Shadowhunters: Love on the Rocks

Please note, the following article may contain spoilers for those not familiar with the books or haven’t watched the show.

If you thought the death of Jocelyn was extreme, tonight was an extreme sport adaptation of The Mortal Instruments world.  Oddly, I liked it.

Some criticism from the fandom about the show has ranged from complete distaste at any minor change from the novels to calling the writing “fan fiction.”  I understand their point of view.  Why take a wonderfully crafted story and completely rewrite it?  One explanation from the creators is to keep fans of the book on their toes.  But fans don’t want to be on their toes.  They want the ships that they know and love.

Which brings me to the biggest elephant in the room: Clarimon.  Simary?  Clarsimo?  See, you can’t even mash their names well like Malec or Sizzy.  Of course while reading the novels I was pulling for Simon to get the girl the whole time – partially that girl was me, in my dreams, wondering why no one saw how loving and hilarious he is.  But I never felt like he worked with Clary.  They were best friends, and that was fine.


But now we have Clarimo.  I’m not panicking though, as relationships don’t last longer than two episodes on Shadowhunters, with the exception of Malec.  Without Malec the fandom would destroy the show.  So, for any of you haters of this new ship, don’t fret.  It’ll be over be for you can say “Sebastian.”

Because he’s coming!

Now that we’ve gotten rid of that total lack of chemistry (because, HELLO, Simon and Maia have way more going on than Simon and Clary), we can focus on what worked in the show, which was pretty much everything else.

I actually really liked this episode.  Izzy and Raphael had great chemistry on screen.  Granted, I thought Raphael and Simon’s mom had chemistry, so this may be a David Castro Smooth Operator vibe.


Every time Harry Shum, Jr. and Matthew Daddario share the screen together, I can’t help but think how brilliantly the pair are cast.  Harry embodies Magnus’s ostentatious style coupled with wisdom, and Matthew balances the reserve Alec against the one with tenderness for his love.

My favorite scene of the night was Mangus and Jace discussing Malec on the patio surrounded by too many cats.  (Oh, Chairman Meow, where are you?)  First, I was annoyed with Jace for being so pissy with Magnus.  He showed up at his door with nowhere to go, and Magnus took him in, gave him a room, and is probably feeding Jace because if I recall from the books no one in the Institute cooked.  There was a lot of ordering in and avoiding Izzy’s soups.  Therefore, Jace had no right to be bitchy to Magnus.  But Magnus was magnanimous.  Then there was the wonderfully awkward and hilarious exchange of looks about parabatai sex bonds.


Despite the big Simlary ship crashing into the rocks without the lighthouse, I enjoyed the episode, but reason why is a fault with the show.  There was little Shadowhunting in it.  After last week, I realized the best parts about Shadowhunters are the interpersonal scenes.  The innocent smile between Magnus and Alec.  The joking between Simon and Maia.  The heart to hearts with Luke and Clary.  And every time Jace annoys the crap out of someone and smiles .  The small moments – the space between the actor’s expressions – make the show.

But the actual Shadowhunting feels forced.  When they are slaying demons or strategizing against Valentine, it doesn’t work.  It feels fake.  Granted, they are fighting a man-bully named Valentine.  (I struggled to get past his name when reading the books as well.)  If the show could fix what isn’t working with the Shadowhunting portion of the series, it would be a great show.

Maybe someone new will turn that around…


Watch Shadowhunters Monday nights at 8pm/7pm on Freeform, and join me each week for Shadowhunters recaps.  Special thanks to TMI fan groups for their support, like The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, Mortal Instruments Fangirl!, and Thank You Cassandra Clare on Facebook.

On Twitter follow Chris @ACCooksonWriter and Rebecca @DownWorldNovel.

Like our Facebook page Novel2Screen for more updates on your favorite novel-to-screen adaptations, including weekly recaps of Outlander and Shadowhunters and interviews!  

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Photos courtesy of Freeform

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