When the previews started coming out for this episode and I realized we were getting an alternate universe, I was pretty unsure about the whole thing. I didn't know if I would like it and how it fit into the story because I thought it had the potential to be too difficult to believe. To be honest, I do still kind of feel that way.
Unless there's something particularly huge I've missed, this is an entirely new aspect of the universe that the television show has added. That's not what had me so hesitant though. When I think about alternate universes in works such as this, my mind goes to Alternate Universe fanfiction or AUs. AUs are not my favorite type of fanfiction because such a large bulk of them are never that great of alternate universes. That being said, a few of my favorite fanfictions are AUs, so I know that it can be done extremely well. It's just that when I first hear talk about alternate dimensions my instinct is to believe it will be bad rather than good until proven otherwise. That's not an outlook that I think is typical for me when I begin reading or watching stories.
ETA (with spoilers for City of Heavenly Fire): There are alternate dimensions in the books. I've been reminded of that now. I didn't forget about Edom either. It's just that, for whatever reason, I wasn't picturing Edom as an alternate dimension in my head. I think because there were no humans left in Edom (and I think I'd forgotten that there had been humans there), so it just never occurred to me to think of them as the same thing as what the show was showing even though they are. Again, I don't know why, but I think the picture of alternate dimensions in my head only involved alternate dimensions with other versions of the human characters in them, and I just didn't stop to think about beyond that.
But as soon as you put Izzy in a Star Wars shirt and show a cheesy Magnus Bane commercial, you're probably going to get me to come around to your alternate dimension. I'm still not sure how I feel about this as an aspect of the story. On one hand, the fairies guarding these super secret portals to other dimensions does make sense. They're just about the only group of people that I think could successfully keep that secret for the entire history of the Earth. My biggest question is just: What does this mean for the rest of the story? Will alternate dimensions ever appear again now that Clary and Jace know that they're there? I'm not so sure if I would want them to appear again, but I'm not really sure either.
Anyway, moving on to other talk. I was pleasantly surprised that they made it easy to follow when we were in the alternate dimension and when we weren't because I was worried that would get confusing at first.
Just taking the alternate dimension by itself, it was really entertaining to see the other characters in that dimension. It almost makes me wish that we could have seen what Clary would have been like, although I suppose we got glimpses of that when Clary began to assimilate. I particularly loved getting to see Izzy in that dimension and the amount of Sizzy happening. Simon doesn't even seem to have a crush on Clary at all because his attention was on Sizzy, and I thought that was cute. And also a hint of what's to come I think.
Alec was also particularly interesting in the alternate dimension, although we didn't get to see much of him in there. That was just a tad bit disappointing.
Oh, and cosplay talk. I loved that.
As for what was happening in the "real world" I really loved the tension between Izzy and Alec in this episode. I think a big reason why it works so well is that we've gotten a clear picture of how close they are and how much they care about each other from past episodes. Because of that, it's clear that Izzy is really disappointed with Alec and that it's not just petty anger. I like that.
Although I do wish Alec would listen to her more and go against the Clave about this whole thing.
I loved how Simon helped Luke clear his name. Their whole elaborate plan was so much fun to watch play out. At first, I couldn't quite figure out what Simon was doing, but I think I caught on rather quickly.
One piece of the episode that has me confused is why exactly Alec tracking Jace makes their parabatai connection weaker. That doesn't quite make sense to me, and as far as I could tell, there wasn't an explanation in the episode. Not unless I missed something. I just really don't understand why that would be the case. Especially since you'd think that trying to track down your parabatai sometimes would be a typical thing. What if you got separated from each other while fighting demons and needed to figure out where they were? I just can't understand why that would be a side effect of it.
Whatever though. The end of the episode is Jace and Clary making it to Chernobyl in the "real world" which is exciting since it means that we're really nearing the big finale of the season. I was not, however, expecting them to find Jace's dad (i.e. Michael Wayland) there.
*BOOK SPOILERS FROM HERE ON*
Now, when the episode ended, I didn't at all think about his dad being Valentine in disguise. Largely, I think, because I was more thinking along the lines that Jace in the book thinks Valentine's his father and recognizes the "real" Valentine that way. So if Jace recognizes someone who doesn't look like Valentine as his father than it decreases the chances that he thinks Valentine is his father. Although maybe Valentine stayed disguised the whole time?
I don't know. There are a million ways they could be taking this. However, the way that whole mystery of who Jace's dad is is handled in the books is perhaps my least favorite part of the books. Because of that, I really want them to change it, and maybe I'm too eager for that. Maybe that's making it harder for me to see them as building up towards a reveal of Valentine being Jace's father.
I hope not because I really do want them to change that aspect of the story. But there is also the question of where Michael Wayland has been the whole time we've been shown Valentine's lair in the past.
So, I have no idea what they're doing. I don't know if that's really Michael Wayland, but I hope the big reveal that they're working up to isn't the same one that was in the books. I'd prefer them going a different route, although I also have to admit that I'd enjoy seeing Jace learn that he's a Herondale in the end. I just don't want the stopover of him thinking he's a Morgenstern.
We'll see though. There are still three episodes left, and I will admit that the title of the last one (Morning Star) does kind of get me worried that it's referencing Jace finding out he's a Morgenstern. Who knows (other than the cast and crew of the series) what will happen though. I'll just wait and see.