Has anyone recovered from that kiss yet? No? I didn’t think so. On this week’s episode of Freeform’s hit supernatural drama Shadowhunters, it was all about the “Malec,” and let me tell you, if you were disappointed by the slow burn approach that the writers were taking in regard to this ship, the show’s twelfth episode shows that the wait was worth it—because that kiss coupled by that music is something that fans aren’t going to soon forget.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. As the episode opens, Isabelle and the rest of the Institute are prepping for a wedding to end all weddings: the union of Alec Lightwood and Lydia Branwell. Festivity is in the air, but underneath that is an undercurrent of unease, because everyone from Isabelle to Clary knows that, deep down, this isn’t what Alec really wants. What he really wants—and what he’s afraid to want—is our favorite warlock Magnus, who is intent on convincing the jittery bridegroom to give their relationship a chance. Despite his best efforts, Alec resists his advances, refuses to call off the wedding and Magnus resigns himself to defeat.
Meanwhile, Clary and Jace are still tip-toeing around each other after the big sibling bombshell landed on them. Understandably, things are awkward as hell between them and Jace is dealing with some serious identity issues. Nevertheless, the two of them band together to try to find a warlock who could hold the secret to waking Jocelyn up: Ragnor Fell, who also happens to be one of Magnus’s oldest friends.
Sadly, Ragnor doesn’t make it to the end of the episode alive, but he does live long enough to tell Jace, Clary, and Magnus that the Book of the White holds the answers they are looking for. There’s just one small glitch: the Book is no longer in Ragnor’s possession. It was taken by Camille, the ex-leader of the New York vampire clan and Magnus’s ex-lover, and after the coup against her, I don’t think she’s going to be in a helping mood.
While Magnus stays behind to tend to Ragnor’s body, Clary and Jace return to the Institute because it’s wedding time. Before the ceremony takes place, Jace and Alec finally have the heart-to-heart that we’ve wanted them to have for the past few episodes. As an olive branch, Alec asks him to be his best man, an offer that Jace gladly accepts. Like everyone else, though, Jace first wants the reassurance that this is what Alec truly wants, and once Alec confirms that it is, Jace is in full support mode.
I want to take a moment to thank the writers for allowing Alec to be the one to be in control of his decisions in this episode, because it made them that much more meaningful. Rather than aggressively trying to convince Alec that what he was doing was wrong, each character gave Alec the time and space to make his own choices, which ultimately paid off.
Because just when you think that Alec is going to draw the wedding rune on Lydia—just when you think all hope for Malec is lost—Magnus shows up, giving Alec one last chance to change his mind. And change his mind he does; with full support from everyone, aside from his parents, Alec leaves his now jilted fiancée’s side and walks purposefully down the aisle to Magnus, whom he pulls into a passionate kiss.
In all honestly, the episode could have ended here, but instead, it gives us a few more moments to mull over. Jace and Clary get one last talk in which they make some progress at overcoming their issues and we finally learn Hodge’s big secret—a secret that could put everybody in the Institute in jeopardy.
Altogether, this was arguably the best episode of the entire season, one which took viewers on an emotional rollercoaster. The pacing and musical choices were spot on, making it gripping in all the right ways and accentuating the emotional moments. And my, were those moments in abundance this time around! In what was a truly difficult endeavor, I’ve selected what I consider to be the Best Five Moments from Shadowhunters episode 12, “Malec.” Here they are:
Magnus Summons Alec for a Chat (And Tries to Show Him What Love Is)
In this scene, Magnus tries his best to appeal to Alec’s emotions in an effort to make him realize that marrying Lydia is the wrong decision. And he’s right: as he tells Alec, by marrying Lydia, he is not only condemning two people to a life of loneliness and despair, he is also condemning Magnus to that kind of life. Alec, however, is committed to his decision and turns his back on Magnus—but I can’t help but think that he was turning Magnus’s words over in his mind and that they helped him make up his mind later.
Magnus, Clary and Jace Go on a Jaunt (And Magnus Gets a Front Row Seat to Clace’s Relationship Drama)
Malec wasn’t the only ship experiencing drama in this episode; Clace was also in a state of upheaval after the previous episode’s shocking reveal that they are brother and sister. Naturally, Jace’s idea of handling this situation is avoidance. Clary, however, will have none of it. At every opportunity, she makes an effort to break the ice and get Jace to talk about what happened, and this instance is no different. Well, I guess it is a bit different in that Magnus gets a front row seat to their Dr. Phil-worthy relationship problems. Apart from this, this scene delved into Jace’s feelings of rejection and betrayal. His anger toward Jocelyn is palpable; he honestly feels like she abandoned him. Hopefully, Clary can convince him that this isn’t true.
MALEC KISS (And Simon Fanboys)
This was THE moment of the episode—the moment that the episode had been working up to and that fans had been waiting for. Everything about it was satisfactory, from the music to the reactions from Alec’s family and friends (well, except for Maryse’s reaction. Her reaction made me cringe). In all honesty, this was the most romantic scene of the show so far, made even more so by Simon’s fanboying after the fact. While it may have been overkill for the writers to have Simon directly address what would have been a subtle parallel to The Graduate, I can’t deny that his giddiness over the scene was adorable.
Jace and Clary Discuss the JC Box (And Try to Overcome Their Awkwardness)
This was my second favorite moment of the episode because there was tenderness in it that I didn’t see coming. Clary showing Jace the J.C. box—and him cradling it the way that he does—accomplished several things: in revealing Jace’s full name, it furthered convinced both of them that what Valentine said must be true; it softened Jace’s heart the tiniest increment toward Jocelyn; and, it hinted that Jace and Clary’s future wasn’t so doomed after all. With effort, they could overcome their mixed emotions and learn to love each other as siblings—or at least love each other as friends.
Hodge Reveals His Double-Crossing Activities (And Makes a Deal with a Devil)
I knew this moment was coming but, in the back of my mind, I was kind of hoping that it wouldn’t. I like Hodge and feel sympathy for his circumstances, so while his actions are reprehensible, I can understand why he would see an alliance with Valentine as the only way that he can achieve his freedom. I only wish that Lydia didn’t have to get hurt in the process. Hasn’t the girl suffered enough?!
Ragnor Falls Victim to a Demon Attack (And Magnus is Heartbroken)
This moment broke my heart into a thousand little pieces. Although we had only just been introduced to Ragnor Fell, Adam Kenneth Wilson’s performance made me fall in love with him at first sight, so I’m disappointed that the character was taken out so quickly. But it was Magnus’s reaction that served as the final punch in the feels for me. Hearing him call Ragnor his “little dew cabbage” and watching his face crumble under the weight of his loss was devastating and mesmerizing at the same time. RIP, Ragnor; we hardly knew ye, but what we knew will live on in our minds forever.
Magnus and Ragnor Discuss Magnus’s Love Life (And Magnus Comes to a Decision)
Of course, Ragnor’s final, final scene comes later, after he appears to Magnus as a hallucination—or was he? Is it possible that Ragnor isn’t dead but that he faked his death in order to avoid Valentine? Could he be talking to Magnus in this scene via astral projection? Anything’s possible! Regardless of Ragnor’s living or dead state, this scene helped convince Magnus to keep fighting for Alec. More so, it also gave viewers a glimpse into his past relationship with Camille and showed that it was more than just a fling. Could Camille come between Alec and Magnus? I doubt it—but I also think that she’ll do everything she can to try, for no other reason than she might get a kick out of it.
New episodes of Shadowhunters air on Tuesday nights at 9:00 pm ET/PT on Freeform.