Shadowhunters – On Tenuous Ground

Shadowhunters Season 3 kicked off with On Infernal Ground opening with our first view of Alicante, Simon stuck in the Seelie Court, and Jace having too many waking in dream moments. This season appears to be picking up right where the book City of Fallen Angels begins, my least favorite Clare novel.  This can go two ways: this will either be the worst Shadowhunters season yet – or the best.

The worst because City of Fallen Angels, despite clocking in at 432 pages, is a pretty weak story.  It began as a graphic novel of Simon’s story.  But as Cassandra was fleshing out the plot for Simon and the Mark of Cain, she realized there was another story happening.  In fact, another trilogy.

She said on her site, “I was on a writing retreat in Mexico with a number of other writers, and when we sat down to go over the issues I was having, I realized that the story I had thought I was telling was really a much bigger story — that my smaller, Simon-centric story had morphed into something much bigger, much more epic, and deeply involving the whole cast of characters from the first three Mortal Instruments books. I realized that what I had on my hands was not a single book that would wrap up the story begun in The Mortal Instruments, but rather the beginning of a new trilogy about these characters.”

Don’t get me wrong.  I love the second Mortal Instruments trilogy.  Sebastian is a fascinating villain compared to Valentine.  But Book 4 does sort of feel like a really long prologue to a deeper story discovered in City of Lost Souls and City of Heavenly Fire.  There isn’t a fascinating story to pull us through this season, if Shadowhunters sticks to Book 4’s plot, which could make for a weak season.

Or it could be an awesome season too, as I have zero expectations.  And we already know the writers for the show don’t follow the books exactly and will throw in some major upsets for the fandom.  But overall the main thread of the series is intact.  My hopes are we gloss over tortured Jace and go straight into devilish Jace.  I can’t wait to see Team Evil and Team Good.

SH3 Lilith
Anna Hopkins as Lilith

The season opener was like most season openers, full of reminding the audience what the heck is going on and dangling plot threads to come.  Simon got his mark.  Clary got her blades – her mom and dad’s – scandalous!  Jace is having visions of Sebastian enticing him to slice open Clary’s throat.  A mundane got his throat sliced open.  And we got a good look at Lilith.  Anna Hopkin’s Lilith isn’t how I pictured her in the novel, but she’s a captivating blend of modern and ancient that I think will breathe life into a one dimensional character on paper.

My favorite moment of the show was Izzy trying not to flirt with a doctor at the hospital and shoving her mouth full of chocolate.  When Emeraude Tobia stops trying so hard to be sultry Isabelle and just is, she’s natural and believable.  Isabelle doing mundane things like talking with her mouth full grounds a sometimes ridiculous, fantastical show.  And was the only comic relief in the entire hour.  Yo, Shadowhunters show runners, one of Clare’s best skills is weaving comedy through action-packed fantasy.  We need more funny.

And there was also Matthew Daddario playing pool.   I could watch a season of that.


Watch Shadowhunters Tuesday nights at 8pm/7pm on Freeform, and join me each week for Shadowhunters recaps. 

On Twitter follow Chris @ACCooksonWriter and Rebecca @DownWorldNovel.

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Photos courtesy of Freeform

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