Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Shadowhunters, Season 2, Episode 2: A Door Into the Dark

Look, I’m trying not to be vindictive about this, but I have to say again how hard it is to really get behind this show when so much of the acting is so very very poor. Scenes that should be emotional make me cringe

Of course, it’s also hard to get behind this show because it’s pretty terrible. In its defence, it’s terrible for all the reasons the books are terrible: awful character decisions and a whole lot of minority service which is just cringeworthy.

So let’s dive in, get the bleach ready.

Jace rescued Valentine last episode because… because… because it’s the Mortal Instruments it doesn’t need any reason. He’s still trying to convince Jace that killing entire species is a super-fun-cool idea while Jace is not buying but not exactly rejecting either. Valentine tries to extra sell his plan by throwing in some cruel experimentation on downworlders as well. He’s not a great salesman.

Meanwhile back at the Institute, the folks there have noticed that Valentine is managing to recruit more humans to become shadowhunters with the shiny cup by kidnapping fighters from various gyms across the city. So they’re going to stake them out and capture any of Valentine’s men for questioning

(They can’t just go to his boat because it’s hidden. By a Glamour. Close enough to New York to see the city really clearly. Honestly how something hasn’t crashed into it by now is a mystery).

Clary has mother issues because her mother has been lying to her all her life, saying she could live like a normal person and now she’s been thrust into a supernatural world she was woefully unprepared for

Which I’d completely agree with but my gods the acting is awful. Jocelyn’s parenting is just bizarre and there’s no real justification for this. She just decided to keep mind wiping her own child for funsies.

In other intelligent parenting decisions – Jocelyn knows her baby was injected with demon blood and because, when he was a babe in arms, he made a flower wilt he is TOTALLY EVIL AND NEEDS TO DIE. This is a reasonable decision, apparently.

Clary also wants to join in the operation to find Jace but the new head of the institute, Victor, points out she isn’t actually trained for this and is too emotionally involved and is really unsuitable for this role. Oh, he’s being mean and cruel and we should hate him? But but but no lies detected – every thing he said there is true!

Clary decides to react to this by leaving the Institute and running to an art class because there’s absolutely no way that Valentine is trying to kidnap her, right, right?

Dear gods, Clary’s entire family’s existence is pretty much proof against survival of the fittest.

Jocelyn decides to go to Luke to have him talk some sense into Clary since Jocelyn doesn’t even know what sense looks like. And what is Luke actually doing in this show? Because he seems to spend his entire time either comforting and supporting Jocelyn and Clary or providing room and board and basic advice for Simon. See what I mean about minorities serving the main cast? I mean. he’s leading a wolf pack – have we actually been introduced to any of these wolf pack members?

This also seems to be the role Izzy plays – and this is one of those odd representation questions because while the actress who plays Izzy is definitely a WOC, I’m not sure Izzy is meant to be read that way.

Clary, being so very very clever, does indeed get kidnapped while running around on her own, of course she does

On to more service – Luke also gives is family’s magic rock to Jocelyn so she can pass that on to Alec who can then nearly sacrifice his life so he can find Jace (while Jace hasn’t spent 2 seconds thinking of Alec since this show began, Alec’s entire damn existence revolves around Jace.). Of course he does, he has no life without Jace (shame that isn’t even slightly reciprocated)

Oh, on that – I think I’m expected to think Alec is super mean for telling off Clary for claiming her siblinghood with Jace – after knowing him for a hot minute – is on par with Alec’s loss. Is this going to be a theme? Someone tells off Clary – richly deserves – and we’re expected to sympathise with her?

This calls for an irrelevant side plot with more POC/LGBT service! Simon is still camping with the werewolves yet still keeps visiting Clary at the Institute of people who would quite like to murder him. He babbles inanely to Victor and ends up inadvertently implying Raphael is to blame for lots of things Camille could do

Raphael is not amused by this and demands Simon go find Camille, his maker, and ensure she is held responsible for her own crimes, not him since the Clave loves their torture and isn’t really into the whole idea of justice for downworlders.

So what does Simon do? He goes to Magnus – because again we have minority characters serving and sacrificing for Simon, Clary and Jace. Magnus decides to provide magical portals to where Camille’s staying as well as a couple of decent pep talks. At the end of which he offers advice and to become Simon’s new mentor. Yup, Magnus has known Simon for 2 seconds but is already taking him under his wing and making space for Simon in his life

Back to Clary and Jace, both kidnapped by Valentine. Clary meets Dot – who she thought was dead, but is actually alive and being enslaved by Valentine. Dot uses woo-woo to which Clary goes to Jace and we have this conversation (paraphrased)

Clary: Jace, I see the future
Jace: That’s not actually a thing Shadowhunters can do
Clary: I can. I’m special.
Jace: oh, well I’ve never heard of it before and you’ve been a Shadowhunter for two seconds but I believe you
Clary: You need to kill all Downworlders to save humanity. Valentine is totally right
Jace: ZOMG I totally believe you. But wait, what if you’re not the real you?!
Clary: Here are some experiences we’ve had together. We’ve known each other a week but I’m going to pretend we have this whole secret history no-one could possibly know!
Jace: seems legit.

Oh. My. Gods. How. How did any writer write this and not just spontaneously combust in sheer shame?!

So this leads to Valentine trying to get Jace to murder one of Luke’s werewolves who they randomly decide has murdered humans because of the colour of her fur (really, Shadowhunters, really?). Luckily for Luke, Clary tells stories of ice cream to Dot so she is willing to sacrifice herself in the service of Clary’s rescue – taking Clary to Jace so she can say “Jace, I was mind controlled when I spouted utter bullshit any 6 year old should have seen through!” and he can be all SHOCKED SHOCKED BY THIS

Dot – who has been held in prison by Valentine, then uses her magic to part the glamour spell around the boat and give Clary and Jace chance to escape. Not herself. Just them. Not herself. Just them. She just stood there. So did the werewolf. Just stood there to be murdered and recaptured. But the important ones escaped!

And it’s not Alec or Magnus or Dot or Luke. It’s Alec AND Magnus AND Dot AND Luke. Service and sacrifice of POC and/or LGBT people in the name of Clary, Jace and Simon and with little to no real reason for this – or reciprocation being shown even slightly.