Shadowhunters – Season 1, Episode 5: “Moo Shu to Go”

Shadowhunters – Season 1, Episode 5: “Moo Shu to Go”
Grade: B-

I enjoyed this episode a lot. As I expected, all of it would start to mesh together and get better with more time. This is why I waited to pass too much judgement on the first episode—or the last few. Last episode, I thought that it was THE ONE that made me believe I liked the show and that it was going places. But I was wrong—and may be wrong again. The show keeps getting better and I’m beyond excited for the rest of the season. What I love about this show is that it’s sticking with the plot of the books but they’re changing just enough to make the show a little different for fans, keeping it fresh. I was worried about that to begin with, but I think they’re doing it well, even though a few things still bother me.

The opening scenes were good, especially with Clary and Isabelle talking about Clary’s mother. I’m glad to see their starting to get more in depth with the character—so far, Clary has just gone on and on about how she needs to find her mother, which is what a normal daughter would do, but says nothing about her other than that. I like that we got to see more about their relationship and why it’s so important to Clary, other than Jocelyn just being her mother, but because they were like best friends. This is perfectly set just before Maryse, Isabelle and Alec’s mother, and Jace’s adoptive mother, storms in angry as all hell. She’s a badass—clearly where Isabelle gets it from, though she’s much more venomous than her daughter. That relationship is clearly a rough one, Maryse not even giving Isabelle a second glance before she hugs Jace—disapproving of Isabelle’s behavior and Alec’s inability to lead, letting Clary and Jace run around and anger the Clave. Most of all, Maryse quickly became one of the best characters on the show.

With her introduction and some other plot elements, it’s clear—even to me, since I haven’t read the books in a while—that they’re already entering City of Ashes territory, the second book. I’m glad that there’s not a clear line of when one book ends and the other begins, they’re keeping the story run smooth.

[SIDE NOTE: What are all these Shadowhunters at the Institute DOING? Was it this busy in the books? I can’t remember.]

After Maryse tells Isabelle and Jace to find out more information from Meliorn—not trusting Isabelle to do it on her own—Alec is left to watch over Clary, and immediately after a distracting call from Magnus—OMG GUYS, MALEC. MY OTP THROUGHOUT ALL OF HIGH SCHOOL—he loses Clary who wants to find the box her mother had that has stuff about her fake-father, Not Valentine. Meanwhile, Raphael tells Simon to take a hike after he ends up at the Hotel Dumort, and after meeting up with Clary to help find the box at their loft, shows some impressive new Vamp Skills. Though Clary and Alec’s reaction to him literally leaping over a wall seems to be more of a passing “Wow, that was cool” and not a “Umm, you’re an uncoordinated nerd, how did you just do that?” (I love Simon, and as an uncoordinated nerd myself, he’s one, too.)

Oh, and before all that, Alec and Jace talk about what happened with the memory demon made me feel better, Jace clearly thought it was because they were parabatai, but thay makes me wonder why he didn’t question Alec’s strange reaction to it. How dense is Jace? I know he’s full of himself, but he’d have noticed that at least. And why doesn’t he know like Jace does in the books? Does he know in the books? I thought Jace tells Alec that he’s known all along and doesn’t care. One of the best parts was Clary talking to Alec about being in love with Jace, and his retort is “You’re in love with Jace,” to which Clary says, “Really? The middle school comeback?” I laughed out loud.

Anyway, Alaric (Luke’s cop friend, whose name I finally learned) is also a werewolf. After a quick chat with Luke (“Glad to see you’re keeping busy” to Luke, because he’s been doing NOTHING in the show so far), he goes to the other werewolves—who apparently also want the Mortal Cup—and they decide to kidnap Clary (and Simon, again). Alec loses them again, and Jace is incredibly mad because of it, like he is a lot in this show. Though this is starting to get tired, at least they’re acknowledging it in a humous way:

Simon: “Why do I keep getting kidnapped?” Clary: “Not be self-centered, but I think I’m the one they’re after.” And later, Simon hanging upside down: “Really. This. Again?

I don’t know what Valentine is up to, because the snippets with him are so short and don’t reveal really anything. I want his scenes to be more like him summoning a demon and having it attack Clary, or a forsaken (which it looks like he was doing in this episode) and have that be an obstacle. So far, nothing he’s doing is really affecting the main characters directly, and he’s just sort of there, not being that great of a villain. Though I loved the scenes with Meliorn and Isabelle and Jace—learning a little bit more about the Shadow world is fantastic, and I want more of that.

Simon calling Jace and the others, telling them where they were by finding a menu to the Chinese restaurant with the address, and stating “They have really inexpensive cocktails” had me laughing aloud again.

The werewolves are also real intense, threatening Clary and Simon pretty graphically. Right now, I’m more afraid of them than Valentine. After saving Clary and Simon, the others are about to fight off the pack of werewolves before Luke arrives and challenges the alpha. Because the budget for the show is low and they couldn’t afford a full-out brawl between wolf-Luke and the alpha, I think they did a good job of giving us snippets between spaces of the stacked pallets at the dock. It worked just enough that it didn’t look terrible or that it was for budget reasons, but more of a directorial choice. To be honest, I think a fully seen fight may have looked too fake to feel real, so this was a great compromise. Though the shift between wolf-form to human-form is a bit lame, the bright light to conceal the switch just looks a little ridiculous, especially at the end with the wolves standing and kneeling before the new alpha, Luke.

Luke is hurt and they have to go back to Magnus to help him, setting up the next episode nicely. Overall, a surprisingly great episode. The writing and dialogue has improved, and most of the acting was on point. I want all episodes to be like this from Shadowhunters, and I’m sure there will be more in the coming season. I can’t wait for them.


HIGHLIGHTS

Introduction of Maryse
was fantastic and I like where they are headed with the overall story, starting to blend into the second book (though I fear it might be a little too soon; running out of plot to work with, even with a six book series to work with, might cause too much change to story to stretch it out later.)

A lot of funny moments
and the show is genuinely starting to improve, which I love.

LOWLIGHTS

Valentine is being used too much
for a whole lot of nothing. I want him to be more involved with what is happening in the show, being more of an obstacle, more of a villain.

Lame werewolf transformation
effects are a downfall for the show, but the wolves themselves look pretty good.

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