Here there are, the long awaited TV shows based on popular YA books has finally aired. Two episodes of it, to be exact. So, here I am, writing my thoughts about this show. First of all, I warn you once again: Books and TV series are two different things. There will be (many) changes to make it more appealing and hook more viewers. Besides, what is interesting to watch TV series when you know what will happen next? Surprisingly, I’m really looking forward for the changes and the twists. However, not everyone likes changes. I understand, I was rabid books fan back then (fortunately not these books, I don’t really like this books in general honestly). But, I guess I’ve already grown from this is not in the books, they cut this and that, they change everything, etc etc to it’s okay to change things as long as it’s reasonable and the main point remain same, it’s okay to make things more believable, and it’s entirely acceptable for me to change or add subplots for the sake of characters’ development—as long as it’s written right. By right, I mean not out of characters. It’s an adaptation, anyway.
So, here we go!
p.s. I’m not a nice person, so there will be some snarks here. It’s very long and no pictures because I’m lazy—hahaha no, actually because my internet connection is stupid. This post is not free spoilers either.
p.s.s I can’t believe I put more effort on this than I should do. Darn.
It’s started exactly like the seven minutes sneak peak. Our favorite trio is stalking a shape-shifting demon. The thing catches my interest since this scene was only a mere sneak peak is the first familiar figure shown to us is Alec. I rarely watch TV shows, but when I watch some of them, the first thing they present to the viewers is the main protagonist. I’m kind of surprised that I see Alec right away instead of Clary or Jace—especially Clary, since she’s THE protagonist. So, it all goes same as the sneak peak until the part when Jace knocks Clary and it’s cut after Jace says, “You can see me?”
Then, we’re going back to eight hours earlier. Clary is going to an art school for her interview. The interviewers don’t seem impressed by her portfolios. It doesn’t look good. But one of them asks about another drawing that happens to be some sketch for graphic novel she draw with her friend—Simon, obviously. It’s drawing of some strange demonic creature, FYI.
She meets Simon at cafe, looks slightly upset. Simon, being a good friend, tells her he’s going to send a terse email to the dean. However, he doesn’t need to. It’s just an act and Clary totally got into the art school. They banter about Simon and Maureen. Clary says Maureen has crush on him but Simon doesn’t think so.
Clary: “Simon, how can someone as smart and perceptive as you not realize that the person sitting right there is in love with you?”
Simon: “I guarantee you I'm not the only smart, perceptive person to make that mistake.”
Hmm, I think it’s very obvious what’s going to happen later~
At the same time the show spoils a major plot point by having Clary make her biscotti disappear into paper. In the book, it requires a rune to make object disappear into paper. Clary was experimenting with runes when she found out about this in book. I think this scene on the show kind of making no sense because the biscotti suddenly disappear without any runes or magic involvement. I don’t know if the shows ignoring this rules and it just comes out of nowhere or anything else. I hope they have an explanation later.
Cut into Luke investigating a murder case. A woman is killed, her blood’s drained. She’s the seventh victim. The police dog can’t stop barking and Luke silences him with a glare with his glowing eyes. This is instantly showing who he is. Then Captain Vargas, Luke’s boss, comes. Guess what? Instead of talking about the murder case Captain Vargas asks Luke why he don’t marry Jocelyn. Duh! I don’t like that. Man, you’re at work! I get it the show wants us to know about Luke/Jocelyn and Luke loves her in short time because something will happen to Jocelyn in the middle of this episode. But, can you be a little more subtle? Geez.
Back to Clary, she goes home and meets Dot. Dot is the TV version of Madam Dorothea in book. She looks younger than Madam Dorothea here—or, is she? I don’t remember the book stating Madam Dorothea’s ages. Dot is doing future reading with a tarot cards—a certain tarot cards. And, yes, right in front of her is the Mortal Cup card. She gives Clary birthday present. It’s a black see-through blouse that most likely Jocelyn will not accept. While in the book, Madam Dorothea is just the fortune teller lady who lives downstairs The Fray’s flat and Clary doesn’t really know her, in the show Dot’s more than that. She knows Clary well, she follows Simon’s twitter so she must know Simon too, and they casually talk like they’re friends.
Then Clary goes upstairs to see her mother. Jocelyn congratulates her for get into the art school and they banter about Simon and his twitter (what?). I like it how they show Simon is like one of their family members without stating “I’ve been friend with him since we were kids.” Jocelyn gives her birthday presents. It’s stele with some runes crafted on it. Jocelyn says it is family heirloom. And Clary says it’s weird because she draws some similar symbols like the symbol on the stele lately. I think Jocelyn plans to talk with Clary right away if they aren’t interrupted by Simon’s message. Clary promises they will talk after breakfast tomorrow because she has plan with Simon that night.
I like Clary/Jocelyn mother-daughter relationship here—far more than their relationship in the books. Jocelyn is trying to tell Clary the truth and being a responsible mother. She trust Clary enough to tell her the secrets she’d been hiding—at least she’s planning too. She’s not being comatose useless mom for the whole three books and leaving Clary totally in dark. Sorry for the useless word.
Clary changes her clothes with the one Dot gives her and she puts hoodie over it, knowing Jocelyn will not like her clothes. She brings the stele with her for ... reasons? I don’t know why the hell she will bring something her mother called heirloom that she doesn’t know what it is for to a band’s gig. While Jocelyn looks at Clary’s rune doodles, musing about the event happened ten years ago.
Aaannd, we get flashback. Ten years ago, little Clary played near the pond in the park. Suddenly a demon appeared from the pond. It nearly made Clary its afternoon snack if Jocelyn wasn’t being super-mama and slashed the demon on the spot. Then, two of them headed to Magnus’ place to remove Clary’s memories.
I can’t say I like this part. On one hand, I feel like it’s pointless and gives us our first “real” demon (not the shape shifter one) in a flashback, which isn’t a very good choice. It also spoils Magnus’s role before we’ve even seen him in the present. It spoils the ‘mystery’ about Clary’s memories in the present. I mean, they can give us flashback until the part Jocelyn saves his daughter, and not showing us the when Magnus wipes Clary memories. It will keep the suspense, at least.
Back to the present, Luke comes and they talk about you should tell her soon. He brings Clary birthday gift—spray paints—but he plays dad by saying if he finds that on city wall he will arrest Clary. Simon picks her up and they go to Simon’s band gig.
Before the gig, Clary, Simon, and Maureen banter about how Jocelyn being so protective to her lately. Maureen says it’s strange that they have no relative—just Clary and her mother. She also tells Clary it’s possible that Jocelyn’s hiding something dark. But Clary declines, saying her mother can’t be keeping any secrets from her. And, there’s a line:
“My life couldn’t be more mundane.”
Which is, ironic.
Let’s move to the New York Institute. It will be a long paragraph or two, I promise. I really like this part—an excellent way to introduce the trio. The Institute looks alike abandoned church from the outside—it’s glamoured maybe. Isabelle’s holding two wigs in her room and her brother calls her with his boring voice. She picks the white one, of course. We’ve seen she wears the wig in the starts.
Isabelle: “Demons dig blondes.”
Alec: “Of course they do. But, that’s white.”
(Several times later, they meet Jace.)
Jace: “Nice choice, Izzy. Demons dig blondes.”
Isabelle (to Alec): “Told you.”
Alec (to Jace): “It’s platinum.”
I like their banters. Really like their dynamics. I’m with Alec anyway, all I see is white wig instead of platinum blonde. Apparently, some demons are killing mundanes and draining their blood. And they have a lead. Alec wants to get approval for the mission, but Jace and Izzy declines it. Again, I like that they need approval to go for a mission. It’s like they are an actual organization. I love how they present the trio. Alec is super-serious with a resting bitch face, following the rules and all. Isabelle teases her brother and she talks forensics, damn, i love it. And Jace ... is Jace. Oh, Isabelle says something about be yourself to Alec and I feel she’s implying something bigger. (You know what i mean, if you’ve read the books or at least read/watched some Matthew’s interview about the character he plays.)
Aside from the trio, I like The Institute. Unlike the deserted cathedral with only Jace, Izzy, Alec, and Hodge (Robert, Maryse, and Max, sometimes) live there, that described in the books, it’s full of people. Again, it shows us that they’re an actual organization. No way a one weapon trainer who’s forbidden to leave The Institute and underage Shadowhunters can run the Institute by themselves. (Blame the books for that.). The trio isn’t underage, here. The show makes them (and Clary and Simon too) older which is very good choice. So, basically it makes sense that they’re on charge when Lightwoods parents are not around. Other than that, it’s equipped with an actual technology. Lovely, isn’t it? It is some of the changed details from books that I like. You can keep track on the demonic activity in New York with zero technology. And it’s freaking 21 centuries.
Meanwhile, Simon sings Forever Young in the concert, which is ridiculously ironic. Skip to after the gig, Simon changes his t-shirt for ... fanservice? So we can see shirtless Simon. Well, no clue. Three of them banter about the band’s name—just like in the books, the change the band name constantly, probably based on their moods. They change the band’s name to Rock Solid Panda and Clary painted Simon’s yellow van with the new name. She draws angelic rune on the van. Simon asks her what that means but Clary has no idea, she just says she keeps drawing strange symbol without knowing what it means. She’s musing about that, staring the symbol she draws on the van. That is when Jace knocks her.
Jace states that she has the sight. I’m kind of bothered by this line:
“How can I not know who you are?”
Does the Clave or Conclave have list of mundanes who have sight? It’s possible isn’t it? If my random guessing right, then this line makes sense.
It’s basically same things with the sneak peak. Clary follows Jace to Pandemonium, Simon and Maureen follow Clary. The demon gives mundane’s blood to Circle’s members. Magnus, as Pandemonium’s owner, is there with his women and men (Is this implying something or I’m reading this too much? The rich dude who own club usually surrounded with bunch of women—yes, women. The men are wearing less clothes than the women anyway—sorry, wrong focus.) The Circle members see Clary but they’re thrown out of the club by Magnus before doing anything.
So, Izzy provides the distraction and Jace tries to get information who buys the mundane’s blood from the demon they follow. But things get out of hand because Clary interrupts them, thinking Jace is going to slash an innocent girl. Jace kills the information’s source. Izzy kicks some demons as if it’s nothing. Jace get distracted, attacked by a demon, and dropping his seraph blade. Alec comes to help. While Clary curiously picks Jace’s seraph blade because ... why not? Yeah, that blonde bloke dropped his light saber strange glowing sword, let’s examine it on the spot! Great idea, smartass. I don’t know really. If I get involved in the middle of fight and one of the dudes drop his weapon, I will probably pick it to defend myself in case I’m attacked. I will not stare at it with curiosity. Anyway, the blade shines on Clary’s hand and she accidentally kills one of the demons. Jace looks at her with surprise—I will tell you later why. The fight ends with the Jace and Alec parabatai combo.
I like the fight scene. Reason? Jalec. Yes, this fight scenes show us more Jalec as parabatai than the original author did in six books. The part when Jace calls Alec and Alec throws his blades to him instantly, then Jace throws it back to Alec after he finishes his demon is truly lovely. I really like that. Another reason? Isabelle gets some part on it, the books usually left her behind especially when Jace’s there too. She’s not a mere distraction. She can fight and she shows it to us.
Anyway, Clary’s panicking, running away from the fight location. She bumps to Magnus and get a glimpse of flashback Magnus with his sparkling fingers. Magnus’ expression when Clary bumps on him is priceless. It’s like he’s musing you’re Jocelyn Fray’s daughter, what the hell are you doing here? You’re not supposed to be here, you should’ve never known me nor know that I exist, all at once. Clary goes home by a cab. The Circle members eye her, probably follow her home.
At home, she tells Jocelyn everything she just saw and thinks she was drugged. Jocelyn is about to explain about the Shadow World when Dot interrupts. Apparently, Magnus warns her that Circle finds Jocelyn. Jocelyn gives Clary a necklace—probably will be an important item later. Dot gives Jocelyn a bottle with green liquid and says, “Only when you need it.” Then Jocelyn tells Dot to open the portal and sends Clary to police station to see Luke. It seems Dot is an actual warlock here, not a mundane who was raised by a warlock like in the book. In the police station, Clary meets Captain Vargas, she says Luke is in an interview so it may take a while. Clary lies about she will wait him in the cafeteria.
The Circle members break into Jocelyn and Clary’s house. Dot try to hold them off but her magic is useless against the dudes then she’s thrown over the window, falling to the street, and dead ... or not? Since warlocks are immortal and not easy to kill. This scene probably means to show us even warlocks have different levels of power, Dot’s magic obviously nowhere near Magnus’. Jocelyn burns Clary room to erase her existence and prevent them to track Clary with her belongings. Once again, Jocelyn becomes super–mama, slashing and kicking the Circle members, even kills one. But, she’s outnumbered and cornered. She’s kind of shock when she learns Valentine’s alive. She says they will never have the cup and drink the green potion Dot gave her earlier. She instantly becomes sleeping beauty. Bye, bye Maxim Roy, for now.
Meanwhile, Luke is doing his interview ... with other Circle members. Two of them, a man and a woman. They threaten him by saying they have Jocelyn and they will come for Clary, if Luke wants them back he can exchange them with The Mortal Cup. Luke says he doesn’t care about two of them, and if he ever finds the Mortal Cup he will use it for himself. Too bad, Clary hears all of it. She assumes Luke betrays them, which is strange. I mean, if she really knows Luke that well, she will at least consider the option that Luke may be lying. But it’s okay. I understand her exhausted brain probably can’t think straight after get involved with supernatural fight, murdering a guy in the club, weird dudes raid her home, her mother abandoning her and magically sent her away to the police station, and the only person her mother say she can trust betrays her. So, in the middle of rain (how cliché, darn it) she runs to the place she really wants: home.
Change scene to ... Chernobyl—eh, really? Why the hell Valentine makes his lair in Chernobyl? The Circle members are back by portal with unconscious Jocelyn. The way Valentine speak to the sleeping beauty ... I mean, Jocelyn, indicating that he may be still in love with her—or lust? Whatever. But his voice’s tone changes drastically when he speaks with his followers, demanding why they don’t bring Jocelyn unharmed. Valentine’s man tells him that Jocelyn is taking a very strong sedative potion that makes her sleep and she must be under protection of a warlock. When one of his men says Jocelyn is a coward because she was in league with Downworlder and hiding amongst the mundanes. Valentine gets mad on him and injecting venom that makes this dude melt. Like, literally melting, this part is sort of gross, frankly. You know what? I have good feeling about Alan van Sprang here. He really can play an experiment-nut, homicidal Shadowhunters who most likely still obsessed with his ex wife.
Back to Clary and it’s started confusing because it changes to fast or probably I’m just tired. She arrives at her home but it’s trashed and ruined. She’s crying in frustration. It’s strange that I was able to feel Clary. As in, I understand she’s tired and confuse, she doesn’t even know what’s exactly going on, her mother’s possibly missing, she’s alone, Luke can’t be trusted, and she’s not sure if she can get any help. I understand that at this point, she wants to scream and cry. I say it’s strange because I can’t feel Clary in book—I don’t care if she’s sad or upset because I can’t feel that through the ink and papers. I don’t know who I should thank here. Probably Katherine, as her actress, or the director, or even the screen writer, or literally everyone who had worked hard for it.
Clary arms herself with an axe and moving around her house. I like this part to. It’s like she understands that she’s in grave danger and she should do something. Do or die. She sees Dot and caught off guard, dropping her axe. Dot acts weird, she’s asking Clary about the cup. Once she approaches Clary, she shows her true nature. She’s another shape-shifter demon. Clary jabs her in the gut with her stele. The demon attacks her, and she gets cornered. And, the knight of shining armor saves her. Yep, Jace. I have no idea how and why the hades Jace is there. Is he following Clary? Eww, creepy. Does he detect demonic activity in her house? Possibly. Jace quips about Clary are not showing any gratitude after he saves her, but then he realizes Clary is injured, demon poison has already entered her system. Clary collapse and Jace hold her, while says the words that usually said by any hero when he saves someone:
“I’ve got you.”
Honestly, i like the I’ve got scene when I saw it in BTS and trailers. I didn’t know in which episode that scene is back then, but it’s very cool. However, after seeing the actual scene, I feel it’s a little bit off. I mean, it’s only first episode. They don’t even know each other’s name. If only this scene was in fifth or sixth episode when Jace and Clary had known each other better, it would be great.
Unconscious Clary dreams about Jocelyn in Valentine’s place. Her necklace is glowing. Then she wakes up, head butting Isabelle. She introduces herself, and being nice to Clary, saying that they saved Clary. Much nicer than book!Isabelle. In the books, Clary is both envy and intimidated by Isabelle because she’s pretty and strong. She also immediately senses that Isabelle dislikes her, make her feels even more threatened and dislike Isabelle back instantly. While book!Isabelle, much like Alec, doesn’t feel Clary should be there—but she’s more subtle than Alec in showing that. It leads to the trope girl-dislike-other-girl (at least from Clary’s POV, because we don’t have Izzy’s POV in book), which I despise. The TV show pictures them much better. Isabelle is nice, and Clary is still too confused to be bothered by Isabelle’s beauty. At this rate it’s believable if they become friends quickly.
Alec and Jace enter the infirmary, Alec’s pissed off. They argue a little. Alec says mundane shouldn’t be here. Jace explains Clary’s not mundane, the seraph blade glows in her hands (that’s why I said when Clary killed demon in the club is important and this is why Jace surprised to see her kills the demon) and she can bear runes. Alec snaps, asking Jace what’s wrong with him. Then, Isabelle escorts her brother out to talk some sense with him.
Isabelle: “What I find strange is that you're so upset. Maybe you're upset by the way Jace is looking at her. You know, you should be happy that Jace is interested in someone other than himself.”
Alec: “Maybe I'm pissed that she's ruined the mission. We never found out who's buying the blood. That was our one job.”
Isabelle’s clearly hinting that Alec may or may not harboring a secret crush on his best friend slash parabatai. It is never clear anyway, even in the books. Is Alec really having crush on Jace or is it just a misguided feeling? It’s not really confirmed. I personally assume it’s a mere misguided feeling—I won’t explain it here because it will be long. Anyway, I like how the shows bring it up. Isabelle says that in subtle way possible and mild teasing, so she won’t hurt Alec. Plus, non books readers or people who just watch this show most likely will not see the ‘subtext’, but when everything’s revealed, they will realize this scene is one of the hints—clever foreshadowing. It’s a lot better than what the book does, having Clary confronts—not in a nice way—Alec about his crush-or-not-crush on Jace. (My respect for Clary instantly evaporated after i read this scene in book, really. You can’t casually rub these kinds of things on people’s face, especially when it is impossible or forbidden.)
Meanwhile, Jace explains things to Clary: Shadow world, demons, downworlder. Clary’s confused as duck and stating she’s not interested in anything but finding her mother. They’re interrupted by Simon’s call. He’s been calling Clary for two whole days. He’s using find my friend only to locate Clary’s phone in abandoned church and he’s outside. Clary says she’ll come to get him. She asks Jace about her clothes which is ruined by demon’s venom and Isabelle leave her clothes for Clary. Yeah, Izzy’s clothes. And Clary’s like this piece of fabrics, really? You know what kind of clothes she wears. Clary notices the healing rune on her neck and asks Jace about that. Jace explains runes a little and asks Clary if she knows anything about runes because she doodle some of it on her sketchbook. Clary, of course, has no idea about it. She’s only drawing “random symbols” by whim.
Then, they go outside to get Simon. Jace brings his seraph blade, saying something’s lurking behind Simon. When he sees Clary, Simon instantly freaks out. Not only because Clary speaks with an invisible man, but also she wears clothes she most likely will never wear. Clary tries to explain things when a Circle member who apparently follows Simon appears. Jace attacks him, they’re fighting. Clary freaks out, while Simon is totally clueless. He can’t see what’s going on. This is another clever thing the show does, which I like.
Jace kills the Circle member, and says, “This is for my father.” Yeah, Jace’s daddy issue. It makes me cringe because I’ve already known the whole things about Jace’s father from books. Even if I don’t know the lines is kind of lame, though. Then Jace removes his glamour so Simon can see him. The glamour rune is drawn on his abs for some reason, so we see Jace lift his shirt. Another fanservice? They’re bantering for a while then both of Simon and Jace offer their hands to Clary claiming that they can help her. Hinting the love triangle, I guess. It’s obvious what will Clary choose, though.
We’re going back to Valentine lair. One of his men tells him about Jocelyn’s daughter but no sign of her father. Valentine wants to speak to Jocelyn’s daughter. We still don’t know if Valentine aware who is Clary’s dad. And, it ends there.
Overall, it’s good. It’s better than I expected—i prepare for the worst, y’know. Some acts are still flat, especially Katherine and Isaiah. Some lines are kind of wooden and cheesy. We can see sweet and adorable Simon in Alberto, however. Dom is cool, he’s good in showing emotion by his expression and his eyes, but sometimes his voice is not really convincing and the tone is sort of flat. Emeraude is practically Isabelle. Matt is doing pretty good job being serious, strict, following rules, and blunt Alec. Harry is doing really great in portraying Magnus even though he’s only there for a few minutes. Maxim Roy and Alan van Sprang are great too.
Nothing’s new for the books readers. I mean, it follows the main plot of the first book, even though the ways characters go from point A to point B are elaborated. Some are better than the books, but there are also some changes that ... a little off. It’s okay, I hope the next episodes are better. For non book readers, it feels like too many information stuffed in one episode which is kind of confusing if you have zero knowledge about the books and a little boring. Usually, pilot episode is introducing the characters and the world they live in, the beginning of their problems, a lot of fancy but useless actions, and hinting (or leaking?) some information about the villain, without realizing they showing too many unnecessary things the viewers can be bored anytime. Many pilot episode of TV shows fall for that, and Shadowhunters is one of them. But we still have 11 episodes to fix that don’t worry.
It’s three stars out five, from me. Pretty good, eh?