The long-awaited second half of Shadowhunters season 3 finally arrived last week. Its premiere brought on familiar issues, a new villain – and certainly did not disappoint.

It’s been a while, Angels. But after a sheer endless nine-month hiatus and quite the eventful summer, Shadowhunters has finally come back for its final 12 episodes. Don’t get us wrong, we’re still just as sad and upset as you are about the fact that this will most likely be the last we’ll ever see of the show. But we’re also quite excited to finally get to see what the writers, producers, cast, and crew have in store for us. Knowing how much work and dedication they all brought into this project, it’s going to be quite the ride, so without further ado – let’s dive in.

 

(Freeform/John Medland)

Dealing with the loss of Clary

The episode starts after the time jump Todd Slavkin already announced back when our most important concern about Shadowhunters was the apparent lack of proper lighting on the show. Jace, Alec and Izzy are out on a mission, chasing after an escaped prisoner from the Gard. Things are going smoothly (no people getting pushed off rooftops or ending up with arrows in their chest thus far) until, of course, they don’t.

As he is just about to arrest the prisoner, Jace gets reckless – and stabbed (did anyone else feel like yelling at him at that point?). Luckily, Alec and Izzy are there to arrest the Seelie prisoner and help Jace. It’s only when Izzy confronts him about his reckless behavior that he admits the reason why he’s been acting so odd. What follows is one of the many gut-wrenching, heartbreaking moments in this episode – a simple, yet heartbreaking admission from Jace: “If it weren’t for me, Clary would still be alive.”

But if you thought that was already rough, just you wait, the sadness continues right after the opening credits stop rolling. We get to see an emotional montage of some of the people Clary was close with – Simon, Jace, Magnus – dealing with their grief, each in their own way. Magnus is lighting candles on his balcony in her memory; Jace is wandering through her room, going through her art supplies and sketchbook, the tears in his (and our) eyes just about ready to fall.

And then there’s Simon.

The thing is, we knew Clary’s “death” would be hard on Simon. He went through a lot in the final few episodes of 3A – the incident with Becky and having to encanto his own mother being only the tip of the iceberg – but by the Angel, Alberto Rosende went straight for our hearts with that performance. As Simon sits in his living room, crying and all alone, we felt like crying with him. Harry, Dom and Alberto all did an amazing job portraying all those heavy emotions without even saying a word, but we have to admit that Alberto’s performance really blew us away. Let’s just say our previously prepared stack of tissues was in sincere need of a restock after that scene was over.

 

Welcome to Siberia

Thankfully Simon doesn’t stay by himself for a long time as Maia returns in the episode. After having left New York as a consequence of Jordan’s return in 3×07, she went back to her hometown in New Jersey to get some space. Now that she’s back, she wants to be there for Simon, which proves to be quite a difficult matter. After what happened to Clary, Simon is now so scared of his Mark of Cain that he doesn’t even want to go outside anymore, let alone meet other people. It feels like it will be a long time before Simon will even come close to being his old self again.

However, as we learn just a few minutes later, Simon – or anybody else for that matter – does not really have much reason to grieve Clary at all. She is alive and well… but probably freezing, since she wakes up in Siberia. No, you didn’t read that wrong. She’s actually there, snow and cold and general misery included.

Clary’s awakening in Siberia also serves as an entrance for one of 3B’s most intriguing new characters: Jonathan Morgenstern, Clary’s older brother who was sent to Edom and raised by Lilith. After getting killed by Jace in the season 2 finale, Jonathan spent most of 3A in a tomb while Lilith did her best to resurrect him. Now that he is back, he appears on the show in his true form – which means he is played by a new actor. And that new actor does not disappoint. Luke Baines is as captivating as Jonathan as Will Tudor was as Sebastian. Getting to know the true Jonathan, stripped of pretense and false identities, is extremely fascinating. He doesn’t seem like the typical villain (he gets that from his mother) and he clearly cares about Clary, yet there is something dark and twisted about him. We can’t wait to see his story progress as the season moves on.  

While the fandom may be happy about this new addition to the cast, Clary Fray certainly isn’t. And in true Clary Fray fashion, she lets her brother know. Quite clearly so, actually, as the first thing she does after waking up (and realizing where and whom she is with) is grabbing a wool cloak to battle the cold and run. A suicide mission? Very much so. But this is Clary we’re talking about, she’s never been one to take the easy route. Or the safe one.  

 

Malec have a house guest

Back in New York, we get to catch up with Alec and Magnus, who are getting ready for the day. Well, Magnus is. With his magic out of reach, he has to get ready the mundane way – which leads to him almost poking his eye out with an eyeliner pencil (who hasn’t been there before?). Alec is watching him in the mirror and casually delivering cute moments about Magnus not needing makeup because he’s beautiful the way he is. Has there ever been a more adorable TV boyfriend than Alec Lightwood? We have a hard time thinking of one.

Things get even sweeter when there’s a knock on Magnus’ front door and we get to catch up with our two other favorite warlocks. Catarina is off to a nursing convention and since she can’t bring her adorable little foster daughter with her, Magnus agreed to watch her for a few days. Having Madzie on the show is always a delight, but seeing her stay at Alec and Magnus’ apartment and them being the best babysitters in the world might be the cutest thing we have ever come across.

Meanwhile, at the Institute, Jace is dealing with Clary’s loss in his own way – which sadly means in the worst way possible. He hides away in his room as memories of everything he did to Clary while he was The Owl haunt him. Overwhelmed by his grief, he lashes out and starts to destroy his room in a desperate attempt to deal with the trauma Lilith’s spell left behind. It isn’t until Isabelle shows up that he finally lets himself break down and shares how he feels with her.

This scene was incredibly hard to watch since we absolutely hated seeing Jace in so much pain. But we also loved it. It’s amazing to see how much the Lightwood siblings trust each other and have each other’s backs, no matter if – and especially when – times get rough.

 

(Freeform/John Medland)

You know how we get

Speaking of the Lightwood siblings, the oldest one spends most of this episode in a certain Brooklyn Heights loft. Which is not a bad thing at all (could it ever be?), especially considering he spends some of that time reading a bedtime story to their young house guest. Yes, we’re calling it their loft from now on: Alec Lightwood called the loft home and the Institute work this week, and that is all the confirmation we need.

Anyway. Alec reading Madzie bedtime stories while Magnus leans against the doorway and watches them was by far the sweetest moment of the entire episode.

Even better, it also turns into one of the funniest moments after Magnus switches off the lights, closes the door to the guest room – and denies Alec the kiss he wants to steal. Needless to say, Alec “I just want to live in peace and smooch my boyfriend” Lightwood is not exactly happy about that, furrowed brows and Unimpressed GlareTM included. Things don’t exactly improve for him when instead of getting the kiss he wants, Magnus proposes to watch a movie. And while we feel for Alec in this scene, Magnus’ distinct “Oh you know how we get” when he tells Alec off is just too funny and iconic to really be sad.

Unfortunately, Magnus and Alec never get to start that movie, as they are rudely interrupted by Iris Rouse portaling into Madzie’s bedroom. Iris escaped from the Gard in season 3A and now that she is free, she’s determined to get Madzie back – and ready to wreak more havoc than ever. As opposed to the last time Iris visited Magnus’ apartment and got her ass handed to her, Mangus isn’t able to help this time as he no longer has his powers. Thank the Angel for Shadowhunter boyfriends with a glamoured bow and arrow available at all times – and for smart little warlock girls who know that her nana did a bunch of bad things and under no circumstances would be better company than her uncles. Unable to get to Madzie, Iris flees through her portal as quickly as she appeared. But it’s not the last we see of her this episode – more on that later.

 

Don’t mess with Magnus Bane

Back at the Institute, we get to see a scene between two characters who usually don’t share much screen time together: Izzy and Maia. Maia comes to the Institute to ask Izzy for help concerning Simon, who seems quite lost still, yet obsessed with the idea of getting the Mark of Cain off his forehead. Maia brings up how much grief Simon is going through, which then leads Izzy to realize that Maia doesn’t even know the whole story.

Izzy ends up telling Maia about how Heidi forced Simon to feed on Becky in front of their mom. Maia’s “I didn’t know” followed by Izzy’s “How could you? You weren’t here.” will probably be one of the key moments we will be looking back on in a few months when remembering how Sizzy came to be. If Todd hadn’t already confirmed Sizzy was happening in 3B, this would have been the last clue.

However, Izzy doesn’t get to spend much time with Maia as she heads out on a mission with Alec and Magnus shortly after that scene. They are roaming through the streets of Brooklyn, trying to find Iris, when things go south real quick. For two reasons: First, Iris portals in and catches them off guard. Second, she grabs Magnus and pulls him with her through the portal. In case you were also yelling a bunch of profanities at your screen during that scene, rest assured that you were not the only one.

Iris ends up taking Magnus to her evil lair and locks him up in kind of a force field which he can’t escape from (did anyone else get some The Flash season 4/The Thinker vibes here?). What follows is another lesson in a field that Iris still doesn’t seem to have understood: Never mess with one Magnus Bane.

He may not have access to his magic at the moment, but that doesn’t mean that Magnus is completely powerless. In order to find out where Catarina is hiding Madzie, Iris tries to tap into his memories – but fails miserably. In an act of pure willpower, Magnus simply refuses to give away Madzie’s location and lets Iris see a lot of his memories – except the one she is looking for. While we do love some good old fashioned warlock fights with magic flying around and things breaking and bursting, this silent face-off between Magnus and Iris was just as cool to watch. Especially since we got to see some more of Magnus’ past, from his childhood in Indonesia to his relationship with George up to his memory of Alec giving him the omamori charm after their date in Tokyo. What a unique way to incorporate more of Magnus’ backstory into the episode (although we hate that Magnus had to suffer for us to see those flashbacks).

 

“I’m not interested in pity. Just understanding.”

Meanwhile, in Siberia, Clary is back at Jonathan’s cabin after collapsing in the snow and almost freezing to death. Luckily, Jonathan saved her and brought her back to the cabin – where Clary is now doing an excellent job of giving him the cold shoulder. That was actually quite fun to watch – it’s been a while since Clary’s stubborn side made an appearance on the show. However, as Jonathan is just as persistent as Clary is stubborn (must run in the family), he doesn’t give up and eventually gets her to talk to him anyway.

Jonathan may not have been on the show for long (at least not in his true form), but the dynamic between him and Clary is already fascinating to watch. He’s not the typical villain, at least not yet, and his care for his little sister is obvious. It seems like he genuinely wants her to like him, no matter how difficult that may be at this point. Jonathan seems oddly sensitive and caring for an antagonist, which makes him even more intriguing as a character. Luke Baines does an outstanding job at portraying him and we cannot wait to see the rest of his arc play out.

Back in New York, Simon and Maia are getting ready to visit an old acquaintance. Remember when Raphael disappeared after Izzy sent him away when she found out he had been torturing Heidi in the basement of the DuMort? This week we finally found out where he went. He’s in Detroit, helping out at a community center – and deeply regretting what he did. So much so that he doesn’t have a single snarky comment for Simon when he shows up to ask him for help about the Mark of Cain, and instead tells him everything he knows. He tells him about an old legend about the oldest vampire in the world living in the sewers of New York. Raphael says that if there’s anyone who could help Simon, it’s him.

It’s great to see Raphael again; after all, it has been a while since we last saw him on the show, and with the hiatus in between, it seems even longer. Seeing him be so terribly at odds with himself hurt, but at the same time it was amazing to see David Castro absolutely kill another one of Raphael’s more vulnerable moments.

 

(Freeform/John Medland)

New Consul, old problems

After the plot shifts back to the Institute, where Alec and Isabelle are overseeing Iris Rouse’s transfer back to the Gard (so much for her escape plan), we get to catch up with another old acquaintance: The new Consul Jia Penhallow drops by the Institute to get Iris back to Alicante. However, as opposed to last time when she wanted Alec to become a delegate on her council, she doesn’t seem too fond of him anymore. Actually, it seems to be quite the opposite – she tells him straight away that she wants to punish him for his insubordination throughout season 3A, but she can’t as it would be a “political minefield” for herself. That scene was a rare glance at the more political side of the show and especially of Alec’s role as Head of the Institute, and we were so here for it. Not that we don’t love all the other amazing scenes of the episode or the tons of cool stuff this show has going on anyways. But scenes like this provide an interesting insight into the political issues of the show. The scheming and the shady motives is fascinating, especially since we don’t get to see it that often. So even though it would probably mean trouble for Alec, we hope to see more of Jia this season.

After two very sweet Malec and Saia scenes, the episode already reaches its last sequence – we’re back in Siberia, where Jonathan just comes back from collecting more firewood and Clary is waiting for him, staring out the window. He’s still trying his best to win Clary over, and even proposes a trip to Paris to her. Unfortunately, he never gets to hear her answer since Clary stabs him in the throat instead. And while that approach may have worked for getting rid of Valentine, when it comes to Jonathan, it terribly backfires. Remember the rune Lilith drew on Clary in the 3A finale? It appears the rune works similarly to Simon’s Mark of Cain, just in an even more wicked, evil way – as soon as the knife slices through Jonathan’s skin, Clary starts bleeding as well, showing the same wounds as her brother. They both almost choke to death on their own blood until Jonathan draws a very last minute Iratze rune on himself, which because of their shared rune works on Clary as well.

The Morgenstern siblings’ reactions to that new development couldn’t be more different: While Clary is shocked about her newfound connection to Jonathan, her brother is delighted about the fact that they’re “one now.” To us, the new rune is quite scary, but also a super fascinating plot twist – we can’t wait to see what is next for both Clary and Jonathan. Judging from what we’ve seen so far and knowing the writers of this show and their love for keeping us on the edge of our seats, it feels like we’re in for one hell of a ride.