Shadowhunters episode 8, “Love Is a Devil”, premiered last Monday night on Freeform with an unusual plot twist. Hints had been dropped by some of the cast via social media that it would be similar to season 1’s episode 10, “This World Inverted”. So fans were a bit prepared something crazy was going down, though I’m not sure they could have anticipated just how shockingly different this episode was going to be for some of our most beloved characters.
Fast forwarding past whatever happened, or didn’t happen, behind Magnus’ closed bedroom door last episode, (the world may never know!) we see Alec and Isabelle back to work inside the Institute. There seems to be some debate if Jace and Clary actually did encounter an angel as they go over some surveillance footage. Isabelle breaks the ice and comes right out to question Alec about what happened between him and Magnus… and did he take her advice? The audience of course feeling just as curious to know as well. But we are shot down with Alec saying, “There’s nothing to talk about,” leaving everyone in the dark about what happened yet again. (Insert fandom grumbling.) Then Max Lightwood, Alec and Isabelle’s little brother comes running in to tell them he passed his last trial and he’s ready for his rune ceremony. Maryse is also with him, she tells Alec that his father isn’t going to be attending the ceremony (say what?) and as the eldest male he is in charge of planning the party for Max. (Wonder if Alec knows a party planner? Hint hint.) Then Max and Alec have a scene alone together where Max opens up about the turbulence going on back home between dear old Mom and Dad. Alec seems surprised to hear they are fighting and when he asks Max what is going on Max tells him, “Mom and Dad don’t like you having a Warlock boyfriend.” (Well OK, apparently Max already knows more than we think.) So Alec responds back, “And you?” to which Max replies, “Whatever. I don’t care.” This is pretty anticlimactic for those of us who’ve read the books and hoped for a touching scene where Alec would come out to his little brother as being gay since he never got a chance to do it before you-know-what. It would have been an opportunity to show this important moment to the audience, probably making us all cry, but apparently that wasn’t in the cards. Max’s demeanor and tone are coming across a bit like Maryse’s “mini-me”. Which demonstrates how hate and prejudice can be passed down through generations, more on that in a bit.
Now we go to Magnus’ loft where Alec comes through the door declaring his Mother is back from Idris. Magnus turns his back and walks away from Alec saying it’s time to make himself scarce. Of course we know there’s no love lost between Maryse and Magnus but we were watching this scene closely to see if we could pick up on any changes in body language that might give us an idea if Magnus and Alec’s relationship is in a good positive place. So many unanswered questions about their status right now after their “fade to black” ending last week. But we are still feeling unsure if any conclusions can be drawn from this interaction.
Moving on, Alec asks Magnus what he thinks about throwing a party for Max’s rune ceremony. Magnus’ initial reaction is a resounding “I think I’ll pass,” and he goes on to remind Alec “Maryse, that woman hates me”. Alec tells him this is the perfect opportunity to let his mom know, “this, us, is not going away” to which Magnus seems more receptive to the idea. When Alec reinforces how serious he is about making this statement to his family Magnus, being the gracious and caring person that he is, of course agrees to host. He immediately whisks off to being the planning.
Next we see Alec walk into the head of the Institute’s office to tell his mother the news about he and Magnus hosting Max’s rune ceremony party together at the loft. Let’s just say she’s none too pleased and firmly insists the party is for Shadowhunters only. We loved watching Alec stand his ground and defend Magnus and their relationship together, not backing down for a minute. When she finally concedes and thanks Alec for planning the party he tells her to “thank Magnus”. (We aren’t going to hold our breath for that!)
Back at the loft, Jace is outside on the balcony looking through some of Magnus’ books. He’s surrounded by several cats which is odd considering we’ve never seen cats at Magnus’ loft before this episode, except for in the alternate universe. Magnus comes outside and points out one of the cats is new (major red flag goes up!) and Jace decides it’s time to take a jab at he and Alec’s “fling” saying it’s so hot all it can do is “burn out”. That’s pretty funny coming from Jace after his poor relationship choices the previous week (insert eye roll) but he insists he’s only worried because Alec is “sensitive” and he doesn’t want anyone to “hurt him”. Magnus is quick to let Jace know that isn’t the case and the two seem to finally find some common ground.
Once we finally get to the party the loft is looking fantastic! We loved the bright colors, lively music, and the cool Spanish theme. Magnus is fretting over the food and Alec reassures him everything is perfect. Already so domestic after two dates, they are adorable! When Max and Maryse arrive things are a little tense and awkward between them but Magnus really goes out of his way to be nice to her for Max’s sake.
After Clary thinks she sees Simon and Maia kissing Magnus stops her at the door and offers to help her figure out what’s going on. This is the first hint Magnus has that something might be going on that’s out of the ordinary. Next we see Magnus out on the balcony with Alec, Maryse and Max where he’s doing a bit of a magic trick in hopes of making friends with Max. It’s a really cute gesture and it’s so obvious that Magnus is really trying to bond with him and make him happy. It’s absolutely heartbreaking to see Max so skeptical of Magnus, he takes the gift with a halfhearted “thank you,” and then asks Magnus where is warlock mark is. (What is happening?!!??) Magnus smiles and tells Max he only shares it with his closest friends, then bends down to reveal his cat-eyes. Max responds with a gasp then asks, “How much of you is a demon?” Thankfully Jace arrives to save this horrific moment telling Max, “that’s not how we talk to our friends, apologize to Magnus”… thankfully someone is going to set this kid straight! But oh no, not so fast, because when Alec tells Max to listen to Jace he responds that Jace isn’t his brother because his mom said so. (This is going from bad to worse!) Magnus is the smart one because he immediately walks away, then Alec lays into his mom letting her know he learned his bad behavior from her. Then goes on to say, “If you ever want to make things right with me you better makes things right with Jace”. At this point we are still trying to hold in our sobs because Magnus was supposed to reveal his cat-eyes to Alec in a special, private moment. A moment when he felt he could really trust Alec to show him his true self. Now he’s just whipping out his warlock mark in front of Maryse? This didn’t make sense, and sadly didn’t do justice to what could have been a very personal and tender Malec moment.
Clary is on a rampage, thinking that Simon is openly flirting with Maia, and luckily Magnus catches her just before she confronts him. This is when we finally see that Clary is having hallucinations because Simon is actually talking to Raj. Magnus gets another clue that something is awry and can finally start putting the puzzle pieces together. He follows Jace and Izzy into the bedroom and Clary makes a run for the door. This is when she runs into Alec and things get really ugly. She appears to viciously attack him with accusations of murdering her mother, Alec walks away visually distraught by her words. In the other room Magnus is piecing more clues together when he sees Jace is also hallucinating. He tells Isabelle and Maryse that someone is playing with their minds and feeding on their insecurities. That’s when we hear Clary’s voice screaming Alec’s name, and everyone runs.
Alec is outside on the ledge hallucinating a string of horrible thoughts. His guilt over Jocelyn’s death “eating him alive” wishing “he was dead instead of her” and a whole slew of terrorizing ideas. Honestly it’s really just too much to even watch at this point. Alec turns and let’s himself fall from the roof (we are still having nightmares about this moment, who thought they could throw Alec Lightwood off a roof?) and thank God Magnus arrives just in the nick of time to save his life. He uses his magic to rescue his fall, setting him gently back down on the ground. Sedated, but alive. Shocking doesn’t seem to do justice to this scene. How could a spell drive Alec to this low of a point? We are concerned for him and these feelings buried in his subconscious.
Magnus seems to have finally put the mystery together and runs to get his spell book. Everyone is still out on the balcony yelling and attacking each other as Magnus hurries to find the counter spell to stop whatever is happening to them. Once he finally breaks the spell his book is stolen right out of his hands. Magnus immediately throws up his wards declaring that nobody is leaving the party until he gets his book back!
Magnus searches every guest before they leave but still can’t find his book. It finally occurs to him it must be another warlock in disguise as the new cat (we saw that coming!) and the whole gang searches the loft to find it. Once it’s finally discovered hiding in Magnus’ bed an epic warlock battle commences and finally we get to see the High Warlock of Brooklyn in all his glory! Magnus is magnificent as he throws magical fire balls at the warlock Iris, chasing her through the loft battling blow by blow, casting spells with moves like nobody else ever could! He is awesome! Finally locking Iris in a beam of magic she confesses it was Valentine who wanted his book and she only helped him because he has Madzie, the warlock child she cares for. Magnus banishes her to the Clave but not before she invokes the Blood Oath demanding Clary find Madzie and save her.
The gang is all a bit confused about the events so Jace and Clary fill everyone in on their message from the angel Ithuriel and Valentine’s plan to use pure angel blood to activate the Soul Sword. Magnus tells the story of the angel Raziel and his ability to communicate with the original Shadowhunters because they were created from his blood. Meaning that Clary must have a blood connection with the angel Ithuriel since she could communicate with him. Which also means she has pure angel blood. So Clary can activate the Soul Sword, which can eliminate all Downworlders from the Earth. Did you catch all that?
Finally we have Max’s rune ceremony and Alec stands proudly by his little brother’s side in place of Robert who isn’t there. After the ceremony Clary takes time to tell Alec she doesn’t blame him at all for her mother’s death. Alec smiles but seems to still have a bit of sadness in his eyes. He is having a really hard time letting go of the guilt he feels for the demon possessing him. Maryse is also there in the hall apologizing to Jace, which is a touching moment. Alec joins them and she reveals that the real reason Robert isn’t there is because he’s having an affair. Finally we see a human side of Maryse as she breaks down in Alec’s arms. Alec holds her and tells her she and Max can come and stay with them, that they don’t have to go back to Robert. But she says she has to get back to the Clave, telling her sons “I can’t let my problems interfere with my duty”. Once again we see an example of just how much is expected of Shadowhunters and how their personal feelings always take a backseat to their job protecting the world.
With only two more episodes remaining of the first half of season 2 we soon face another hiatus as we wait for the remaining ten installments. Things look to be going from bad to worse for everyone next week as Valentine attempts to put his plan in place. Be sure to follow ShumDario News for all the latest info about Matthew Daddario and Harry Shum Jr.