Shadowhunters has been me feel a lot of different things in the last year and a half. Frustration and disappointment, mainly, but also anticipation. Pride when it actually gets something right. Love for these characters. Sadness on their behalf.
What I have never felt before, though, is boredom. And what Those of Demon Blood made me realize is that, in these first three episodes of season 2B, I have been bored.
These last few episodes have not been bad, exactly. In terms of actual production value, they’ve been pretty good. They’ve had some decent themes, addressed a few important issues. There has been little to complain about, honestly.
But the thing is, I’ve also found them so predictable. I always know what’s going to happen, and if I don’t, I don’t really care. I can tell where the relationships are going. Whenever I do get excited about a storyline that I think is going to be really interesting, it lasts about an episode before being dropped. Everything is either way too heavily foreshadowed, or comes completely out of nowhere. And I know what you’re all thinking: but you wanted the show to stick to the books! Wouldn’t that be even more boring for you?
No, it wouldn’t, because I have different expectations for adaptations. If Shadowhunters had stayed close to the books, I wouldn’t care that I already knew what was going to happen, because I’d be entertained by the fact that one of my favourite book series would be coming to life on screen.
When showrunners make the decision to diverge so much from their source material, they have to be really confident that the original stuff they’re coming up with is interesting enough to keep people watching. I’m not seeing that right now. I’m seeing a few book storylines thrown together without much care, and an overarching plot that doesn’t seem to have much direction or substance at the moment. I don’t see a clear arc for this season yet, but the individual episodes aren’t really doing it for me either.
SHADOWHUNTERS vs DOWNWORLDERS
I’m of two minds about this shadowhunter/downworlder storyline. The part of me that loves my stories to be political and important is so happy that Shadowhunters has been addressing real-world issues through its treatment of the downworlder/shadowhunter relationship. Cassandra Clare’s books have always been very political, and though the parallels have been a lot more heavy handed and harder to miss in the show, I like that that element has been preserved. Shadowhunters has had a lot of trouble finding its stride over the first two seasons, but at this point, we know we can at least count on it to try its best to be progressive.
On the other hand, the part of me that appreciates good storytelling is really bothered by how obvious it was that the murders of shadowhunters were all being committed by one person. It was a bit of a stretch for me to believe that the Clave actually thought a few rogue downworlders, all of different species, had all had the same idea to carve out shadowhunters’ marks. You’d think they’d at least be a bit skeptical, especially considering how much Valentine and his followers hate downworlders.
Of course, I get that this is supposed to show how people can be so blinded by their hatred of one group of people that they ignore logic and look for reasons to validate that hatred. The things the Clave was saying about downworlders, and the solutions they were proposing to this problem, were all things that people actually do say after terrorist attacks. It’s horrifying, but it’s true.
And if this is going to be the main storyline of this season, I am so on board. Just… write it with a little more depth and nuance next time.
One of the storylines I was really excited for at the beginning of this half-season was Jace learning more about his heritage. In the books, it’s kind of heartbreaking because as much as he wants to know who his real parents were, he has so few connections to them. He has no reason to want to be a Herondale, because at that point in the story, he doesn’t know anything about that family. A big part of his journey throughout the books is that of finding out about his family and deciding that he wants to be a part of it.
Instead, he’s learning about the greatness of the Herondales from the horrible Inquisidor, and already feeling like his name something he needs to live up to. I don’t like that.
This whole episode, I kept wishing Jace and Clary could be back together, or at least on better terms than they are now. Jace is at a low point right now, and in the books, Clary was always the one to drag him out of those. He’s a self-loathing, melodramatic guy who needs to talk about his feelings with someone, and Clary is really good at reassuring him. I always loved that about their relationship.
Just get back together already, guys. Clary and Simon are not meant to be.
ONE SOUL AT A TIME KINDA GUY
Remember when I talked about being proud of Shadowhunters whenever they get something right? This is one of those moments. Let’s all give a short round of applause to the writers of this show for disproving one of the most harmful myths about bisexual people. They are not all cheaters. They are not all sexually ambiguous. Just because they are attracted to more than one gender does not mean they are attracted to everyone.
At first, the line does seem a little bit out of character for Magnus, specifically, who frequently brags about sleeping around, and with various historical figures. However, sleeping around definitely does not equate to cheating, so it’s nice to see Magnus make it very clear that Alec has no reason to worry about infidelity.
THINGS THAT DO NOT MAKE SENSE, A LIST
- The entire Clave suddenly trusting Jace even though he was still raised by Valentine. Are they actually giving him the Institute, just like that, knowing his ties to their nemesis? You’d think they’d at least be a little suspicious.
- Why was Magnus mad at Alec, specifically, over him asking for a DNA sample? I totally get that it shows a lack of trust, but Magnus knows the Clave is full of shit, and that Alec was only asking on their behalf. Maybe it was just a reminder that he and his boyfriend are on opposite sides of a huge conflict? I feel like his anger was a little misplaced there.
- Nobody wondering if these downworlders are being framed.
- The inquisidor actually thinking she’ll be able to put tracking chips in all the the downworlders in New York. Girl. First of all, there are way too many downworlders. Second, you actually think they’re going to let you do that?
- Maia thinking shadowhunters are more evolved than police officers. I think we’ve already established that they’re equally bad, if not worse.
- Jace being able to appoint Alec head of the Institute that easily. Isn’t there a whole ceremony, with the Mortal Sword and everything? This seems way too simple.
- Nobody understanding why Kaelie would want to frame other downworlders when killing Shadowhunters. Please. It’s really not hard to figure out.
- Maybe I’m forgetting something here, but what happened to Valentine?
OTHER THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- Ok, I know I said the “I thought shadowhunters were more evolved than that” line was weird, but I just need to take a moment to make it clear that I fist pumped when she said that. YOU GO, MAIA. SHUT DOWN THAT INQUISITOR. BRING IN THOSE REAL WORLD ISSUES.
- Max is here and so is Sebastian and I am terrified because I know what’s going to happen.
- “I’m just a lone panda” is such a cute line and so perfect for Simon’s situation right now.
- I wish Magnus could have talked things out more with Alec, but I did enjoy his relationship with Dot, and I’m glad we’re getting a bit more insight into his character.
- Luke… you should’ve known how Simon would interpret things when you started talking about being safe with Clary. Use different language when you’re talking about vampire urges, please.
- I like the idea of Magnus just getting bored and decided to bedazzle himself.
- I don’t really care about Maia and Jace hooking up. Sure. Whatever. It won’t last.
- I’m kind of curious about Meliorn.
- Simon is a really good singer and I’d like to hear more of his music in future episodes.
Shadowhunters airs Mondays at 8pm on Freeform.