We’ve never held back our feelings when it comes to Shadowhunters and this week won’t be any different. As you prepare for tonight’s episode, we’re revisiting last weeks with something we call Shadowhunters Roundtables.
Let’s talk Simon. Do you love Alberto Rosende as Simon – yes or no? Why?
TellTaleTV: I do. Very much so. To be honest, I’m not sure if he’s actually that good of an actor, but among the rest of the cast he really stands out leaps and bounds as one of the better ones. In the closing scene of this episode, on the rooftop following his rescue, I was totally blown away by his performance when Clary told him that she couldn’t live without him. Unfortunately, she doesn’t exactly mean it the way he wants her to mean it, but that’s another issue entirely.
TMI Source: Simon is the best part of this entire show because he’s the one character that seemingly resembles his book self. Alberto has done a remarkable job with this character. Simon is both the comedic relief and the heart of the show, and it shows in every episode. There’s something missing when Simon isn’t in a scene, and I noticed it especially in this episode. This show and this world has darkness in it, and Simon is the one that provides a required light to the show. My favorite thing about Alberto’s portrayal of Simon is his comedic timing and his heart. You feel everything that Simon feels, and that’s something that is truly amazing in a show where I feel like most of the characters are like Earth-2 versions of themselves (sorry for The Flash metaphor, I’m obsessed with superheroes).
When I interviewed Alberto a couple weeks back one of the things I was most impressed with was how much he understands Simon. You can tell he’s done his homework and read the books. He understands Simon to his core. You can see it in every scene, every look, every word. But it’s also in when he speaks about Simon – how he connects to Simon, how he understands Simon, and how the other characters understand Simon. Keep slaying, Alberto.
Fangirlish: If there is one thing that you can about this show that is right – it’s Alberto. He’s perfection as Simon. I was really hesitant because I loved Robbie Sheehan as Simon so very much. However, Alberto – he emodies Simon in a way that I didn’t know that I needed. He has that thing – that star thing that you just can’t over look. He’s everything I could have wanted.
Mortal Instruments UK: I think a lot of people love Alberto as Simon including me. He has a similar personality to Simon and his scenes are very humorous to watch. He is a great Simon.
Katherine, A Fan: Most definitely! Alberto’s a scene-stealer and, unless Church shows up sometime soon, I can’t see that changing. There’s an authentic sweetness to Alberto’s performance that makes you not only trust Simon, but trust Alberto with the role itself.
This week Simon was kidnapped by the vamps – Were you upset that he wasn’t turned into a rat like the books?
TellTaleTV: He was turned into a rat in the books?! I didn’t read the books (or watch The Mortal Instruments movie), so I had no idea. That sounds kind of silly but I have no context so I can’t really judge. I liked the vampire twist though! I wasn’t expecting they would do something like that so early in the series. I really thought he’d be the “token human” for at least a while.
TMI Source: Of course I’m going to say yes because every fiber of my being wants to find elements of Cassie Clare’s books in this show, whether that’s lines or scenes from the book that give a nod to the source material. There a little bits here and there, but it doesn’t happen nearly enough. With that said, I’m not too heartbroken over that. I would’ve loved it, sure, but the film didn’t do it and still managed to capture the Hotel Dumort scene more accurately than the show. I’m not against changes – they’re necessary – but the show seems to have forgotten that it’s an adaptation of a worldwide popular book series that fans know inside of out. It’s time that it start acting like it.
Fangirlish: Yes. Look, if there is anything that we have learned – it’s that Ed Decter threw the books aside and just used the names of the characters and the bare bones of the Shadowhunter world. I didn’t expect the rat to be in there – but it sucked to me that he was changed so fast and we weren’t able to see him evolve more as a human before he became a vampire.
Mortal Instruments UK: YES. That was a key part of the first book for me so I am disappointed that it isn’t in the show. It feels as though the show runner is ignoring important scenes from the book and adding their own twist which I dislike.
Katherine, A Fan: No, because it would’ve added to the already heightened levels of cheesiness. That being said, would I have wanted to see Jace reacting to that situation onscreen? You bet I would’ve!
We So Nerdy: Lawd! Forgive me, but I TOTALLY forgot Simon was turned into a rat in CITY OF BONES. Even if I had remembered, it wouldn’t have bothered me that he wasn’t on the show. SHADOWHUNTERS is supposedly based on CITY OF BONES, but honestly it’s an interpretation, so I anticipate that there will be quite a few things that don’t make it from the book into the TV show.
Alec seems kind of pissy and it’s evident that he hates Clary. Do you think this is because of his feelings for Jace or is it for some other reason?
TellTaleTV: Oh, he’s totally justified in his distrust of Clary. From an outside perspective, Jace’s immediate acceptance of Clary doesn’t make much sense. She just randomly shows up and it turns out she’s big bad Valentine’s daughter? It’s completely suspicious, and Alec isn’t wrong about being hesitant to trust her. Jace’s implicit trust in Clary is a little bit illogical. I think he’s blinded by love at first sight or something. Of course, we know that Clary is innocent, but from Alec’s perspective it 100% makes sense that he would be suspicious. I don’t think it has to do entirely with his feelings for Jace, though that is clearly contributing to it.
TMI Source: I believe Alec thinks it’s because she’s Valentine’s daughter that he doesn’t like her. But that’s because we’re at the point in his character development where he hasn’t accepted who he is, and that even takes time in the books. But it’s clear that most of that anger is coming from a place of jealousy. For so long Alec was all Jace had – his parabatai – but now a stranger has come into his life and completely entranced him. Of course Alec is going to feel that pang of jealously. But at the same time I feel like this is a somewhat new experience for Alec because he’s never been confronted with these feelings, which is why we’re seeing him handle it in such a brash way.
Fangirlish: I think it’s because TV Alec is a dick. And quite honestly, he’s hard to read because I think that because of the weak dialogue he is given we don’t know how to read him. I think it’s Alec’s love for Jace and his unwillingness to accept it that seems to motivate his distrust of everything and his unwillingness to bend. I get why he’s suspicious – but what he’s coming across as is just a dick.
Mortal Instruments UK: I am 99% sure that he’s jealous of Clary because Jace likes her. Though I feel like he should be mad at Clary, not Jace. It also seems as though Jace dislikes Alec and is forced to be with him because they are parabatai. I don’t sense a bond.
Katherine, A Fan: It’s mostly the bad writing. Alec’s definitely not the warm and fuzzy type, but he isn’t this stone-faced jerk either (although I’m sure Matt’s cheekbones could cut glass). Unfortunately, the sarcasm that they’ve written for Alec is coming off harsher than intended, so it feels like Alec doesn’t care about anything at all. Of course, some of his disdain for Clary is because of his feelings for Jace, but nowhere near all of it.
We So Nerdy: Alec gives me the vibe that he is a person who could hold a grudge 5EVA! So regardless if he has feelings for Jace or Clary’s hair is so bright that it blinds him (NOTE: I love the color of Clary’s hair even if I need to wear shades when she comes on the screen), Alex doesn’t appear to be the forgiving kind, and that is played as hate which I actually enjoy seeing acted out.
The graveyard scene. Some fans online said that it was too cheesy, while others loved it. What are your thoughts?
TellTaleTV: So cheesy. Oh my god, I was cringing basically the entire time I watched it. The dialogue was so on-the-nose and WAY too heavy on the innuendos. I actually much preferred the motorcycle ride across the city’s night sky. That was a cute Clace moment! The graveyard training scene was just awful.
TMI Source: It was definitely cheesy. Jace and the whole cliché, ‘Oh let me show you how to hold a seraph blade so I can have intimate contact with you.’ The cheese was high in that scene, but I did find it cute. But the one moment I really liked was the introduction of the term “parabatai” and how Jace explained it to Clary. It managed to give me the most feels I’ve experienced the entire series – and it had nothing to do with the show. When Jace talked about if him or Alec died how the other would lose a part of themselves I was brought back to Will and Jem in The Infernal Devices, and boy did I have an emotional moment right there. It just goes to show you the power of Cassie’s books and characters and the magic that can happen when you bring parts of the book into the show.
Fangirlish: Look up cheesy on the internet. It will have a scene of this GIF next to it.
Mortal Instruments UK: Everything is cheesy in the show especially the script. That particular scene is basically stolen from a hundred other scenes from movies and tv shows. That being said, I didn’t feel a connection between the characters – it seems like they are robots, doing as they’re told. However, if you love that scene, that’s great.
Katherine, A Fan: I think what made me cringe the most is the double play of the dialogue. Like ‘it’s saying that you belong together’ isn’t something that Jace would ever say. While I want to feel the romance of the scene more than anything, all I keep wondering is why Jace had to be doing the typical ‘guy teaching girl from behind’ move. It’s so beyond overdone at this point.
We So Nerdy: The graveyard scene (“You’re part angel, Clary.”) was so utterly cheesy that I had to love it. I think I am so desperate to hold onto anything regarding Clary and Jace to make me go from indifferent to epic fan flails, that when they have moments that would normally make my eyes bleed, I just grab onto those scenes and put them in a box for later reference. If I had a magical wand I would have preferred if the scene didn’t play out with Jace working with Clary and telling her this important piece of information while instructing her from behind, but either face-to-face or from her side.
Ok – the elephant in the room. Isabelle getting information from Meliorn. What are your thoughts on that entire scene and her using her sexuality for information?
TellTaleTV: This and the Clace graveyard scene were my two least favorite things about this episode. I’m not crazy about the way Isabelle is being portrayed, and the whole exchange felt incredibly cliche. Nothing wrong with Isabelle using her sexuality however she sees fit, it just comes across as cartoonish and silly in this actress’ portrayal. Also, did Meliorn have a leaf or something tattooed on his face?? That and his fake-looking fairy ears really distracted me.
TMI Source: I hated it. It was vile, not sexy, and was far from who Isabelle is, which made it hard to watch. Isabelle has been my major complaint in this series thus far because while Isabelle is a badass, powerful woman in the books she is far from it in the television show. From the way she dresses (seriously how is it practical to wear a dress and heels to a vampire fight?) to the way she acts (sleeping with Meliorn for information, seriously?) The people who have defended it say, ‘Well she’s a badass because she can fight in heels and is comfortable with her body.’ I’m sorry, but selling your body for sex does not make you a badass. And it’s demeaning as all hell. Also: “The only thing I have to do is you” will go down as one of the worst lines I’ve ever heard.
Fangirlish: I am not at all crazy about the way that Isabelle is being portrayed. Look, I got everyone’s argument that she was strong and confident enough to carry off her skimpy clothing. But you tell me how he trading sex for information is the Isabelle that we all know and love. And Meliorn – don’t get me started on his tent and that damn leaf on his face. There was a chance to have Isabelle be strong and someone that women could see themselves in, but all that they seem to do is view her as a sex object. It’s just too much.
Mortal Instruments UK: I wasn’t entirely sure whether Isabelle had sex with Meliorn just to get information from him or whether she wanted to have sex with him and getting the information was a back burner in her mind. So I can’t really say much about it because I don’t know what’s on Izzy’s mind. May I also say how brutally obvious it was that Izzy wanted to break in the Hotel Dumort by all the questions she asked.
Katherine, A Fan: ‘The only thing I have to do is you.’ Just…why?! There’s clearly a significant difference between seduction and having sex with someone. If she had just tried to flirt it out of him, then fine, but having sex with Meliorn to get information is ridiculous. Izzy is smarter than they’re giving her credit for. It’s reached the point where Izzy’s sexuality is taking over her entire personality and we all know that she’s far more complicated than that.
We So Nerdy: Using ones sexuality to retrieve information might have been initiated by Isabelle. However, both did so to attempt to get the information that they wanted. To me this should have been a filler scene, but unfortunately it wasn’t and was played out too long, which for me made it awkward within the flow of the episode.
One thing we have all seemed to agree on is that episodes feel somewhat like an information dump. Did you feel that way this episode? How did the dialogue play out?
TellTaleTV: Much improved! There was more world building and less information being fed to us, since we got to spend time with the vampires and observe them instead of just being told about them, like somebody reading off a textbook. For that reason, the dialogue surrounding Jace explaining how the vamps operate to Clary was far less awkward and stilted than his explanation about demons. We actually got to see what he was explaining in action. SO much better.
TMI Source: Once again the show continues to assume that this mythology has been properly grasped by all, book and non-book fans included, when in fact it’s as confusing as ever especially when they keep piling on information. This comes back to the pacing of the show – which I will keep referencing until I see some sign of improvement. The show needs to establish itself and its world before it dives headfirst into these storylines because these storylines happen within this world and there needs to be an understanding of it.
The dialogue continues to get worse. It was really, really bad in this episode. “The only thing I have to do tonight is you.” Are you kidding me? I cringed it was so bad. But that was far from the only line that made me cringe. The whole thing made me angry because the dialogue in the books is a great strength, and in the show it’s been mediocre at best and cringe worthy at worst.
Fangirlish: I feel like the writers are trying to dump the world on us and it’s quite annoying. I mean show it, build it – stop telling me all about it. It’s like writing 101.
Mortal Instruments UK: The dialogue will always be cheesy and there’s something about this episode that wasn’t very good. I wasn’t a fan of some scenes and settings and I agree to the fact the non readers might not have a clue about what is going on. The third episode wasn’t as good as the previous two in my opinion.
Katherine, A Fan: Introducing three new characters in one episode was a bit much, as there wasn’t enough time to establish their motivations, settings, etc. The dialogue really hit some lows this week. I can remember more cringe-worthy lines than I can great ones, which isn’t a good sign.
We So Nerdy: Many book-to-TV adaptations struggle with providing the content from the book alongside new material. This struggle causes so much information to be piled on the viewers, that vital pieces of information can slip by unnoticed. I think this will be a constant struggle for SHADOWHUNTERS because there is a ton of information in CITY OF BONES, and they need to compensate for items that won’t translate well for TV with new information. So even though I believe it will be a constant struggle I won’t allow myself to get too hung up on the dialogue.
Though we don’t see Simon changed to a vampire it is alluded too. What are your thoughts on him becoming a vampire so early?
TellTaleTV: I liked it! It was the first plot point to legitimately surprise me, so I really appreciated it. I’m sure he’ll struggle with the transition and it will change the way he relates to Clary, so it will provide some really good material for Rosende, I’m sure.
TMI Source: It’s much too early. Here we have the show incorporating a major storyline from the second book in the series, and we’re only in episode three. There hasn’t even been sufficient time to set up the mythology, which continues to remain confusing for those unfamiliar with the series. Some of the responses I’ve seen from those that disagree is that it’s not too soon because Simon has been introduced to the vampires. But that Hotel Dumort storyline is too soon, as well. This all comes back to the pacing of it all. Why is there such a need to rush everything? There’s no shortage of material, that’s true, but if the show was able to do it right there would be plenty of time to explore all of it for years to come.
Fangirlish: Too damn soon.
Mortal Instruments UK: I don’t want to just dump on this episode a lot but I didn’t like the fact that he became a vampire in the third episode. It’s too soon. I want to enjoy mundane Simon. If he became a vampire mid season or towards the end, I would’ve not minded. Plus, I don’t like the fact that Camille was the one who changed him instead of Raphael.
Katherine, A Fan: It’s too early. I cannot believe that they went with this storyline so early on or maybe I can since they’re rushing so many other aspects at this point. I wanted more time to invest in human Simon. I’m worried that some of the humor will be lost with Simon’s transition.
We So Nerdy: I have no problem if Simon becomes a vampire earlier than anticipated. As I’ve mentioned, SHADOWHUNTERS is an interpretation of the CITY OF BONES, I don’t expect the TV production to match the book line for line, so when changes occur it doesn’t bother me.
Simon was friend zoned this week. Is this a good thing or a bad thing?
TellTaleTV: Bad thing. I’m really not feeling Jace/Clary so far (or Jace in general). I much prefer Simon’s character, so I wasn’t thrilled that Clary basically put the kibosh on anything happening with him right up front. Poor Simon. He deserves better.
TMI Source: Speaking as a fans of the books, I say it’s a good thing. Speaking as someone watching just the show, I say it’s a bad thing if only because Clary and Simon have that chemistry that is essentially missing between Clary and Jace. I should love Clary and Jace – they were my favorite couple in the books – but I just don’t feel anything between them. It comes off as forced. Yet with Clary and Simon there’s an obvious chemistry that makes all of their scenes enjoyable and makes me want to see more from them. It’s organic. It’s believable. It’s everything that I wanted between Clary and Jace but have yet to see. And I’m starting to wonder if I ever will.
Fangirlish: I love Simon. When they rescued him from the hotel – I was happy. The scene on the roof – I was rooting for him. In the books we know how it end up. In this series – who knows if friend zoned will last.
Mortal Instruments UK: I don’t really have a comment for this
Katherine, A Fan: It’s a good thing for Clary and Jace relationship’s development, but bad in keeping the tension of who she’ll choose. Part of what makes the core trio so interesting is their incessant tension and varying loyalties to each other. By placing Simon firmly in the best friend category so quickly, it allows the potential for Jace and Clary to be easier than it should be.
We So Nerdy: I truly hate the term “friend zoned”! Why does being nice to someone give one the right to expect something more than friendship and/or gratitude? Clary is Simon’s friend; she has looked at him as his friend, actually her best friend since episode 1. And even Simon is aware of it! Just because we want something doesn’t mean we are going to get it, even if we risk our lives. So Simon being reassured that he is Clary’s friend is just fine with me.
Is the show improving for you? Better or worse? Why?
TellTaleTV: It has definitely improved for me. The pilot was near unwatchable because of how awkward and expository the dialogue was. Nearly every character has grown on me since then (except Isabelle) and the writing and acting have improved a lot. I think the character relationships and pacing still need work though.
TMI Source: Sadly it’s getting worse. The first two episodes weren’t entirely bad – though they had their issues – but this third episode was a train wreck. The thing that the show has failed to understand thus far is that this story isn’t about the action or the sex – seriously overkill – it’s about the characters and it’s about why the audience gives a damn about them. The characters have been so out of character – except maybe Simon – and the only connection I have to the rest of them is that they physically and by name resemble the characters I love from Cassie Clare’s books. I absolutely hated how this episode tried to be sexy when all it came off as was creepy. There’s a difference between being sexy and being over sexualized.
Fangirlish: I am rooting for this show. I truly am. I want it to succeed. But it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. The writing is so bad, I can’t even blame the actors – cause they have shit to work with.
Mortal Instruments UK: It was getting better and then episode 3 just went downhill. Some scenes were just cringe-worthily cheesy and just going off track. But I am a bit of an optimist so hopefully episode 4 will be better and it will all go uphill from there.
Katherine, A Fan: The sense of time/pacing in the show has gotten worse. I couldn’t tell you if the first three episodes took place over a couple of days or weeks. It’s adventure after adventure, which works for the dramatic elements, but it’s at the detriment of many other factors of the show. One of those other factors is character development. When introducing the vampires this week, you would’ve thought that Shadowhunters was a satire. It’s definitely hard to integrate vampires into anything without it being cliché at this point, but everything about them from their pale looks to the time-stopping abilities makes me wish that Simon didn’t have to spend more time with them in future episodes. With info dumps these last three weeks, something that wouldn’t resonate for a non-reader is the function and importance of the Clave. Yes, there have been a couple casual explanations here and there, but it isn’t enough to explain why our Shadowhunters live by their rules. There’s definite room for improvement in the world-building side of the story’s structure. Lastly, I am so not here for Izzy bullying Alec about his sexuality. I know that it wasn’t the intent for it to come off negatively on Izzy, but it’s exactly how it feels onscreen and it’s horrendous to watch.
We So Nerdy: SHADOWHUNTERS is an escape from the humdrum realities of my life, and I don’t need for the show to be the most exciting thing I’ve ever seen on TV. I just want to be entertained and so far, SHADOWHUNTERS is fulfilling this task and then some. Are there things I wish could be improved upon, YES! But if those things were to happen it will most likely occur more towards the end of the season when folks are more comfortable in their roles or after some training. My favorites in the books bring me joy in the TV adaptation and as long as this continues to happen, I’ll be a fan of SHADOWHUNTERS as it is.