Well, that was interesting.
I’m staring at my copy of City of Ashes, the one with the fiery redhead with her hands on her hips looming over New York City, and there is a quotation on it from Stephanie Meyer, author of Twilight. The quotation reads, “The Mortal Instruments series is a story world that I love to live in.” That sums up this week’s episode. A world to live in. A world to explore. Not a world that will follow the novels, but one that will capture the essence of the series (or at least try) and come up with stories that could fit in the world of Clary.
Pretty much nothing in Rise Up could be found in the novels. This is what the creators of Shadowhunters have been warning, I mean enticing, viewers with – that the show would not always follow the series. Some episodes would stand alone – apart from the books. But I think I speak for the fans of The Mortal Instruments when I say we expected to see an episode where Alec and Jace run off and fight some demons in a New York deli and have it all resolved over a quip from Simon about pastrami. We weren’t expecting the series to completely change the direction of the novels and the relationships in them. However, some adaptations make sweeping changes from the source material and make it work – or even improve upon it. (Check out our Whiskey Tango Foxtrot review.)
At this point, die-hard fans who are unwilling to accept deviations from the books have already dropped the show. Unless they are masochistic. But for those of us open to “interpretation” or those new to Cassandra Clare’s world, let’s look at what worked last night – because some of it did.
1. The episode had some great lines spread throughout the cast.
“Feed?! Are you kidding? That’s what this in now? That’s what this is about, like I’m in a zoo?” – Simon
“Jace Wayland is Switzerland.” – Jace
“You do know this isn’t a hotel.” – Raphael (standing outside the DuMort Hotel)
“Technically it is.” – Simon
“Even starvation can’t shut you up.” – Raphael
“The City of Bones has a service entrance. Perfect.” – Clary
(Side note, so glad to see some of the Clary spunk and sarcasm from the novels in this episode.)
“Stay. Good dog” – Raphael
“Bite me.” – Luke
“Roll over.” – Raphael
“Play dead.” – Luke
“Boom!” – Simon
Which ended brilliantly with Simon fist bumping Luke. Score one for the werewolves in the Underworld Wit Contest.
2. Simon’s still peeved about being a vampire. This is one deviation from the novel that I embrace whole-heatedly. Simon rebounds really fast in City of Ashes. I appreciate that the writers on Shadowhunters are exploring his transformation in more depth. Granted, I’m pretty sure by the next episode he’ll be back to the Simon we know and love – with vampire pallor.
3. David Castro who plays Raphael is great. He’s just how I imagined Raphael in the novels.
I was totally buying Alberto Rosende being sickened with hunger for blood throughout his pale, jaw-clenching performance. And once again Dominic Sherwood graced us with memorable “Jace Face” moments after his fight with Alec. The pain of lost friendship was clear on his face – even in the background shots. I wasn’t surprised to learn he was theatrically trained and performed on stage before segueing into TV and film. His looks and facial expressions remind me of theater actors who have learned to not only project their voices, but also their body language across rows and rows of theater goers.
4. Clary went to Luke for help when she needed someone to be there for Simon and herself. In City of Ashes Simon waits for Clary on Luke’s front steps. Luke’s home becomes the center of operations in the novels as much as the Institute, so I’m glad to see Isaiah’s character being there for Clary and stepping away from his sham role of NYPD.
5. The energy between Jace, Clary, Isabelle, and Simon before rescuing Meliorn was reminiscent of their dynamics later in the book series. Especially, Izzy’s look to Simon and comment, “Let’s do this.” Determination and grit.
6. Alec and Jace duke it out! Whoa. OK, now some of you are like, “NO, Chris!! This was horrible! They are parabatai!” Yes, you have a valid point. Unload in the comment section below, please. However, in my last article Grab Your Towel! I was really concerned the writers on Shadowhunters would resolve this whole Alec quarter-life crisis quickly. I’m glad they made a choice – regardless if I agree with it – and are pushing the limits of that decision. In fact, they’ve decided to move so far beyond the plot of The Mortal Instruments that next week is going to be a parallel universe episode. Could be awesome – a la Fringe. Could be a mess like the Once Upon a Time heroes are now villains flop. Only next week knows.
What didn’t work for me was Malec. My issue isn’t with the writers’ room deciding to rewrite their love story. In fact, kudos to the writers for not resolving this Malydec triangle in one episode. Looks like they are letting this soap play out – for better or for worse. (Pun totally intended.) What wasn’t working for me was how desperate Magnus came across. His sexual comments and pick up lines for Alec feel heavy handed, especially since Alec is giving him nothing in return. Magnus is going from self-confident, flamboyant, in control to repetitive, stale, and humbled. I don’t mind the latter, but he should never become stale or repetitive! I still love Harry Shum, Jr. I felt for him when Alec dumped his engagement on him. But it is time for Magnus to play hard to get.
Questions for the week:
- What do you think will be different with the parallel universe?
- Will Jace and Alec make amends next week?
- How soon before Meliorn stabs Izzy in the back?
Catch up on Shadowhunters here.