Jocelyn, the woman who he learned is his mother, had abandoned him when he was a child. But that wasn’t the only thing eating away at Jace, and it took him throughout this episode to finally verbally acknowledge that it was that as well as this thing with Clary and feeling a darkness inside of him that scares him.
Jace realized and acknowledged that he can’t shut Clary out no matter how hard he tries. Regardless of this sibling revelation, Clary and Jace are still two people that want to comfort one another; they want to protect each other. So the heart-to-heart at the end of the episode showed that while their relationship might change in the intimate aspect of things that how they care for each other won’t.
The Story of Ragnor Fell
When it comes to adapting a series of books like The Mortal Instruments there are certain storylines that need to exist at certain points in the story. And the Ragnor Fell of it all was one of those. But even then Ragnor wasn’t so much a character in the book as he was a dead body. I’m still curious as to how the show was able to get Ragnor Fell seeing as he’s a character in The Bane Chronicles. But regardless, he was a big part of this episode.
With Clary determined more than ever to wake her mother up from her comatose state, she set off with Jace and Magnus to a part of London where Ragnor was said to be holed up in. Ragnor was said to be the key to waking up Jocelyn, and at this point there is nothing holding Clary back.
We did get to see the relationship between Ragnor and Magnus, who we know have been long-life friends that have gone through many a journey. Seriously, if you haven’t read The Bane Chronicles you need to. Anyway, we also got a glimpse at the emotional side of things when Ragnor was killed by a Shax demon and Magnus had to deal with losing someone who he’s always taken for granted existing in this world and as a part of his life. We got to see Magnus grieve as he spoke with Ragnor’s hallucination a couple of times. It was Magnus’ subconscious trying to make ammends with this situation but also to convince him to fight for that love worth fighting for, aka Alec. Because life is too damn short and the thing you care about the very most can be taken from you in an instant.
Jace and Alec Mend Fences
One of my ongoing rants this season has been the feuding between Jace and Alec, who, while they disagreed, were never so brutal to each other in the books as they were on the show. It was something I had a problem with because it wasn’t being true to who they are and what it meant to their Parabatai bond.
But it’s funny how things can be fixed once you stop arguing like boys and talk like men. Isabelle was able to coral the two brothers into the same space and essentially force them to talk. This was about accepting that they each have different views but that it’s not something that should by any means deter their relationship. This was about moving forward. And that’s exactly what they did.
Jace instigated the discussion as he explained his unique viewpoint about who he was only doing what he believed to be right. There was never mal intent to hurt Alec in the process. Alec admitted what we’ve all been thinking that these two got lost in the drama of love and disagreement that it nearly cost them their friendship.
One of the best parts about this was they both finally opened up to each other about their own personal happenings. It was seeing their friendship come alive again after times when things appeared to be irreparable. Jace opened up about his situation with Clary, about how he was falling in love with her and the blow that learning that she was his sister has done to him inside. And Alec, who has never been open about his feelings about Magnus to anyone, subtly explained that he was in the same predicament with Magnus. These two Parabatai were able to connect over someone coming into their life and shaking the core of everything that they believed in.
This was really where we got to see the opposing sides of how they viewed this potential love. While Alec was trying to convince himself that despite this confusion that the important thing was to focus on their job and their mission, Jace said what we all know to be the most important thing: “Be true to yourself.”
So while Jace and Alec’s relationship certainly hasn’t gone back to the way it used to be, they are back in a good place where they have grown and learned from their mistakes. And that’s refreshing to see because Jace is going to need Alec more than ever.
Following Ragnor Fell’s death, our Shadowhunters learned that there was a traitor in their midst. Instantly we were led to believe that it would be Lydia who ended up betraying them. And who could blame us? Lydia showed up and got engaged to Alec, who she may or may not love we don’t know, and was within range of discussion of Ragnor Fell, who was killed soon after. Not to mention she was the enemy to us fans because she was getting in the way of Alec and Magnus. But the show took a page from the book and revealed the traitor to be Hodge, who we saw give Valentine the Mortal Cup in exchange for his freedom from being cursed to this Institute.
While Hodge has yet to officially give Valentine the Mortal Cup – there’s still time to stop that – Hodge has finally succumbed to his selfish ways and betrayed his people in order to free himself from his ties to this Institute. I’d expect a lot of focus on Hodge in next week’s season finale.
RANTS AND RAVES
The Malec Kiss: The moment that we will never be able to stop talking about stole the episode. While there were problems with the build-up of Malec’s relationship, this moment felt like the culmination of what we’d all been waiting for. Everything from the music, the hesitation, the reactions, to the passionate kiss itself, Malec fans everywhere are still having trouble breathing.
Awkwardness Between Clary and Jace: Whenever you discover that your signficiant other is actually your sibling things get awkward real quick. Awkward like literally running in the other direction as Jace did at one point in this episode. But it was nice to see that awkwardness with the fallout of this revelation as it proved that they can’t really shut each other out. This is something that have to discuss; something they can get through.
Jace and Alec Mend Fences: Fighting no more! It was great to see Jace nad Alec finally get to a point where they could sort out their feelings and get back to being friends. See, talking really works wonders.
Hodge Betrays the Shadowhunters: For a moment there I thought the show was going to make Lydia the traitor, but it was nice to see – well, not really nice, but you know what I mean – Hodge be the one to betray the Shadowhunters as a means to protect himself and secure his freedom.
Magnus Coming On Too Hard: While I love Magnus and Alec with every fiber of my being, there was one Malec scene in this episode that rubbed me the wrong way. Whether it was Magnus getting too close to Alec when he clearly didn’t want it or Magnus using magic on him to feel things, if this were any one else we’d be saying, ‘Whoa, too much. Back away.’
Ragnor Fell: Wasn’t this first season supposed to cover the events of City of Bones? Then why did we get a significant storyline from City of Glass that was important to a future storyline? It’s like it created another plot hole. And I don’t recall Cassie having sold the rights to The Bane Chronicles. So how was Ragnor allowed to be on this show? Also, why was he white washed? Ragnor is green. A little paint wouldn’t have hurt anybody.
Maryse Not Compassionate: So one of my issues with the Lightwood parents has been their flip-flopped characterization on this show. While in the books Maryse is the compassionate yet stern mother figure, Robert is a bit harder and the one that ends up having the most problem with Alec and Magnus. But the in the show it’s flip-flopped and I can’t help but wonder if it was to give Maryse look more powerful. But being that uncompassionate authoritative figure doesn’t equate to powerful. Maryse was powerful the way she was.
Shadowhunters airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on Freeform.
I really liked Lydia this episode she kind of surprised me when she told clary about how she knew about Alec’s feelings towards Magnus. But I’m so happy Malec FINALLY got to together.
I also hope Hodge didn’t kill Lydia
Can I add a Rant? I don’t understand why Hodge would send a Shax demon to kill Ragnor Fell. Valentine tried for the whole season to find a warlock to wake Jocelyn up and the moment one is found, Hodge kills him before he can help Jocelyn? Why?
Also, I hope Valentine will have the Mortal Cup at the end of the season finale, like it was in City of Bones.
Are we absolutely sure it was Hodge though? We know he’s the spy but he also has the means to communicate with Valentine so how do we know Valentine didn’t order it for some reason? I’m not saying it makes sense either way but it’s just a thought.
Either Hodge did it, or Valentine. But since Hodge is following Valentine’s orders it’s the same. But it still doesn’t make sense… not after all the “let’s find a warlock to heal Jocelyn” stuff that’s going on since episode 1!
Also I did like Lydia coming in. But I can’t remember- didn’t the Branwell name end with Charlotte and her husband? Because weren’t they Clary’s ancestors?
Can I just add, that did anyone notice Tessa on the screen with Ragnor and Catarina? I wonder if we’ll see more of Tessa? I know she only makes a brief appearance in City of Glass, but be awesome if they bring the Infernal Devices to tv as well. But back to the most important event of the show… MALEC!!!!!! 🙂
Well I didn’t see why we wouldn’t if they go all the way to Heavenly Fire since she’s all over the place in the end of that with Jem.
I was really iffy with this episode. The scenes with Magnus and Ragnor were awkward and not well-done. But Matt and Dom were the saving graces, in my opinion.
The whole waking up Jocelyn storyline was likely put in to move her character forward and let her actually do things…including possibly getting Clace back together sooner?
Ragnor not being green is likely just to do with budget. S1 was said to be mostly COB with some COA, and others.
I think Magnus did come on to hard but Magnus is so hot and I don’t know how I feel about malac
Thank god for Malec. Finally! I was so anxious about possible bad ideas of the script writers. It is hard that Alex really needs so long to come to terms with his feelings and to be capable of making this decision. But I am glad he did.
Thank you Izzy! She not only forced the boys (Jace and Alec) to speak with one another and so to make amendments and find a common path together, she was the one to invite Magnus to the wedding. Well done Izzy! 🙂
I found Magnus as wedding crusher overly dramatic, but it worked. And Lydia at the end was fantastic. She is a nice girl after all who cares for Alec. I hope she is still alive after the assault.
Maryse is a little bit disappointing, because in the books she used to be a passionate mother only focusing on keeping her kids secure and happy. But the show Maryse is different. Robert shows more compassion in this case. I do no know, if the problem of the Lightwood parents is more because Alec pronounced his love/attraction to a man and a warlock or if it is more the embarrassment that he did in front of all the honorable Shadowhunters present this day. In this case Lydia would have had more reason to be angry and humiliated. Maybe Maryse really thinks that a marriage of Alec could save the Lightwood name? How silly is this? He can not make undone what Robert and she did back with the Circle.
Ragnor: A shame he is not green. His introduction was OK, if a little bit confusing – how the hell could the demon intrude his defences and attack him. And how did he manage to kill him? I mean, hey it is Ragnor Fell, Highwarlock of London, not a fledgling from yesterday . . .What I liked was the scenes Magnus with the dead Ragnor debating the situation and giving love advice. Nice idea.
I was surprised to see Dominic really showing the deep struggle of Jace with the Clace situation and he being Valentines son. His self-doubt, the hurt, the confusion. Dominic is not my favorite actor for the role as Jace. His playacting is not really convincing so far, but in this ep he did a good job. Even the bit of self-loathing, when he confesses to Alec, that he still wants Clary, even now her being his sister. Good job. Interesting how he will develop along with his role.
And the betrayal: here we meet the original book plot again. As mentioned above, I hope Lydia is still alive. Looking forward to the next ep, and the seasons finale.
All in all the show improves with each episode. Interesting what’s still to come. And I have stopped to complain about the chaotic plot, the mixing of the books and the differences. So I now can enjoy this show and do not have to suffer.