I know I am a bit behind but I was thinking last night and wondered “Why on Earth have I not been blogging about Shadowhunters on my book blog.” So I decided to do just that. I am currently rewatching the series and taking notes on things I originally noticed and some that I missed the first time I watched! This is my reaction and opinions about the first two episodes of Shadowhunters.
These reviews contain spoilers for the Shadowhunters TV show.
Episode 1: The Mortal Cup
This first episode is very awkward all around. They were setting up the story and trying to make sure viewers could understand what was going on, but it happened awkwardly (I don’t know how else to put it). There have been a few major changes to the characters and setting like that the institute is very high-tech and Luke is a high-profile NYPD detective instead of a deadbeat with a run down independent bookstore. I actually don’t hate the pop-like music that comes in here and there, it kind of gives a “Vampire Diaries” type of vibe which I think works well enough for Shadowhunters. I’d like for the series to be a little less serious all the time, but I can see that they are going for a serious attitude based on the severe nature of what happens in the storyline.
Side note: The most cringe worthy part of this show is the dramatic commercial cuts because it makes the show very juvenile and ABC Family-like. I hate when a show cuts to commercial after an over dramatic scream or shocking twist. (This is a recurring thing throughout the entire series so I’ll try not to say it in every review) The special effects are also quite bad so I’ll try not to complain about them too much either.
I liked that at the start of the episode Clary is applying to art school because normally the story would take place during the summer in between years of high school. So I like that school is being included in some way to represent that they are young and aren’t just teens living out in the world with no educational system whatsoever. I’m not sure how I feel about the fact that Jocelyn just decided to give Clary the stele without any explanation at all. I feel like there needed to be a discussion and then the gift, but whatever. I know that some people have an issue with the demons disintegrating into sparks instead of spraying ichor and stuff, but I feel like it looks okay and is done well enough for the television style and budget. It did kind of mess up the fact that Clary supposedly had to change her clothes at the institute because there was “demon blood” on her clothes, but we saw no demons bleeding. One special effect I think is used very well in this episode is the portal. This portal looks much better than the weird water-behind-a-door portal in the Mortal Instruments movie (which shall not be spoken of again. I promise). I liked that, at least from a readers’ standpoint, I could tell they made an effort to show that the portal takes you to the last place you thought of. So when Dot asks Clary where Luke is and Clary said he was at the police station, she was taken to the police station.
Character-wise I think we’re doing okay. If I had blogged through the casting announcements, I’d have a whole post about why some of the casting is off, but at this point, I’m hoping it will all work out and be justified. Izzy has an interest in science that I didn’t see coming. The high-tech institute is a different take on things and Izzy seems to enjoy the science lab and dissecting things which I just never imagined her doing before. I like that she has some intellectual substance to her, rather than just being a pretty face who gets her way because she has a pretty face. What I didn’t understand at all was why Izzy was wearing a blonde wig while they were tracking the demons at Pandemonium. No one else was wearing a disguise, yet Izzy appears to have a wig collection for just that, it’s not like she doesn’t have beautiful long hair. The only other character that even after watching 9 episodes I don’t quite like yet is Jace. Jace is my absolute favorite character in the books, but I feel like the script and Dom’s delivery of the lines are just not Jace-like at all. I’m not sure is it’s Dom or if the director wants that sharp, witless type of delivery— whatever it is, it isn’t working. Maureen is an interesting choice because she’s supposed to be Simon’s 13-year-old fangirl, but they’be turned her into his friend and bandmate who is in love with him and is also the same age as Simon and Clary. I’m interested to see how they change or keep the storyline with them because of the severe changes being made. Simon’s lines are the best so far because he represents the humor of book Simon with lines like “Remember, your fake ID sucks” when Clary runs into Pandemonium after Jace. I love Simon’s sense of humor and I love that it is part of the show.
Things I Missed Before (this section will only be around as long as I am rewatching since I didn’t pay too much attention the first time around)
I forgot that episode 1 has a flashback. Most of the flashbacks (let’s be real, all the flashbacks in future episodes) are pretty cringeworthy, but I think this one was actually okay. Jocelyn was the right actress and it provided worthy backstory of how Jocelyn hid the shadow world from Clary for 18 years.
I like where the story is headed. They included a little bit about Jonathan Christopher and alluded to the fact that Jocelyn thought Valentine had been dead for 18 years so I think we could be headed in the right direction. One thing I would love to know though is why the writers decided to change Valentine’s headquarters to Chernobyl instead of an abandoned building somewhere near Manhatten. Just something to wonder about I suppose.
Favorite Quote From the Episode
Clary: You also follow Simon?
Jocelyn: He only has 92 followers. He needs the retweets.”
Episode 2: The Descent Into Hell Isn’t Easy
Hodge is featured heavily in this episode and his casting was one I found a bit odd, then I realized that it shouldn’t be that way. I always imagined Hodge Starkweather as an old man, but why? Was it part of his description in the book? Or is it because they cast an older man to originally play him in the movie (sorry I know I said I wouldn’t). I think it was because of the latter because I realized that Hodge wouldn’t logically be any older than Valentine, Jocelyn, Luke, Maryse, or anyone else from the circle because they’re all in their mid-forties or so. This revelation was welcomed in my brain so I have now come to term with the casting.
Moving on, I loved that Jace had a jokey line about Izzy’s cooking being more dangerous to Simon than a rune. These are the type of Jace lines that I want more of!
The introduction to the City of Bones is great. I think the Silent brothers are pretty well represented as far as book descriptions go. What I’m unsure about is the entrance to the Silent City itself. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought the entrance was in a cemetery, not some weird unkempt grassy field under a bridge with trashcan fires. I get that the trashcan fires were there for convenience to light the pathway and the actors, but shouldn’t there be someone around who’s using the fires like a couple of homeless people or something. I don’t know, something about that set up just really didn’t work for me. Since Simon would die upon entering the Silent City, he’s left in the care of Izzy and Alec while Jace goes in with Clary. Izzy tries to hit on Simon by asking to hear his music but then leaves Simon n the band van when she hears a mysterious noise. Her biggest mistake was obviously leaving him in the van! What kind of protection does a junky old van hold against any kind of creature of the night? Absolutely none. Beside the point the kidnapper seemed to already be in the van anyways. I just feel like it was the most vulnerable place she could have left him. He would have stood a better chance if she had taken him with her to investigate, which I feel like book Izzy would have done. So the vamps kidnap Simon and Clary finds out that Valentine is her father. They make a big deal out of it all, the end.
Things I Missed
I definitely was not paying attention last time I watched because I completely missed the scene where Luke goes into the loft and finds the tarot cards so he can take them to hide at the police station. I was confused as to how he got them, but now I see. Izzy also mentions in this episode that Jace is the fastest and strongest shadowhunter out there, but I’m really not seeing any difference between his abilities and Izzy’s or Alec’s. If he has special qualities they should probably be more noticeable, like how in the books Jace would just jump out of a fifth-story window and land gracefully or catch a ledge with barely any effort necessary.
- Izzy’s lipstick in this episode is killing it. I want that shade!
Favorite Quote(s) From This Episode
Simon: I was born afraid
Simon: I’ve seen every horror movie ever made and the funny best friend who gets left behind—dead man.”
Bonus: Least Favorite Quote
Jace: It’s a witch light, to remind us that light can be found even in the darkest of places.” Thanks, Dumbledore, I didn’t know you were a headmaster at Hogwarts and a part of the shadowhunter world. I’m just wondering if the writers did this on purpose (there has been some controversy in the past that Cassie stole ideas from Harry Potter, which I don’t think is very true) or if this was a subconscious choice, but surely someone noticed before it went into the final script.
Stay tuned for reviews on episodes 3 & 4 soon!