Tonight’s Episode of Shadowhunters Conveys Loss In A Believable Way

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Last week after the tragic and shocking death of Jocelyn, all of our characters were left absolutely reeling. Tonight’s episode had various plot points that were definitely important, but I think the really important success of tonight’s episode was all the different and appropriate ways in which Shadowhunters managed to portray the feeling of loss.

In tonight’s episode, we see Clary in shock. It’s entirely normal for those who suffer loss to just go numb. For most of tonight’s episode, Clary may be looking for a way to bring her mother back, but she didn’t show her pain. She talked about not being able to feel much of anything and hating sympathy. Clary is very calm and controlled because the reality of her mother being gone hasn’t set in. The shock and numbness is such a painfully accurate response to such a horrible tragedy, and they manage to show Clary’s pain beautifully. It’s when that shock finally breaks that she decides to take action that leads to the conflict of the plot

Simon’s reaction is also a great depiction of how some handle loss. He immediately sought out his loved ones to appreciate them while he still can. He risks so much because Clary lost her mom and now he needs to see his mother and cling to her. He wants to come home and be with his mom and his sister because he was reminded how easily he could lose them. Obviously, this causes some conflict and some serious risks are taken in trying to return home now that he’s, you know, a vampire, but the loss of his friend’s mom really hammers home how precious his family is to him.

Luke’s reaction is probably the most heartbreaking, and that’s just utter avoidance. He just disappears from the world and runs away. The woman he’s loved since he was a teenager is dead and he just runs from the pain. He doesn’t seek out Clary to be there for her in spite of practically being her step-father, he doesn’t show up for Simon when he needs him since he’s like a surrogate dad to Simon, too, and he just disappears off the face of the earth to them. We see later on that it’s even worse, and he’s allowed his werewolf side to take over so he can run from the pain he’s feeling.

And then we see Alec suffering the guilt of what he’s done. When the episode first starts, we see him shooting arrows off the roof of the Institute and if you look close, you’ll notice his drawing hand is bloody, suggesting he’s been shooting for a very very long time. He’s punishing himself every way he can. He ‘killed’ Jocelyn and he can’t stand it. We see him suffering loss through guilt. He may not have loved Jocelyn, but she was an innocent person who died because of him, whether he was in control or not. Alec goes through with Clary’s plan because he’s soooo guilty and blames himself so much that he’s willing to throw aside caution and do whatever it takes to assuage himself of that guilt that’s weighing down on him, no matter how much he knows better than to do something so foolish when thinking rationally.

There was so much more that went on in the episode that I highly recommend you guys watch and see for yourself, but in order to avoid spoilers, I’m going to just stick with this little take on the way they show loss and the affects of grief in this episode.

What did you guys think? Did you like it? Are you excited for next week? Did you see how adorable Alec was with that little warlock girl? He’s such a big brother it’s adorable, right???

 

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Shadowhunters And Tonight’s Theme of Family

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By now, we’re used to some very dark themes in Shadowhunters, but tonight’s episode raised the bar in a way I’m sure absolutely nobody expected. In an episode about betrayal, demonic possession, and death, there were so many themes that were examined in a way that only made the darkness heavier.

In tonight’s episode, Jace is awaiting trial in the City of Bones, Simon is trying to figure out the secret in the box from Camille’s home in India, Alec and Izzy are down one demon-hunting partner with Jace locked up, and Victor Aldertree is doing his damnedest to assert his dominance over the members of the Institute as well as the Downworlders in the city. All of this set against the backdrop of Valentine’s looming threat somewhere out there waiting in the wings.

Warning: This post is going to be FULL of spoilers!

Tonight’s episode explored some really good themes, had some really dark moments, and revealed things that can never be ignored. The running theme of the night, however, was ‘Family’. With all the darkness and good in the whole episode, the main thing tying it all together was this thread of family and what it means to each character. There was such a crushing amount of pain related to the idea of family in this episode as well as some really heartwarming undertones of it as well.

Simon and Elaine:

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The way that Simon and his mother are working to get back into each other’s lives is heartwarming. Simon has so much on his plate, but his mother and his sister mean so much to him that he’s willing to risk most everything to get his family back. His anger at Raphael for threatening his mother is so strong because of how much Simon’s mother means to him. After his father’s death, last episode learned that she fell into an alcoholic depression, and he’s worried about her. Watching him trying to balance his life being in danger with his mother needing him is such a wonderful and painful thing to see. It was upsetting that he had to call off family dinner to go to Clary, but that leads us to the most painful of all of tonight’s elements of ‘Family’.

Jocelyn and Clary:

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We have to go ahead and address the biggest one of the night, and this is the biggest point at which that spoiler warning comes in: Jocelyn and Clary (and to an extension, Luke). With the Clave recalling Jocelyn to Idris, there was a lot of conversation about Clary just getting her mother back, and it was heartbreaking to think about splitting them up already. Jocelyn loves her daughter, that much is very clear, and the thought of taking her away from her is one that’s really emotional. Luke throwing his hat in the ring and deciding he won’t lose Jocelyn after he just got her back as well was such a heartwarming moment.And then the moment came that none of us were expecting. Even though Clary was leaning towards staying in New York, there was still the knowledge that Luke would go with Jocelyn and Clary would have that choice to see them, and just when we were comforted by their little family finding their footing, the gut-wrenching moment when Clary walked through that door and found her mother dead on the floor ripped that feeling of comfort away again.

Though nothing else of the night was nearly as crushing as that moment, and as crushing as I’m sure it will be when Luke finds out Jocelyn is gone, there were still a lot of things in this episode that kept coming back to the idea of family as a central theme beyond that of a mother and child.

Jace and Valentine:

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We have the total opposite of Clary and Jocelyn’s relationship in the form of Jace and his hatred of Valentine. The difficult question was asked of him, ‘Do you love your father?’ and I was really happy that the reply for that scene was an honest one in which he said, ‘Yes and no’. Jace hates his father. He hates Valentine with a passion. That man has ruined his life over and over and was an abusive parent to him as a little boy. And yet he still loves the dream of a father that cares about him. No matter how much he hates him, he thought his father was dead and he can’t just stop loving the father he had invented in his head to hide the lie of how abusive Valentine was to him. It is entirely possible to both hate someone and still love them a little as well, which is shown perfectly with Jace and his feelings towards Valentine.

Magnus and Camille:

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It’s also shown very well in the way Magnus feels about Camille. This episode gave us so much more insight into Magnus than I expected it to, and it was all still very in tune with the theme of ‘Family’. I could write volumes on how well this show depicts Magnus and Camille’s relationship as that of an abuse victim and his former abuser. He very clearly hates her, but at the same time, he can’t help but still love the part of her that wasn’t all bad. Just like Jace has the memory of a father who loved him, Camille was there for Magnus and cared about him when nobody else did. He addresses a suicidal incident in tonight’s episode and how Camille was the only person at that time that would care if he died. He associates her with the same feeling of ‘Family’ that Jace has with Valentine, though obviously of a different nature. He has obviously had a major falling out with her at some point, and the way he reacts to her is, as I said, like that of someone who was emotionally abused by a partner, but he still has that feeling of attachment to her. We also got to see a bit of her attempts at emotional manipulation once again, and I knew she lost it when she touched upon another aspect of ‘Family’.

Magnus and Raphael:

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It is a generally accepted thing using the books this series is based upon as a platform for formulating general notions about the characters, but I never expected the show or tonight’s episode to so blatantly address the relationship that Raphael has with Magnus. Even when Raphael showed up at Magnus’s home after being tortured and he called him, “My boy”, I thought that would be as far as the show went to address the way Magnus feels about Raphael. Instead, we had Magnus actually addressing the fact that he feels like Raphael is his child. Without backstory, it’s hard to fully understand the scope of why that is, but the show did a great job tonight in emphasizing that sense of ‘Family’ once again. When Magnus said to Camille, “You have turned hundreds of vampires, your children” and then addressed the fact that a warlock can’t have children, so the Downworlders he takes under his wing become the only children he will ever have, he reminds us that, like he said earlier with the mention that Aldertree tortured Raphael to hurt Magnus, Raphael is, to him, like his son. Ultimately, that was where Camille lost the sway she had over Magnus when she was trying to talk him into setting her free. He mentions that Aldertree will hurt Raphael again if he doesn’t turn her over to the Clave. When he said that, she told him that, since he loves her, he will choose her over Raphael. She might have that connection of ‘Family’ to Magnus, but in asking him to choose her over the person he views as his son, she doomed any chance of him helping her.

There were even more parts of tonight’s episode that touched on the theme of ‘Family’, such as Isabelle mentioning her parents, and the way Alec and Izzy are so close, but above all else, those five are the main points tonight’s episode really hammered home the theme of ‘Family’ in tonight’s episode.

How did you guys like tonight’s episode? Did you hurt as much as I did? What do you think will come next? Tell me in the comments!

Shadowhunters Continues To Impress With This Week’s Quest To Save Alec

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Shadowhunters season 2 has been impressive so far, but tonight’s episode really changed the pace of the show so far this season.

In tonight’s episode, Alec is slowly dying and the only way to help him is to get Jace to him so their parabatai bond can be completed and the missing piece of Alec’s ‘soul’ can return to him. In a race against time, Jace has to get to Alec’s side before the Clave or the werewolf pack can catch him, or else his parabatai will die.

DUN. DUN. DUUUUN!

I have to be honest, I love all the ways this show develops its characters and tonight we got to see some important insight into Alec and Jace meeting as children and becoming parabatai as teens. (It’s worth noting that the casting choices for child and teen Alec, Jace, and Izzy were all absolutely horrible. Child Izzy wasn’t even the same ethnicity as adult Izzy. Also Alec and Jace are supposed to be like 21, right? Why would I’d say 17-18 year old them look so drastically different?) I also really like the smaller but no less important look into Simon’s struggles. We learned about his mother’s alcoholism after his father died and learn something about his life in that way, but we also get to see him trying to deal with Raphael’s determination that he find Camille to the point that he finds Simon’s mom before he does and more or less threatens her safety if Simon doesn’t get on with his search for Camille.

One thing that was also interesting to see was the way that, when her friends are in danger, Clary really comes into her own. She’s, pardon my super nerd-ness here, such a Gryffindor. She’s this tiny ball of, “FIGHT ME!” when it comes to the people she cares about, and I’m especially glad she didn’t turn her back on Simon this season like she did before.

Of course, it can’t be ignored that we finally got to see Maia Roberts, who I’m hoping will become an integral part to the story the further along we go! Such a good character and one I can’t wait to get to know better!

While Clary is trying to find Jace and help Simon, and while Luke is trying to determine whether or not Jace did what the wolves think he did and decide whether or not to let them kill him, and while Simon is dealing with Raphael and his mother, we also have Izzy and Magnus left to try and keep Alec going long enough to get Jace to him all the while dealing with Victor Aldertree hindering their attempts to save Alec’s life because he would rather use Alec as bait for Jace than actually save Alec. Poor Isabelle having to negotiate to try and save her brother’s life is heartbreaking as a sister myself. I know the way she loves her brothers and I think that Emeraude Toubia really delivers on Isabelle’s frustration and fears. Though we see Magnus dealing with trying to keep his boyfriend alive and failing, and we see an equally good performance from Harry Shum Jr. in doing so, as well as really pulling off the ‘ancient warlock among mortals who are barely more than children’ vibe. (Side note, the fact he actually tried  a ‘sleeping beauty’ as a last ditch attempt was so heartbreaking.)

However, if we’re going to talk about performances, for the first time probably ever, I really have to say hats off to Dom Sherwood as Jace. I’ve been very vocal in the past about how shitty the acting in this TV show is (Love everybody, but they’re bad actors for the most part), but tonight that guy REALLY pulled out all the stops on Jace’s struggle to get to his brother and save his life. There was one scene where he’s cornered and literally begs someone to let him save Alec and the they can kill him (no spoilers so won’t say who!) and the exhaustion and the fear and the pain is seriously delivered in that scene. It’s honestly one of the better acted moments I’ve seen on this show. Also, there was a serious, “IT’S ALLERGIES, GODDAMN IT!” moment near the end that I can’t say what happens without major spoilers, but oh wow was his performance painful.

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Tonight’s episode was a great change of pace from the last few where the focus was on Valentine only, and I honestly was glad for the reprieve from Valentine’s icky bad guy presence. This episode was about family and love and the lengths anyone, Nephilim, Mundane, or Downworlder, would go to to protect the people they love. I really liked tonight’s episode and I can’t wait for next week!

What did you guys think? Did you like it? Did you feel all the feels? Is anybody else wondering about whether or not the Clave will try to arrest Magnus for what he did to Raj? Let me know in the comments!

 

Shadowhunters Delivers On The Family Feels

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In tonight’s episode of Shadowhunters, we have Jace still being brain poisoned by Valentine, Clary being done with all of this shit, Jocelyn trying to save her kid, everybody trying to kill Simon basically, Magnus stealing his shit back, Alec losing it, and Isabelle trying to keep her brother from losing it.

Things are just all bad in the world of the Shadowhunters right now.

I like how the show just goes with it in explaining the backstory. The characters are openly facing this ‘secret are bad’ thing and just spilling their guts and I love it! This isn’t a show for cliffhangers, this is a show for ‘how will they get out of this situations?’ and I love that, because these actors do not have the skills and the writers do not have the writing chops to pull off that kind of suspense. They cover it well, and I really enjoy it.

And now, as it is midnight and I’m exhausted, I’m going to do that thing you all hate and just summarize the episode in lists.

Things I liked:

  • Simon is so good this season, which isn’t surprising since he was the best last season.
  • Raphael! Wasn’t expecting to see his sexy ass. Wants to burn Simon’s junk off, huh? Kinky!
  • I love Luke and Jocelyn’s little family moment. They’re Clary’s real parents anyways, let’s be real.
  • I love Alec and Izzy getting some focus this episode and paying attention to their dynamic. They’re brother and sister and yet there’s always something distracting from them. If you remember, we know that Alec is the most important person in Izzy’s life, and I love seeing how she tries to protect him even though he’s gone crazy with his desire to find his parabatai and bring him home.
  • Jace fighting Valentine’s scary brain-washing and holding out is soooo good, but does he ever stop pouting? He looks like Derek Zoolander!
  • Why are we still doing parabatai rune things? THIS IS PROVEN TO BE A BAD IDEA! (nice naked Alec, though, mmmm I love a man with chest hair)
  • Is it just me or did you REALLY think Izzy was gonna kiss Clary there? I really thought she was. That was some serious chemistry to not be a thing. This show HAS a queer romance storyline and Izzy’s face was WAY gayer than that.
  • Best part of the whole episode was Magnus casually looting Camille’s mansion. Talk about in character!

As for things I missed, I’m so tired guys. Also it’s my birthday, I deserve a good night’s sleep!

So what did you guys think? Thoughts? Comments? Disagreements? Put it in the comments and let me know!

Shadowhunters Season 2 Off To A Good Start

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Some of you may know that last year’s Shadowhunters was a TV show that I never expected to like but ended up very much enjoying. And while the writing is still pretty sketchy (though it got WAY better over the season), the acting is pretty bad (that also got better, though it’s still pretty ‘eh’), and this season adds to those flaws with a VERY WEIRD way of framing shots that makes it seem like the DP was drunk at the time, it was and, so far, still is a really intriguing TV show.

Season 2 premiered Monday, and other than that very, very weird Drunken DP thing I mentioned, it was a great episode!

(Warning, this post is gonna be kind of long because I’m gonna give some background since I didn’t have this blog when Season 1 was airing so there’s nothing for you guys to go on there.)

A little background for the non-watcher: Shadowhunters is based on a book series called The Mortal Instruments written by Cassandra Clare. (Little forewarning: I cannot stand those books or that woman, the plagiarizing jackass that she is. Plagiarism is, to me as someone with an English Degree, one of the most despicable things someone can do and not go to prison for doing so. The books are horrible, she’s a horrible human being, all of them can burn in hell for all I care. You need not know a THING about those shitty books to watch the TV show.) The story is about a girl named Clary who has just turned 18 and is headed off to art school when her mother goes missing. She discovers that her entire life has been a lie and that she isn’t even human, but rather of a race of people who have angel blood and protect the humans from the demons among them called Nephilim.

The story is really interesting, and Shadowhunters does a good job of telling a good story so that all of the flaws aren’t that abrasive. Don’t get me wrong, this is no Fargo, but it is an entertaining show that has good characters and a great story.

Season 1 covered Clary’s mother going missing, kidnapped by Clary’s father, who isn’t dead like her mother and most everyone else thought he was. Clary’s father, Valentine, is sort of like Shadowhunter Bin Laden, because back before Clary was even born, he led a band of radical Nephilim who believed, as he did, that all Downworlders (Vampires, Werewolves, Faeries, Warlocks, ect; people with some level of demon blood in them but who aren’t demons) were incapable of being good and following the law against harming normal humans (called Mundanes) and should all be slaughtered in droves. His band of followers, The Circle, were taken down by the rest of the Shadowhunters and the Shadowhunter government called The Clave and Valentine was assumed to be dead, leaving Clary’s mother free to raise her unborn daughter in the normal human world without any knowledge of what was going on. Over the course of Season 1, Clary’s best friend gets turned into a vampire, she befriends other young Shadowhunters who are siblings, one of them falls in love with her, there’s a lot of fighting the Circle members, a lot of trying to find her mom and save her, and basically your normal fantasy adventure story.

What I fell in love with when it comes to this show is the characters. There was a lot of real humanity to these characters, and I won’t bother giving you the full rundown of everything from Season 1 regarding all of those characters, but I will say that’s honestly the main draw to the show.

This week’s episode picked up where Season 1 left off, and for full details, you can look it up, but I’ll cover the important details: At the end of Season 1, Clary needed to find a book so that Magus could wake up her mother from her magically induced coma, they found out the book belonged to the vampire Camille (who turned Clary’s best friend Simon into a vampire), they freed her and she told them where to find the book, they went to find the book, and while they were there, Valentine showed up and kidnapped Jace, who was revealed to be Clary’s brother (Gross, gross, gross, dude kissed his sister, blech), and disappeared with Jace after Jace agreed to go quietly so Valentine would spare his friends lives. They went back, woke up Jocelyn, and got ready to go after Valentine and get both Jace and the Mortal Cup (thing that turns Mundanes into Shadowhunters) back from Valentine.

After the shocking turn of events from the Season 1 finale, the other night’s episode had a lot to deliver on, and it actually did a pretty good job doing so. We met the new head of the institute, Victor Aldertree, who immediately decides that Jace is in league with Valentine and should be brought in dead or alive. Obviously, for Clary and her friends, this is a serious issue. Because Alec is Jace’s parabatai (it’s like a platonic soul connection thing Shadowhunters can do when they’re kids), Alec freaks out a lot over this. He and Isabelle both get put under house-arrest with Clary because Jace is Alec and Isabelle’s adopted brother and Clary’s brother-she-didn’t-know-about, and Aldertree knows that they will try to go save Jace rather than capture or kill him.

I loved the way that, in such a hectic episode, there’s a lot of character information given to us. We see that, even though he voluntarily went with Valentine, Jace is fighting to escape from him. He is able to stand up against his father to try and go home, and it shows just how far from the narrative Aldertree believes Jace really is. It’s a great contrast to see the reality versus the common believe.

I also really enjoyed the Downworlder interactions we got. It was so sad to see Luke get kicked out of the whole situation even though he used to be a Shadowhunter and Jocelyn is his not!wife. Luke’s interactions with Simon are so fatherly and affectionate that it breaks your heart when he leaves and the other werewolves drive Simon out to sleep in a boat shed because of their hatred for vampires. Simon is so alone because he’s not really welcome anywhere and he can’t help out the way he would like to.

Another great thing about the episode was that, for how frantic everything was, Alec was appropriately human. Stress brings out flaws in people, and it was nice to see Alec crack and be a bit of a dick. He was harsh with everybody, but he was the most of a dick to Magnus, basically calling him useless and blaming him for not helping him, and a lot of people didn’t seem happy that he was such an asshole, but I think it’s realistic. You don’t often see outside stressors cause issues in a relationship in a real way. It’s normal for people to snap at their significant other because they’re freaking out. Usually in fiction that would’ve been some big friction-causing potential-break-up moment, but instead, once he’s calmed down and got himself sorted out, he went to find Magnus and apologize.

It’s worth nothing that most relationships in fiction are highly unnecessarily complicated, but especially queer relationships in media, so to see such a realistic level of communication for any couple is great, but for a queer couple it’s phenomenal. Their relationship is handled so well in this TV show. Also, the fact that Magnus doesn’t do the ‘female love interest’ thing that happens usually to women in fiction where ‘I’m sorry’ ‘oh that’s alright’ is all there is to it. Alec says he’s sorry, and Magnus makes him admit what he did that was wrong, explain why he did it, and then ask for forgiveness for doing something stupid under stress. Alec shows genuine remorse instead of rote apology. And, because he didn’t just apologize cause he had to, but because he meant it, Magnus forgives him and they talk about how Alec can keep from doing that again in the future.

Healthy relationships are always a big plus in fiction.

Most of all, however, I liked this week’s episode because Alec straight up called his mother out to her face on her shittiness. Maryse is like the Dolores Umbridge of this universe, because she’s such a terrible person who is selfish as hell. In Season 1, she was a d-bag to Isabelle because Isabelle isn’t a good little soldier, she’s a normal young woman who does her own thing, and sometimes ‘her own thing’ is banging hot Downworlders (as would we all, let’s be real, have you seen Meliorn?!). She loves Alec and Jace and gives a cold shoulder to Isabelle, and then when Alec starts being defiant and proposes to Lydia to spite them, she starts giving him the cold shoulder, and now when it comes to Jace, she literally says, “Jace isn’t family” even though Jace has actually said the words, “Maryse is my mother” and “The Lightwoods are my parents”.  When Alec calls her out on being selfish and self-centered about his ‘brother’, she actually says the words, “When you have a cancer, you cut it out before it can destroy you.”  This bitch compared her adopted son to CANCER, so it was very satisfying to have Alec finally call her out on it. I loved that more than anything else in the whole episode.

I can’t wait for next week, and to anybody who made it to the end of this week’s write-up, don’t worry! Next week will be way simpler and more coherent.

What did you guys think? Do you like this show? Did you give up on it because of how bad it was in the very beginning? Let me know in the comments!