Shadowhunters | Season 1, Episode 6
Verdict: Possibly the worst effort so far. Have the writers actually read the books? Also Clary doesn’t know how genetics work.
Plot: Luke needs a warlock to cure him from an Alpha bite because NONSENSE. Clary finds out her parents’ sordid history so she can find the Mortal Cup. The Lightwoods are… I don’t even know. I. Don’t. Even. Know.
Disclaimer: I love The Mortal Instruments books. I recently re-read City of Bones to check this is still true. It is. I love the books. I want this show to succeed but let’s face it, it’s more of a lost cause than trying to teach Ithuriel about ‘Stranger Danger’.
We begin tonight’s trainwreck where the last one left off. Alec and Isabelle are back at the Institute. Jace, Simon and Clary are hurrying Luke to Magnus because of the mysterious and deadly Alpha bite. I said it in the last review but I’ll say it again for those who missed it – this makes NO SENSE.
Werewolves fight Alphas in order to become the new Alpha. This was, in fact, stated in the last episode. That’s the way this works. That’s even the way the actual animal kingdom works. It’s hard to imagine aforementioned fight could happen without the werewolf challengers getting bitten, because that’s just not realistic. Therefore, if Alpha bites kill werewolves, there would be no Alphas because they’d have all died from the previous Alpha’s bite. No Alphas. None. Zip. Nada. Zero.
Also, something I missed last episode but caught on the ‘previously on’. Jace repeatedly calls the Alpha ‘Alpha Leader’. Alpha means leader, Jace. Good job. I’m now going to call you Jace Jace.
But, let’s move on and forget about logic for a minute. The writers certainly have.
Clary is Exposition Girl this episode, starting off with a fantastic statement to Magnus:
“He needs a warlock. He needs you!”
That’s a line for those who weren’t paying attention in the last ever. In case it wasn’t clear before – when he was doing all that magic and stuff – Magnus is a warlock.
As it turns out, Magnus doesn’t have all the ingredients he needs to cure Luke, so Simon and Jace have a verbal slap-fight for the honour of being errand boys. Neither wins, so they both go off to the Magical Back-Alley Pharmacy.
Clary and Magnus are left alone and have a really fruitless cooking session.
C: [looking at a range of ingredients. Bear in mind what she’s actually come to Magnus for – a cure for Luke]. What’s all this for?
M: The base for the potion.
C: [Clary exclaims]
M: Stir. [leaves Clary in charge of potion. Clary gives it two lacklustre stirs]. We need to have it ready before your boy toys get back.
C: [STOPS STIRRING AND LEAVES THE POTION] What if they don’t get back in time?
M: You can’t think like that, biscuit.
C: [Clary is STILL NOT STIRRING] That’s all I can think about. Magnus, I don’t know if I can do this anymore. Okay, I’m an art student. All my adventures are supposed to be two-dimensional.
M: [starts stirring the potion himself because Clary is obviously not going to do it, despite the fact it is integral to Luke’s healing process] Who says?
C: Me. Look, it is one thing to draw monsters and demons, but it is completely different to see them up close and personal. I don’t know what I’m doing.
M: Don’t sell yourself short. You forget, I’ve seen you in action, Clary Fairchild.
Uhm. Besides Clary being the worst nursing assistant in the world, what has Magnus seen her do? I’m drawing a blank. It certainly doesn’t seem anything that would particularly impress him. Or, at least, the real Magnus Bane.
…and it all goes downhill from there.
CLARY & MAGNUS
In all fairness, I actually think that this episode is one of Clary’s strongest. It’s a long exposition episode in which her main interactions are with Magnus and Luke, and she’s not terrible. The dialogue is still absolutely shocking, but her delivery is possibly the best I’ve seen her give all season. Gold star for you, Clary! I never thought I’d say it. Whether or not she’s just good in contrast to how awful everything else is, I don’t know, but she gets the gold star anyway.
Magnus is a different kettle of fish. There was so much hip rotation and Captain-Jack-Sparrowing this episode, it just really got on my nerves. Sorry, Harry Shum Jr. I love you as a person, I really do, but Magnus is being over-played. I didn’t even think that was possible. One thing to note is that I finished re-reading City of Bones yesterday, so the plot and the characters are very fresh in my mind. Shadowhunters’ Magnus is not book Magnus. I largely blame the writers because his dialogue this episode was so dull and awkward, it was a genuine effort to pay attention to his scenes. In fact, I can see why Magnus is being physically over-played – because his dialogue is so lacklustre he needs something to give him a bit of oomph. Unfortunately, it’s not working quite the way it should.
Magnus puts a spell on Luke to stop his ‘random werewolf transformation’, which is a side-effect of the Alpha bite. I don’t see why this is a threat to Luke at all, considering – as we established in the last episode – werewolves are not tied to the moon re. transformations. They can transform randomly. That’s the point. Anyway, before Luke goes into a magical coma, he tells Magnus to tell Clary about what happened in Ye Olde Days of Yore with Valentine and Jocelyn.
Clary faffs but eventually tells Magnus to tell her aforementioned story. She does this in the most insulting way possible and the real Magnus Bane would be having none of that ‘Bring it, warlock’ sass, thank you very much.
Cue fishbowl-lit flash-back scenes.
The cliff-notes: Valentine was charismatic and a great Shadowhunter. Jocelyn was his wife. Things went sour, Valentine started breaking the Accords and killing warlocks. Jocelyn and Luke disagreed with this, and fought him when Valentine tried to steal the Mortal Cup. Valentine tried to kill Luke. Jocelyn saved Luke. Jocelyn ran off with the Cup. Valentine ran after her.
Back in present day, Magnus is telling Clary about Valentine killing warlocks and Clary is drawing the scene on a sketchpad Magnus gave her. I like to think this is a visual aid for those who switched off during the dialogue, but it also shows how fantastically quick Clary is at drawing – either that, or Magnus is the slowest narrator in the world.
IT’S ALL SO DULL. And I have no idea why Magnus is telling Clary all this except to get him more screen-time. This is Luke’s story.
Anyway, cut to the Errand Boys.
JACE JACE & SIMON
This show is painful to watch.
So, Simon and Jace Jace are walking down a back alley and I felt like I’d been struck by lightning when JACE JACE HAD AN ACTUAL JACE JACE PIECE OF DIALOGUE.
JJ: Keep up, mundane.
S: Would you stop calling me that? I have a name.
JJ: Well, learning it would mean I care, so, no.
THE ANGELS SING. THE HEAVENS OPEN. JESUS WEEPS TEARS OF UNABASHED JOY. ITHURIEL GETS A LOCK ON HIS BEDROOM DOOR.
And then the writers ruin it.
S: Yeah, and God forbid you care about anyone but yourself.
JJ: I care about a bunch of people. Just don’t care about you.
S: Me, or what… What’s it called, your… your parabatais?
JJ: Whoa, watch your mouth!
Whoa, watch your mouth? Is Simon not allowed to say that word? Is that a special Shadowhunter word that mundanes can’t use? After the hard time Jace Jace has been giving Simon, I don’t see why he is so quick to anger here. Especially because, as far as I was aware, Jace Jace and Alec are actually okay with each other. Yes, they had an argument but I thought that was over. Are they still mad at each other? I don’t remember this. Why is Jace Jace so angry?
At this point, the boys get into a physical fight, partly because of Vampire Menopause, partly because Jace Jace is so bizarrely angry. It’s all so messy and forced and uuuuuuugh. I’m beginning to lose the will to describe this show using actual words. The entire fight seems to have been staged so we can see Simon’s leaping down the vampire rabbit hole. We already saw this when he licked blood off his hand earlier but never mind that. Hammering home a point is what these writers do best.
At least Jace Jace seems suspicious of Simon’s mood swings. Good Jace Jace.
Anyway, Jace Jace and Simon separate at the door of the Magical Back-Alley Pharmacy because the Pharmacist doesn’t like mundanes. Whilst Jace Jace is getting the missing ingredients for Non-Sensical Alpha Bite Cure, Simon hallucinates. He sees both Camille and his own dead body. Then Jace Jace runs out of the Pharmacy, slices an extra from Men In Black in half, and the Errand Boys set off for Magnus again.
I may have forgot to mention that Magnus, in a creepy show of predatory insistence, has requested Alec at Luke’s healing. When Jace Jace questioned this, Magnus said he needed the power of a virgin Shadowhunter. BECAUSE ALL MAGIC IS MADE BETTER BY GAY VIRGIN NEPHILIM.
- Clary is right there and she’s a virgin Shadowhunter.
- At this point, I can’t remember if Jace has actually slept with someone, but I don’t think he has. Maybe I’m remembering that wrong.
- This ‘needing a virgin Shadowhunter’ is such a big fat lie I’m kinda creeped out by it.
- I don’t think Magnus would require anyone’s help to heal someone. Just sayin’. He’s the High Warlock of Brooklyn and he needs someone to literally hold his hand? Okay.
- Jace Jace just goes along with it and calls Alec. I don’t know about you but if a warlock asked my best friend to attend a magical ritual for the sole reason they were a virgin, I’d at least want to make sure they weren’t being sacrificed before I called them. Just a thought.
Anyway, Alec isn’t too keen to go, possibly because he’s heard how it goes down for virgins at magical rituals. He decides to stay and talking to his Mum about some stuff. Maryse is upset because the Clave are being mean to her. Robert comes back and we meet Max – adorable little Max! Bless his little pyromaniacal socks.
I decided not to follow this weird sub-plot too carefully because it was just so dire but let me reiterate the main points:
- The Lightwoods are in trouble with the Clave because of ‘all those unsanctioned missions on Clary’s behalf’.
- For some reason this means they have to save their reputation by MARRYING THEIR CHILDREN OFF. I’m sorry. Did we regress two hundred years? I was actually laughing out loud at this point because I don’t have the faintest idea what the writers are doing. I don’t think they know what they’re doing. How does marrying your children off to another Shadowhunter raise your family profile? Why is your family name in such dire straits from a few unsanctioned missions? Shadowhunters are demon hunters. That is what they do. Their entire purpose in life is to protect mundanes. That is all they have done on these ‘unsanctioned missions’. The last UNSANCTIONED MISSION was going to Clary’s house to retrieve a box. The other day, I forgot my purse and had to go back home to get it. Fortunately, I didn’t have to ask the government for permission. Or did I? Was this an unsanctioned mission? Oh no! Is David Cameron going to make me marry someone so I don’t look bad?
- OH MY GOD THIS SHOW IS SO AWFUL.
- Anyway, Isabelle can’t marry someone amazingly eligible because she’s tainted by Meliorn. Or… passion, or something.
- Virgin Shadowhunter Alec is the groom-to-be because he’s a goody-two-shoes, breaks noses and takes consequences.
- Isabelle knows Alec is gay and, in possibly the only show of character growth this season, decides to sacrifice herself – presumably for her brother’s happiness. She turns into mini-Maryse as a visual example of this change.
- I don’t care about anyone in this show. Except Alec.
Alec, meanwhile, is getting pretty tired of all the rubbish the writers are making him do, so he heads off to Magnus to lend his virgin Shadowhunter energy to the cause.
Magnus and Alec hold hands and it’s tripe. Gay, sparkly tripe, but tripe nonetheless. I love the Malec pairing but I couldn’t take any of this episode seriously, and especially not this scene. I’ve officially had it with these writers. Who employed them? Magnus hip thrusts a little because he hasn’t done that in a while and Luke is healed.
Until this episode, I was pretty apathetic towards Luke. He hadn’t impressed me but he hadn’t offended me either. I’m afraid I will now never like him, on principle, because the writers messed up his story so badly.
Clary comes into his sick room once he’s regained consciousness and demands to be told the story that Magnus has, in fact, already told her. Only a few details are different (marked in blue).
The cliff-notes: Valentine was charismatic and a great Shadowhunter. Jocelyn was his wife. Things went sour, Valentine started breaking the Accords and killing warlocks. Jocelyn and Luke disagreed with this. Valentine betrayed Luke (who was his parabatai) and led him into a werewolf attack. This is why Luke is now a werewolf. Valentine thought Jocelyn and Luke were in love and having an affair. Luke was in love with Jocelyn and apparently this was reciprocated….? Valentine went so mad with grief over this that he started injecting himself with demon blood so he could become more powerful. He thus lost his humanity. Luke fought him when Valentine tried to steal the Mortal Cup. Valentine tried to kill Luke. Jocelyn saved Luke. Jocelyn ran off with the Cup. Valentine ran after her. Luke thought Jocelyn was dead until he found her in New York years later.
There is a dent in my table from all the head-desking I’ve been doing. It’s all so wrong I don’t know where to begin. The main points:
- Luke and Jocelyn were in love and Valentine thought they were having an affair. Uhm. No. This never happened. At all. Ever. This is something the writers made up because WHO KNOWS.
- Valentine was brokenhearted and started injecting himself with demon blood so he could be more powerful. It is the demon blood that made him into the monster he is now. Okay, just no. You cannot make Valentine a victim. He is not a tragic hero. He is not someone who needs a redemption arc. VALENTINE IS BASICALLY HITLER. Valentine did not make his choices because of demon blood, he made them because he was a murderous bigot! You can’t just take away Valentine’s core being and replace it with a Jekyll and Hyde farce. He is a VILLAIN. Now the writers are trying to tell me that Valentine isn’t responsible for his actions because he injected himself with demon blood? GET OFF THIS SHOW’S PAYROLL!
ARGH. This made me so angry. So, so angry.
On the bright side, Clary doesn’t know how genetics work.
Luke: We betrayed him, Clary… your mother and I. We fell in love.
Clary: Did you… Wait… Are you my…
Luke: No. No, we never…
Clary: Slept together?
For those of you who don’t know what the end of Clary’s sentence was going to be, it was ‘Wait… are you my father?’.
… I’m just going to leave that one there. All things considered, it’s highly unlikely. Not in the least because Luke is a detective and therefore has a logical brain and thought process. Up until now I’m fairly certain Clary has trouble tying her shoelaces.
Also, if Luke was Clary’s father, there would have been zero reason for Jocelyn to have brought her up as a single mum. Luke was there for the majority of Clary’s life. He was her surrogate father. I’m pretty sure if he had been her biological father, he’d have revealed it before now seeing as Valentine was out of the picture. Think logically, Clary. Even beyond the obvious, it doesn’t make sense to ask that.
Anyway, this is all so tiresome.
Side-note: At some point whilst this is happening, Magnus and Alec have ‘A Moment’. Magnus is weirdly affectionate seeing as he doesn’t actually know Alec from Adam, but sure, I’ll go along with it. It’s one of the least offensive things about this episode.
Luke gives Clary the last vital piece of information – that she had a brother with the initials J.C. (say it quickly and it sounds an awful lot like…) which stands for Jonathan Christopher.
Clary realises (and remembers) that she has a funky power to put things in and out of paintings/drawings. Better than that – she knows where the Mortal Cup is. Huzzah! That means this show is almost over.
Only four episodes left to go.