Warning: Contains spoilers for those not familiar with the show or novels.
Simon resurrected as a vampire. Chernobyl zombies. Jace’s falcon story. Izzy a … forensic pathologist? Alec – proposing to a girl – who he just met? If I’ve learned anything over the past two years as a mom of a little girl is that you don’t marry a person you just met. Elsa of Arendelle made that crystal clear to Anna. This week’s Shadowhunters reminded me of my kids when they play together. Things may start out fine, but inevitably someone gets bored with the game and tries to change it or drops it entirely to devise their own plan, leading to tears and temper tantrums. Bad Blood was a peculiar mix of treating fans of Cassandra Clare’s novels to scenes practically lifted from the text and then yanking the storyline away and smashing it into the ground until nothing resembling the book remains and tears abound.
I’m not saying the episode didn’t work. It’s too soon for me to decide as I’m still in shock over some of the choices. I’m not sure how I feel yet. I yelled at the TV screen a few times the other night, but a twisted part of me is curious how these changes are going to shake down. And will fans follow the show’s writers on this new journey?
Let’s start with what fans of the book probably were pleased to see. Simon’s transformation into a vampire was very close to how it is written in the book City of Ashes. Yes, we skip not only the entire ending or City of Bones but also 200 pages into City of Ashes to reach Simon’s (what feels forced and too early to me) birth as a vampire. As I mentioned before, I would’ve preferred the show spent more time building the love triangle between Clary, Jace, and Simon than introducing the vampire element so soon. Heck, what an awesome season closer it would’ve been to end on Simon’s life hanging in limbo?! But no, we are already at this scene, so let’s talk about it.
Thankfully, Raphael delivered Simon to the Institute in his arms. Even though the show decided to make Camille Simon’s sire, I think fans will be happy that Raphael remained the bearer of bad news.
Clary’s “reprehensible” choices of killing her best friend or allowing him to turn into one of the Night Children was the thrust of the A storyline. In fact, the TV show lingered on this debate longer than the book does. Clary spent quality time grappling with this decision on screen. She cried, she visited Simon’s mom, she cried, she sought advice from Luke, she cried. The show made the right choice by delving into this murky, heartbreaking debate. Although in City of Ashes Jace says, “Clary, what would Simon want?” – she doesn’t spend a lot of time considering that question. She’s upset with the choice of two evils, but she quickly makes the decision to keep her friend “alive.”
In the show, Clary turned to Luke, who went through a similar situation when he became a werewolf, for advice. It is Luke who stated, “Make sure you do it for him and not yourself.” This was the theme of the night. Do you follow your heart and make a choice out of love, perhaps a selfish choice? Or do you shut off your emotions, use your head, and make an informed decision? A Shadowhunter decision. Clary made it clear that Shadowhunting may not be her best career choice when she said, “Love makes us stronger” when referring to mundanes, and she selfishly chose to turn Simon into a vampire.
What made this choice selfish? Simon’s reaction to his new state of being. The novel glosses over Simon dealing with the news he’s a vampire. He claws his way out of the ground and gobbles down the blood. Next we read of Simon, he’s hanging outside Luke’s house cracking jokes about nasty things coming out at night. In the book he adjusts pretty fast to the knowledge he’s a vampire. In the show, Simon is devastated. He called himself repulsive, a monster, and begged that this is not really happening – which works so well in making Clary’s choice look awful! Awful in a awesome way. As she frantically prattled on about him being the same Simon, her best friend Simon, he yelled at her that he’s not and fled, leaving Clary to hate herself. Flawed characters and their poor decisions make for great drama!
Two other elements fans of the novels will appreciate were bringing the Jewish tallit into the show and Jace’s falcon story. In the novel, Clary demands that Simon be buried in a Jewish cemetery. That works great in words on a page, but trying to convey a cemetery is Jewish vs. Catholic vs. Protestant on a TV screen isn’t as easy. To keep the importance of Simon’s religion and Clary acknowledging its significance, she stole his tallit from his closet and draped it around him before digging the most impressive rectangular grave – with stairs – to place Simon in. Clary shouldn’t be a Shadowhunter. She should be a grave digger. That hole was impressive.
Although fans were cheated out of the kiss at midnight in the garden, we got our falcon story from Jace this week! Maybe it is just me, but the falcon story stuck with me when I read the books, so I was glad that the TV show found a way to work it into the show. Also, we learn so much about Jace and his relationship with his father through that story. Oh, sorry, told ya’ there’d be spoilers.
While Clary dealt with life and death decisions – literally, the Lightwoods took us on a jaw-dropping, grind-the-story-into-the-floor-until-we-don’t-recognize-it journey. First, when did Izzy become the top forensic pathologist in New York City? People kept mentioning that the Institute had this top-notch pathologist, but the only two people working on the Chernobyl zombies were Izzy and Magnus. So, clearly Izzy has been rockin’ some mortician classes.
The B storyline was essentially Alec discovering his parents were part of the Circle and making some wildly impulsive decisions. Before I delve into the proposal, I have to say I’m baffled by Alec’s motivations throughout this entire episode. He firmly believes the band of beautiful people need to return the Mortal Cup to the Clave and makes the astute comment that Valentine is a Shadowhunter so he can easily waltz into the Institute and steal it. But then Jace states that Clary won’t give it to Valentine, so Alec rejects logic and puts the Cup in the glorified jewelry box in the floor. Not following his logic here as, sure, maybe Clary won’t hand it over to the Lord of Chernobyl, but he could easily steal it from her. It’s not like her messenger bag will keep it safe.
Then Lydia Branwell shows up, and this wild horse of an episode takes off. Alec learns his parents were part of the Circle, feels betrayed by them, so when Lydia demands he hand over the findings to her and not his parents he completely – disobeys her and proudly hands the folder over to his mom? Uh. Ok. What happened to that speech moments ago where he said his life had been a lie, he’d done everything for the Clave, and now he needs to do what’s in his heart because he is essentially angry at his parents for keeping secrets from him? When kids are peeved at their ‘rents, they are going to go out of their way to annoy their parents and disobey them, not display a strong allegiance with them.
Ok, maybe Alec is more upset with the Clave for keeping the secret than his parents. But how does that lead us to Alec proposing to Lydia Branwell? Alec just confided in Magnus – MAGNUS of all people – that he is going to follow his heart. Apparently, Alec’s heart is cold and calculating since he chooses political ties and strengthening the Lightwood name over Magnus. All his actions through this episode went against the words he spoke, which is why I call B.S. to this.
That being said, this twist of events with Lydia could prove interesting. STOP! Don’t jump down to the comments section and start writing nasty messages yet! Hear me out.
We were essentially denied the Clary/Simon/Jace love triangle. It was barely there, and Clary made it quite clear that Simon was nothing more than a best bud. But this – this Malydec triangle – could prove wickedly messy. Think of where the show could take this: Magnus’s heartbreak, Alec cheating on Lydia, Lydia’s climb to power while stepping over the Lightwoods, and Isabelle’s disdain for the whole situation. If done well, it could provide lots of soapy drama. Where it will fail is if this is a one episode toss out and the writers don’t have the gumption to stick it out through a full story arc. If this is resolved next week, I’ll be annoyed. You put it out there, Shadowhunters. Now own it. If you want die-hard fans to follow you down this path, you have to give us a reason to believe in it.
Side note, is Camille dead? Was that like the death stare of vampires converging on her? I think one reason I’m open to this proposal debacle is because I hate the Camille/Alec storyline in The Mortal Instruments. Camille’s a douche, and I never bought Alec falling for her stories or temptation.
Alright, folks. Slam me with comments. I leave you with these questions:
- Do you think Camille is dead?
- Are the Forsaken the proof Valentine needs to realize that Chernobyl is not the best lair?
- Which were you more excited to see: Simon’s transformation or Jace’s falcon story?
- How much do you hate Alec’s proposal to Lydia?
Catch up on Shadowhunters here.