Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments, Season One, Episode Six: Of Men and Angels

From the very beginning, everyone has been sure that Clary is the key to finding the mortal cup, despite her protestations.  It seems that Jocelyn prepared for this day and left clues in the mortal world, along with instructions that Luke was to tell Clary their entire history. In this episode, Clary learned that her father started out as an idealistic leader whose vision was warped by his jealousy and that she had a younger brother who died in a fire.  For readers of the books, this is all familiar territory, so no surprises here.  I must admit however, Clary had me giving her the side-eye when she asked Luke if he were her father. For the most part, the Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments have made no significant mention of race but this question implies that there's no real difference between Luke and Clary beyond gender and the fact that he is a werewolf and she is a shadowhunter. The issue of who Clary's father is appeared in the books but that Luke was not Black, unlike the television version.  Luke is very obviously a Black man and had he been Clary's father, there would have been some evidence of this in her skin tone. It's particularly ludicrous when you consider that Clary was quick to connect her ability to draw to her mother but somehow couldn't make the connection with skin colour and her father.

This week we found out that Valentine became unhinged by injecting himself with downworlder blood. The impetus for this action was his belief that Luke and Jocelyn had been having an affair. Given that Luke was Valentine's parabati and Jocelyn his wife, in Valentine's mind this amounted to a great betrayal. Luke admits that he and Jocelyn were in love but never crossed the line. Luke however clearly sees himself as the lesser man in comparison to Valentine which for me is a problem, given that we know that Valentine slaughtered people repeatedly. I further detest the idea that woo woo made someone mentally ill and that mental illness then becomes justification for murder. It's a trope. Valentine is responsible for his actions because he and he alone chose to murder people and mental illness is not an explanation.  Given that Valentine is ostensibly the sole disabled character on Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments, excusing violence because of mental illness is indeed a problem.

When last we saw Luke, he was injured from his fight with the former alpha.  Luke is taken to see Magnus by Clary, Simon and Jace.  I had to laugh at the fact that even in a life and death situation, Magnus took care to make sure his furniture was protected to the best of his ability.  I must admit that I was a little doubtful of Harry Shum Junior's performance but in Of Men and Angels, he absolutely sold me.  I love that Magnus used the opportunity of Luke's illness to get a little more face time with Alec.  I even loved the chemistry between Alec and Magnus of which Shum absolutely did all of the heavy lifting.  I still don't think that Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments series is even remotely salvageable but at least there's one shining apple in this pile of turds.

Naturally, because this series is YA there must be a love triangle; clearly there's some unwritten rule. It seems that Simon and Jace are both determined to come to Clary's rescue and find the ingredients needed to make Luke's get well potion.  Jace is certain that Simon, who is a mundane will just get in the way and Simon is determined to do something to make Clary see him in a different light. given her obviously growing feelings for Jace.  After a little bit of back and forth dick checking, Simon actually pulls a weapon on Jace and lands promptly on his ass.  It seems that once again, Simon's time with vampires is making him more aggressive.  I think I've had enough hinting around this story line and that the writers should just need to hurry up and make Simon a vampire already. Once Jace and Simon return with the ingredients, Clary and Jace share a moment but when Simon interrupts, they jump apart like a pair of scalded cats.  Here's the deal: if Clary has never been anything but a friend to Simon and is completely unaware of his feelings for her, why would she move to put so much space between herself and Jace so quickly? Her actions reflect a sense of guilt she shouldn't feel.

Isabelle was busy bickering with her mother throughout much of this episode. Even though Maryse Lightwood clearly needs Isabelle's connections with the selies, she is not above shaming Isabelle for her sexual interactions.  Can we please stop with the alternating between Isabelle is a sexy vixen and let's shame the Jezebel whore. Because Isabelle has been such a dirty dirty girl, she's apparently not a fit candidate for an arranged marriage to change the view of the Lightwood family.  Maryse intends to marry off Alec instead.  Isabelle tells Alec that this is something he cannot consent to.  I think this means that Isabelle knows what her parents do not - her brother is gay. Alec is the one who has never broken a rule and to say no is to step outside of how he sees himself and the role he has always played at the institute.  This situation is going to force Alec to confront his sexuality because any marriage to a woman would not work for obvious reasons.

I wonder if the plot will actually start to go somewhere now that Clary knows where the mortal cup is? I feel like I've watched the same episode six times and it's because nothing of note has really happened beyond the repeated Zoolander pouty lipped posing by the characters to make sure we're aware of how attractive they are.  If my recaps are repetitive, it's because the show is boring and moving at a snails pace. I know that I should be careful what I wish for but I deserve to at least be entertained for all of the time I am spending watching this show.