Shadowhunters – Season 2, Episode 10: “By the Light of Dawn”

Shadowhunters – Season 2, Episode 10: “By the Light of Dawn”
Grade: A-

The mid-season finale of Shadowhunters season two surpassed most of its preceding episodes and becoming the highest graded episode from me thus far. As an episode of a television show, it was great; but from a fan of the books, it was less great. With major changes in the way things unfolded in the second book, the midseason finale focused entirely on the “activation” of the Soul Sword (not in the books) but gave a lot of familiar moments from the book that made the episode work really well.

There was only one thing, one major thing, that bothered me. I believe it to be a plot hole (though some have argued that it’s not, which I’ll get into) that Jace is thought to be able to destroy the sword by touching it. Or at least, a strange oversight that no one remembered Jace already having touched the sword during his interrogation with Aldertree. Some have pointed out that it needed to be activated for Jace to destroy it (which wouldn’t make any sense because Clary (or Jace because he has angel blood, not demon blood, it turns out) would’ve had to touch it first, and Jace didn’t have her touch it first) or that Jace would need the same power to activate it as he would to destroy it, a lightning bolt or the Institute’s angelic power. That is a possibility, however it’s never stated in the show? And if it was, a whole lot of people missed it since at the end, we see a possible Sebastian having taken the sword and many pointed out he was wearing gloves to prove that he could touch it without destroying it. The whole thing is a mess, either way. The show either confused its audience with too many “rules” to a show-based device or it made a large mistake—it distracted me the whole episode because it didn’t make any sense for Jace to believe he could destroy it.

Other than that, the episode was the best of the show. Even with the disaster of the sword plot that wasn’t in the books, all the pieces and characters worked well and I was genuinely invested in the downworlders and the potential of them all being killed. Most importantly, there were moments from the book that remained and it made the show feel more like the story so many love.


HIGHLIGHTS

Raphael
tells Isabelle that he isn’t interested in having sex with her, or anyone, and has always been that way. If that’s Raphael coming out as asexual, I’m thrilled to have some inclusion on the show for asexual people, because that’s super rare. I’ve heard that it’s sort of hinted at in the books and I’m excited that they’ve decided to include it in the show. I’m not asexual myself, so I don’t know how well they are handling it so far, but I hope they’re able to make the character a good representation of the ace community.

MIDTONES

The moment with Simon and Jace
is a big part of the book. It’s one of the moments I was looking forward to. Simon is dying and he drinks Jace’s blood to survive, tackles him and drinks from his neck and then they continue to go find Clary. But in the show, it’s Jace using that damn shapeshifting rune to look like Clary to have Simon feed from his arm. Apparently, too homoerotic for the show—Magnus and Alec are enough. But this was one of many moments from the books that made it in, even if slightly warped, and that made the episode feel more like the books even if the overall plot of the episode was nothing like the book.

The end of book two,
besides the epilogue, ends with the characters in the back of a truck on its way back to land from the ship that was destroyed by Clary (don’t even get me started, they easily could’ve put all this in the show) and Simon needs to get back before the sun rises. It’s an intense end, the clock ticking and the sun rising and Simon could die. But he doesn’t! Because he drank Jace’s blood and he now has some angel in him and can now step into the sunlight. This moment was dropped for Simon being in the Institute and forgetting that it was morning and he jumps back from the light coming in through the window but he isn’t burned. Simon and Clary go outside and are all excited, Jace is jealous, and that’s how they ended the episode. It just so underwhelming, that moment they realize he’s the Daylighter is big in the books. And it didn’t seem like that big of a deal in the show. However, most of these moments that they’re bringing into the show have to be changed slightly because of the plot changes, which are understandable, just disappointing.

LOWLIGHTS

Too much tech
is destroying the story. I don’t know how much any of the technology used in the show is in the books, but I’m just getting tired of it. The story is fantasy based, the books are so much more intricate with magic and the show is being bogged down by technology. All the computers of the Institute, Aldertree turning into a hacker at a random to get into the wherever the “angelic power” was located for the Institute. It’s all too much.

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Shadowhunters – Season 2, Episode 8: “Love is a Devil”

Shadowhunters – Season 2, Episode 8: “Love is a Devil”
Grade: B+

The eighth episode of the new season of Shadowhunters follows the characters as they attend a party for Max, the youngest Lightwood, as he is to receive his first runes during a special Shadowhunter ceremony. Just before, Simon is finally able to profess his love for Clary and they start dating. At the party, eventually it’s clear that someone is messing with the heads of the party guests—Clary seeing Simon kissing Mia, Alec thinking Clary is wanting him to kill himself, Jace believing that Maryse is trying to kill him—and it’s revealed to be Iris, the warlock Clary made a blood oath with, wanting her favor.

This episode is an excellent example of how to correctly adapt a book to a series—not every episode has to directly relate to the plot, having fun with the characters makes for good television and enables the story to stretch out over many episodes. The show did this well in the first season with “This World Inverted,” taking a situation that didn’t happen in the books but was fun to watch. Though the episode wasn’t perfect, it worked well as an (almost) self-contained episode with little advancement in plot of the show as a whole.


HIGHLIGHTS

Episode concept
was interesting and felt natural for the story. Having all the characters go through an event that didn’t happen in the books is usually awful, but here it worked. It’s what the show should be doing more to be keeping with the books—episodes that follow the plot along with the books and episodes that play with the characters in self-contained episodes that don’t mess with the plot.

Simon and Clary
are together and it’s wonderful. I never liked them together in the books or even in the show, but having them briefly date is fun and what I’ve been waiting for. It’s part of the story and is working well enough for now in the show to keep the tension between Jace’s want for Clary more evident as he becomes more jealous. It’s good stuff.

Magnus at the party
using his magic in a big, powerful way was so incredible to see. It’s exactly the kind of movement, power, and grace I’d expect from book-Magnus. The final fight scene between Magnus and Iris was done really well.

Spanish music
was used in the episode (as the party was a theme party) and I didn’t hate it? It sounds stupid, but the music made the show like a Spanish soap opera and I almost enjoyed it more than the actual music they usually play during scenes? The drama was so much better because of it.

LOWLIGHTS

Yin fen
is not what is in the books (I should say, actually, the yin fen in the show is not what it is in the prequel trilogy, which isn’t even a part of the show). If it had been called anything else, just another drug name or something, it would’ve been better. I like the idea of having Isabelle go through this but it’s ruining yin fen and the concept of it in the world of the books. Yin fen isn’t even made from vampire venom, so why even call it yin fen? Why bring it up at all? Having Isabelle become addicted to a vampire venom drug called something else would’ve been fine and interesting on its own. Having it be yin fen, mentioning Jem, is just making me angry and dislike this storyline.

Shadowhunters – Season 2, Episode 5: “Dust and Shadows”

Shadowhunters – Season 2, Episode 5: “Dust and Shadows”
Grade: B+

In the fifth episode of the second season, Shadowhunters almost completely steps away from the books and…I didn’t hate it? With Jocelyn now dead, and this episode revolving around Clary dealing with her death, the show is definitely not like the books at all in this episode, however it worked. This is the kind of episode I’ve wanted from the show—if it’s going to derail from the books, it better be good, and this episode was good.

Clary, with the help of Alec, goes to a sketchy warlock that will help her revive her mother using dark magic; Isabelle struggles with the wound that won’t heal which she received in the previous episode, being given yin fen, a powerful and addictive demon drug (strangely placed here where it should be living in the prequel trilogy The Infernal Devices set in the Victorian era) that helps her shoulder heal though its addictive qualities seem to be taking effect on her; and Simon struggles to hide his vampire ways after moving back in with his mom and sister, eventually revealing the truth.

Overall, the episode was good. The only storyline that followed the books was Simon’s, which was handled well and worked perfectly. The rest of the episode, doesn’t follow the books at all and I still enjoyed it because of three reasons: the writing is so much better now, the episode was done well, and the storylines they followed were interesting with emotional moments that worked. Also the acting has improved tenfold from season one—probably thanks to better writing.


HIGHLIGHTS

Clary going to the warlock
Iris Rouse was an interesting arc that I truly believe Clary, as a character from the books, would do. If Jocelyn had died in the books around that time, I think Clary would try to find a warlock to bring her mother back and it would go completely wrong. The actress playing Iris Rouse was fantastic, the moments with the little girl and the bird were great, and the demon—the demon was actually terrifying and the effects (looked all practical) were incredible.

Simon’s story
with telling his mom about being a vampire is really a heartbreaking part of the books. I’m excited to see where they go from where they left off—Simon drinking the blood from a literal rat in his room—and hope the emotion lands with his mother’s reaction. So far I like what they’ve built up to.

The funeral
scene was surprisingly emotional and beautiful. Clary breaking down was well-acted and made me cry, and Jace comforting her was a great moment. And I loved that they kept them being all in white for mourning and even though Jocelyn’s death is so unlike the books, I understand what they’re doing and I’m on board.

MIDTONE

Yin fen
being introduced here seems strange. I associate the drug with Jem from The Infernal Devices exclusively, so having it show up now is strange. However, I do like the idea of it—and the way they shot it, the immediate effect it had on her was cool—and having Isabelle use it to help cope with her shoulder and possibly deal with an addiction storyline for her could be interesting, as long as its handled well and doesn’t come off too cheesy.

LOWLIGHT

What’s with Aldertree?
I’m confused with him—what’s his deal? I know he’s part of the Clave and the Clave has issues but. What’s his motive? Is he a good guy? A bad guy? In between? Just a foil for the main characters plans? Does he want to sleep with Isabelle now because I definitely got a vibe during the yin fen scene? He’s just bothering me. He’s also good looking and has accent so he can stay, I’m just saying, what’s up, dude? Why?

Shadowhunters – Season 2, Episode 4: “Day of Wrath”

Shadowhunters – Season 2, Episode 4: “Day of Wrath”
Grade: B+

The fourth episode of Shadowhunters season two was good! I genuinely enjoyed the episode—it was the best of the season thus far. Maybe of the whole show—actually, by giving it a B+ it’s the highest grade I’ve given to the show for both seasons, so it’s the best of the whole show. In the episode, while Jace is locked up in the City of Bones awaiting his trial, a possession demon makes its way into the Insititute and puts all the Shadowhunters there in danger. As it kills three—including one shocking death (SPOILERS—Clary’s mother)—Aldertree tortures Raphael in order to find Camille, leading him, Simon, and Magnus to retrieve her and hand her over to the Clave.


HIGHLIGHTS

Dialogue
was so much better in this episode it was evident that this is the episode where the change in writers happened—and it did, because “Day of Wrath” was written by someone who hasn’t yet been credited for an episode. The difference was what made most of this episode not just tolerable but actually enjoyable.

The overall
story of the episode worked really well. The demon that possesses people getting into the Institute was interesting, all the characters in immediate danger and several dying—with an actual shocking death! This episode had all the pieces and arcs and emotion of a well-developed show.

MIDTONE

Jocelyn bites the dust
and I have to say, I’m not that upset over it. Jocelyn is kidnapped in the first book and remains in a coma until midway through the third (I think, it’s been a while). And after that, after giving all the information she needs to Clary about her brother, she sort of becomes…just there. She marries Luke, fights in some battles. That’s all I remember from Jocelyn. And of course it would be great to have had Jocelyn there until the end, but now that she’s done her part, and because I wasn’t the biggest fan of the actress playing her, I’m cool. It was a shocking moment, which would make it a highlight—but it’s also a huge change from the books, which would make it a lowlight. And since my feelings about it are meh, here it stays.

LOWLIGHTS

Izzy playing forensic scientist
was fun in the first season, another one of those strange changes that I just went, “Sure, why not?” in season one. But now that it’s been so long without her blue gloves and science talk, I laughed out lout when she returned. Just completely unnecessary and weird. A lot of how the Shadowhunters work and the Institute are just completely opposite of how I imagined in the books and it’s bothersome.

Camille
is just—couldn’t we have recast the part for the second season? Or just get rid of her all together? And how lame was that actual cell as a trap for her? Couldn’t have been more magical? I get that connection to earlier in the episode, Aldertree using similar metal cuffs to hold Raphael, but…laaame.

Shadowhunters – Season 2, Episode 3: “Parabatai Lost”

Shadowhunters – Season 2, Episode 3: “Parabatai Lost”
Grade: B

With the third episode of the season two, Shadowhunters is much better than the first season—though still miles away from being spectacular. In the episode, after Alec had used the stone to track his Parabatai bond with Jace to find him and slipped too far in the last episode, Magnus tries everything to save him while Jace tries everything to get back to the Institute to save him—but he can’t return, as he’s wanted by the new head of the Institute for being a “traitor” and working with Valentine. Meanwhile, Clary helps Simon find his worried mother who hasn’t heard from him in weeks since turning into a vampire. And Maia has arrived to the show, thwarting Jace’s plans to get home after she and the other werewolves believes that Jace had killed the werewolf Valentine kidnapped.

Overall, this episode was great. The dialogue and writing still needs work—and the direction the show is going in needs a good course correction—but this episode worked well enough with all the other pieces, like the acting and effects, that it is so far the best episode of the season. Most of all, Maia is awesome and nothing else really mattered to me.


HIGHLIGHTS

Maia
has arrived and she’s awesome. Her scenes were great, the actress playing her (Alisha Wainwright) is fantastic, and I’m really excited she’s finally a part of the show! Also, that scene of her chasing Jace down through that alley looked incredible, it was so cool.

The episode
was directed by Gregory Smith, an actor I’ve been a fan of for a while, and that was exciting to find out, especially after liking the episode so much. The effects are a thousand times better than they had been in the first season (that werewolf transformation was A+ though I think the glowing green eyes thing could’ve died in season one) and the show is looking better—the only real problem now is the writing.

Emotional
responses and acting were great in this episode! Izzy worried about her brother, Magnus trying everything to save Alec, Clary being there for Simon, Simon and his mother, and Jace returning and saving Alec—what a scene that was, so well-acted and emotional!

LOWLIGHTS

The writing,
oh the writing, is still upsetting me. It’s the only downfall. The characters making stupid decisions, the dialogue being ridiculous, and the overall direction of where the show is going is troubling. (Jace finding the dead werewolf on the beach with him and his first though after someone sees them is to say, “It’s not what it looks like.” He doesn’t pretend to be a fellow victim “Please help us! I’m also injured!” and go along with it??? It’s just ridiculous. And that’s not the only example. If it was to get Luke involved, it was unnecessary as Jace then goes to a bar run by werewolves by accident and meets Maia—which then involves Luke after the fight. The beach lines were completely unnecessary and just awful and stupid.) The show needs an overhaul. I don’t know when the new writers take over (or if that’s just a rumor I heard), but I hope it’s soon and I hope they have a better plan—and are better with dialogue.

Shadowhunters – Season 2, Episode 1: “This Guilty Blood”

Shadowhunters – Season 2, Episode 1: “This Guilty Blood”
Grade: B-

Season two of Shadowhunters has aired and I have mixed feelings. But I have more positive thoughts on the show than I did last season. I gave the premiere episode a B for three reasons: the look of the show has improved; the effects look incredible compared to last season; the acting is more solid. The writing is still not great and the differences from the books are still bothering me mostly because they seem to be changing things for no reason. However, I’m still holding out because I’ve heard the writers will be different (starting around episode four?), so we’re still working with the season one writers. This means: the decisions they are making right now are still going with season one and if they are planning to go along with the books more this season, there will need to be a transition period to do so. There is still time to change course to follow the books more closely. (But I also realize that they’re creating a TV show, which will have twenty episodes this season, and it will likely not follow the books perfectly, adding stories and such, however the way they’re going is drastically different and conflicting with plot lines in the books. Which is a problem.)

The episode follows Jace trying to escape/kill Valentine on the ship while Clary and the others at the Institute try to find him, though a new Institute leader comes in and halts the search in order to investigate what had happened. Afterward, the rescue mission turns into a man hunt for Jace as the new leader, Aldertree, declares him a traitor and wants him dead or alive. Clary and the others do their best to prevent it.

Overall the episode was good, mostly because of the improvements in comparison to last season, however the show still has its issues of subpar dialogue and weird changes in plot and rules of the magic that made much more sense in the books.


HIGHLIGHTS

The visual effects
had me screaming with joy. The fight scenes were great and no longer had those weird fast motion blurs, the seraph blades look more like blades now that light up and not like lightsabers, the portals look incredible and are no longer purple, and the vampires dying still look similar but are more well done. All around, visually the show looks much better.

Simon
is still a great character, the actor is amazing, and he usually has incredible lines (with the exception of this episode, which had few). In this episode, he had hands down, the best line of the show so far: when Simon and Clary are running to find Jocelyn by tracking her by cell phone, Simon says that they’re close, and Clary says “Then run faster!” and Simon replies with, “I’m a vampire. I’m running slow for you.”

LOWLIGHTS

Shapeshifting rune
still exists and it’s stupid and it’s causing so many plot holes. They should just pretend it never existed and move on and ignore continuity issues later because IT ALREADY HAS CONTINUITY ISSUES.

Dialogue
is still kind of awful and amateur sounding and cliche and obvious and annoying. Like, at times, worse than last season. Hoping in a few episodes when they change writers it will get way way way better because right now it’s one of the things keeping me from LOVING the show instead of just liking/tolerating it.

Shadowhunters – Season 1

Shadowhunters – Season 1
Grade Average: C+

After a less-than-great start, a rocky middle with good episodes and bad, Shadowhunters ended on a great episode with a finale that had everything I’d wanted for the show at the start. If it would have started on the same level of what the finale had, the show would have been incredible. I can’t even imagine what the show could’ve built up to if that had been the case. However, that wasn’t the case—the season just wasn’t the best. On average, it scored a C+ from me for the season as a whole (that’s averaging the grades I gave for individual episodes, which I think is a pretty fair outcome). But it consistently became better and better. With my expectations for the future of the show as a whole slightly lowered, and with the finale being genuinely the best episode so far, I’m excited for the second season.

There were several additions to the show that I liked, like the new character Lydia, though with her came a subplot that I didn’t care for—Alec’s engagement to her—but I did enjoy her as a character and hope she’s integrated more in the show, because the actress playing her is great. A lot changes from the book didn’t seem necessary, but a few of them came around in the end for the story they wanted to tell. All that happens in the books happens, just differently from what we know as readers. The route is different, but the end results of the storylines are the same, keeping it fresher for the show’s viewers. Although I wish they’d kept closer to the books, I understand some of the changes.

Mostly, I find it strange that they’re merging plot points from the first four books into the first season—Camille being introduced far later than in the show and Alec and Magnus’s discussion of their mortality/immortality because of her first appearance in The Mortal Instruments’ fourth book comes much sooner than needed, as they haven’t even started dating yet. It seems like they’re using the second book as more of a bridge, ending fairly close to what happens in the middle of the second book, on the ship with Valentine. One major change I feel was necessary, was bringing Jocelyn out of her coma early. It wouldn’t have made sense to keep her in that magical coma for almost three seasons if it had followed a season one = book one, season two = book two, season three = book three, etc. which makes the first season have much more of an arc.

What I predict for the second season is that it’s going to use the end of the second book as the midpoint of the season, while converging book three’s plot throughout and end the season with the end of the third book. I don’t know their long-game here, because in two seasons that would cover three books. If they were to continue that way, it would mean only a total of four seasons. Of course they have an entire mega-series to work with, but according to Cassandra Clare, they only have the rights to The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices, not being able to touch the rest. Does that mean she won’t sell them the rights if the show is going well? I don’t know. If that were to happen, how would they integrate The Bane Chronicles? Tales From Shadowhunter Academy? The Dark Artifices? The other two trilogies Clare has planned? I don’t know. I just hope they don’t chomp through too much plot and are left to create their own storylines after the sixth book’s story has been used up.


HIGHLIGHTS

Lydia Branwell’s
introduction had me weirded out at first. I thought an additional character wasn’t needed, but she quickly became interesting and the actress playing her, Stephanie Bennett, is great. I didn’t like the Alec and Lydia pairing or the entire wedding subplot at all, but it ended up well, and with Lydia being so kind and understanding to Alec made me like her even more. I hope she’s in future episodes.

Acting by Alberto Rosende
was consistently great and really carried the show in the first half of the season when it was at its worst. Simon is a highlight of the book series and I’m thrilled he’s just as much a highlight in the show.

Effects improvement
was definitely noticeable. I do wish the portals looked cooler (which didn’t change at all during the season) and that there was some consistency with runes, but for the most part, there was definite improvement (or I just got used to it, which might have happened). In the finale, Valentine communicating with the ring looked okay, but after taking the ring off, the effects of him disappearing looked great. Magnus’s magic looks great. But again, those portals are abysmal. The fight scenes also improved tremendously, the first few edited terribly to a point where you didn’t know what was going on.

Episodes ten and thirteen,
“This World Inverted” and the finale were the best of the season. “This World Inverted” was hilarious and worked really well, while the finale brought everything together and raised the bar for the show’s level of greatness.

LOWLIGHTS

Strange changes
that were just unnecessary and could potentially create plot holes for future events (though they could be working on that and doing it on purpose) and created straight up plot holes all season, just making decisions that didn’t make sense for what was already set up in a previous episode.

Tim Burton’s Through the Looking Glass
promotion during “This World Inverted” just felt weird. It made me uncomfortable. I loved that episode a whole lot, but it felt like a lot of it was written just to make that promotional deal? It very well could have been an “Oh! Your episode reminds us of our movie. Let’s do a fun promo!” but it just felt weird to include Alice in Wonderland into the actual episode.

Kat McNamara’s
acting was so inconsistent. I like her as Clary and she has some shining moments, and is fairly fine throughout, but there are moments that are so terrible I don’t understand how they left it in, how they didn’t have her do the scene again. I hope that improves going forward.

Magnus
is played really well by Harry Shum Jr, but I’m saddened that his character is being written too unlike book-Magnus for my liking. Magnus is my favorite character—a lot of people’s favorite character—and I’m disappointed in how they’re writing him, making him feel harsher (especially in the first few episodes) and not as fun as he is in the books. Though again, Harry Shum Jr. is doing great.

Valentine in every scene
in the first few episodes was a terrible decision. Instead of being afraid of him, we saw almost every moment of him being in Chernobyl—another odd choice—and it just didn’t work for the story. Less is more, and we got too much of him, making him showing up in the later half of the season less exciting.

Shadowhunters – Season 1, Episode 13: “Morning Star”

Shadowhunters – Season 1, Episode 13: “Morning Star”
Grade: B+

After a pretty bad start and a rocky road, Shadowhunters ends on a great episode. “Morning Star,” the finale episode of season one, was the best of the whole season. I genuinely enjoyed this episode and it made me really excited for the second season.

At the start of the finale, still during the aftermath of the not-wedding, Clary and Jace fight about his belief that Valentine raised him to be evil. Clary insists that they are the same, that are both of the same parents, and that Clary isn’t evil, so neither is he—but he wasn’t raised by Jocelyn like she was. Magnus and Alec find Lydia, who’s barely alive, and she tells them that it was Hodge who had attacked her and taken the Mortal Cup. After some reviewing the security footage, it’s confirmed to be Hodge and they’re crushed to know that someone they considered family would betray them all. Using the same footage, they see that the Forsaken that had attacked Hodge had been a way for him to get the ring to communicate with Valentine—Hodge not being able to leave the Institute and Valentine not being able to get in.

Hodge gives Valentine the Cup on a ship, who then starts to use the Cup to turn mundanes into a new breed of Shadowhunters, building an army. He then kicks Hodge to the curb, telling him that he’s fulfilled his usefulness. Jace goes after Hodge and finds him, the two getting into a pretty awesome duel. Jace slices off Hodge’s hand, but is stopped by Alec and Luke before he can kill Hodge. Jace takes the severed hand and takes off the ring, secretly talking to Valentine while Alec and Luke capture Hodge, planning to bring him in to the Clave in Idris. But after Luke and Alec talk about Jace’s behavior, acting strangely since learning his true parentage, Jace and Hodge disappear. Jace tortures Hodge to know where Valentine is, but when they get to the docks where the ship had been, it’s gone. Jace again uses the ring to talk to Valentine, learning that he’s going after Clary and the others, who have been trying to get the Book of the White.

At the Hotel Dumort, Clary, Simon, and Isabelle attempt to see Camille to get the Book of the White to wake Jocelyn, but Raphael tells them no. Isabelle distracts Raphael so that Simon and Clary can get to Camille’s coffin, freeing her, but Camille wants something for the Book of the White—apparently having received it from Dot before her death—and asks Simon to pardon her, signing a document saying that he asked to be turned into a vampire. They refuse, but Camille says she can either take them to the Book at her apartment for the pardon or they can chain her back up and she’ll stay right where she is in her coffin. Simon agrees to it. They narrowly escape Raphael and the vampires—who decide to kill them all for freeing Camille—but Isabelle knocks down a wall, creating a barrier of sunlight to let them escape.

They need Magnus to draw up the document for them, going to his apartment. Magnus and Camille, having not seen each other in 138 years, are clearly not thrilled to see each other. While he draws up the document, Camille kisses Magnus after she finds out about Alec—who happens to walk in at that moment with Isabelle. Alec tells Clary about Valentine having the Cup and Jace going after him. Clary wants to go after him, but waking Jocelyn is the key to defeating Valentine, so they stay on mission to get the Book. Simon won’t sign the document until they’re at Camille’s apartment. Once arriving there in her library, he signs only to have her tell them that she has no idea where the Book is, only that Dot must have hidden it somewhere in her apartment. She takes off, leaving them to search for the Book in her enormous apartment.

Eventually, Clary finds a cookbook and recognizes it from her mother’s collection. Inside, half the bookmark is torn away and Clary puts the pieces together, making the Book of the White appear. But as soon as they go to leave with it, Valentine shows up through a portal in Camille’s apartment. Jace rushes in to help, but Valentine, holding everyone hostage, says he wants Jace to go with him and join him, or he’ll kill the others. Jace goes with Valentine to save them, going through the portal, leaving Clary devastated. They all return to the Institute, Simon comforts Clary and Alec and Magnus discuss Camille and what she’d said about Magnus never aging and that Alec will eventually die.

Magnus uses the Book of the White to wake Jocelyn, who is finally reunited with Clary. Valentine, with Jace, gives a speech to his new Shadowhunter army on the ship setting out to sea.

Overall, I had very few complaints about the episode. It was a great finale for the season, taking in moments that I questioned in earlier episodes and making it clear that they’d had a plan for small decisions to change the story—though still, some were unneeded—and it all came together. The effects are improving, the chemistry between actors is improving, and for the most part, the show is getting better—which is exactly what I was hoping for. And now that we have a confirmed season two, I have a lot of faith that the rest of the show will be great.


HIGHLIGHTS

A solid story
for this episode really worked. While watching the finale, it felt like I was watching the book unfold (even though they’re definitely spreading the first three—even some of the fourth—book across the first season) and I was thrilled. Everyone had a job to do, the episode just worked and had a perfect ending for setting up the next season.

Camille
wasn’t as annoying in this episode, even if I think it’s strange to have her a part of the show so soon, her being such a large part of what happened in this episode worked for me. (Though, having her here so early brings Alec and Magnus’s discussion about mortality and their relationship feel way way way too early. They’ve even stated that they haven’t been on their first date yet. It’s been a few hours since Alec broke off his wedding to be with him only after a couple of drinks together. It just feels like adding Camille is making their relationship feel forced and rushed for no reason. They don’t even go public with dating each other until the third book. It feels too soon and that’s directly because of Camille’s involvement in the story this soon.)

LOWLIGHTS

Kat McNamara
is great as Clary for the most part, but her acting is pretty inconsistent. In the first episode, she had a moment when returning to her loft to find it trashed and burned. She was soaking wet and scared and she started to breakdown. It was a fairly decent emotional scene. But in the finale, she was devastated to see Jace go with Valentine, but her crying felt so forced and terrible, the complete opposite of what I knew she’s capable of doing. I do like her as Clary throughout, but sometimes her acting just isn’t there. I hope that improves, but now that an entire season has gone by, I’m not sure it will.

Shadowhunters – Season 1, Episode 12: “Malec”

Shadowhunters – Season 1, Episode 12: “Malec”
Grade: B

The penultimate episode of the first season of Shadowhunters did a great job of blending all the storylines and ending some things that I had an issue with, making my feelings do a 180 from the previous episode. I have to say, I enjoyed episode twelve, “Malec,” quite a lot, mostly because of the titular romantic pairing of Alec and Magnus (my favorite couple in the books) and the introduction—and quick demise—of Ragnor Fell.

At the start of the episode, the gang is looking for warlocks who are more powerful than Magnus to have whomever had placed Jocelyn in such a magical coma to reverse it—as only a powerful warlock, like Magnus, could’ve done it. Meanwhile, Isabelle is busy planning Alec and Lydia’s wedding, and trying to put together a bachelor party for her brother. Alec and Magnus have another fight over the wedding, Magnus wanting him to call it off—and when Alec becomes upset, he tells Alec that he won’t bring it up again.

The warlock that had put Jocelyn in the coma was Ragnor Fell—an un-green friend of Magnus’s. Together, he, Clary, and Jace set off to find him in an English countryside, and are confronted with a barrier of green magical fire to get to him. (I was reminded that this scene takes place in City of Glass, the third book in the series, with other characters, and I’m concerned they’re doing too much in the first season. However, I feel like they’re trying to condense Jocelyn’s coma storyline so that she’s not in it for as long as she is in the books, which might be a good thing.) Clary makes it through separately than Magnus and Jace, and she finds Ragnor inside a painting, pulling him out—a great moment I enjoyed. He agrees to help after she offers him anything, to which he requests the Book of the White, a spell book that he once had and needs to have in order to take Jocelyn out of the coma. But before he can retrieve what he’d need to find it, a demon that had followed them kills Ragnor in much to quick a scene. Magnus stays behind to find what they need and to care for his dead friend.

Jace and Clary, who’ve fight throughout the episode about their relation to each other, return and set out to find whomever had betrayed them from inside the Institute and sent the demon to Ragnor’s. Jace and Clary assume it’s Lydia and Clary goes to confront her—though it’s later revealed to have been Hodge (which I’m glad they had his betrayal still in there, even though it was in a different part of the story). Lydia tells Clary that if she’d been working for Valentine, she would’ve given him the Cup already and after discussing her wedding with Alec, she tells Clary that she knows about Alec’s feelings for Magnus, but wants to marry him because of his honorable ways and knows that he’ll care for her anyway.

Isabelle asks Simon about how a bachelor party works while he’s picking out suits for the wedding—Clary having asked him to go with her—and he tells her that it’s a party for best friends to commemorate their friendship, giving Isabelle and idea to get Alec and Jace talking again. She invites only Jace and closes them in a room together, having told Jace that Alec wanted to talk. They do, forgiving each other, and Jace agrees to be his best friend. Alec comforts him about Clary, knowing all too well that he has been in love with Jace, his adoptive brother, all along.

Before the wedding, Magnus grieves his friend and thinks about his life, talking to Ragnor whom he sees in his apartment. He arrives during Alec and Lydia’s wedding—Isabelle having invited him, knowing Alec and Magnus’s feelings for each other—standing in the aisle. Alec’s mother Maryse is appalled, telling him to leave, but Magnus says that he’ll only leave if Alec tells him to. Alec, struggling to decide, says that he’s sorry to Lydia, who’s understanding and incredible about it, letting him go. Alec goes to Magnus and they kiss in front of everyone. (I may have screamed with delight, no big deal. To be honest, if the episode had only been this scene alone, it would have received an A.)

Afterward, Maryse is furious with Alec, while Robert is more kind, not understanding why their son would be with a man who’s a Downworlder. Magnus had also come to show them all the items he’d taken from Ragnor’s to find the Book of the White. Clary recognizes the bookmark from the alternate dimension, the book Magnus had shown her had been the Book of the White. Magnus tracks the owner using the bookmark and learns that it’s Camille, locked up in the Hotel Dumort. Later, Clary and Jace—who have much better chemistry as siblings than being forced to act like they love each other in episode two—talk about Jocelyn and Clary shows him the box she’d kept with JC on it, proving to Jace that Jocelyn didn’t abandon him, but thought her son was dead. Jace recognizes that JC stands for Jonathan Christopher, his name. He’s still struggling with it all, believing that as Michael Wayland, Valentine has raised him to be evil.

Lydia goes to take the Cup but someone—Hodge—attacks her and takes it. Luke let’s Hodge watch over Jocelyn, giving him a break, and he immediately uses a ring to communicate with Valentine, telling him that he has the Cup and will trade it with him for Hodge’s Circle rune to be gone—Valentine agrees to the deal.


HIGHLIGHTS

Ragnor Fell
is a great character, though he’s not really in the books, (he’s featured more in the Bane Chronicles) and he was portrayed well, here. Though he’s not green like he is in the book-world, the actor playing him with the horns did an incredible job. My only issue was his death, which seemed rushed and gave little time for any emotion for the audience or even his friend Magnus to feel for him. It just felt too quick, though the scenes with Magnus talking to him in his head helped give us more time with him, which helped that.

Malec
has finally happened, and I’m more than thrilled. Since reading the books (the first three in my sophomore year of high school, almost seven years ago) Malec has been incredibly important to me. Finally having them together is great, even though I wish their relationship would have organically formed like in the books instead of in a ultimatum during the wedding, I’m glad it finally happened and they can start dating properly.

Lydia and the end of the wedding,
were both things that I enjoyed. Though I loved Lydia as a character and hope she stays as a recurring character throughout the show (if Hodge didn’t kill her in this episode), I didn’t like the entire storyline with the wedding, but now that it’s over, I guess it wasn’t that bad. Either way, I loved that Lydia showed kindness to Alec and let him go, being completely understanding—I almost wanted Alec to choose her for that, since Magnus had been so obnoxious trying to get Alec to end the wedding…almost.

Hodge’s betrayal
in this episode is different from in the book. He originally takes the Cup from Clary immediately after she retrieves it from the tarot card and there’s the whole bird scene and Valentine showing up—I really loved that scene in the book because I didn’t expect it, and I was disappointed that wasn’t in the previous episode leading up to Renwick’s. However, having his betrayal be shown here, attacking Lydia for the Cup, works for the show’s version of the story and I can’t wait for the finale.

Overall story direction
is starting to work for me. I know it’s different from the book, and sometimes that’s okay. It just depends on where they are planning to head next. Since they’re using storylines from the first three books all over the place, it seems like a bit of a mess, but I’m starting to get the big picture here in this episode. I’m hoping the finale is incredible and will lead to a great season two. Though I’m a little worried about what the finale will have to offer, since the end of the book is the reveal that Clary and Jace are siblings, and the showdown with Valentine, and I’m not sure what they’re planning for a reveal or some twist to make the finale more intense.

LOWLIGHTS

The death of Ragnor Fell
felt too quick. I know he wasn’t a character that was even in the books much, only mentioned character in the main series and made an appearance in the Infernal Devices book Clockwork Prince, but they easily could’ve given him some more time within the series. But because of the direction they’re going, I understand. Even still, his death was quick, and even the scene felt rushed.

(NOTE: If I get anything wrong from the books, forgive me. It’s been a while since I last read them.)

Shadowhunters – Season 1, Episode 11: “Blood Calls to Blood”

Shadowhunters – Season 1, Episode 11: “Blood Calls to Blood”
Grade: C+

I have conflicted feelings about the eleventh episode of Shadowhunters. This episode wasn’t terrible for the show, but as a fan of the books, I didn’t really like the direction they went in. I’m sort of over it now, but while watching I was getting frustrated. Mostly the Michael Wayland/Valentine “reveal” and changes to the book. And the big reveal, which I’ve been waiting for, that Jace and Clary are actually siblings felt rushed and misplaced. I think a ten episode season would have worked better. They could have took out an episode and condensed a few, leaving out some made up storylines for the show, and it would have been paced perfectly. Now with the end of the book’s twist revealed in the third-to-last episode? Didn’t work for me.

In the previous episode, Jace and Clary find Michael Wayland, Jace’s thought-to-be-dead father. Because Jace’s still been injured by the demon that attacked them, he’s dying. Michael helps Clary get him to the werewolves—because they can’t return to the Institute and Magnus isn’t an option for no apparent reason—and the need blood. While Clary and Simon go to the Hotel Dumort for blood, Jace and his father reconnect. But something is off, and Clary knows it. And the audience knows it. Because it’s obviously Valentine. Anyway, Simon stays at the Hotel Dumort and Clary gives the blood to Jace, who survives. Michael, being captured by Valentine, supposedly, knows that Valentine mentioned Renwick’s, an abandoned hospital in New York on an island with Jocelyn, and since they can’t track over water, it makes sense why they couldn’t find her. Clary, Jace, Luke, and Michael go to Renwick’s, but it’s swarmed with demons and Valentine’s cohorts. Clary can command them to leave with the Cup, but that’s what Valentine would want—if she takes it out of the tarot card, he can take it from her.

Clary finds Jocelyn in a large room, and once Jace and Valentine—I mean Michael Wayland—run in, they’re surrounded by demons. Clary goes to use the Cup, but it doesn’t work. Michael says that he’ll try, he commands them to attack Jace and Clary, revealing himself to be Valentine, but it doesn’t work for him either. Clary then tells the demons to leave, revealing that she has the real Cup and that she gave Valentine a “World’s Best Dad” mug with a glamor. He goes to attack for the Cup, but Jace stops him and attempts to kill him but Valentine reveals that he’s his son, too, and Clary is his sister. Jace let’s him go and Valentine leaves through a portal.

Back at the Institute, Isabelle’s trial happens once Inquisitor Imogen Herondale arrives. Alec asks Magnus to defend Isabelle in the trial and he agrees for a price: Alec, or his bow and quiver, something precious to him. He agrees. Isabelle gives a speech during her trial, defending herself, then Lydia does the same, withdrawing the charges. After the excitement of winning, Inquisitor Herondale tells them that it doesn’t matter: they have twenty four hours to bring them the Cup or Isabelle will be exiled, stripped of runes forever. Fortunately, Clary and Jace return with the Cup at the Institute with Jocelyn and give Lydia the Cup, freeing Isabelle. Magnus takes the bow and quiver from Alec, but after talking to him, gives it back only wanting to prove a point that he shouldn’t marry Lydia. Luke tells Simon that Jace and Clary are brother and sister, giving him hope that he can be with Clary. Jace, extremely distraught, and Clary don’t speak about what had happened.

For the most part, it wasn’t a terrible episode. But I can’t take anymore of the writing, it’s just driving me insane. They’re doing things because it’s convenient for an individual episode, even if it doesn’t make sense within the books, or even the rest of the show for that matter, instead of following what has already been laid out for them in a series of six books. It’s not a hard thing to do. I’m more annoyed with changes than additions. Lydia Branwell? Cool, I like her. Adding a subplot of Alec needing to marry Lydia, having him struggle with choosing his happiness/sexuality over family? Into it, sure. Don’t love it, but sure. Isabelle being arrested for saving Meliorn? That’s fine, giving something for everyone to do while the rest of the plot moves forward with Jace and Clary. But small changes that cause plot holes and complications, forcing them to contradict what they’ve already done in a previous episodes? It’s not needed. It’s just annoying. Following closer to the book, making the season three episodes shorter, would’ve been better. If they’d cut an episode and didn’t drag out Alec and Lydia’s wedding/Malec getting together, “This World Inverted” and “Blood Calls to Blood” could’ve been the last two episodes and it would’ve been a fine finale.


HIGHLIGHTS

Inquisitor Herondale
is a great character, and I liked her in the books, and am thrilled with the actress they chose for her.

LOWLIGHTS

If they’d done a better job,
I would’ve liked the Michael Wayland set up. It worked for the show, but I knew the entire time it was Valentine. If they’d done it slightly differently, I would have enjoyed it more. It was a nice twist for fans of the books, keeping it interesting for the show, but not changing too much. I just hope it doesn’t screw anything up for the future.