Shadowhunters – Season 1, Episode 6: “Of Men and Angels”
Ah. I was afraid of this. The moment I genuinely like an episode, we go down again. I gave a C+ for “Of Men and Angels” because there is nothing between a C+ and a B- which is the grade I gave to the previous episode, “Moo Shu to Go,” which I loved. “Of Men and Angels” wasn’t worse than the episode “Raising Hell,” which I also gave a C+ so pretend this episode is straight in the middle.
We start off the episode with my first and largest complaint, the dream/vision sequence of Jocelyn and Luke which was both lame, terribly acted, terribly directed, and completely unnecessary. Luke didn’t need imagined permission from Jocelyn to tell Clary about everything. And was it necessary for Jocelyn to start fading away like that? Some of the decisions their making just make me wonder if they’ve watched any good television made after the year 2000. Her simply not being in the next shot would have worked fine. Aside from that awful little scene, the episode wasn’t that bad.
With Luke fatally wounded from the previous episode’s alpha werewolf battle, he needs Magnus to magically cure him of the werewolf alpha-venom that’s in him from the bites—in all honesty, I missed the actual reason; I caught bits and pieces of Magnus explaining, but that sounds about right. Magnus—who is starting to act a lot more like the Magnus I imagined, thanks to the great Harry Shum Jr. who is doing a great job so far now that the awkward intensity is gone from the first few episodes—needs more ingredients and sends Jace and Simon to do it, requesting Alec to join him to help.
While Luke is healing, Jace and Simon fight the entire way on their errand, mostly about Clary and how she’ll never love Simon like he loves her. Magnus tells the backstory of Valentine forming the Circle and stealing the cup (which Jocelyn later steals back and hides along with Clary) and how he, Jocelyn, and Luke were all on the same side until Valentine went too far, experimenting by injecting himself with Downworld blood, and thinking Luke and Jocelyn were in love after she confided in him about how Valentine is going too far, killing Downworlders unprovoked. All the flashback scenes were great, the acting of the younger versions did well, and it was one of the better parts of the episode—though there was a lot of story there. It was needed backstory, but wasn’t as exciting as it was meant to be.
At the Institute, Isabelle and Alec’s father, Robert, and little brother Max return home. Isabelle and Alec are confronted with the fact that their reckless behavior has caused their family’s honor to be tarnished, and to fix it, Alec must get married and Isabelle will become more involved with the politics of the Clave, having a connection with the seelies—who are switching sides, supporting Valentine, because they think he will win. She needs to get them to switch back to their side. Isabelle at first doesn’t want to act out her parents’ wishes, but in the end dresses more like her mother including the bitch-ponytail Maryse rocks on the daily.
The poison in Luke is spreading and Magnus can only do so much with his magic—which, the effects look like their getting better, or I’m getting used to them—and Alec arrives, physically giving him strength, and just in time, Jace and Simon arrive to finish the cure and they save Luke. The scene plays out a little ridiculously, though. I’d much prefer Luke fall asleep, still healing but safe, than look better immediately, like “Oh, great, I’m all better!” The sun even seemed to rise at that exact moment, the apartment bathed in orange light. Afterward, Clary talks to Luke and he tells her everything Magnus didn’t know. He tries to get her to remember all that she can, knowing that she is the key to defeat Valentine, but she can’t remember. She then goes to find the box they went to retrieve from their loft the previous episode, J.C. on the lid. Luke informs her that it stands for Jonathan Christopher, her brother who died.
The box suddenly disappears, appearing drawn on the paper of her sketchpad, and she remembers the biscotti in the cafe that did the same thing in the first episode. Because some Shadowhunters have extra abilities, and those abilities can be inherited, Clary knows where Jocelyn his the Mortal Cup.
Overall a fine episode. It gave some backstory detail that was much needed to make sense of everything and I feel like now that Clary knows where the Cup is, there will be more for everyone to do and we’ll start to see Valentine interact with the main characters.
featured in this episode, or at least no adult Valentine, which I think served this episode well. Though the actor who plays Valentine is great, I’m tired of the random scene or two in that ridiculous Chernobyl warehouse laboratory. Having him in every episode doesn’t make him more villainous—a few short scenes very few and far between, like a moment at the end of an episode, or at the beginning, until he is more incorporated into the story. I’ve said it before, Jessica Jones does an incredible job of this with Kilgrave. Unless he’s a central part of the episode, less is more.
is really what kept this episode going for me. There was just so much backstory, though needed, there wasn’t much else going on. But any time Magnus or Alec are together, it makes me remember why I loved the book series in the first place—other than awesome demon hunting, which we’ve seen little of.
That opening scene
with the dream/vision of Luke’s and Jocelyn. No. Just no.
that only hunt demons…casually? When a random demon just happens to be in an alleyway? We’ve seen them hunt demons in the first episode and then—that’s it. There has to be a few demons running around New York that needs attention, yeah? Of course all of these episodes have happened over the course of only three or four days, but I need these demon hunters to start hunting demons. What is great about adapting the books to TV is that there is room to breathe. There’s room to let the characters be themselves and for the world to build itself. Hopefully soon, Shadowhunters will do just that.