This week’s episode saw the Queen of Hell returning, lots of emotional moments, and a very special surprise at the end. Here’s our recap of Shadowhunters episode 3×16, “Stay With Me”.

                                                   

After the events of last week’s episode, we suppose it’s safe to say that the Malec fandom was quite worried heading into episode 3×16. The memory of Magnus collapsing in Alec’s office and the screen going black afterwards was still too fresh to start the episode a little more relaxed… or relaxed at all.

Well, we got a break in the beginning, at least a short one. The episode starts with a sweet scene of Malec having breakfast together in Magnus’ old apartment, soft sunlight streaming through the windows and bathing the room in gold (we see what you did there, Amanda Row). The location and Magnus’ healthy state give away that it’s not a real moment, but rather something Magnus experiences in his subconscious. But that doesn’t really matter since the scene is lovely to watch, and after last week some good old Malec fluff was just what we needed.

Although it felt a little more like AU!Malec fluff, at least as far as Alec was concerned. Alec is a lot flirtier and more outgoing than usual, bantering his way through breakfast and elegantly dodging Magnus’ attempts at teasing him about a date in Havana that included a dancing session gone wrong. It almost felt like AU!Alec from episode 1×10 made an appearance this week. Especially when, in order to make up for their disastrous salsa session in Cuba, Alec asks Magnus for another dance right there in their apartment. This leads to – you guessed it – the Malec dancing scene that the fandom has been yearning for ever since Todd Slavkin first teased it on Twitter.  

And what can we say, the scene was everything we hoped for, and more. We all knew that Harry Shum Jr. is an amazing dancer, but it’s actually Matthew Daddario who steals the spotlight a little in the scene. He does a great job, especially considering that he doesn’t have a background in dance or choreography. Alec and Magnus’ dance is upbeat and fun, based on an intricate choreography involving many twists and turns and both of them dipping the other. It’s a real pleasure to watch. But of course, we don’t get to enjoy the scene all too long – Magnus’ physical condition catches up with him even in his subconscious. We see him getting weaker. Amid his hallucination, Alec is supporting him and asking him to stay with him, and then their twirls become faster and faster until we spiral back into reality and find ourselves in Alec’s office at the Institute, where Magnus is still very much dying and Alec is desperately trying to save him. Thanks to Catarina and her healing magic arriving just in time, Magnus makes it, but barely so.

Phew. That was close. But if you’re thinking that was already terribly angsty, buckle up – things were going to get a whole lot worse.

After the dramatic moments in Alec’s office, the episode moves on to Clary and Jace and the City of Bones. Clary consulted the Silent Brothers to find out if they know of a way to get rid of her demonic rune that connects her life force to Jonathan’s. Unfortunately, they don’t, and Clary and Jace have to keep searching for a way to sever the bond between the two siblings. And that is where Clary gets an idea.

Now, we all know Clary Fray (usually) has good intentions, but isn’t exactly prone to coming up with correspondingly good plans. Episode 3×16 is no exception from that. Slowly getting desperate at the prospect of being tied to Jonathan forever, Clary comes up with the idea to summon Lilith and ask her to remove the rune. Jace is – of course –  against the idea, and thank the Angel he is, because we don’t think we’ve ever heard an idea that was more dangerous and hideous at the same time. Maybe it’s just us, but we somehow have the impression that making deals with Greater Demons doesn’t tend to go well on this show.

 

Malec is coming straight for our hearts

Back at the Institute, the “emotional rollercoaster” part of the episode was about to start. It begins with the moment from the Malec teaser that had us all sobbing earlier this week. Magnus is in the Institute’s infirmary, still unconscious, but at least breathing again and Alec is by his bedside. While Alec already seemed alarmed back when Magnus collapsed in his office, this moment is where things really catch up with him. Eyes brimming with tears ready to drop and voice heavy with emotion, he apologizes to Magnus for not realizing how hard living without his magic was for him.

Watching Alec sitting by Magnus’ bedside, devastated and scared beyond imagination, was heartbreaking on an entirely new level. Matthew’s acting was on point; we loved how he incorporated so much emotion into that moment without actually saying much – using his voice and his hands. And don’t even get us started on the way his voice breaks the tiniest bit when Alec takes Magnus’ hand and tells him he loves him more than anything in the world. But what also really got to us was the fact that Alec blames himself for what happened. We knew this moment was coming, we already shed plenty of tears over it when we saw it in the sneak peak, but that didn’t help at all while watching the real thing – we’re really going to have to stock up on tissues before next week’s episode.

Thankfully, the writers had a little mercy on our Malec-shipping hearts with Catarina interrupting the moment. She contacted people from the Spiral Labyrinth and they confirmed what she had been suspecting already – Magnus’ body is rejecting Lorenzo’s magic. The more he uses it, the more he harms himself. If he uses it again, he may die, and the only way to stop that from happening is taking the magic from him. And as if things weren’t difficult enough already, there’s only one person who can make that happen: The Warlock who gave Magnus the magic transfusion in the first place – Lorenzo Rey.

While Alec tries to figure out what to do, we get to catch up with Clary and witness her second bad idea of the episode (we’re starting to see a pattern here). After Catarina refuses to summon Lilith for them (because she’s being, you know… reasonable) Clary wants to try summoning her on her own by using her angelic powers. Someone, please tell Clary that it’s generally not a good idea to do something when a centuries-old, powerful Warlock told you not to.

Next up is another Alec-centric scene. We’ve seen Alec Lightwood in many moods so far – he’s been grumpy, he’s been salty, he’s been significantly happier since he met Magnus, sad and angry here and there. This week we see him truly and utterly desperate.

When Lorenzo at first refuses to help Magnus, just because he has been jealous of him all his life and couldn’t be happier to see him suffer, Alec first gets angry, but then breaks down. In one of the most emotional Alec moments we have ever seen, he begs Lorenzo to help Magnus. You can see how scared Alec is to lose Magnus, how much it would destroy him if he did. That moment when Alec reminds Lorenzo with a choked voice that Magnus is no threat to him and begs him to help him had us sobbing once again. We’re so glad Lorenzo eventually showed some compassion and agreed to help Magnus – both for Alec and for ourselves, because we’re pretty sure Matt’s acting would have ended us if Alec had to go on without Lorenzo’s help.

 

 

A new royal highness

After the emotionally heavy scenes at Lorenzo’s apartment, we get to take a breather once again as the plot shifts to the Seelie Court. Jonathan has been on the hunt for the Morgenstern Sword ever since him and Clary were in Paris, but he hasn’t had any success so far. His last hope is the Seelie Queen, who he hopes will have some information about the sword’s location.

So Jonathan requests an audience, which leads to us seeing both Jade Hassouné as our favorite Seelie Meliorn as well as Lola Flanery as the Queen herself again. However, Lola is not the only Seelie Queen we get to see this episode. As we all know Her Highness likes to change appearances whenever she pleases – we’ve seen her as a teenager, played by Lola Flanery and as an adult, portrayed by Sarah Hyland. For 3B she changes to her adult appearance once again, but she does change things up a little in terms of her looks, which serves as an introduction for Kimberly Sue Murray as the new adult Seelie Queen. Kimberly does a great job at portraying Queen Amara; she nails her devious, typical Seelie side as well as the rivalry and anger that shines through the Queen’s elegant façade whenever someone mentions Lilith. It’s so fascinating to see how that character has been played by three different actresses, who all put their own spin to it, and yet all their performances fit together and never feel out of character. We’re excited to see what the remaining episodes hold for Kimberly’s Seelie Queen. Knowing that character, probably nothing good.  

She confirms our suspicions as soon as Jonathan arrives at the Seelie Court. Still furious at his mother Lilith for slaughtering half of the court, Amara isn’t all too fond of Jonathan and first thinks about killing him as payback for Lilith. But being the sneaky, scheming villain that Jonathan is, he proposes her a better deal: Instead of him being the one to die, he suggests that he will visit Lilith in Edom and kill her himself. Someone clearly isn’t as loyal to Lilith as he pretends to be.

 

Maryse is starting over

Last week we were all blindsided by Luke being arrested for the murder of the pack at the Jade Wolf. As of this week, he is in prison, and as a former cop he’s not all that welcome there. Maryse visits him and she comes with good news – she found a job, or more accurately created her own. Remember the bookstore her and Luke investigated a few episodes back? Maryse bought it and is now getting the place renovated and ready to be reopened.  

It’s been a while since Maryse left the Clave and her basically turning her life around is old news at this point, but every time we see her, it amazes us how much Maryse has changed. Her getting deruned and being forced to start over is the best thing that could have happened to her. It feels like Maryse is an entirely new person, she seems a lot happier and more like herself. Her new job as an entrepreneur proves that this badass lady can achieve anything she sets her mind to and we couldn’t be more proud of and more inspired by her.

From one Lightwood the episode then moves on to the next, when we catch up with Isabelle and Simon, who are back in the sewers in order to track down Cain. They need to find him since Clary’s (not all that grand) plan of summoning Lilith includes him and his mark as a means to keep Lilith in line. On the way to Cain’s lair, we get some more Sizzy foreshadowing when the two of them have a conversation about how they’re probably never going to find love and are not even sure if they want it in their life *wink wink nudge nudge*

Back at the Institute, Magnus finally wakes up and we get to see a sweet moment of reconnection between him and Alec. However, things don’t stay sweet all that long as Alec, still worried to no end, tells Magnus what happened: that Lorenzo’s magic is slowly killing him and that it would be best if he let Lorenzo take it away. Magnus unsurprisingly disagrees with Alec and is convinced he can make do by just being more careful. He doesn’t want to see that the magic is killing him, which leads to one of the strongest Malec scenes of the episode. Not because it is overly positive or happy, but because it’s incredibly important and a potential turning point in how their story will progress.

While Magnus has been honest with Alec about how the loss of his magic made him feel, it always felt like he was holding something back. This week, he does no such thing. Magnus is probably at the lowest and most vulnerable point he has ever been. That’s not only visible through the lack of makeup and fancy clothes (we love the writers’ and the crew’s love for details), but also in the way he holds himself. It feels like all of Magnus’ confidence is gone, he’s merely a shadow of himself and the perspective of losing his magic again is wearing down on him harder than any day of living without it has. If you weren’t already worried about him, this would be the moment to start worrying. Especially after Alec asks him whether his magic is really worth dying for and Magnus replies with “Maybe.” He actually ends up breaking down a little, and finally tells Alec how he really feels about his magic – how he feels like nothing without it, and that he even doubts Alec loves him the same now that he’s not a Warlock anymore. Of course, that last assumption is just ridiculous, but it shows how deeply insecure the past few episodes have left Magnus.

Of course, Alec tells Magnus right away that his love for Magnus has nothing to do with his magic (or lack thereof). That actually evolves into quite an emotional monologue where Alec tells Magnus exactly why he loves him – not for his magic or what he can do with it, but because of who he is as a person. We loved this little speech for two reasons: On the one hand, Magnus needed to hear that (even if it might not have changed much) and on the other hand because Alec has never talked this openly about his feelings before. We love character development. And we adore Harry’s and Matthew’s acting in that entire scene.

 

The Queen of Edom is Queen no more

After that tense moment at the Institute, the episode takes a trip south – quite literally. After making his deal with the Seelie Queen, Jonathan goes to Edom. The place hasn’t changed at all since season 3A – still just as gloomy and dark as the last time. What did change, however, is its ruler. Turns out that Asmodeus used the extra bit of magic he got from taking Magnus’ powers to overthrow Lilith and take over the throne of Edom. Lilith herself (who we adored seeing back on the show again) has been banished to a room which she apparently cannot get out of. And oh dear, is she pissed. Not even her excitement about Jonathan returning can cover up how absolutely furious she is. That comes in handy for Jonathan, as he plans to kill Lilith anyway so he can save his own life. Unfortunately for him, he is just about to stab her when Lilith suddenly disappears through a portal – and finds herself back with Clary, Isabelle, Jace, Simon, and Cain in New York.

With the help of Clary’s Angelic powers and the Malachi Configuration that Isabelle made some… adjustments to, Clary and her friends managed to summon and trap Lilith. Izzy altered the Configuration in a way that will not only contain Lilith, but also hurt her if they want it to. And well, what can we say, Lilith was already in a pretty bad mood when she was summoned to Earth – and getting tortured by the Malachi Configuration’s energy doesn’t exactly put her in better spirits. But it gets her talking.

Now that Jonathan tried to kill her, Lilith couldn’t care less about him or his plans and intentions. She tells Clary that there used to be a sword called Glorious that was able to divide demonic connections like the one Clary and Jonathan share. The catch: In order to divide the bond, one person has to kill the other. Also, the last time someone used Glorious, the sword was destroyed and “lost to time,” as Lilith so elegantly puts it.

In a nutshell: Clary is pretty screwed. She just realizes that, when suddenly Jonathan shows up out of nowhere and attacks them. That scene is the start of the long overdue showdown between him and Jace, and we loved every second of it. The scene is not only perfectly choreographed (at this point and after so many cool fighting scenes, we wouldn’t expect anything less) but it also shows how strong Jonathan is because of his demonic blood. Jace and Izzy are two of the best fighters the New York Institute has and yet they don’t stand a chance against him. Of course, they need to keep Clary in mind and can’t hurt Jonathan – but we have our doubts that they would have gotten a chance to in this moment. Jonathan manages to stab Jace and knock Izzy out, and it’s only thanks to Simon that he doesn’t outright kill her. In a last minute move, Simon attacks Jonathan and bites him, which weakens Jonathan long enough for him to let go of Izzy.

While the fighting scene was intense and had us at the edge of our seats, what followed after was even more interesting. Being the cunning, cold villain that she is, Lilith uses the moment when everyone else is busy fighting Jonathan to approach Cain. Remember when we first met Cain? He told Simon the story of how Lilith made him kill his own brother Abel. Well, Lilith remembers that story too, and of course, uses it to her advantage. She plays right into the guilt Cain still feels for killing his brother all those centuries ago and promises to bring Abel back to life if Cain releases her and joins her in Edom. Despite Simon trying his best to talk Cain out of it, he listens to Lilith, releases her and disappears with her. The Queen of Edom and the first ever Daylighter working together? We have a feeling this will be an interesting combination, especially given that Lilith has a realm to reclaim.

 

The most surprising ending

After their fight, Clary makes a good decision for a change and portals Jonathan to the Institute, where he finds himself in the magic-proof holding cell until they figure out what to do with him.

After that, the episode revisits Luke, who has been keeping a low profile all episode, but now moves back into the spotlight. Long after visiting hours at the prison are over, Luke gets a visitor – but this time it’s not Maryse or anyone else Luke knows, but a complete stranger. Turns out that stranger works for the Praetor Lupus and apparently knows enough people in the NYPD to clear Luke of the murder charge. The price of that? According to Scott, as the stranger is called, Luke “answers to the Praetor now.” Which left us more than a little worried. Don’t get us wrong, we’re glad that Luke apparently doesn’t get locked away for the rest of his life, after all, but honestly, what do we know about the Praetor Lupus? We don’t know who they are, what their objectives are, if they’re good or evil. We don’t actually find out whether or not Luke goes with Scott, but this looks like a pretty interesting storyline for the final few episodes.

The endings of Shadowhunters’ episodes have always had one thing in common: Most of them have ended on a cliffhanger, mostly ones that left us somewhere between intrigued, furious or excited. It’s rare that the ending of an episode leaves us squealing and grinning at our laptops like total idiots. But 3×16 managed to do that by bringing us a totally unexpected final scene. After Jonathan has been locked up at the Institute, Alec shows up at Maryse’s new bookstore, claiming he wants to have a look at the place. But actually, he came with a different mission: He needs Maryse to give him the family ring so he can use it to propose to Magnus. Rest in peace, Malec fandom.

This episode has been a rollercoaster of emotions for the Malec fandom, and it’s safe to say that Alec’s proposal plans were the biggest surprise of them all. Okay, we all knew that Malec was endgame, plus there’s most likely a wedding coming up in the finale and it doesn’t take a genius to guess that it’s going to be Magnus and Alec’s. We just didn’t expect that the wedding is apparently not just fanservice, but something that was planned from the beginning, which makes the whole thing even better. Maryse’s reaction turns that scene into a very sweet moment between mother and son and left us reaching for our tissues once again. Who would have thought that Maryse “What’s that Warlock doing here?” Lightwood would just two seasons later be delighted about the idea of her son marrying said Warlock? Getting out of the Clave really is the best thing that could have happened to her.

The episode ends with a sweet shot of Maryse hugging Alec. However, after the worst of the fangirling was over, we couldn’t help but be a little worried. Alec proposing to Magnus isn’t the problem; these two are soulmates and were bound to get married at some point. Rather, it’s the timing that’s the problem. After losing his magic once again, Magnus seems to be heading down a dark path and we’re curious how Alec’s proposal is going to influence that, whether it will get him out of that dark place or just make things worse. Either way, that ending left us with plenty of questions to agonize about until next week after what was certainly one of the best episodes of 3B so far. Not only because of the Malec moments (come on, we’re weak, but not that weak), but also of all the other things that happened – Lilith’s return, Cain’s betrayal, Jonathan ending up at the Institute, Luke’s possible escape from prison. We’re excited to see how all of that will turn out next week.