By Beata (Guest Contributor)
If I had to describe Shadowhunters in two words, they would be “wasted potential.” For a show with so much good material to draw from, it seems annoyingly tone-deaf to which book elements will translate well on screen and which ones won’t. It’s a show that often does great things, and then simply fails to expand on them. One that knows what to put in its teasers to get fans excited but not what storylines will keep them watching.
Love is a Devil was a good example of that. The writers had some great ideas that could have resulted in some very powerful moments and interesting character development, but ultimately the execution of the episode felt messy and awkward. Every time the script would start to veer toward something interesting, it would immediately change course and leave us disappointed. The overall plot was unforeshadowed, nonsensical and ultimately disappointing.
I understand the appeal of sudden plot twists and a little bit of nonsense, but if your show is impossible to follow, and especially if your final explanation leaves a lot to be desired, you lose your audience. I don’t think this is going to become a trend, I’m just sad because I know the Shadowhunters writers can do better than this.
Look at that, I was starting to actually have faith in the Shadowhunters writers. Who could have seen that coming?
I’ve said before that I like the idea of Simon and Clary taking the next step into romance and really figuring out their feelings for each other, so I’m glad they decided to try things out. However, while I loved Simon’s confession scene and the two of them have excellent chemistry, I thought it was a tad unrealistic that Clary would immediately kiss Simon after finding out that he likes her. I expected there to be a bit of confusion and hesitation, since she’d never really thought of him that way before and the revelation that her best friend has been in love with her this whole time is kind of a shocking one.
In this episode, I didn’t quite understand what Clary’s thought process was. Did she already have feelings for Simon? Had she realized that before? If so, I definitely didn’t see that in past episodes.
LET’S TALK ABOUT MALEC
Again, wasted potential. I loved their whole storyline about trying to get Maryse to accept them as a couple. It was very topical, and I’m sure it meant a lot to fans who have gone through similar processes with their parents. I’m thrilled that Shadowhunters explored that aspect of their relationship.
That said, for me, the good stuff was very much overshadowed by the way the script danced around the topic of gay sex, subtly implying that Magnus and Alec did it without ever saying it outright. It was incredibly noticeable specifically because Shadowhunters has never, ever danced around these topics before. Why did we get so many sex scenes with Izzy, Jace and even Simon, so much unnecessary shirtlessness in every single episode, then have to read between the lines to figure out if Alec and Magnus did it at the end of the last episode?
IZZY AND RAPHAEL
I saw it coming, but I wasn’t actually that upset about Isabelle going to Raphael for help with her Yin Fen addiction. The two are an unlikely pair, but I don’t hate them together. I definitely don’t want Isabelle to go to Simon just yet, and I enjoyed the vulnerability she showed in this episode. Even though the sexual tension between them felt like it came out of nowhere, these are two of my favourite actors in the show and I think they play off each other very well, so I’m willing to give this storyline a chance.
My one worry is that it interferes with Sizzy later on in the series, because in the books I think some of the most powerful scenes are the ones in which Izzy opens up to Simon and lets herself be vulnerable with him, because we haven’t really seen that side of her before.
Also, I can’t help but wonder if a certain character is even going to die on Shadowhunters. Isabelle has reached a pretty low point in her life without THAT tragedy that happens at the end of City of Glass. I’m not saying it won’t happen, but its importance is somewhat dimished because Isabelle’s already being vulnerable and messed up with her addiction storyline, so that won’t be the first time we see that side of her.
THAT WHOLE MESS WITH IRIS
I don’t even want to go into that much detail about the main plot of this episode, which revolved around Iris infiltrating Magnus’ party and making everyone turn on each other. It was lazy and boring, and I didn’t even think it showcased the characters’ biggest insecurities. Why was Clary hallucinating Simon kissing Maia? Wouldn’t it have been more powerful if she’d had to confront her feelings about Jace? I love that Alec killing Jocelyn came back into play, but why didn’t we get anything relating to Magnus?
I also don’t like that everything was resolved so quickly at the end. What was the point of that whole storyline, then? There were no repercussions, nothing was explored in depth, and so it fell flat. If Shadowhunters wanted to use this to develop their characters, they should have forced them to acknowledge their insecurities and go out of that experience knowing that they still had a lot of work to do toward making things right.
THINGS THAT DO NOT MAKE SENSE, A LIST
- How did Max knock out two instructors? I know he’s a Shadowhunter, but so are the instructors?
- Max having a super light complexion when all the Lightwoods are really dark. This is one that carries over from last season, but it still doesn’t make sense.
- Why haven’t we heard anything about Max since his last appearance? And the bigger question: will we have to wait a full season to hear about him again?
- Why was Maryse not at Jocelyn’s funeral? I could tell from her expression that she really missed her friend, but I could also tell that her staying away from the Institute was about more than duty. Why couldn’t she find time to be there?
- Clary still not guessing that Simon is in love with her when he’s basically spelling it out.
- Clary kissing Simon right after his confession of love.
- Where did all Magnus’ cats come from? I thought they were all cut from the show because of Harry’s allergy. Why they suddenly appear today?
- Since when is Maryse totally cool with Jace having demon blood? She was willing to kill him only a few episodes ago. If there was character development there, I didn’t see it happen.
- Clary’s biggest insecurity being Simon cheating on her.
- Clary getting so upset about Simon supposedly cheating on her. They’ve been dating for a day.
- Alec trying to kill himself by jumping off the roof. That was a powerful scene, but I thought we’d already established that THAT WON’T KILL HIM. Also, the fact that Shadowhunters had no trigger warnings, no PSA about Suicide Prevention/Help – completely irresponsible.
- What is Yin Fen, anyway? Apparently it’s not as powerful as vampire venom?
- Why did Iris go through all this trouble when there were surely easier ways to go about it?
- Magnus not being able to sense Iris’ magic because she was a cat.
- Actually, how did Iris even infiltrate the party? Did a random cat just show up and Magnus didn’t bat an eye?
- Everyone going back to normal as soon as the spell lifts. You’d think there would be at least a bit of confusion.
- Everyone knowing that story about the shadowhunter with pure angel blood. I’m so confused about what is and isn’t common knowledge in this shadow world.
- Nobody being confused about the fact that Jace interacted with the angel too.
OTHER THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- Are we bringing out the Robert cheating storyline? If so, I can definitely get behind it.
- Magnus’ face when Jace talked about the parabatai bond was really funny.
- The looks Clary and Jace were exchanging during their conversation with Simon were wonderful. So true to the books.
- We didn’t get much Maia in this episode, but I loved all her scenes.
- Even though the scene where Maryse talked about Jocelyn was a bit confusing, I’m glad she looked upset about it. A lot of people forget those women were friends.
- Max’s rune ceremony was really cute.
- Actually, Shadowhunters generally does ceremonies really well.
Shadowhunters airs Mondays at 8pm on Freeform.