Synopsis of 2×14: Alec has big plans to mend fences with the Downworlders; Jace and Clary are summoned by the Seelie Queen.
Ah the classic sit down episode. Now that we’ve established Alec as the new head of the Institute, Valentine is captured, and the Downworlders aren’t threatening riots at every corner, it’s time to talk about peace and change. “The Fair Folk” is a surprisingly linear episode that focuses in on one goal: Alec attempting to make peace and open up Shadowhunter and Downworlder relations. We see this in several layers.
The first is in the cabinet meeting that he has arranged with the heads of the Downworlder factions in order to open up the conversation. Alec enlists Izzy to help him greet and welcome the guests, which of course include Raphael, Meliorn, Magnus, and Luke. Magnus is forced to push pleasure to the side for business as he represents the warlocks, trying to maintain professionalism when his boyfriend is the head of the Institute. While Raphael and Meliorn have their moments talking about their relationships with Izzy, it is Raphael who is still attached to Izzy emotionally. He attempts to defend her against Sebastian, who quickly turns his interrogation back around on Raphael, reminding him of his role in Izzy’s addiction to yin fen.
Luke has a much more interesting plot line this episode which brings in an unknown factor to the story. We already know he’s cautious and initially unwilling to attend the cabinet meeting because as a past Shadowhunter he knows that these talks never get them anywhere and are essentially useless. Regardless, Alec insists. But it isn’t until Luke recieves a mysterious phone call from someone who informs him that they can break him into Valentine’s cell to allow Luke to kill him. And so while Luke initially looked reluctant to go to the cabinet meeting, he now has a purpose and a clear goal.
He arrives and almost immediately moves into action. The problem is is that he is interrupted by Maris, who just happens to be in town to watch her son take the place as head of the Institute. She mends her relationship with her children this episode, and in the process she unwittingly messes with Luke’s plan to go kill Valentine. Sebastian then catches Luke on the cameras and alerts Alec so that they can stop Luke before he can go through with it. In this moment, we start seeing hints of the overarching plot of the season which clearly has to do with our mysterious new British Shadowhunter. After seeing him, Valentine is surprised and seems to even recognize Seb. I’d say that’s bad news considering the final scene of the episode in which we see Sebastian threatening someone he’s hogtied in a closet.
While Alec and Izzy entertain the guests, he sends Jace and Clary to the Seelie Court both to investigate Kaelie, the faerie that was responsible for all those murders, and because the queen specifically requested ‘Valentine’s experiments.’ This not only pushes forward a potential new plot arc involving the Seelie Court, but also brings the Jace/Clary tension to a head. After finding out that the two aren’t siblings, this has basically been a powder keg waiting to explode and boy did the queen know how to light the match.
Simon decides to tag along with Clary and Jace, thinking it will be an adventure, but they quickly learn it’s not as sweet as a simply stroll through the park. Arriving at the faerie realm, Jace is quick to inform Simon that not only are the inhabitants dangerous but even the trees are a threat. Having already been warned that faeries will trick you into your own self-destruction earlier in the episode, this later meeting with the queen has a good pay off for the foreshadowing.
Appearing as a young girl, the queen is quick to go to work on her guests as they attempt to interrogate her while dodging her minefield of manipulations. Through the events of the meal we learn that Kaelie had an accomplice, but the queen’s dealt with him. Dead, dead, dead. She also requests to speak to Simon alone, warning him not to trust Shadowhunters and invites him to stay with the court. By the time Simon realizes that they definitely need to leave, it’s too late. The queen wraps him and Jace in vines and forces Clary to play a treacherous game.
She tells Clary to have the kiss she most desires. We already know who that is. Regardless, she kisses Simon first and the vines only wrap tighter. Inevitably, she kisses Jace, telling him it means nothing, but the queen’s machinations have garnered success. Simon is shown that he can’t even trust his friends and after seeing what has happened he leaves without Clary or Jace.
After being rejected by Raphael, who was harshly warned by Sebastian to stay away, Izzy comes to visit Clary in her room, Clary is also crying after the events of the Seelie Court and being avoided by Simon. The two commiserate in their sadness together at the end of the episode. We also get a clip of Luke’s new partner Ollie digging and figuring out the truth about her lupine partner.
The essential message of this episode is pretty clear. Aside from all the romantic drama between Clary and Jace and Simon, we learn what kind of leader Alec is. Throughout the episode, someone is either doubting his leadership or someone is questioning the trustworthiness of Shadowhunters. The Seelie Queen efficiently shows Simon who he can and can’t trust, and Alec shows Luke that even if he can’t trust the Clave, he can trust Alec’s word and intention after Alec releases Luke despite his attempt at assassinating Valentine.
I always thought that Jace and Izzy’s praise of Alec’s leadership skills was rarely ever shown efficiently, but this episode really highlighted him as a leader of the Shadowhunters. Despite the scandal of his relationship with Magnus, he remains one of the most responsible and steadfast Shadowhunters in the group and a good choice for the head of the Institute. As always, we’ll see if that remains true for the rest of the season!