Shadowhunters took an emotional turn as Simon began a new journey and Alec took a leap of faith regarding his future in “Bad Blood.”
While Shadowhunters has seen its share of ups and downs, these past couple of episodes have been the strongest to date. But I feel like “Bad Blood” has been my favorite ironically because of a storyline that I felt was too rushed in this first season: Simon becoming a vampire.
Here’s the rundown (WARNING: SPOILERS)…
Simon Becomes a Vampire
While the storyline itself might’ve felt too rushed for the first season, I have to give it up to Alberto Rosende for flawless execution of a storyline that could’ve come off as cheap but was executed to emotional perfection. I swear, I’m still wiping away the tears.
Simon’s resurrection was something I never thought we’d get to see on screen after the Mortal Instruments movies were axed. But it has always been one of my favorite storylines from Cassie’s books because of the emotion behind it. This storyline has never been about the vampire of it all but the characters, namely Simon and Clary.
Alberto has easily been the best actor on this show, and he showed exactly why with his portrayal of Simon’s rise from the dead. When it comes to portraying a storyline that isn’t exactly real-world in its implication — what with vampires and all — it’s important to bring a focus to the human-side of the storyline, which is exactly what Alberto was able to do.
While we saw Simon’s initial rise, where he was blood-thirsty and not himself, what we saw soon after was Simon’s reaction to it all. He was still Simon only now he was a vampire. But the thing that was most important in this scene was Simon’s reaction to his new life — a life that he never chose for himself, let’s be honest. Not that we know what he would’ve chosen, but Simon was thrust into this life that he didn’t choose. More than that, he was confronted with a much different version of himself, where he considered himself to be a monster. Despite Clary’s reassurances that he was still the Simon she knows and loves, in his eyes he was different, hideous, a monster. And the way that Alberto delivered that interaction with Clary legitimately had me crying. It was the most moved I’ve ever been with this show. And it goes to show you the power of characters and their emotions.
Simon might’ve been unconscious up until the last act of the episode, the events leading up to Simon’s resurrection were also wonderfully carried out. There was a real emotional focus on how Simon’s death could affect a few different characters, including Clary and his mother. But Clary was also faced with a difficult decision: stake Simon through the heart and let him die a human or bury him and let him rise as one of the undead. And Luke couldn’t have had better advice: “Make sure you do it for him and not you.”
This was a great storyline for Katherine McNamara to tap into emotionally as Clary as she was faced with this difficult decision and having to deal with the possibility of losing Simon regardless, whether it was in death as a human or in living as a vampire. The scene at the graveyard when Clary broke down over Simon was really heartfelt, beautiful, and heartbreaking.
Ultimately we saw Clary make the decision to let Simon die and reawaken as a vampire, which led to an intense resurrection scene and heartbreaking aftermath as Simon declared himself a monster that Clary should stay away from. But that emotion is what made this storyline hands down the best on this show to date. And that’s what happens when you take note from the books. This storyline has always been about the characters and not the vampire plot itself. And with the show choosing to focus on the characters and their reactions, they delivered the most compelling arc yet.
Alec Chooses His Future AKA Meet Lydia
While Shadowhunters might’ve been able to temporarily distract us with the beauty of Magnus and Alec, this episode threw us a curveball in the form of Lydia Branwell, who is a member of the Clave sent to watch over the New York Institute. Lydia was harsh, authoritative, and downright rude in her debut.
In this episode, Alec and Lydia are thrust together as a means to take a look into this Forsaken ordeal that has the Clave worried — okay more like Lydia takes it upon herself to bring Alec along with her because, just look at him. Along the way the two have a chat about love and marriage. Lydia sees it as nothing other than a business transaction so to speak. She’s all about her duty, which is something that we’ve seen from Alec this season.
Later, we get a nice scene between Alec and Magnus after they call upon the warlock to help them with their Forsaken problem. The flirtation between the two remains as good as always — and Magnus walking in on Alec training while shirtless was one heck of a scene for both Magnus and us. But the conversation between Magnus and Alec felt wasted as Magnus insisted that Alec follow his heart, and instead Alec followed his parents’ wishes as he proposed to Lydia as a means to restore the Lightwood family name.
Now as an avid Malec shipper what one must do is look past this storyline to the “what can be” of it all. It’s possible that Alec or Lydia eventually calls off the engagement and Alec and Magnus unite, but it’s also possible that he goes through with the marriage to satisfy his Lightwood duties and help restore the family name. But as an avid Malec shipper I am hoping for the best case scenario, which means that Lydia goes bye-bye and we get a Malec kiss to celebrate. How’s that for optimism?
While Simon battled for his life and Alec battled for his future, the Clave came across a new problem in the form of Valentine’s Forsaken. Only these Forsaken were unlike anything that they’d seen before as they had Angel blood.
Now, as the audience we know that this new-look Forsaken is a result of Valentine’s experiments and he appears to be creating his own army of these Forsaken to take down the Clave and Downworlders, retrieve the Mortal Cup, and basically take over the world. Bad stuff, of course.
These Forsaken aren’t your typical Forsaken as it took several werewolves to take just one of them down. That right there would be Valentine’s experiments gone right for Val and wrong for everyone else. They were able to take one down and Magnus and Isabelle studied it to try and find out what made this one so different. Isabelle eventually discovered that it had Angel blood. First off, how’d a Forsaken get Angel blood, and second, doesn’t this mean that they can enter the Institute…? And he eventually does before Hodge and Alec take him down.
But it seems as if Valentine’s plan has been revealed: sic these Forsaken upon the Clave, claim the Mortal Cup, destroy the Clave and Downworlders, and create his own army of Shadowhunters. Uh oh.
Rants and Raves
- Alberto Rosende: This was by far Shadowhunters‘ most emotional episode to date, and that rested heavily with Alberto Rosende’s performance as Simon Lewis, which brought an entirely different feel to this show. Alberto commanded the screen in the short time his character was conscious, and unleashed an emotion that rocked the audience to its core. Absolutely brilliant. My favorite episode to date because of Alberto.
- Vampire Storyline: It’s ironic that this is in my raves because from the beginning I’ve never liked the idea of introducing this storyline so quickly when there was plenty of time to explore it. But with that said, this storyline really worked in this episode because it was more about the emotion than the whole vampire of it all. This story — books or show — is at its best when it’s all about the characters and their reactions. And this storyline ultimately found a way for it to be redeemed in my eyes because of it.
- Parallels: There was a great parallel between Clary’s present situation with Simon becoming a vampire and Jocelyn’s past situation with Luke becoming a werewolf. Where these women’s best friends were becoming something unlike themselves and there was an uncertainty if they’d come out of this the same as they had entered. If this parallel rings true (and true to the books) then Clary and Simon will be just fine.
- Falcon Story: While it seemed like the time had passed for Jace to tell the Falcon story, we got to hear it in this episode. This story has always been one of my favorite scenes because it’s the first time where Jace opens up emotionally. Though, fair warning, this also made my rants because it felt incomplete.
- Alec’s Proposal…to Lydia: No, no, no. This whole idea of essentially pressuring Alec to marry a woman when we know that he’s gay just sickens me. While it was ultimately Alec’s decision to propose to Lydia, it was because he feels pressured by that Lightwood family honor. That and he’s running away from his feelings for Magnus. Let’s hope this engagement doesn’t last long.
- Lydia: While I’m hoping she grows on me, I absolutely couldn’t stand Lydia Branwell. Though of course a big part of that might have to do with the fact that she is now engaged to Alec. I’m just hoping they further explore this character that is an original TV character and doesn’t really have a backstory that fans can connect with. Hers has to be created.
- Falcon Scene: While I appreciated that they included what is a really important part from the books, they forgot the most important line that explains the point of Jace’s story: “To love is to destroy, and that to be loved is to be the one destroyed.” This just felt incomplete.
Shadowhunters airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on Freeform.