‘Shadowhunters’ 3×16 recap: “Stay with Me”

Tears... so many tears. In other words: We're dead, dead, dead!

Shadowhunters 3×16, Season 3 Episode 16 “Stay with Me” aired April 1, 2019

To quote the Seelie-Queen: We are dead, dead, dead! This week’s episode has it all and should really come with a hazard warning: “Watch at your own risk. Be prepared to drown in your own tears. Keep tissues, ice-cream and wine close at hand.”

So, consider yourself warned as we get to see Alec sparing no effort in securing Magnus’ survival, Clace and Sizzy teaming up with Cain for a renewed effort to get rid of the twinning rune, Maruke sharing some precious moments and Jonathan being up to no good as usual.

This is not a drill, Shadowfam! Let’s break it down!

A cozy morning, delicious waffles and a romantic dance

Expecting imminent drama, we find ourselves at Magnus’ loft instead. In a scene reminiscent of 3×06, the warlock enjoys a stack of delicious-looking waffles prepared by his lover. Both Magnus and Alec look their best and there’s soft banter and golden light all around them. It’s picture-perfect, but things get even better when Alec invites his partner to dance. This is the amazingly-choreographed dance the fandom has been thirsting for and it has well been worth the wait!

In short, this scene is everything Malec fans could have wished for: It’s soft, domestic, romantic – and it is also very much not real. In a heartbeat, with the two lovers spinning ever faster and Alec’s persistent chant of “Stay with me, Magnus”, the scenery changes. It has all been in Magnus’ head and reality looks vastly different. We now witness the emotional aftermath of Magnus’ breakdown as Catarina revives him. Not even three minutes into the episode, we are already emotionally-wrecked.

Shadowhunters Stay with Me
SHADOWHUNTERS – “Stay With Me” – Freeform. (Freeform/John Medland)

Alec Lightwood, hero: The things you do for love

At Magnus’ bedside, Alec is emotionally destroyed as he blames himself for his lover’s condition. Teary-eyed, he confesses his perceived guilt and pledges his love:

“This is my fault. I was selfish. When you first lost your powers and you said you were okay with it, I didn’t think twice. I guess I was just so happy that maybe we could grow old together. […] I didn’t realize deep down what you were suffering. Magnus, I love you, more than anyone in the world and I’m so sorry.”

This deeply intense moment is interrupted by Catarina who has both good and bad news: Magnus will survive, but only if he never uses Lorenzo’s magic again. To ensure his survival, Lorenzo has to reverse the transfer.

With his mission cut out for him, Alec visits the current High Warlock. Lorenzo is is his usual self-righteous self, eaten up by jealousy towards Magnus. Reigning in his rage and swallowing his pride, Alec cries as he begs for his lover’s life. For the second time within minutes, we see Alec Lightwood reduced to tears and hear his voice crack as he explains that Magnus is his world. Tearjerker!

Jonathan’s travels: Visits to the Seelie Court and Edom

In the meantime, Jonathan’s quest for the Morningstar sword continues. When he learns that it is in the possession of the Seelie Queen (Who’s surprised?), he arranges an audition with her. Once again, the show does a terrific job of portraying the dreamy, fairy-tale-like otherwordliness of the Seelie realm and we get to enjoy the very promising debut of Kimberly-Sue Murray as adult Seelie Queen. Although things between the Seelie Queen and Jonathan are tense, they come to an agreement: If Jonathan kills Lilith, he will get the sword in return.

Shadowhunters Stay with Me
SHADOWHUNTERS – “Stay With Me” – Freeform. (Freeform/John Medland)
LUKE BAINES, ANNA HOPKINSHas Magnus’ magic been put to good use?

Magnus’ magic put to good use?

Completely on board with this plan, Jonathan proceeds to Edom straight away. We witness a strained reunion with Lilith who has been confined to a single room by Magnus’ magic. Before Jonathan can kill her, Lilith disappears, once again proving remarkably hard to kill.

Shadowhunters Stay with Me
SHADOWHUNTERS – “Stay With Me” – Freeform. (Freeform/John Medland)

A risky plan – and some well-known faces

Back in the City of Bones, Clary learns that the “demonic tether” that binds her to Jonathan is far too strong for the Silent Brothers to break. She’s desperate because the ever-growing darkness in her affects her deeply, even causing her to snap at her bestie Simon at one point. As desperate times call for desperate measures, the team decides that Lilith might be the only person able to remove the rune. Using Clary’s abilities, the Malachi configuration and Cain as back up, they summon her from Edom. What could possibly go wrong?

Shadowhunters Stay with Me
SHADOWHUNTERS – “Stay With Me” – Freeform. (Freeform/John Medland)

Mystery revealed? – The meaning of “Celestis Ignis”

Under torture, the former Queen of Edom informs them that the only way to sever the connection between the Morgenstern siblings is by using Michael’s sword, Glorious. Its blade was imbued with heavenly fire which gave it the power to purge demonic energy. The catch? Glorious was allegedly destroyed.

With everyone still digesting the news and Izzy connecting the dots between Glorious and the off-the-books Clave program “Celestis Ignis”, Jonathan makes a surprise appearance and another epic fight goes down. While everyone is distracted, Lilith seduces Cain into setting her free. Worrisome – but at least Clary manages to portal Jonathan into the Institute’s brig.

Shadowhunters Stay with Me
SHADOWHUNTERS – “Stay With Me” – Freeform. (Freeform/John Medland)

Sizzy: It all begins with a pinky swear

Time for a much-needed breather: Comic relief, thy name is Sizzy! While Simon and Izzy are once again on the hunt for Cain, the two of them share some heart-melting pre-couple moments. Simon watching out for Izzy, making sure there are no rats in sight and teaching her how to pinky swear? We’re here for it!

However, it’s not all fun and games with these two. They also feel comfortable enough with each other to address more serious subjects, such as their mutual inability to find/hold on to love. But is swearing to remain single for life really the best solution? Oh Sizzy, if only you knew!

“I am not sure I want love in my life, not if it hurts like that.”

Izzy, “Stay with Me”, Shadowhunters 3×16

Shadowhunters Stay with Me
SHADOWHUNTERS – “Stay With Me” – Freeform. (Freeform/John Medland)

Luke: From one prison to the next?

Meanwhile in prison, Luke is dealing with his new reality when Maryse visits him with happy news: She’s now the owner of the antiques and book shop. Selfless as usual, Luke asks her to move on, but Maryse makes it quite clear that she isn’t going anywhere.

When Luke receives a visitor outside of visiting hours, he knows something is up – and he’s right. All charges against him have been dropped and he is free to leave prison – for a price: He now has to answer to the Praetor Lupus. From one prison to the next? We’ll find out how our alpha wolf deals with it.

A life without magic = a thoroughly broken Magnus

It’s such a relief to see Magnus regaining consciousness about halfway through the episode. Unfortunately, the feeling is short-lived as we witness the warlock devastated by the news Alec delivers. Not surprisingly, Magnus isn’t sure if he wants to live without magic and it becomes painfully obvious that his self-worth is tied to his ability to do magic. Without it, he feels incomplete, utterly unlovable and worthless:

I am nothing without my magic. You fell in love with Magnus Bane, High Warlock of Brooklyn. Can you honestly say that you don’t feel differently about me? Look at me! Can you honestly say you like this?

Alec tries hard to relate. In an emotional vent he explains that it wasn’t Magnus’ incredible powers he fell in love with and that he isn’t ready to lose his partner. Ultimately, it is Alec’s persistence that makes Magnus give in. Yet it is so very much apparent that if it weren’t for Alec, he would never have gone through with it.

Seeing Magnus shattered like this, a far cry from his flamboyant, self-assured self, is heartbreaking, and the scene of Alec hugging a pretty much unresponsive Magnus is hard to take.

Shadowhunters Stay with Me
SHADOWHUNTERS – “Stay With Me” – Freeform. (Freeform/John Medland)

Jace: Clary’s only chance of fighting the darkness within?

In the wake of the mess that Jonathan made during Lilith’ summoning, Clary realizes that if it wasn’t for Jace, she would have long been lost. It is him that gives her the strength to fight Jonathan’s influence – a fact that makes our Clace heart beat a little bit faster!

“When we were out there, there was a moment where I felt compelled to help Jonathan. And then, I heard your voice. It sent me out of it. The same thing happened with Aline and with the fire, and today in the infirmary. Every time I get close to the edge, you pull me back.”

Shadowhunters Stay with Me
SHADOWHUNTERS – “Stay With Me” – Freeform. (Freeform/John Medland)

OMG you guys: Alec needs the family ring! Happy tears!!!

As has been blatantly obvious from the beginning, this episode doesn’t do things by halves and is set on destroying us completely. That’s why we end up with Alec in his mother’s new shop where he sits her down to talk about his feelings for Magnus. At the same moment where we realize where this scene is going, it really happens: Alec asks his mother for the family ring, sharing that he’s going to propose to Magnus. OMG, you guys! That Malec wedding is really going to happen! And we LOVE that Maryse is the first person to know, highlighting the new, healthy mother-son bond!

Shadowhunters Stay with me
SHADOWHUNTERS – “Stay With Me” – Freeform. (Freeform/John Medland)

So… where does this leave us? In a way, Clary is correct with her initial assessment: Everything seems to be falling apart. But on the other hand, there’s a silver lining. We now know that someone in the Clave likely knows more about Glorious, that Jace can help Clary resist the pull of evil and that Alec is going to prove to Magnus just how much he loves him, magic or not. Everything else? Can probably be sorted out, especially when paying heed to Simon’s advice:

“Sometimes, to overcome your demons, you have to face them.”


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Watch Shadowhunters Mondays on Freeform! International viewers, check out Netflix on Tuesdays!

Featured Image: Freeform/John Medland


Silke M. Powers

Fictional worlds and words have always been my best friends. A college teacher and professional writer in real life, I use writing fandom stuff as my personal form of escapism. Love all things Sherlock (BBC), Shadowhunters, Star Trek and Harry Potter. Enjoy Lucifer, A Discovery of Witches, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, CAOS, True Blood and The Originals. Avid reader, traveler, introvert, fangirl. Hate Mondays and drama, love coffee and laughter.

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