‘Shadowhunters’ 1×02 Recap: ‘The Descent Into Hell Is Easy’
What do you do when you’re thrust into a world that’s always been a part of you but that you’re just now discovering and are now at the center of? When everything seemingly is falling apart in front of you, and you’re trying to stay strong in the midst of it all? That’s the situation Clary Fray finds herself in with Shadowhunters’ second episode.
In “The Descent Into Hell Is Easy,” Clary, Jace, Simon, Isabelle, and Alec must journey to the City of Bones in order to retrieve Clary’s lost memories. The hour begins right where we left off from the pilot with Clary being torn between running away from this newfound Shadowhunter life with Simon or embracing her destiny by following Jace. Of course she chooses to follow Jace or else this would be a short story and an even shorter television show.
In the instance when we enter the Institute, the audience is essentially Simon in that we are being exposed to this new world. Jace helps peel back the glamour on the Institute and we see the Institute come to life complete with that ridiculous overabundance of technology. No matter how long we’re exposed to the Shadowhunters as tech savvy warriors it’s never going to feel organic and that’s because of the race’s backstory. The Shadowhunters have existed long before technology and what they do is possible because of their angelic origin. The overwhelming reliance on technology to do their work negates the need of their magic in the first place. It sort of feels like the Shadowhunters are some demon division of the FBI. And that’s not a compliment. Simon even makes a reference about them seemingly have “robbed a tech store.” See, Simon is us.
Then we get to the introductions as the Lightwoods meet Simon. Alec is just as fond as Simon as he is Clary, though Isabelle seems to have taken an interest in Simon. Simon is smitten, just as he is in the books, so much that he agrees to be the experiment in trying Isabelle’s cooking, which Jace warns him “don’t eat the food,” which was a nice callback to the books when we learn Izzy’s cooking is atrocious.
Jace takes Clary to meet Hodge Starkweather, who is their weapons trainer and former Circle member. “Jocelyn?” he asks Clary when he sees her. Clearly he knew Jocelyn. In fact, they were close friends in the Circle together. Clary gets some backstory on this Valentine and the Mortal Cup learning that it’s the most important instrument in the Shadow World (no mention that it’s a Mortal Instrument sadly) in which it can create new Shadowhunters and be used to control demons, which explains why Valentine wants it. So basically the entire conversation translates to this: Valentine can’t get the Cup. So we need to get to it first.
Eventually Clary and Jace learn that the best place to start in search of the Cup is Dot, who may or may not be in league with Valentine. But she’s the best place to start being as though she is a warlock and might have some idea of what happened to Clary and possibly Jocelyn. It takes a little convincing to get Alec to agree, but he finally relents and they set off in search of the warlock.
Meanwhile, Dot is determined to protect Clary from Valentine and goes to Magnus for help. Turns out that Valentine found out that a warlock created that potion that Jocelyn drank and he’s trying to hunt them down; he’s hunting down all warlocks so he’s fleeing. Magnus is running away. Sigh. This leaves Dot on her own, which certainly doesn’t bode well as she’s kidnapped by Valentine’s men and dragged back to Chernobyl (sorry, still don’t get it).
While this is happening Clary learns that the necklace her mother gave her acts as some kind of clairvoyant power where she can see her mom and Dot. The necklace leads them to Pandemonium, but they’re too late. Dot has been taken. So what are some desperate Shadowhunters and a mundane to do? “There is something we could do,” Jace says.
Time to head to the City of Bones for a visit with the Silent Brothers.
When they arrive on the outskirts of the City of Bones, Jace, Alec, and Isabelle go ahead to check things out. Alec warns Jace that if anything happens to “that girl” that it’s on them. He knows that, but he also knows what it feels like to have lost everything. That is until the Lightwoods took him in. “Your family always used to welcome strays,” Jace says. “You were never a stray,” Alec says, and it’s official I’ve been hit with feels for the first time in this show.
Since Simon can’t enter the City of Bones without dying (“By all means,” Alec chimes), Jace goes with Clary while Alec and Isabelle watch Simon on the outskirts. The two journey down to the bone city with Jace’s witchlight (which is much “cooler than a flashlight”) both seemingly freaked out a bit at this place. But they soon come face-to-face with a statue of the angel Raziel, which includes the Mortal Sword and the inscription: “Nephilim Facilis Descensus Averni,” which Jace translates to “Looking better in black than the widows of our enemies since 1234,” but it actually means, “For Shadowhunters, the descent into hell is easy.” It was one of the most faithful scenes adapted for the show so far, and it was wonderful. More please.
Meanwhile, outside Alec is so done with Simon (“Literally never stops talking.”), but Isabelle seems interested when Simon begins talking about his band and wants to hear some of his indie rock music (how is it that Jace doesn’t know what a G.I. Joe is but Isabelle knows about indie rock?) Simon has some songs on his phone which is back in the van. Isabelle suggests they go get it, and she gets an accusing look from Alec to which she responds, “He passes the time.” (Really? Did she just say that?) At the van, Simon is looking for music when Isabelle hears a noise outside and goes to see what it is. She instructs Simon to not leave the van while she does, which turns out to be bad advice as he’s taken by someone hiding in the backseat.
Back in the City of Bones, Clary takes her spot beneath the Mortal Sword and prepares for the memory-extracting process. And damn it’s terrifying as the tip of the sword pierces her forehead and we’re thrown back to a memory from two years prior. We see Clary pretending to sleep as Jocelyn and Luke discuss Jocelyn’s decision in taking Clary’s memories. Jocelyn says she’s keeping her safe because people can’t find out who Clary is; that she’s Valentine’s daughter.
The shock of the memory thrusts Clary back to reality as she struggles to accept the revelation that was just revealed: She’s Valentine’s daughter. When Clary and Jace exit the bone city Alec awaits them and Jace reveals the shocking news about Clary, which prompts Alec to have even more distrust in Clary than before. How do they know she’s not some sort of spy? Clary unloads on him for that accusation as she essentially sees her world falling apart. When Isabelle returns without Simon, that’s the final straw.
Clary runs back to the van screaming Simon’s name, praying that her best friend isn’t the next person she loses. “Is that the mundane’s name?” Our gang looks up to see two vampires – one of them Raphael – holding Simon upside down a hundred feet in the air clearly threatening his life. Jace threatens to kill Raphael, but Alec says that would violate the Accords. Only it wouldn’t. These vampires are clearly threatening a mundane’s life, which means that they should attempt to stop them. One of the problems that I have with this is that the show claims to be following the mythology but it’s not following through with it. Don’t claim to be following the ancient mythology if you don’t understand it.
Turns out the vampires want the Mortal Cup, as well, because that who controls it controls all. So they’re going to use Simon as leverage. Cue cliffhanger that sets up Hotel Dumort for next week; for the third episode; which seems really early this quick into the show; but then again a lot of things have seemed rushed so far.
Here’s a look at the good (raves) and the bad (rants) of “The Descent Into Hell Is Easy”:
- Jace and Alec’s Relationship: This is a relationship that I’m really looking forward to seeing; these two parabatai and that trusting foundation. When Jace, Alec, and Isabelle stepped aside from Clary and Simon there was a natural understanding to their relationship but also compassion. These two really love and understand each other. They – including Izzy – are still in this together even with the new additions. (But honestly it would’ve worked better if they were the only ones, along with Hodge, in the Institute really capturing that bond as they grew up with only each other and the Lightwoods). Jace knows what it’s like to lose everything, and the Lightwoods took him in; Alec became his best friend; his parabatai. One of my favorite lines came at the end of that conversation. “Your family used to take in strays,” Jace says. “You were never a stray,” Alec says. That melted me.
- Simon Lewis: Simon continues to easily be my favorite character on the show. The way his character has been portrayed thus far has been organic and the most relatable character to his true book form, minus the majoring in accounting thing and such. Simon is an organic source of comic relief in a show that at times can become overwhelming with all of the exposition of the mythology and the darkness of its nature.
- “Looking Better In Black”: In one of the more direct scenes in the show pulled directly from City of Bones came when Jace and Clary were at the entrance to the City of Bones and Clary saw the Shadowhunters motto: “Nephilim Facilis Descensus Averni.” When she asked Jace what it meant he told her – just like in the books, and a phrase that fans know all too well – it meant “Shadowhunters: Looking better in black than the widows of our enemies since 1234.” But Clary knew that was not the Latin translation. “For Shadowhunters the descent into Hell is easy.” It was a small moment, but it was significant in that it’s one of those scenes that feels like the story we all fell in love with in the books. It also serves as a reminder to Ed Decter and the writers that there is amazing dialogue readily available in the books, and it’s a small, but great way to honor the fans of the books who were fans of this show long before it premiered.
- Book Nuances: Speaking of paying homage to Cassandra Clare’s books, it was nice to see little things sprinkled throughout this episode that referenced certain aspects of the characters. We had a reference to Isabelle’s horrible cooking, as well as Jace being ignorant to pop culture (“What’s a GI Joe?”) seeing as this culture was never in tune with the pop culture references of the mundane world. Why should they be?
- Simon and Jace: One of my favorite dynamics in this episode was between Jace and Simon, who clearly do not like each other as they have similar affections for our lead heroine Clary. But there’s a natural chemistry between Dom and Alberto that allows for some great exchanges between the pair. That humor between the feuding men was always something that was entertaining, and it was nice to see a bit of that brought into the show.
- Simon and Isabelle: While I did not enjoy the way Isabelle views Simon as a way to “pass the time,” I did enjoy seeing these two characters interact. As we know it took some time in the books before these two developed into the characters they were when they fell for each other. So this is a relationship that’s going to need some time and development to grow. But it was nice to see the writers pay homage to a relationship that fans have made clear that they love and want to see respected on this show. Now we’re just along for the ride.
- The Valentine Reveal: So for book fans the little bombshell that Valentine is Clary’s father didn’t really come as a shock, but the way that the reveal was handled felt flat and lacked suspense. Whether it was Clary pretending to be asleep and hearing her mom tell Luke that people can’t learn she’s Valentine’s daughter (in her recovered memory) or the ease with which the information came (we’re two episodes in, people), it simply didn’t work for me. In the book, hell even the movie, there was build-up to that moment. We learned that Jocelyn was in the Circle (kudos for including that in this episode), we learned that Jocelyn was married to Valentine and then left him, and deep down we all knew that Clary was Valentine’s daughter but we never said anything until that piece of information was revealed. It was a slow build that had that suspense that makes these reveals so great and deliver on that surprise. This felt rushed like a lot of plot points in this show so far.
- The Treatment of Women: While I continue to have an issue with Isabelle’s clothing, this has nothing to do with her and everything to do with Dot and that Circle member who was ripped to shreds by Luke, in self-defense. With a show where a vast majority of fans are women, Shadowhunters should be relishing in the opportunity to put as many strong women on this show as possible. Dot, an entirely new character brought in to fill the role of pseudo-Dorothea and Magnus, was only relevant for two episodes before she was killed by Valentine near episode’s end. Why was it so important for Dot to be introduced onto this show – and given the focus she was – if she wasn’t going to be someone significant at some point? Then there was that female Circle member that was questioning Luke in the pilot. Granted I never expected her to have a significant role in this story, but she was the second woman killed in this episode for some unknown ridiculous reason. Sure she was after Luke and it was nice to see her hold her own for a bit, but she was treated as nothing more than an expendable plot device. Everything so far about this show has me feeling discouraged about its treatment of the women, from the leads to the minor (and now deceased) characters.
- Isabelle Sexing Up Simon: Look I love Sizzy as much as the next person, but this whole scene when Isabelle took Simon off to sleep with him in his van – which never really got started – was disheartening. Sure fans want to see these two together, but not before they’ve developed into the characters that actually want to be with each other. Simon isn’t over Clary, Isabelle hasn’t opened up and let that vulnerable side of hers show and these two have known each other for only a few hours. It did not feel genuine and it did feel respectful.
- Simon Being Kidnapped by Raphael: I understand the changes from the book to the television show (especially seeing as Cassie has no involvement in the show), but one of the storylines that we’re rushing into way too fast is Simon being kidnapped by Raphael and the vampires. We’re just two episodes and already what leads to a major plot point in the second book is already coming to fruition. This show has just barely began to explain this world to its audience, including non-book readers who probably have no idea what the hell is going on. And now we’re going to dive right into Hotel Dumort? One of the lessons that Shadowhunters needs to learn is: slow down. There’s plenty of time and plenty of material to cover. You don’t need to cram everything in. Also, the circumstances under which Simon was kidnapped were far too mundane, let’s be honest. In the books – and movie – there was a build up to Magnus’ party and this happened on a whim. In the show it feels forced.
Shadowhunters airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on Freeform.
Totally agree with your review on all points. I’m trying really really REALLY hard to not be bothered by how off book the TV show has been so far. Yes they are hitting the same plot points but some of the best scenes in the book seem like they are basically not going to happen now. I don’t buy there is a genuine attraction between Clary and Jace. Which in the show’s defense I think makes sense since they don’t quite know each other yet, but also to your comment…Simon and Isabelle are almost moving too fast in their relationship development. I’ll keep watching the show because I think there is still potential but I’m bothered by some of the storyline changes. I feel like the show runners were making it sound like they were going to be more faithful than the movie was and I haven’t seen that yet in my opinion. Also with Magnus portalling away what role does he even have now? Dot’s character wasn’t necessary, she could have stayed the Dorothea of the books. I know a lot of people didn’t like the movie but I still think to date it has been more faithful to the source material.
I think the other vampire was Lily. Just thought I’d mention that.
Yes! I knew it! 🙂
Tl;dr: I largely agree with this review. Simon’s awesome, Izzy’s not, and everything’s too fast. (I’m sorry this is so long)
Simon’s easily the best character on the show right now, just because he feels like a real person. Every other character, especially Clary, feels disingenuous and is terribly acted. Of the little changes that bother me, like having technology in the Institute, none are anywhere near as irritating as every time Katherine McNamara speaks. The book references always make me smile, even if the dialogue in which they come up is stunted and awkward. In theory, I like the idea of the Jace/Alec relationship, but that one line is the only real evidence we have of that relationship, and I don’t think a newcomer to the series would notice this relationship or understand the significance of that line.
I don’t mind changes so long as they feel justified, and if you start looking too closely, a lot of the changes start to fall apart. So, it could be interesting to have all this technology in the Institute, but if you want to suggest that Shadowhunters have access to modern technology, how come they aren’t familiar with modern culture references (and how come they don’t have a car or some other means of transportation)? And it could be cool to have all these other people in the Institute, but if you want to say that all of those people are Shadowhunters, why don’t they have any reaction to mundane(s) in the Institute? If, as Alec says, mundanes are strictly forbidden from entering the Institute, how come the Shadowhunters behind him don’t even look at Simon once during that whole conversation? Lots of poorly thought-out details in the show so far.
As far as plot goes, the show’s oddly falling into the same issue the movie did of trying to explain things too quickly and jumping from point to point for the sake of having action occur. I always try to think of how a newcomer to the series would be feeling about the show, and it never feels like this world is being properly explained; if you’re not already aware of what runes are or why Valentine is so important, you’re not going to understand what the show’s throwing at you. It was a flaw in the first episode, and it’s carrying over in this one; i.e. Alec just casually mentioning “the Accords” means absolutely nothing to a newcomer. A newcomer could take a guess at what it is (Is it some kind of treaty between shadow hunters and vampires? Who knows?), but allowing that to happen means that the show becomes more generic (magical treaties are not a new concept).
Pacing is an issue as well. Just to compare, a show like Game of Thrones, which has a lot more content to cover than Shadowhunters, is really smart about setting aside three or four episodes a season for housekeeping, episodes that mainly consist of people talking and laying groundwork that builds up to one or two major actions scenes later on in the season. Shadowhunters could really benefit from this type of episode; I would’ve loved if the first episode ended after Clary passes out, so the second episode could’ve been sitting down, having a clear and concise explanation of what Shadowhunters are/do, these are the new words you have to know (i.e. runes, stele, seraph), these are the people you need to know (i.e. Valentine, Lightwood’s, Silent Brothers), end the episode with the dramatic disappearance of Dot and the journey to the Silent Brothers. The way things are revealed and explained just feels really sloppy at the moment, and it’s at the expense of a well-explained world that we’re getting big reveals (Valentine) and plot twists (Vamps kidnap Simon). Then again, maybe the producers realize that hearing McNamara talk that much would be too painful for viewers and they’re actually sparing us from a far more painful fate.
A slight disagreement with your “Treatment of Women” section: I don’t feel killing Dot and the Circle member are major injustices against women, because we’ve seen male characters killed, and, in theory, we still have female characters with agency to feel attachments to. That being said, I don’t think we should brush Izzy’s clothing under the rug; it’s still an issue.
In its treatment of Izzy and Clary, the show has stereotyped them as a) the seductress and b) the virgin, and especially with Izzy, it hurts the character. I feel as if the show has ideas of how it wants to present Izzy, as she was characterized in the books, but every detail feels shallow and makes her less relatable. For example, they want to present her as this fierce, tough shadow hunter, but her first fight scene begins with her stripping down to a skimpy outfit and dancing provocatively for a bunch of men to watch. They want to push the idea that “she’s comfortable with her body” (a quote coming from her stepbrother, of all people), which is an acceptable concept in theory, but in practice, doesn’t make a lot of sense. Being comfortable with your body shouldn’t immediately correlate to wearing provocative and revealing clothing, and in Izzy’s case, it’s a little offensive to have her wearing skimpy outfits when it just isn’t practical for her profession. I don’t want to shame a female character for wearing revealing clothes, but the show’s treatment of Izzy – including that awful “he passes the time” line – isn’t giving her enough depth to justify these character changes. There’s no evident purpose for her to wear the clothing she does other than to pander to a male audience (which is kind of ridiculous anyways, given the YA nature of the show). I could literally write an essay about this problem, so I won’t continue; it’s worthy to note that even CC hinted at not being comfortable with the costume choices for Izzy.
Thanks for your review, and sorry to leave a long comment.
I don’t think I could have said it better myself! My biggest problem with the series so far is the writing…I don’t think any of actors are necessarily bad actors, it’s just that the writing is so bad! The only good lines in any of the episodes are lines from the book (“My name isn’t little girl,” “Looking better in black,” etc.) The characters just don’t feel like themselves… which brings me to Izzy.I have to say that nothing makes me angrier than Izzy’s clothing/ behavior. Izzy was such a great feminist icon; her body was her own, and she didn’t feel the need to strip to have power over men. And having sex with Meliorn to find out how to get into DuMort??? What???? Her lines are so awkward, they just stereotyped her into a “slutty” personality. I’m not trying to slut shame her, it’s just that this isn’t the Izzy we’ve come to know and love. Her relationship with men didn’t stem from a love of sex or promiscuity, but rather from her lack of trust in men after learning of her father’s affair. She never stayed with one guy for too long because she was afraid of getting hurt, not because she was a “slut.” And I think that these first couple of episodes have been such an information dump; mentioning things without explaining them isn’t helping anyone! They need to set time aside and explain things, because I’ve read the book and I don’t even know what’s going on! I just hope that the season gets better, because the next episode (episode 4) does NOT look promising…
I watched both episodes and I watched the movie multiple times, and I think that the main problems I’ve been having while watching the show is in part the acting, which yes, isn’t awful, but I don’t buy into any of the relationships yet. Izzy’s supposed to be playful, flirtatious but not overly so. She’s been so sexualised in the show that it takes away from her important characteristics, like her courage, her kindness, and her love for her family. She and Clary clash at first, and then learn each other’s quirks and love each other like sisters, which I honestly think is something important to show. Change the plot points, fine, but change the dynamic of one of the most important relationships between two strong, independent women? That I have a problem with. Additionally, Jace and Clary have close to no chemistry, and Clary’s personality seems bland at best right now, and I can’t buy into any of the emotions she’s shown so far because they all seem to be lacking something real. In the book, Clary sees Jace and thinks he’s an angel, and can’t quite handle herself around him properly, but that shouldn’t even be the main thing–she’s so obsessed with finding her mother that her attraction to Jace is pushed to the side and instead of flirting she resorts to sarcasm. That’s one of the things that the show doesn’t quite capture, which is pretty upsetting because it’s not even critical to the plot, but it is critical to the development of Jace and Clary’s relationship. However, I’m not blaming the actors. They’re all fantastic, but the script they’ve been given is rushed, and you’d think it would be better, and they’d be able to go more in depth on some of the big plot points (which yes, they do, but why does Magnus own Pandemonium if he’s running away, and why is the party not in his apartment where Simon gets stolen?). Also, WHAT IS UP WITH CHERNOBYL. How hard is it to have Valentine in that crazy castle? And why are there so many people in the Institute? They literally have had no effect on the plot, and most likely never will. And the high-tech stuff in there makes it look like a police station, not a magic Institute. You can’t buy that they’re three young, independent Shadowhunters if they have tech support backing them up.
Worst of all, though, is that Clary celebrated her birthday in the first episode, which means no midnight kiss from Jace, and my heart breaks into a million little pieces.
So far I think the movie was able to capture the dynamic of the relationships a lot better than the show so far, and I think certain things are going to be really hard to sell on the show given the way it’s been going so far. And while most people’s complaints about the movie have been about it’s loyalty to the book and Valentine, I’d say those complaints are anything but solved with the show. I’m willing to watch it though. I’ve waited so long that I might as well see it through.
I agree. It’s been so unsatisfying, but I’ve got so hyped for it, I’m not about to stop watching it because of a couple of major flaws.
I agree with your review, especially the part about that the show has to slow down. And the part where Alec says they couldn’t go after Raphael because of the accords, that was imo just plain stupid writing, they wanted to tell the viewer that there is something like the accords and didn’t pay attention to the fact, that how they did that contradicted the accords. What I unfortunatly didn’t feel, at least not much, was Alec’s and Jace’s relationship. Simon and Jace have great chemistry with each other, more so than Jace and Clary. For me the best of the show are at the moment Simon and Alec. That Magnus doesn’t stay is imo in character, at least if you consider him before he met Alec, he is in The Bane Chrinicles not to fond of Shadowhunters, I mean of course he is in love with one or two, he befriends one or two, but he knows there flaws and how they look down on anything/anyone else, so he wouldn’t risk his live for them. Even in City of Bones (the book) he doesn’t really want to help them until he mets Alec. Now they just have to come up with a good reason to meet him, because in the books it was because the silent brothers saw his name in Clary’s memory.
Sorry for my bad English 🙂
Another excellent recap, Alyssa!
I agree completely. My husband has not read the books and he has watched both episodes and said he is over it because a) they aren’t explaining anything or if they are, it isn’t clear or it is rushed and b) WAY too many commercials. You just start getting into it and bam another 5 minute commercial break. I know that is the station, but they are using Shadowhunters to build up their name change and it is turning people off. And I really wish they would tone down Izzy. I mean I know she is all sexy and stuff, but it is more of a defense mechanism and more feminine. They have turned her into a skank. I mean that “shirt” she was wearing? They are supposed to be fighters. How can you protect your body wearing that? And the Institute, don’t get me started. I also agree with Barb in that so far the movie was truer to the books. The main thing that upset me about the movie was the whole sibling reveal. I am curious to see how the show will handle it. I hate to say it, but that will be the deal breaker for me. I am very close to giving up already. But I am trying to hang in there.
Love your comments and fully I agree! The scripts are rushing too fast with the material. Simon and the Hotel Dumort are way off! Also they should slow down on Isabelle’s and Simon’s relationship. The way the make-out scene is portrayed in the van, it makes Isabelle look like a slut. I also agree with the way women are used in this series and it’s wrong. Isabelle is a beautiful and strong woman in the book, in the series she certainly doesn’t appear that way, she’s way too two dimensional. I think the series needs better script writers. Keep up the good work!!
Oh man, I’m glad it’s not just me. Great points made by everyone in the comments. Seriously, what IS up with Chernobyl?! I understand that it’s an adaptation and that changes will be made, and some of them Im totally ok with. I feel like some of the big ones though, thus far have been pointless or for the sake of making the show “sexier.” Why can’t the female characters be strong and driven and that be sexy enough? ( bigger comment on hollywood/tv I’m sure) The actress that played Izzy in the movie was a better portrayal of her strength while Emaraude is a better portrayal of her sensuality. But there’s almost too much of it unnecessarily. Clary also seems to be embracing the skimpy outfits too easily. I thought Lily Collins did a better job of showing her uneasiness with it all at first and transitioned better into being a Shadowhunter. I feel like the point of having a TV series is to take more time to explain and develop characters that movies only have 2 hours to do. BTW How are we at Hotel Dumort already?! Also in regards to their being so many extra Shadowhunters in the institute, it bothers me only in the sense that while reading the book I felt like their isolation and lack of others around them was what made Jace, Izzy and Alec seem closer. They only had each other aside from the rest of the Lightwoods and Hodge. Hodge’s punishment doesn’t seem that harsh also in this scenario with so many others around. I really loved the fact that clary is an artist, one of the things that made me feel like I related to her and I feel like its not really focused on… she can create runes for crying out loud…again better handled in the movie. Also her mom isn’t an artist nor is their apartment filled with their paintings. The books are the books. I get that. The way Cassandra Clare wrote these books I think could have translated really well to a TV show without the major changes that have been made that seem like changes for the sake of changes or “sexiness”. Maybe through the course of the season it will all make sense but thus far I’m not sure. I’m venting of course cause I feel like I need to with other like-minded fans :). I loved the books and the story and was really looking forward to seeing it come to life. Simon is definitely a highlight, and I’m happy to see some of the cool props from the movie being re-used in the TV show. The things that are true to the book are done well. I totally agree with the comment about structuring it like the Game of Thrones episodes!
Again, I will watch the whole season because there are enough things I like to keep me going but I hate the disappointment I have felt after watching the last couple episodes. Thanks for the honest reviews Alyssa!
If I didn’t know the books inside and out, I would be so confused and overwhelmed watching the show. Hope it slows down and catches its breath soon 😉
My friend is watching the show without reading the books……I’m disappointed and she’s gonna get confused. The show doesn’t explain! I know the book from cover to cover but what about the newbies?!
I completely agree that this show has its problems (so far, in some ways, I think I do like the movie better; but it’s too early to say, and in other ways I do prefer the show).
But I think a lot of you guys are forgetting that Simon and Isabelle DID have some sort of relationship in CoB (as Clary even later calls Simon a hypocrite, since he’s talking badly about her and Jace but he’s “throwing himself at Isabelle”) and that we just didn’t get to see it. How do we know the way they’re acting now in the show isn’t how they acted there? We don’t. Especially since (iirc) in one of the later books, Isabelle confesses she was hurt that Simon temporarily threw her away after CoB for Clary.
And Isabelle IS really shallow at first, guys (remember when she lost Simon at the party and suggested leaving him?). And she’s always been sexual. Remember her comment at the Fairy Court? Because I do. I think some of you are expecting the characters to be more like their developed versions that we know and love, but they’re not going to be at first.
The same thing can be said for Magnus. Until Alec he was TOTALLY in it for himself. Only wanting to help the Shadowhunters if he was paid (and looking down at them in general). As a warlock he learned to play it safe. Remember the line “It was hard to live an immortal life without closing yourself off to new experiences, because what was new was almost always temporary and what was temporary broke your heart?” Why, then, are people acting so surprised that Magnus is closed off now? I think it’s natural for where he’s at in this part of the story. Hell, we even see a bit of the fearful Magnus come back into play in CoHF, for goodness sake.
Anyway, this show’s major flaw is most definitely it’s pacing. We’re only two episodes in and we’re already half-way through book one. Here’s hoping things start slowing down very soon, otherwise we might get done with CoG in this season0_o
Edit: Oh, and I’m pretty sure that Dot will come back possessed as a demon, if nothing else.
With respect, I cannot agree.
No one is expecting the characters to be what they are in City of Heavenly Fire. But they should still seem Iike real people, not caricatures. In City of Bones they were real people, even if they hadn’t matured and changed into adults yet. These are walking stereotypes.
It is also part of the price the show pays for aging the characters up. They can no longer be expected to act like younger teenagers when they are supposed to be older. Yet these characters seem less mature, not more. Isabelle dragging Simon off to the truck to “pass the time” isn’t just gross, it’s stupid, Simon immediately gets kidnapped, which is now Isabelle’s fault. Along with Alec not knowing what the Accords are or do, these people are just terrible Shadowhunters. The worst.
Nobody is acting like Magnus being “closed off” is surprising. They are saying it is unpleasant to see Magnus of all people run away like a coward when Valentine comes nearby. Why would he? He wasn’t t afraid of those Circle members in his club. Why is he afraid of Valentine? Nothing has been established to suggest Valentine poses a threat to him, so his running off to hide makes him seem like a cowardly asshole, which he never was in the books. Asking Shadowhunters to pay him for his services is a far cry from hiding in a hole from danger which we have never seen him do.
I am surprised no one has mentioned how hilarious it is that the Clave has put a curse on Hodge that means he can’t be asked about the Circle, so now THE CLAVE CANNOT EVER INTERROGATE HIM IT IS SO STUPID.
Why would Dot ever come back? They’re trashing the book storylines, and this Dot has clearly filled her purpose. I’d be surprised if she is even ever mentioned again.
Nothing is as bad as Chernobyl though. Nothing.
Agreed. The curse on Hodge is absolutely stupid to. They cannot not have deviated from the books anymore if they wanted. Then again, I didn’t expect the pilot or the second episode to singe my eyebrows off and leave me searching the floor for my shriveled and fallen out eyeballs either. Who knows, they might get worse yet. The are very confusing idiots.
I know I said that I would wait until the fifth episode had aired to comment. But now I feel as though it is almost not worth continuing to watch. Also, I did not think that the second episode of a TV show could be worse than the first. This one’s was. To start . . . Where to start? I honestly have no idea. So I am going to give my thoughts on one character at the time.
Jace: Jace was so perfect in the books. He is my favorite character. He was snarky, arrogant, and always said the most humorous things. But he cared. There was a depth to him that no one else possessed. He was one of a kind. But Dom Sherwood’s portrayal of Jace is almost insulting. When he talks, there is no british accent (which Dom speaks with naturally), and there is no feeling to him. He seems to have no attraction to Clary, or anyone for that matter. Dom Sherwood’s acting is decidedly bland, and not at all ‘Jace’.
Isabelle: Book Isabelle was a very strong character who knew how to keep the boys (Jace and Alec) in check. She did wear clothing of a provocative nature, but not anything at all like TV show Izzy wears. What book Isabelle wore was pretty, elegant, and still allowed her to be a free moving Shadowhunter. Also, she was a far more passionate Shadowhunter than TV show Izzy. TV show Isabelle is way to sexualized, and is not at all in character. Her clothing is indecent, and Toubia was not made for the role of Isabelle Lightwood.
Clary: Clary in the books was a shy, short and freckly girl. She was thrust into a world of mystical things, and into a war between good and evil. Yet despite her meekness, she saved her mother and became a hero through it all. She was never one to act like an utter brat, and certainly did not speak so arrogantly. Every time TV show Clary opened her mouth, I found myself saying, “Oh god, someone shut the bratty thing up.” Kat’s portrayal of Clary was terrible. I felt like Kat’s actual personality bled into her character role too much. And if you look up her role history, all the other characters she portrays are bratty as well. I feel as though she is not at all made for the role of Clary. TV show Clary is easily my most disliked.
Alec: I personally like Alec. He was a reserved character who acted on logic and protected his siblings. I also liked how he didn’t rub being gay into everyone’s face (not discriminating here), and that he was a strong and kind character. The books had the perfect balance between all the romantic relationships. He was a very decent and sweet character, and I feel it very hard to believe he ever had a mean bone in his body. He is easily the most sweet character of the bunch (next to Simon), and I am glad things worked out for him in the books. TV show Alec has no emotion, and he’s grouchy alright, but still his character feels like it’s lacking. He needs to show compassion towards Jace, and needs to focus on bickering with Clary over Jace because that gives away his sexual orientation and ultimately his attraction to Jace.
Simon: Simon is the sweetest character of the books, and he is also our gateway to seeing what it would be like for a mundane to be introduced into the Shadow World. Simon is Jewish, and says so in the books, so we are aware of that right off the bat. He is also geeky, but very caring. He has a crush on Clary, but won’t tell her. He fears that if he does admit his feelings, she will still want to remain friends only. The two have a brother sister dynamic. When he meets Jace, he is jealous of how Clary seems to like Jace. When Izzy is cooking in the Institute’s kitchen, Simon wants to stay with her to help with the cooking. Clary is jealous of Simon wanting to stay with Izzy, because Clary has feelings for Simon as well, and also because she feels like she’s losing her best friend. And Jace’s quote about Izzy’s cooking goes like this: “If you knew how to cook, maybe I would eat.” and Isabelle replies with “What did you say?” holding the spoon in a dangerous manner, to which Jace replies with, “I said I’m going to look for a snack to eat.” Isabelle then says that that’s what she thought he said. I believe Jace and Clary go meet Hodge after this. TV Simon is too hard on the language, and there is no attachment to him because we are not given any past, and outside of reading the books, would not know that he and Clary had been life long friends. Also, the Sizzy relationship is so rushed that there are no introductions and getting to know one another at all.
Luke: While I am not at all racist, I never imagined Luke being black. But if Mustafa would portray Luke’s character properly and be a bit more accurate and passionate, then I would not be complaining about Mutsafa. Also, TV Luke shows no Uncle like bond towards Clary, and seemed to be more of a cold and hard minded werewolf than a kindhearted werewolf.
Dot: So when did we start calling Madam Dorothea ‘Dot’? I simply do not understand it. And when did she get so young, become so inviting, and gain the ability to use magic (book Dorothea could only read tea leaves and tell fortunes)? Remember when movie Dorothea shot the door in movie Jocelyn’s face? That is Madam Dorothea, not this ‘Dot’.
Valentine: I know that book Valentine’s hair was white, and movie Valentine’s hair was not, but he was an amazing Valentine as far as all else goes. He was very menacing and you actually got the feeling that he resembled movie Clary enough to be her father. TV show Valentine looks nothing like Valentine is described, and he does not have the deep voice that all villains have. He also does not act at all evil enough. Sprang, while no doubt may be an excellent actor, is not however the actor for the role of Valentine.
Jocelyn: While Jocelyn might resemble book Jocelyn in a sense, her personality does not. There should be more suspense and a strong Jocelyn handling things, not whinny Jocelyn saying over and over “Its not time.” Movie Jocelyn is Jocelyn. We need Headey, not Roy. Jocelyn is supposed to be easily the strongest female character.
Blackwell and Pangborn: Movie Blackwell and Pangborn were perfect. TV show Blackwell and Pangborn . . . Well, just look at them and you see: they are not villain like and are not menacing looking at all.
Silent Brothers: The silent brothers in the movie were amazing. TV show Silent Brothers were horrible. At least they kept one of the Silent Brother actors though, so there’s that. Also, here Jace and Clary actors try to give some background, but there portrayal holds no anguish or suspense. The whole of the show feels that way, actually.
Now I give you my thoughts as a true fan of the single best fantasy series, written so perfectly that it will never be beaten by another book. When casting for the Shadowhunters show began everyone involved with its making said that they would keep as true to the books as possible. Well, you clearly have not. You could not have deviated from the books anymore even if you wanted. If anything we were told this to have our attention garnered. I am disappointed, sad even, that I have had to watch my favorite book series be butchered before my eyes. The only thing accurate about the characters is their name. They do not at all resemble each other, and if we weren’t told they were related, we would not know. At least the movie characters resembled. And some of the actors did not act well enough to be in anything outside of an old soap and it be considered ‘good acting.’ I only hate that they got to act this badly in an actual good book series gone TV show. You have ruined the institute, which has now become a futuristic place that does not belong in the Shadow World in all of its primitiveness. You have skipped so far ahead in key plot points, not explained anything to bridge that gap, and given us not one reason to care for any of your shell like characters. And worse yet you have skipped some of the most critical and memorable scenes.
Where I do not mean to be at all provoking, rude, or at all aggressive in my comment, I do simply wish to state what is obvious: there is no hope for the show if it does not improve in the next few episodes, for they have taken that to. The rating has already dropped. They should have stuck with the movies, which would have been done so much more justice. I care deeply for all of the characters, and hope that maybe they will one day continue with the movies, and that the show does not go past the Mortal Instruments series.
P.S. Sorry to leave such a very long comment. But I know for a fact that I am not the only one thinking and posting these thoughts.
With fading hope,
A Fan Who Cares
Well said Avala. This show has gone down the gutters and I’m very disappointed.
Thanks for your kind compliment! 😊 Glad I’m not the only one who sees.
I was so excited for this to make up for the movie, but it’s been so rushed, so unfaithful and I mean, I’ve come to love the movie, but I feel like this show isn’t going anywhere the long-time fans wanted it to. It could still go well, but as of yet, I’m not pleased.
I think that so far the series has been great but it hasn’t been the way that I thought it would be. Either way things could lighten up for the show and I hope that it does soon.