Plus: What's next for Simon and Clary?

By Samantha Highfill
February 20, 2017 at 09:02 PM EST


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Spoiler alert: This post contains details from the Monday, Feb. 20 episode of Shadowhunters.

It seems someone finally made it out of the friend zone.

After nearly two entire seasons of build-up, Simon confessed his love for Clary during Monday's episode of Shadowhunters, and in a move that many will consider a shock, Clary was the one who kissed her one-time best friend, thereby instantly taking their relationship to the next level.

"I love the way that they've built their love story because Clary and Simon have grown up together and they know each other better than they know themselves, and now they're both a part of this new world and beginning to find their way," Katherine McNamara (Clary) tells EW. "They're both changing. Clary is growing up. She's beginning to fight her own battles; she's maturing. And Simon is as well. Simon's no longer the nerdy guy that we saw in episode 1. He's becoming a vampire; he's owning his powers; he's starting to have a lot more confidence. And Clary is seeing this change in him. After Jocelyn's death, they start to lean on each other even more. Everything that's been happening in this world has been changing their relationship to a point now where they see each other in a different way and it's perfect timing. They say all things happen for a reason, and Clary and Simon are a result of that natural progression."

Of course, these feelings are nothing new for Simon, who has been struggling to find the right time to tell his best friend how he feels for awhile now. "For Simon, that's always been one of his dreams," Alberto Rosende (Simon) says. "There was a moment at the end of episode 13 of season 1 where Simon says to Clary, ‘I love you.' They'd just captured Hodge. That was where the spark kind of happened. She said it back but it wasn't as solidified as a ‘friendship love' as it had been. That was the first time that it might've been something more."

And yet, nearly an entire season later, Simon's just finding the courage to tell Clary how he feels. But when he finally did, it's safe to say that it went better than he ever expected. "When we shot that initially, Alberto and I had so much fun," McNamara says. "We kept putting the kiss in different places in the scene and surprising each other. We loved shooting that scene. But actually, we ended up having to reshoot the scene completely for a technical reason and we were devastated, because we'd put everything into the scene and it was so fresh and so fun. But then coming back, it was almost an episode and a half later when we reshot the scene, and I don't know what it was but whatever we had been shooting since then, the things we'd talked about, our experience shooting the first scene, it had informed our work so much more that going back into it, the scene had completely shifted, but in the best way possible. The scene changed and it had more depth and different nuances, and I feel like it made the scene even better. So that's the version that made it into the episode."

Now, with the first kiss out of the way, where does the Climon relationship go from here? "One of the strange things about this relationship is how comfortable it already is," Rosende says. "They know each other. Simon always kind of treated Clary like a best friend but like a girlfriend in a sense of taking care of her and opening the door for her and just being a gentleman. It's getting to know someone that you've known forever in a new way."

McNamara adds: "Clary's always kind of known how Simon feels about her but because she cares about him so much, and because she values his friendship, she didn't want to cross that bridge because if she didn't feel the same way, it could ruin the relationship and she could lose him forever. So it was always something that she didn't acknowledge. But now that they've both changed and their relationship has changed and they're a part of this new world and they've been leaning so heavily on each other in this new way, she's seeing him with fresh eyes."

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That doesn't change the fact that the episode ended with the realization that Clary could activate the Soul Sword and kill everyone she loves. "Clary and Simon have now been a part of this world for enough time to know that no one is safe and survival is not ensured," McNamara says. "We're finding out that Clary is the key that can destroy everything, and Clary is determined to not let that happen. Simon's at a place where he has such love for Clary and he wants to be there for her, so he knows that he can't let his fear get in the way. Again, Simon is there to support her through all of this. When she's losing hope, Simon is there to give her that boost that she needs. And that's part of why she loves him. That's part of why their relationship is so beautiful because they are each other's strength. When one is weak, the other is strong. It's that symbiotic relationship that carries them through all of these horrific situations."

Rosende adds: "One thing I love about him is his ability to continue to look on the bright side of things. The cup's always half full. Simon really does want to cherish any moment he has with her." If anything, Rosende says the Soul Sword is "an awareness to live more in the present."

Shadowhunters airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on Freeform.

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