Synopsis of 2×15: What started out as a night to let loose quickly turns much darker when Simon wakes up the next morning with no memory of the night before and a dead body he now has to answer for; Alec orders Valentine to Idris to help relations with Downworlders.
One of the weaker episodes of the season, “A Problem of Memory” ultimately is telling two stories, the first is the story of Valentine and his true son, and the second is the end of Clary and Simon’s romantic relationship.
And while this certainly wasn’t the worst episode of Shadowhunters, it definitely wasn’t the best. Disjointed and jumping back and forth between two very different stories, this episode felt more like the season one Shadowhunters that we used to know — and dislike. Except now it’s devoid of Simon’s humor and separates some of the characters that work the best together.
Simon, commiserating his break-up with Clary post-Seelie Court is brought to a bleeder den by a vampire named Quinn. After a night of drunken blood and plasma drinking, he wakes up hung over with Clary banging on his door. Upset about her kiss with Jace, Simon tells her that their relationship was a mistake. Later, as he is being comforted by Luke, he finds out that the girl he was feeding on in the bleeder den last night is now dead, and to make matters worse Ollie tracks the prints on the girl’s body back to Simon.
On the other side of the episode coin, we watch as the Institute prepares to transport Valentine to Idris to be held in a new prison. We watch Alec worry about not turning Luke in for attempted assassination, while he is concerned for Magnus, who is being haunted by his worst memories. We see Jace wanting to pursue his feelings for Clary, he is confronted by Valentine, while Jace removes his circle rune, who says that his love for Clary will destroy him. And, we see Sebastian’s cousin Alline is in town. Apparently, Sebastian’s been missing and this is the first sign that he’s showed of himself.
And, we see Sebastian’s cousin Alline is in town. Apparently, Sebastian’s been missing and this is the first sign that he’s showed of himself. We see Sebastian panic and run home where we see the identity of the guy he had tied up in his closet. … another Sebastian. Fake!Sebastian interrogates the real one about Alline so that he can not only keep Alline at ease but continue his cover as Sebastian. Ahh disguise rune, we meet again. Fake!Sebastian manages to put Alline’s mind at ease, but back home we see Real!Sebastian cut himself loose and run out of the apartment.
Meanwhile, Simon, unable to turn to Luke for help, goes to Raphael. Unfortunately, Raphael will only help him if he tells him how he became a daylighter, and because Simon is a man of his word and wants to protect Jace, he doesn’t do it. Going back to the scene of the crime, Simon tries to relive the night, afraid that he’s the one who killed the girl, and in the process, he is caught by Ollie. Arrested and thrown in the back of a police car, Ollie reveals that the girl died by bites in her feet and Simon quickly puts together that it wasn’t him who killed the girl.
Breaking himself free, he goes back to the bleeder den to confront the killer. This is just as Raphael, Luke, and Clary close in on the den, looking to help Simon. Finding Quinn feeding on a girl from her foot, Simon confronts him and threatens to rat him out to Luke and the Shadowhunters. The two get into a physical fight, wherein Simon not only bests him but he also kills him. Raphael, Luke, and Clary get into the den, but it’s too late, and Simon runs away.
Later, we see him come to visit Clary, telling her that he’s not okay and that he wants to stay friends with Clary, but he needs time to heal. We also see Luke bring Ollie to the Jade Wolf to have Raphael glamour her into forgetting Simon’s name and telling her who the real killer is.
Then finally, just as the Real!Sebastian might be able to save himself, as he hobbles up towards Alline and Izzy, he is killed by Fake!Sebastian. Close, but no cigar. As they prepare to bring Valentine to Idris, Jace and Izzy pass through the portal only to turn around and realize they’ve lost Valentine. But he’s got no hand in the plan, as we realize that Fake!Sebastian is just getting started. He kills the Shadowhunter who helped Valentine escape and reveals himself to be Valentine’s true son.
Okay. I’m not sure I understand the decision to make him just look like charred flesh, I’m pretty sure he isn’t supposed to look like that in the books and simply hiring another actor to briefly take up that screen time must have been easier, but I guess this is what we’re stuck with. I’ll admit that this scene definitely soured my opinion of the episode, though there were some good moments. I enjoyed Simon’s character development, and his fight scene with Quinn was pretty well done. On top of that, Alec and Magnus’s last scene in which we find out Magnus’ dark past was a solid scene, as was Luke telling Simon that he’s the closest thing he has to a son.
Overall, a mild episode. I didn’t love it. I didn’t hate it. I probably would have liked it if the two storylines were both given more time, but unfortunately, that’s not how it works.