I have to start this post out with the minor caveat that I have never read the Mortal Instruments books or any of its linked series. I have tried to start City of Bones at least five times (I own the series in audio, print, and Kindle book; I blew the money in hopes that I’d get into it more if I tried it in a different format) and it just turns into a great big snoozefest. So, I gave up on it a while ago. I think it’s her age (I don’t generally read YA), the story just doesn’t grab me.*
A few years ago, I saw the movie and loved it. I mean, I wasn’t crazy about all of the casting, but the story itself was pretty solid. I thought Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower were a good match together, but not knowing the series, leaving off with their weird I don’t care that we’re siblings vibe (although the audience knew it was a lie, THEY didn’t. Bleck! lol), the ending was a little vomit worthy. But I liked the movie as a whole.
Then I saw the first couple episodes of the TV series Shadowhunters. People, you could hear my eyes roll on the other side of the globe. The cheese factor was BAD. I mean, follow the paper trail and at the end of the day, it is a product of a mouse wearing shorts, so there is a certain level of family friendly content required by the top brass. I didn’t know it was a Disney product at the time, but it made sense in hindsight. Anyway, I stopped there and didn’t think about it again until I was horrendously sick a few weeks ago. I’d just finished watching The Vampire Diaries for the billionth time through (I had a REAL, work-related reason this time!!! Nightshade!!! So there!) and I was in search of something new to watch. From there, I don’t even know how I ended up on Shadowhunters given my past experience with the show, but I tried it again. Once you get through the first few episodes, the cast begins to find their groove and things come together. Judging my the special effects change, their budget was also increased. lol
And now I fully understand how people end up in cults.
People, I drank the Shadowhunter Kool-Aid.
I’ve been sucked in and no amount of logical reasoning will get me to walk away now.
If you haven’t watched the show yet, be warned that this post is FULL of spoilers. MAJOR SPOILERS. Like, I’m telling you right now, I am going to COMPLETELY BLOW the season 2 finale in the first few paragraphs, so if you have not watched yet, STOP READING OR YOU’RE GOING TO HATE ME. And I don’t want you to hate me.
*As a side note, since watching the series, I have tried starting the books again and achieved the same result. It just doesn’t grab me. *shrug*
Also, I have no clue how much of this post is spoilers for the books.
As I mentioned, the show is Disney owned. It’s on Freeform, a channel that appears to be trying to find a home somewhere in the neighborhood of The CW’s programming audience. If you read the books, I know one major difference is they open with Clary at 15 years old. This show opens up with Clary turning 18. She’s an adult which means content can be more adult without those pesky social justice warriors getting on them about statutory rape. It has fade-to-black sex in that you never actually see anyone bone, but they let you know that peeps are doing the no pants dance. Lots of them. Boning all over the place.
As a product of Disney, it features a cast who all reek of the genetically modified pool of pageant ready smiles you’re used to seeing on Disney programming…
…but everyone on this show is legitimately talented. And big shocker, several have music out or an album about to drop. lol
I do admit they have their less than stellar moments, but I have a theory that it’s just growing pains (both for the actors and in the writer’s room) because those moments become less and less frequent as the show progresses. In the right situation and circumstances (we’ll talk about some of them later), everyone on the show has the ability to reduce you to a sobbing mess. Well, they do with me anyway.
The cheese factor I mentioned are moments of Captain Obvious lines (just straight exposition), poorly delivered lines, or flat, lifeless scenes that seem forced. There were moments in the first few episodes where I thought that I would NEVER be sold on these characters, but something clicked. I don’t know if they switched up the writers or just came to the realization that you can’t make a Disney show sexy, but there was a visible shift about five episodes in where they decided to go balls to the wall and abandoned the Disney feel all together. It was an incredibly smart move.
The show takes place in modern-day New York City. Shadowhunters (humans imbued with angelic powers) are a warrioresque race that keeps the Downworlders (those with demon blood) in line. They operate under the direction of The Clave, a Shadowhunter-run organization that isn’t altogether trustworthy.
Trained from childhood, Shadowhunters are literally born to fight demons. Their world is this magic soaked collision between the old ways (they don’t use guns instead opting for swords, knives, and other various weapons also imbued with angelic power) and the new (the NY Institute, the Manhattan-based extension of The Clave, is glamoured to look like a dilapidated church, but is actually a teched out command center).
The Downworld consists of warlocks, vampires, werewolves, and seelies (the seelies actually have a mixture of demon and angel blood and are the oldest of the Downworld races). The show carries a deep anti-racism message wrapped up in the guise of fantasy world problems.
The main story centers around Clary, a chick who, up until all hell breaks loose on her 18th birthday, has no idea that she’s part of the supernatural world (or that it even exists). Her mom gets snatched, and she’s pulled into a crazy series of events ultimately leading to the discovery of who she really is.
Clary is inadvertently the catalyst for a Downworld revolution of sorts and (again with the anti-racism message) pushes to unify the Downworld races because she’s got people she cares about in every faction.
Clary Fray……I mean Fairchild…..
Portrayed by Katherine McNamara
I was a little bummed at first when I started watching this show because as someone who liked Lily Collins in the role, the switch to Katherine McNamara felt wrong. However, I quickly grew to like her different take on the character. McNamara’s version of Clary is a much warmer person and she throws around a lot more sass than Collins did.
Her bubbly demeanor in the opening of episode one made me think that I would want to stuff her in a locker, but that shifts quickly. As soon as she meets the Shadowhunters, shit goes sideways, and although she has no idea what she’s doing at first, she ends up turning into quite the little bad ass.
I think my favorite of moment of hers is actually in the tail end of the season two finale. When she finally slams a knife into Valentine’s gut, then again, again, and again. There isn’t a hint of fear anywhere on her face, just pure, unadulterated rage. And the look of shock in his eyes….omg.
Such a fantastic moment, although I was a teency bit sad to see Valentine go. He was a bad, crazy mofo but a lot of fun for a villain.
Portrayed by Alberto Rosende
I was fully prepared to dislike Simon. I have no clue who the actor was in the movie but he was bad and whiny. I walked away from that flick with zero hope that the character would survive. lol
Alberto Rosende, on the other hand, is an entirely different story. He’s a wonderful actor and he made me absolutely fall in love with the character. I can’t help but cheer him on. Simon is sweet and kind and caring and loyal and neeeeeeeeeeeeeerdy. I love his perfectly placed nerd culture references that fall flat because the Shadowhunters have no freaky-deaky clue what he’s talking about. You just want to hug him and say, “It’s okay, buddy. I got the joke and that shit was funny.” lol
He struggles a bit with becoming a Downworlder, never really fitting in, but ends up finding his own unique groove in his new life. I admit, I didn’t love him and Clary together, but my heart BROKE for him when he and Clary split. It was awful to watch him go through that, but I have high hopes for him and Izzy someday. I see lots of Simon/Izzy shipping online, so either they’re also a fan wish list favorite or it’s actually coming. Either way, I know I’m not the only one who sees it so I have high hopes. lol
Just look at how adorable he is! Dorky little nerdpire. I feel like Simon should have a Funko Pop Figure….
Rosende’s comedic timing is brilliant. He’s one of the funniest characters on the show, but you have to pay attention to the little comments he slides in. He has some really great lines. lol
Rosende makes you really care about the character. He’s the most unlikely survivor and yet he, like Clary, ends up kind of bringing the Downworld together by building a bridge (albeit rickety) between the werewolves and the vampires. I can’t wait to see where this character’s story goes.
On a musical note (see what I did there?), Rosende is one of the show’s musicians. It’s not my particular taste in music, but I can’t deny that the kid is good. Maybe if he sang metal, it would be more up my alley, but it’s pop. In S02E13, he sings his song Fragile World and although it isn’t my taste, it’s got that magic formula that firmly lodges the musical nugget in your brain and you cant get rid of that shit for HOURS.
Jace Wayland…..I mean Morgenstern……I mean Herondale…..
Portrayed by Dominic Sherwood
Ladies and germs, meet Jace. Jace is about 97.3% of the reason I watch. Okay, that’s not true, but loooooooooooook at how pretty that man is!!! Jeebus…. Now, I’m not usually one for blondes, but dayum….
Jace is the typical alpha male with every frikkin right to feel that way. Again. Look at him. lol In addition to being a smokin’ hot piece of fuckberry pie, he’s also arguably the best Shadowhunters in existence thanks to Valentine playing mad scientist with him while in utero. Lucky for him, he was the recipient of angel blood instead of the demon blood his experimental counterpart received (that one has anger issues akin to that of the Hulk and looks like he suffered a Tijuana chemical peel).
When we meet Jace, he’s sort of on autopilot emotionally. There’s a great quote on the show (might be in the books too, if so, kudos to the author) that Jace has kind of built his life around:
To love is to destroy,
to be loved is to be the one destroyed.
Hot, right? lol Of course, for the sake of romantic story lines, that wont do. Enter Clary. Throughout the first two seasons, she breaks through all that crapola and starts to turn him into a ball of mushy gushy man feelings. Believe it or not, you see this dude cry a LOT throughout the show.
The last name thing gets a bit confusing. We meet him as Wayland, Valentine lies to him and it gets switched to Morgenstern, then he finds out Valentine was lying on top of lying because he’s actually a Herondale. I still think of him as Jace Wayland. lol
(That one is Jena’s favorite gif ever because it looks like he’s taking off his pants. #noshameinmygame #incomingtonguebath)
Yes, yes, yes. Just a whole bunch of yes. I love them together. I spotted one plot hole that if the characters had stopped and thought for half a second, they would have known the sibling thing was a lie all along, but we will get to that later. In the meantime, I dig these two together because she needs her feathers ruffled a bit and he’s kind of the perfect guy to do it. He breaks rules. He acts and begs forgiveness later. He doesn’t give her the chance to question her instincts, instead encouraging her to listen to them, to trust that she was born to be a Shadowhunter.
Plus, they’re hot together. lol
I will say, now that they are together, I hope that we’re beyond the awkwardness between the two. That may have been intentional given the circumstances, but we haven’t really seen them together as a pair yet. With the angelic connection they share, I’m excited to see what they’re able to do together.
Isabelle ‘Izzy’ Lightwood
Portrayed by Emeraude Toubia
Izzy Lightwood is GANGSTA! lol Seriously, she’s awesome. I want to be Izzy. I think I may have a bit of a lady boner for her, too. I would totally be her girlfriend and I’m not into girls. lol
Izzy is a Shadowhunter, sister to Alec and Jace (adoptive). She’s got just as much brains as beauty, not just kicking ass in the literal sense but also as a forensic pathologist. Which, yeah okay, is a bit gross, but she’s got a big beautiful brain and that’s my point. She may wield her sexuality like a weapon, but that’s not all there is to her. She’s a teeny tiny package in giant heels but I wouldn’t want her pissed at me.
This next scene is one of the ones that is ruined by The Cheese. Well, not ruined, but it sticks out like a sore thumb and drives me bananas.
Okay, to start, I am currently ADDICTED to the song featured in this clip. It’s Straight Shooter by Skylar Grey. LOVE. I have a Shadowhunters playlist down below. It’s in there. 🙂
Anyway, after a pretty well choreographed and perfectly scored sparring session, they start talking about the Institute’s upcoming mission to the Iron Sisters. Throughout the whole show, they make a big deal about how Izzy considers Jace a brother. They’re tight. They’ve trained together their whole lives. They know everything about each other.
Then why the fuck would he need to ask her, “You always wanted to be an Iron Sister when you were a kid, huh?” ??????? He would know that. It was to set up the line, “Yeah, until I realized I’d have to swear off boys.” I get why they were trying to get to that line (it speaks volumes to who Izzy is) but it makes no sense that he would need to ask her that. It’s an OBVIOUS set up. The writing could be tighter in moments like these. He could have just simply said, “You always wanted to be an Iron Sister.” A statement of fact, dangling the mission like a carrot with the attitude like why wouldn’t you want to go? Then have her counter with the line about swearing off boys. It still works. If that had been a statement instead of a question, POOF! No cheese! Instead, that one line takes a good solid scene and jams a carrot in its nostril. That being said, I maintain theory that it’s just growing pains and I’m sticking with it. Anyway, here’s the scene:
Portrayed by Matthew Daddario
I disliked this character in the movie (I didn’t feel bad for him, I just felt he was an asshole) and Mr. Daddario sold me on him. He still comes off as a little uptight, but he’s always aiming for what he thinks is right.
The one word that comes to mind when I think of Alec is integrity. Here’s Magnus basically telling him the same thing:
Alec has a complicated start on the show as he hasn’t even admitted to himself yet that he’s gay (if you just gasped in horror, you know where the door is). You see him come to terms with and accept it, and in a stunning move, he takes his first step towards being genuinely happy. And that’s where Magnus comes in. 🙂
That Whole Parabatai Thing & #Jalec
Okay, so if you watched the movie only, it didn’t really explain the whole parabatai thing very well. They touched on it sort of but didn’t really give a clear picture of what it really means. The show does. The whole parabatai thing is almost its own character on the show.
That bond is part of why I have grown to love this character so much. They may get pissed at each other from time to time, but they always ultimately come to a common ground on the right side of things. They each have the ability to slap the stupid out of the other when they’re not thinking straight. Plus, their fight scenes together are a lot of fun to watch.
Remember when I mentioned that there are some scenes that will make you cry?? Yeah, well, Parabatai Lost has one of the hardest to watch. By the time you reach this scene, you’ve had plenty of time to get hooked on the characters and as soon as Jace starts reciting the oath they took at their parabatai rune ceremony, I turn into a blubbery mess. Enjoy.
Portrayed by Harry Shum Jr.
Magnus is probably my absolute favorite character on the show. He’s got great style, a salty sense if humor, and he’s super-duper powerful. He’s also one half of the most torturous slow-burn story line I have ever witnessed. lol Magnus is witty and when it comes to the Downworld, he’s Switzerland most of the time. He’s got a habit of adopting “lost” Downworlders and helping them find their way in the world. Throughout the show, we find out that at one time, he took Rafael under his wing. Then we witness him do the same for Simon. Magnus has a warm, loving heart and a kind spirit…..but dont get on his bad side.
A great line of his was a moment in the episode Those of Demon Blood (S02E13) when Dot shows up to visit. She knocks and he waves his hand letting her in without even bothering to ask who it was.
Dot – “How’d you know it was me?”
Magnus – “My powers are wiiiiild and beyond understanding….and I saw you crossing the street outside.”
The looooooooooooongest slow-burn relationship EVER. OMG. lol It’s worth it though. I love Alec and Magnus together. Magnus is the catalyst that leads Alec to realizing he can think outside of the Shadowhunter code without having to sacrifice his integrity. Magnus opens his eyes to the fact that as long as he spends his life lying to himself, he’ll never be happy. And Alec has a profound effect on Magnus as well. For someone who has been shut off emotionally for a LONG time, Alec sort of renews Magnus’s sense of romance. I’m sure their troubles aren’t over, but I really hope they’re given a decent amount of time before the writers flip shit sideways on them again. They need a minute to breathe, man. lol
Portrayed by Alan Van Sprang
Aaaaaah, Mr. Van Sprang. You, my friend, have a new fan.
This dude is a spectacular actor. I’ve never seen the show Reign, so I wasn’t at all familiar with him. In the movie, I thought Jonathan Rhys Meyers was good (I know that is not a popular opinion), but Alan Van Sprang made me actually fear Valentine. He’s got a cold determination about him that is completely unnerving. If I were given the choice of jumping off a cliff into icy ocean water with visible craggy rocks or be dropped in the wilderness to try surviving with him hunting me, I think I’d opt for the cliff. He scares me. lol Until I went searching for promo shots of him to use in this blog post, I would have told you that I think I’d be too nervous to ever want to meet him in person. Then I saw shit like this. lol
As good as Van Sprang pulls off Valentine, a man who is a monster through and through, the episode that totally sold me on him as an actor was You Are Not Your Own (S02E12). In this episode, the demon Azazel helps Valentine escape the Institute by swapping his consciousness with Magnus’s. The Shadowhunters then proceed to repeatedly torture “Valentine” for information. The shift in personality is in everything about him. The way he moves, the way he carries himself, the way he speaks, even his eyes are different. The cold determination is gone and it’s replaced by the warmth you’d expect of Magnus. It’s an impressive performance. Bravo. I’m really going to miss him being on the show.
The Plot Hole on the Show & The Cheese
There has only been one real plot hole that I caught. There may be others, but this was the only one that sticks out to me. In the episode This World Inverted (S01E10), Clary goes through a portal in the seelie realm that brings her an alternate timeline dimension. In that timeline, Shadowhunters no longer exist because they got rid of the demons hundreds of years prior. So in that timeline, Jocelyn and Valentine were a happy married couple and Clary was a normal girl in college. Later, back in the real world, Valentine lies to them and tells them that he’s Jace’s father. Had that been true, Jace would have been her brother in the alternate timeline. Instead, she’s dating him and there is no mention of a brother at all. That should have told Clary right there that it was a lie.
We’ve already touched a bit on The Cheese in the section about Izzy. The other thing I notice in this show for cheese is echoed lines. There is one episode where Izzy says the line, “…I know better than anyone,” twice referencing her yin fen addiction. Once to Maia in reference to losing control, and one other time in the same episode used the same way (I cant remember off the top of my head who she was talking to…Simon maybe?). Another time it happens is in the episode Day of Wrath (S02E04). Valentine orchestrates a demon attack on the Institute. A possessing demon gets inside, takes possession of someone, and when they find the girl, Alec explains to Clary that the symptoms she’s exhibiting are a “classic possession hangover”. She then repeats it twenty minutes later upon finding another victim like she’s schooling the other people in the Institute. lol Ummm, ma’am, you’re the noob. lol
Playlist – Shadowhunter Jams
One of the other great things about this show is the soundtrack. They’ve got a nice mix of dancey stuff like EDM and dubstep, but they’ve also got a nice mix of eerie emo music. I dont like all of it but enough that I made a playlist on my Amazon account for it. As I mentioned, Straight Shooter by Skylar Grey is a favorite. Redose by the Prototypes is the song used in the club in very first video at the top of this post (the video clip is called Demons In The Club). Area by MagnusTheMagnus is also really good. That one is the backing track for a sparring session scene between Jace and Alec.
Here’s a look at the songs featured:
One last thought…
I would just like to thank whoever had the brilliant idea to put Alec’s parabatai rune and Jace’s iratze rune on their stomachs. It’s like getting a partial strip show every time something bad happens. Really takes the edge off. Thank you and well done.
I’m looking forward to the third season of the show in 2018. Unfortunately, we have to wait until frikkin APRIL…..
Here’s the trailer Freeform dropped at this year’s New York Comic Con. I cant wait!!! Also, I’m excited that we still get a little Jonathan/Sebastian! He was a fun bad guy too. Loose cannon, much?? lol
Alright Shadowhunter fans, who are your favorites? What have been your favorite moments to far? What are you most anticipating about season three???