Shadowhunter Thursday: Episode 7 – Major props

Shadowhunters, Season 1, Episode 7

DOMINIC SHERWOOD

Verdict: A fun and entertaining heist-style episode for all the right reasons. I honestly enjoyed this one.

Plot: Clary and Jace go in search of the Mortal Cup with Luke. Whilst they encounter some trouble, Simon feels abandoned during his Vampire Menopause and takes drastic action.


Disclaimer: I love The Mortal Instruments book series and I’d love for this show to succeed. As long as it’s worthy of success. 


What can I say? Either I’m going soft in my old age, or the writers and actors actually pulled together to make something genuinely fun to watch. I like to think it’s the latter, especially because I love giving people deserved praise. This episode, I’m giving out gold stars like Magnus sheds glitter, but especially to Jace, Clary and Simon.

Basically, I had fun and I didn’t hate anything. That’s as close to good as you’re going to get.

 


JACE & CLARY


Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s Jace and Clary’s chemistry! Hallelujah! Praise the Angel!

I waited for it and waited for it and finally I see it! It was a bit unsteady at first, but Clary and Jace playing off each other this episode was more like their characters than they’ve been all season. By the time their last scene finished, I was convinced. All the gold stars for Clary and Jace.


Our episode begins where the other one left off, after a ‘Previously On’ that’s so long, people don’t actually have to watch Episode 6.

Clary tells everyone she knows where the Mortal Cup is – in Dot’s tarot card, specifically the Ace of Cups – and Luke and Jace make a plan to go and get it, as Luke has the cards at the police station.

Luke decides he should go in by himself, seeing that he’s a police officer and going to his own desk would raise less suspicion than having it raided by two tattooed teenagers. Jace is annoyed to be left behind and, when it becomes clear Luke’s definitely not taking him along, drawls (with additional Jace-like expression): “Sounds boring anyway.”


Note: It was at this point I realised the episode was going to be different – a good one, like Episode 5 was until the Bad Logic Werewolves kicked in. It may not be perfect, it might not be The Mortal Instruments as I imagined it in my head, but this episode was a successful hour of television nonetheless.


Things don’t go to plan for Luke, who is stopped by Internal Affairs and questioned about Jace’s Mundane Driving Skills (specifically the fact Jace left a bloodied car wrapped around a lamp post). IA Man finds that suspicious and Luke is spirited away to interrogation before he can retrieve the Cup.

Jace and Clary banter a bit before breaking into the police station to talk to Luke, whilst wearing invisibility runes. Luke warns them that he’s not the only Downworlder in the station, so to act as though everyone can see them as they retrieve the Cup. Clary comes up with a plan that involves Jace getting slapped and screamed at, and everyone seems like they’re thoroughly enjoying themselves.

Unfortunately, the plan doesn’t work, thanks to Detective Badass Logic (who I genuinely like) and Jace and Clary find out that all of Luke’s belongings are locked up in Evidence and won’t be released until Luke is.

It becomes evident there is at least one demon / Circle member around, looking for the Cup. Detective Badass walks off once Clary leaves, and a police officer with glowing eyes watches her leave. Bad news for you, Detective Badass, I think you’re going to die.

It turns out that the demon is a shapeshifter and, after taking Detective Badass’s form (which means yes, she did die. RIP Detective Badass. It was good while it lasted.), tries to get Luke’s belongings from IA Man. He refuses. Shapeshifter Detective Badass sulks and severely irritates a dog.

Meanwhile, Jace comes up with Plan Number Two, which involves Alec and Isabelle getting in on the action.


ALEC & ISABELLE


As we all know by now, Alec can do no wrong in my eyes because he’s the stand out actor of the group, and the closest to his character. However, Alec kinda fell by the wayside this episode. I was expecting him to be good, so when everyone else worked their little Shadowhunter socks off this week, he was somewhat eclipsed. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still the best, but let’s talk about Isabelle.

I’m not wholly sure where I stand on the whole ‘Isabelle being grown up and therefore dressing like her Mum’ issue. On the one hand, I appreciate it shows a deep love for her brother, who is now allowed to drink cocktails with Magnus without sullying The Lightwood Family Name. The fact she thinks that in order to be more responsible, and to be seen as such by her parents, she needs to resemble her Mama Lightwood is somewhat poignant, if I dare use such a word about Shadowhunters.

However, Isabelle of the books is passionate, headstrong, she doesn’t think before she speaks, and yet she still loves her family deeply. She does all of this whilst dressing fabulously and, yes, usually inappropriately. When Shadowhunters Isabelle packed her things away in the massive trunk (although I think everyone could have done without that picture of Meliorn, come on), I wondered what the message behind Isabelle’s transformation actually was.

I’ll be honest. It struck me as having a bit of a body shaming, sex shaming tilt to it, especially because we’ve seen Isabelle actively swap sex for information with Meliorn. I unfortunately think that, as Isabelle was a misjudged character from the start (Book Isabelle would never swap sex for information) any abrupt transformation now is going to be seen as equally negative.

That said, I know what she’s doing is for her brother, so I applaud that, and I hope that Alec’s words of ‘You can’t change who you are’ get through to her and she finds a happy medium between being passionate but not a Bond Girl Gone Wrong. I hope that this is exactly where the writers are going with this, in order to rectify their early misrepresentation.

What can I say? I’m an eternal optimist.


Anyway, because Isabelle is All Grown Up, it falls to Alec to distract the receptionist police officer by flirting. This is the worst attempt at flirting since Valentine kidnapped a comatose Jocelyn, but it succeeds in its aim: Isabelle gets a security pass. There’s a nifty bit of camera work going on there too and the whole episode really does seem like a family-friendly heist.

Isabelle draws a rune on the electricity mains and shorts out the entire building, plunging everyone into darkness and chaos. Meanwhile, Jace and Clary are in the lift, getting ready to sneak up the lift shaft and break into Evidence.


RIGHT. This scene. The lift scene. This is the one idiotic thing worth mentioning in the entire episode. All the other quibbles I had I can let slide, but this one, no.


Jace and Clary are in the lift. Jace tells Clary to draw on a night vision rune. He tells her that she’ll see why in a bit. Up until now, I’ve been enjoying their back and forth. It’s mild and not half as intense as it should be, but it’s bubbling along nicely. I especially enjoyed the cut scene from Isabelle and Alec that went something like this:


Alec: I’m a guy who’s about to be disowned when Dad finds out that Jace and Clary are still out doing God knows what.

Isabelle: I think Dad’s used to that by now. This is Jace you’re talking about.

Alec: He said he’d be an hour. It’s been three.

Isabelle: You don’t think he and Clary are…

Alec: At a time like this? Not possible.

[cut scene to empty store room. Jace and Clary are invisible but you can hear them.]

 Jace: Really? In here?

Clary: Why not?

Jace: There’s got to be a better place.

Clary: No, here’s good.

Jace: Ow! Jace: All right.

[There is clattering and one of the cabinets start moving as though someone is being pushed up against them]


That? That was amusing. Well done.

Back to the lift. 

Clary wants to draw the rune on herself and takes off her jacket, exposing many tattoos on her arms but, more importantly, PLENTY OF SPARE SPACE ON HER ARMS AND IN PLACES THAT ARE WITHIN EASY REACH.

So she decides to draw the rune on her shoulder-blade.

HER SHOULDER-BLADE. Come on, why would that even cross your mind? If you’re drawing on yourself, your shoulder-blade is the last place you do it!


Why? Because Clary is an imbecile.

That, or the writers couldn’t think of a better way to get Jace and Clary close to each other. Personally, I’d have had the lift still moving when Isabelle short-circuited the place, so the lift stopped with a jolt and Clary lost her balance or something cheesy but logical like that, but hey, that’s just me.

As it is, Jace comes very close to Clary to draw her rune in her chosen awkward place and it’s all forced and bleugh.


Back to the good stuff.

They sneak upstairs and we’re back to the good heist episode. After a security scare, they retrieve the tarot card but Clary can’t work out how to retrieve the Cup.


Side-note: We’ve never seen Clary take anything out of paper, only put it in. We and, indeed, no one in Shadowhunters knows if she can take things out of pictures. Including Clary. I’m hoping some off-screen experiments happened before this point in time otherwise Clary’s plan had a massive logical flaw in it. Not that that would be surprising, but still. 


They meet Alec and Issy downstairs, where they relay this problem, and then are interrupted by demons cropping up everywhere.

They run, Alec and Jace have a ‘Go’, ‘No, I’m not leaving you’ moment, which is sweet but tired, but at least they didn’t try Parabatai Tracking again. Little bug demons attack them all and Jace decides to split everyone up, because that never goes wrong in horror movies.

Clary gets cornered by a demon bug, her instincts kick in and she retrieves the Cup from the card. As we all know, this gives her power over demons, so she orders them back and they obey.

She then runs into Shapeshifter Jace. Honestly, I think if you’re going to be a Shapeshifter, you should try to put some convincing tone in your voice when you speak, otherwise it’s really obvious you’re not who you say you are. Shapeshifter Jace tries to take the Cup from Clary during a monotone speech about how he’d never let anything happen to her, and Clary quite rightly stabs him through the chest because apparently she isn’t a complete idiot after all.

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Hooray! She does panic a little, though, until he disintegrates, because she wasn’t 100% sure.

This part, I liked, because Shadowhunters Clary is finally learning, but still has doubts. Unlike her “I’m a Shadowhunter” declarations that have been happening when Alec questions her capabilities, this is something we actually see happening instead of being told is true.

Show, don’t tell, writers. It’s basically Rule #1. And look, it works!

In addition, we see Clary make her first real Shadowhunter-y move – it takes a lot of guts to stab someone wearing the face of someone you know, regardless of whether you love or even like that person.

Meanwhile, Jace is back at the Institute, drumming up a search party to help Clary because she is ‘the only thing that matters’. Gag. Clary appears and et voila, their first kiss. I’m fully behind this kiss by this stage. Clary is still not Clary, and Jace is still not Jace but at least these approximations are convincing enough as a couple, finally.


SIMON

I left Simon out of the main storyline because I felt he deserved his own little side-line.

Simon was fantastic this episode. As Vampire Menopauses go, his is a very compelling one. Having recently re-read the first three books (I’m currently half way through City of Glass), his transformation happened slower than I’d remembered, so I see why the writers are speeding it up a bit. If they’re skipping ahead to the events of Book 2 as I think they might be, then poor Simon is in for a bit of a bad time of it.

As it was, I’m thoroughly baffled by the entire Maureen situation, because I’m not sure becoming a vampire makes you change your personality to the complete opposite person you used to be. Book Simon didn’t change his personality except perhaps to gain a bit more confidence. However, that’s a writer decision and nothing to do with the actor, who incidentally successfully pulled off panic and mentality instability born of fear throughout this episode. Clary’s cameo in the Maureen-Simon scene was a bit… stupid, but I did promise I’d only complain about the Lift Scene so I’ll leave that.

But it was stupid.

Anyway, Simon hallucinates a lot now because apparently that’s what vampire blood does to you. Let’s just roll with that.

The Maureen-Simon situation does, however, explain the whole… well, Maureen-Simon situation that will come up in later seasons (if this show gets renewed). If anyone’s wondering, one successful episode does not a fan make, so at this point I’m *mumbles* hopingitdoesntgetrenewedsoIdonthavetowatchitall.

Simon goes through an adorable list of experiments, trying to logically sort out what’s happening to him. I loved this scene by the coffee truck, although I was unsure whether consuming garlic makes vampires bleed or whether that was another hallucination.

The one thing I didn’t like about the entire Simon scenario was that Clary let Jace hang up on him and didn’t call him back. It’s very clear that Simon is panicked and there’s no way Clary would leave Simon to his own devices if he kept calling her – no matter what was going on. That, I thought, was wildly out of character for Clary – too much so to be ignored.

The ‘intervention’ scenes with the rest of the Lewis clan were entertaining enough, but I found Simon himself more interesting than what was going on around him. I’ve decided that Camille popping up every now and then, coupled with her sexy sassiness, means that she reminds me strongly of Katherine from The Vampire Diaries. I don’t think this is a good thing because it makes Camille too generic, and Camille is not meant to be generic.

Anyway, at the end of his tether, and having no Clary to talk to, Simon returns to Heartbreak Hotel for some answers.

In retrospect, that was rather a bad decision, Simon.


Conclusion: These reviews are far less entertaining to write when I actually enjoy the episode. Dang it.

Regardless, I’m tentative about the next few episodes because I’ve been caught out before. Either the writers and actors have finally found their rhythm or I’ll be ripping it out of another train-wreck next week. Only time will tell.

Go on, let me know what you think!

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