In this week’s episode ‘Awake, Arise or Be Forever Fallen’ quite literally everyone was at the top of their game. It’s no secret my favorite things about this show are Magnus, Alec, Luke and Maia, so tonight’s episode may have just become my favorite of the series. I usually close with Malec, but I’m bursting with emotion about them so let’s start there.
Through a series of flashbacks and in the current day we got a look at the epic love that is that between Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood in a way we never quite have. Even the little things, like Magnus carrying the omamori that Alec gave him everywhere he goes, went straight to your heart.
I’ve never actively seen a show not only make the effort, but actually fix a mistake they made in the past. The end of 2×07 was widely, and rightly, criticized and the writers took the opportunity of Magnus’ reflection to listen to their LGBTQ+ fans and fix those mistakes. Seeing tenderness between two men and having it be seen and shown with the care it deserves is so important. Tonight Magnus and Alec finally got that. The soft playfulness, desire and genuine love and affection that came pouring through the two in the 2×07 flashbacks was all so beautiful.
Matthew Daddario and Harry Shum Jr. have always had the best romantic onscreen chemistry on the show and tonight that chemistry was taken to new gorgeous heights. From the way they laughed and smiled to the unending and endearing softness in their voices when they talked about fears and Alec looked into Magnus’ warlock mark and saw only beauty, every second you could feel the emotion flowing deep and vast.
The season one flashback was unexpected, but it was so very welcomed. It showed the great progress that these two have made. They’ve gone from guarded borderline hostility out of the fear of what they could be to being so in love it physically aches to be apart.
In the present day they’re still reeling from the aftermath of their fight last week, but for a moment that’s pushed aside when Max is injured. The fact that Alec knows he has no right to be asking for help right now and is so desperately sorry for keeping a secret from Magnus is another example of his growth since the start of the show.
Their final scene together this week was heart wrenching. There’s no way to ever get over the strain in Magnus’ voice or Alec’s tears. These are two people so wildly and endlessly in love with each other and this isn’t an easy moment for them. Daddario and Shum Jr. manage to break your heart while also making you know with full certainty that these two will be okay. This love runs too deep and they will always find their way back to each other. This is not a breakup. This is not what a breakup looks like. This is however two people being forced to make some choices that they can’t necessarily make together. Magnus has to think of his people, turning against the Clave doesn’t equal turning against Alec but for the moment he needs to take that step back and make the choice without Alec. These two are getting a nuanced, political, raw and realistic for their situation heartache. This isn’t some excessive miscommunication or sneaky behind their back action (*cough, cough* the books), it’s a real terrifying aspect of their relationship that will always exist. Magnus said it himself this is what he’s afraid of. The fact of the matter is they’ll find a way through this; they’ll be fighting side by side before the season ends. These two are forever.
While Shum Jr. and Daddario were stealing every second, Alisha Wainwright and Isaiah Mustafa were also working on owning your soul. Wainwright has been such an incredible addition to this cast and this week we saw Maia the future leader, while also shedding a few tears to hear her talk about how she came to be a werewolf. Luke has been widely underserviced this season, but this episode showed the Luke we need to see every single week; the level headed leader and badass alpha that thinks first but also takes action when he needs to. Mustafa is just so damn good in this role and that absolutely needs to be utilized more. The Seelie court scene yet again displayed perfectly the way he thinks and leads as well as his friendship with Magnus. Shum Jr. killed it in this scene as well, showing his professionalism and hesitance.
Meanwhile while Max fought for his life the Lightwood family all brought raw emotion to the screen. Daddario wasn’t just killing us slowly with Malec, but also with Alec the protective big brother, Emeraude Toubia almost sent me into tears while talking to an unconscious Max and I don’t think I’ve ever been so relieved for Maryse and Robert to walk into a room than when they did.
Lastly Will Tudor finally got to drop all facades and truly become Jonathan, no longer Sebastian. He was genuinely terrifying with his creepy smiles and effective brutality. The fact that he’ll no longer be putting on a show to convince them all he’s someone else is something I’m looking forward to.
Other bits to appreciate: Jace is a Lightwood dammit just look at those moments when they were waiting to find out about Max, Bat Valasquez welcome to the show I fully plan to love you, Isabelle is such a beautifully loving and supportive sister with all of her brothers, bless Clary for knowing that her homicidal brother is irredeemable, Ollie girl I definitely understand why at San Diego they said Luke’s story isn’t resolved there’s no way it could be with what we have left and is anyone else questioning why a certain Downworld leader has been totally out of the loop these past few episodes? Where you at Raphael?
Next Week: we all know everything’s going to keep going to hell and Sarah Hyland guest stars as an equally as deceiving older edition of the Seelie queen!