Shadowhunters episode 14, “The Fair Folk“, aired last Monday night on Freeform, with a new sheriff in town! Our favorite Shadowhunter Alec Lightwood, made his somewhat controversial debut as the new Head of the New York Institute. Bringing a whole slew of new leadership ideas to unite Shadowhunters and Downworlders in the aftermath of what was nearly a war. Boy he really shook things up! We loved seeing this stronger, tougher, more dominant Alec in action and we couldn’t have been more proud. Written by Taylor Mallory and directed by Chris Grismer, we are now nearly to the halfway point of season 2B, and the plot is definitely thickening.
Standing at the top of the steps in front of all the other Shadowhunters Alec made the announcement that he would be hosting regular cabinet meetings with the leaders of each Downworld faction right there in the Institute. There were some skeptics in the crowd but Alec didn’t back down one inch from his plans to bring peace and unity to the Shadow World. Matthew Daddario did a great job showing the audience this more confident version of Alec. From his refreshing candor to his self-assured posture, we could really feel Alec’s bold convictions shining through. There was even a change in his voice. We heard a more poised and assertive inflection to his speech, and a bit of a wardrobe upgrade with a nice jacket, leaving little doubt who was calling the shots now.
As Alec informed Jace and Clary they would be going to the Seelie Court to parlay with the Queen about the murders that took place; it was very evident his family and friends were in full support of his role as Head of the Institute. Alec had no qualms giving his parabatai orders, and Jace showed tremendous respect for Alec’s authority, which was really nice to see. We wondered if they would be receptive to him since often times in earlier episodes they disagreed with Alec about various protocols and rules. But apparently now they are all going to work well together as a team, which is great.
Next we saw Alec head to the Jade Wolf where he emphatically insisted that Luke, played by Isaiah Mustafa, join the Downworld cabinet. Alec told him he felt it was very important to have Luke’s support since he was such a strong pack leader as well as a former Shadowhunter. Alec even went as far as to say he would help push forward Valentine’s execution as a sign of good faith. Which really wasn’t a shock after what happened to Magnus in episode 12, although still a bit radical in nature. Again it was nice to see a confident and composed Alec really putting his ideas into practice, which only further demonstrated his commitment to make a real change.
Back at the Institute Alec called Magnus to clarify that he definitely wanted him there at the meeting as the Warlock representative, but not as his boyfriend. Which of course makes sense, Alec needs to keep his personal life out of Institute affairs so nobody accuses him of unfairness or bias. Magnus seemed a bit hurt by the comment at first, asking Alec if maybe he shouldn’t come, but then by the end of the call the two men appeared to be on the same page. This was our first look at Magnus in this episode and anyone who’s been paying attention could definitely see he really is not himself right now. Even on this brief phone call we could feel the uneasiness in his voice and the pain behind his eyes. We know the inevitable is coming soon, and Magnus is going to have to let Alec know everything that he went through during the torture he endured while being held prisoner at the Institute. It’s hard to enjoy these Malec moments knowing the ticking time bomb of Magnus’ past is nearly ready to explode at any moment. Harry Shum Jr., as always, takes us on a heart wrenching emotional journey even in the tiniest scene. We are on pins and needles anticipating the events of episode 15, which will no doubt leave the entire fandom in tears.
Next we saw Maryse, Alec’s mother, come into his office bursting with pride that her little boy is now all grown up and the true leader she always knew he could be. We struggle with our feelings about Maryse and her sincerity after so many painful moments over the last season and a half. Her treatment of Magnus still weighs heavily on our minds, but we could appreciate this mother and son conversation none the less. Alec asked her about the situation with his father and his affair. Maryse let Alec know she was not planning to leave Robert at this time for fear of “tarnishing the Lightwood name”. This is a perfect example of how Maryse is still struggling with these old fashioned Clave ideals and allowing her sense of “honor and duty” to dictate her life choices. Alec openly disagreed with her decision and yet again we saw this strong, unflappable version of Alec leading not only the Institute but his family as well. Nicola Correia-Damude does a great job showcasing the inner struggles Maryse is dealing with and we really like the way she oscillates back and forth between the old ways and the new ideals. We like the moments where she can really be a nurturing and accepting mother to her children and we hope she continues to grow and learn by seeing the world through their eyes.
Magnus and Alec very formally greeted each other at the entrance of the Institute for the cabinet meeting, which was by far our favorite moment of the entire episode. “Mr. Bane” and “Mr. Lightwood” sent fans into a frenzy on social media with their absolutely adorable exchange. From the playful look in each other’s eyes to the sexy little grins on their faces, there wasn’t a doubt in anyone’s mind this attempt at a “professional relationship” couldn’t completely dampen the sparks of love flying between them. It was really exciting to see on screen. During the live chat on Twitter we found out the little chest bump Magnus gave himself as he walked away was improvised by Harry Shum Jr., which we absolutely loved! We always support Matt and Harry having the chance to bring their own interpretations and ideas into their characters. After living with them for the past two years they know how to bring these nuances and subtleties better than anyone.
As the Downworld cabinet meeting progressed it was obvious to see the tension between the different factions was not going to be so easily dealt with. Luke was adamant about Valentine’s execution, especially after being told about his body swap with Magnus. This scene was really fascinating to watch because it’s very important for the audience to understand the long history of injustice and oppression brought on by the Clave, as well as Alec’s dedication to change things for the better. As the season continues we hope to see more of Alec’s progressive thinking come into play, as well as Magnus’ support and willingness to stand by Alec’s side to make the Shadow World better for everyone. Those who have read the books know even more how important their political stance will be in the future, and it really adds a nice layer of depth to the overall story arc for this season. Surely we’ll continue with this theme in season 3 as well.
Oh boy Sebastian! When we see him standing with Alec and talking to him it sends chills up our spines. He was obviously trying to ingratiate himself with the Head of the Institute and we were literally screaming at our TVs trying to warn Alec not to fall for his tricks. It was good to see that even when Sebastian suggested that Alec do something he didn’t just snap to obey, he took the time to listen then make his own decisions. We were glad to see him give Luke a “get out of jail free card” and it was even better because of the disappointment on Sebastian’s face. Hopefully this means Alec isn’t completely fooled by the cunning and devious mastermind he is showing himself to be… well at least not yet. Fans who aren’t aware of Sebastian’s story got to see a real glimpse of just how twisted he is. We are all very afraid of what is coming in the remainder of this season and we hope the Lightwood family can make it through unscathed. Will Tudor is just a thrill to watch on screen. His embodiment of this character is simply perfect in every way. What an incredible asset he is to the cast and the show as a whole. We cannot wait to see his full reign of terror commence!
We hope you enjoyed this episode of Shadowhunters as much as we did. With a break this week due to the Fourth of July holiday our team can barely contain our excitement for July 10th. Episode 15 looks really epic already and appears to be chock full of some heartbreaking moments between Magnus and Alec. No doubt our next review will be written through tears, so maybe we need this time to build up our strength!
Be sure to stay tuned to ShumDario News on Twitter to stay up to date on all of Matthew Daddario and Harry Shum Jr.’s projects and appearances. Shadowhunters Season 2B airs Mondays 8/7c on Freeform!