One week left until the midseason finale and the writers proved once again they know exactly how to get us all excited for the final episodes of 3A. Here’s what you missed on Shadowhunters this week.

One of last week’s side plot lines was Luke and Simon breaking into Lilith’s place in order to find Ollie – this is where this week’s episode picks up. Looks like since Jace got caught, Ollie became Lilith’s new favorite disciple, since she seems to spend a lot of time with her new “mother”, as she now calls her. Luke and Simon actually get pretty close to the two of them, unfortunately something tips Lilith off and she manages to portal her entire apartment, including the tomb with Jonathan’s body to a different place. Anyone else getting some serious 1×04 vibes here? Back then Magnus portaled his own apartment to where he lives now – although his reasons for doing it were a lot less evil.

Magnus’ apartment is actually the location for one of the next scenes after that first one at the Church of Talto. Last week Alec and Izzy caught Jace in Alicante and with the help of Clary’s portal rune brought him back to New York, more precisely to Magnus’ living room, where Jace is now trapped – and not amused about it. Lilith obviously still has a pretty firm grasp on his soul, so it’s not really Jace who’s pacing within his restrictions and keeps insulting Alec, Izzy and Magnus. That kinda hurt while watching, but was also really fascinating to see. So far all we got to see from Jace’s possession was him being The Owl, but this week we got to see more layers to that entire situation. There were so many sides of Jace we got to see this week, Dominic Sherwood really did a terrific job in 3×08.

While Alec, Izzy and Magnus try their best to ignore Jace’s insults and figure out how to help him, Clary is getting into more and more trouble. In order to help the Lightwoods escape Alicante in 3×07, she stayed behind and subsequently got caught for stealing the Malachi construction. Now she’s in prison and has to testify in front of the Soul Sword. And while Clary tries her best not to give away Jace’s secret and expose what happened at Lake Lyn, she just can’t. The Soul Sword may have lost the ability to summon the Angel Raziel, but it still does a pretty good job at preventing people from lying. And since Jia Penhallow does not have any mercy on Clary, things seem to go downhill really fast.  

Meanwhile, Izzy, Alec and Magnus try to come up with a plan to save Jace. Being the highly-skilled, extremely experienced warlock he is, Magnus obviously knows a way to get to Jace. But it comes at a price. Once again, they have to use the connection Jace and Alec share because of the parabatai bond. Of course, Alec agrees to that idea, even stating that he’s “nothing” without Jace (which is ridiculous, someone already tell him that please!). It all seems pretty much like back in episode 2×02, with only one significant difference: This time, Alec is not going in alone.  Izzy is coming with him.

When evil queens meet

After that scene, the plot switches back to Luke, who is still trying desperately to get Clary out of the fangs of the Clave. Now, before we continue on talking about what happens next, cane we please take a moment to appreciate how many amazing Luke scenes we are getting this week? With everything else happening recently, it felt like Luke was being sidelined a little, but he’s had some amazing scenes this week and we love that. One of those scenes he gets to share with Maryse. This might be slightly biased since the person who’s currently writing this review has been shipping these two ever since they made amends, but we were thrilled to see them sharing a few moments together again. By now, the writers and showrunners have made it pretty obvious that there indeed is something between them and we’re excited to see where things are going with the two of them. This week, their scene is mostly about business, though.  In order to get Clary out of the Gard, Luke asks Maryse for help and if she can pull a few strings. Obviously, as she admits herself, a “deruned, exiled former Circle member” can’t do much, but she’s willing to give it a shot. Because she is just awesome as that. And because she totally has a thing for Luke, which is just as awesome.

Back in Brooklyn, Magnus succeeds at getting into Jace’s mind, which treats us fans to some amazing shots at Magnus showing off his magic (and his beautiful cat eyes) a little and an adorable flashbacks to when the Lightwood siblings were kids. In order to find Jace beneath all that Lilith-induced madness, Izzy and Alec manage to literally travel into Jace’s mind. The first thing they come across is a memory of the three of them training together when they were kids. The younger versions of Jace, Izzy and Alec are played once again by the kids that already played them back in 2×03, and they are doing just as great of a job as they did back then. It was really great to see a few snippets of their past, especially since we really don’t know a lot about what Jace, Izzy and Alec were like when they were kids.

While the Lightwood siblings are trying their best to get Jace back, Lilith is on her way to the Seelie Court. Remember when last week, two of her disciples attacked Simon and as a consequence, Simon’s mark of Cain killed them and made them turn into salt, causing Lilith severe physical pain? Well, the Queen of Edom is not having any of it. In order to convince the Seelie Queen to somehow reverse the Mark, she causes a massacre at the Seelie Court, killing most of the Queen’s guards. We really, really hope that Meliorn was off duty that day. Shady as always (and pretty much out of other options), the Seelie Queen makes Lilith a deal, telling her that she can’t remove Simon’s mark but in exchange to Lilith leaving her alone, she would tell her where Jace was. And while that scene left us worrying even more for Jace, we also were wondering where she knew that from? Like, nobody saw Alec, Izzy and Jace portal into Magnus’ place, it’s probably safe to say that Magnus didn’t tell her anything after the last time he worked with her cost him his job – so how the hell did she find out?

Unfortunately, the writers left us wondering about that. But instead, they offered what was undoubtedly one of the best scenes during the episode: Alec and Izzy finally finding the real Jace, hidden behind Lilith’s magic and terrified out of his mind. He actually ends up begging first Alec and then Izzy to kill him as he is so scared of Lilith finding and kidnapping him again. After everything he’s been through we can’t even blame him for wanting that, which made it so absolutely heartbreaking. You could literally feel Jace’s pain, and how much Alec and Izzy wanted him to stop suffering, but at the same time couldn’t bring themselves to kill their brother. You could see how much it hurt them seeing him like this and having to refuse him the only way to stop his suffering. Matt, Emeraude and Dom did an incredible job during that scene. They have all proven several times that they’re great at portraying emotionally taxing moments, but this time they really outdid themselves. Jace begging Alec and Izzy to kill him was heartbreaking with tears in his eyes and his voice shaking, then Alec and Izzy promising him to protect him from Lilith while they are both just as emotional was one of our favorite moments this episode.

A gut-wrenching setback

They actually manage to get him out of wherever Lilith trapped the true Jace inside his mind, but unfortunately neither of them gets to enjoy each other’s company much longer. As the Seelie Queen told Lilith Jace’s location in order to save her own skin, it doesn’t take long until Lilith shows up at Magnus’ place – absolutely furious and demanding that Magnus give her Jace back. That scene was another proof of how powerful she really is – Magnus, who is one of the most powerful warlocks in New York, doesn’t even stand a chance against her. She throws him against the wall and it all looks like she will choke him with her magic (including a heartbreaking plea from Magnus that she can kill him if she leaves Alec and Isabelle alone). But eventually, she lets him go, saying that she wouldn’t want to risk starting a war with his father. This was so interesting, seems like there is someone that is stronger than the Queen of Hell after all. Even though she is so powerful and vicious, there is someone who Lilith fears. And judging from the promo material we’ve seen so far, we’re going to get to know him next week. We are beyond excited to finally have Asmodeus on the show.

Lilith may show some sort of mercy with Magnus, but that certainly doesn’t extend to Jace. Alec and Izzy may have been able to rescue him, but as soon as they wake up in Magnus’ apartment again, he’s gone. All that stays behind are his siblings, shocked to their bones and unable that even though they were so close to getting Jace back, Lilith took him once again.

While that serves as one of the main cliffhangers in preparation for next week’s episodes, there are still two others that unfold within the last few minutes of the show. After watching her work together with Simon and Jordan in order to clear up the mystery around Lilith’s intentions some more, we have to say goodbye to Maia at the end of the episode – at least for a little while. In a gut-wrenching goodbye sequence, she tells Simon that she needs a break from everything for a little bit and even though they didn’t break up or anything, we hate to see her go. Simon’s reaction was great though, instead of clinging to her and making everything worse, he gives her the room she needs. A+ boyfriend behavior there, Lewis.

(We still hope that Maia will sort everything out really fast and we will have her back on the show really, really soon).

The episode ends with one last scene from Idris. After her trial and revealing everything that happened at Lake Lyn to the new consul Jia Penhallow, she is thrown into her cell again. Only that this time, Jia stays to reveal Clary’s sentence. In one last attempt to justify her own behavior, Clary asks Jia what she would have done if it had been her daughter Aline instead of Jace at the lake. And this is where Jia proves that even though the Lightwoods may be fond of her, she is an even more stuck-up and conservative Shadowhunter than Alec and Maryse in season 1. She actually tells Clary that she would have let Aline die, because “being a Shadowhunter is about sacrifice”. Seriously, we can’t wait until people like Alec, who actually want to bring change into the Clave, take over, these old-fashioned views are so ridiculous. Unfortunately, Jia’s actions are nowhere near as ridiculous as her views – because just a moment after revealing that she would’ve sacrificed her own daughter in order to stay true to the Clave’s outdated values, she sentences Clary to death. After that sentence, the end credits start rolling. And we thought that last week already had a mean cliffhanger at the end.

Bring it on, spring finale

Jace is missing again, Maia left for Angel knows where, Lilith is inches away from resurrecting Jonathan and Clary is awaiting a death sentence – a lot happened this episode. We’ve had some surprising new twists, amazing emotional moments and tons of plot development. At the same time, there are quite a few unanswered questions left to be dealt with, and we can’t wait to find out the answers to them. The table is certainly set for one hell of a midseason finale and knowing our writers, and having seen the promo material for next week’s episodes, this is going to be a wild ride. We can’t wait until Tuesday.