Magnus Bane , phone conversation analysis
When Alec says “I’d rather you not” (be by my side the whole time), Magnus responds “Did I do something wrong?” Which reveals how insecure Magnus must be feeling, as rather than asking Alec what’s wrong? Or what do you mean? He instead jumps to the assumption that he must have done something that upset Alec.
You can see how worried he looks:
When Alec explains, Magnus looks down and smiles, a momentary sense of relief. But his smile drops as soon as it’s formed and he looks so dejected:
He then begins to pace, perhaps a sign of nervousness?
His suggestion that maybe “another warlock should go instead?” sounds like a genuine attempt to try and convince Alec to ask someone else, as I couldn’t detect any annoyance or sarcasm in his voice. Plus, when Alec reassures him “No, I need you there”, Magnus still doesn’t look happy:
In fact, rapid blinking is a sign of distress, and the way he hesitates with his mouth open looks to me like he is trying to think of something to say that could get him out of going.
When Alec asks “is that okay?”, Magnus smiles and shakes his head, perhaps generally moved by how sweet Alec is too make sure he is fine with this. Or maybe he is thinking about how impossible it is to say no to his boyfriend. Whatever is going through his mind that makes him feel happy doesn’t last though, as a moment later the smile falls from his face.
He hesitates for a second, before quickly replying “of course” doing his best to make his voice sound upbeat and certain, in order to convince Alec that he is fine. But as Magnus elaborates on why he agrees with Alec’s decision, we can see how nervous he is actually feeling because of the way his eyes frantically dart about and from how his hand is shaking his phone:
We don’t get to see Magnus’ expression when the phone call ends, but I doubt he would look happy at having to go back to the institute. Which is understandable given that the last time he was there, he was tortured. Of course, he will be nervous and perhaps even terrified that going back there will overwhelm him with traumatic memories, that he is trying his best to avoid thinking about. Plus, acting like you are okay when you are not is completely exhausting, so it is also understandable that he just wants to be alone, and doesn’t feel up to socialising and discussing politics.
I thought this scene was very clever because it shows how from Alec’s perspective, Magnus’ sounds fine. But we as a viewer who can see his facial expressions and body language know that is far from the case. Also, it further demonstrates how Magnus is doing his best to hide his pain and distress from Alec when he is clearly struggling. Luckily that will change in the next episode.