Monday, May 22, 2017

Shadowhunters, Season 2, Episode 7: How are Thou Fallen

So why did Cleophas decide to murder her fellow Iron Sister? It turns out she’s a Valentine loyalist into that whole “let’s murder all downworlders” kind of thing. AND she duly reports to her master to tell him how very very very very special Clary is with her super special rune of specialness.

Speaking of specialness, Clary is also hearing some strange noises no-one else can here.

Cleophas to re-prove her loyalty to Valentine so plans to kidnap Clary relying on her very terrible decision making. This is reasonable, Clary does make some very very terrible decisions. So much so that this episode I don’t know which terrible decisions are her ruse with Luke and which terrible decisions are actually real.

Cleophas inflicts the most fake and shallow of cuts to try and pretend to be mortally wounded to appeal to here werewolf brother Luke and Clary for help. Since she is a Valentine loyalist she hates all downworlders including her werewolf brother and apparently they have terrible painful history and Luke would quite like her to die in any number of fires. Clary, being Clary, pushes for a reunion and how important family is and decides she has even the slightest right to comment on this or stick her arrogant nose in. Because she’s Clary

Luke is also convinced Cleophas, Circle loyalist, is a bad person. Clary doesn’t believe him because FAMILY and she knows waaay better than him about his own family. Because Clary is the worst. But then this near stranger calls her CLARISSA which only Valentine does so this is proof she’s evil (or, y’know, a near stranger from a very formal quasi-holy order who perhaps isn’t willing to use diminutives/nicknames with you? But hey, but all means take this as more probative than Luke’s intimate knowledge of his own family history. Clary Is The Worst).

Also I kind of wonder about the Garroway parents who chose a relatively mundane “Luke” then decided to swing way out there on “Cleophas.”

Clary The Worst changes to plan B which involves walking into Cleophas’s trap to achieve something. What I’m not sure except just wandering around and making bad decisions and expecting the plot armour to save her. Whether Luke’s in on it or not Clary tases him and runs off with Cleophas.

I don’t know what Clary’s follow up plan was except it definitely involves no Clave backup except Jace because why would you want armed back up to deal with Valentine? Nah that would be too sensible

Instead luckily the weird noise strikes Clary again and this time Cleophas uses a rune to hear it to – it’s the sound of an Angel in distress. Cleophas makes the huge assumption that the angel is in distress because of Valentine. This confirms to Ceophas how very special Clary is because she’s tuned into angel radio and that makes up for her complete lack of common sense. It also really shakes her faith in Valentine because no matter how much she and he hates downworlders, torturing angels is a definite no-no.

So time to walk into Valentine’s trap and while Luke and Valentine face off while Valentine is held hostage, Clary and Jace fight three shadowhunters on the roof. Y’know what would help in this situation? More back up. Because Luke facing Valentine alone ends up with Valentine escaping. Clary and Jace do manage to take out the evil shadowhunters – but only because Clary has downloaded mega-fighting skills from somewhere. Give Shadowhunters train their whole life, when does she become powerful enough to fight off 2 at once?

She also has the super special rune to free the angel from his chains so he can assume his true form. Which is really unimpressive. I mean ragged wings and that’s about it Not impressed at all. You can do better, Shadowhunters.

Time to catch up on side storylines: Izzy is struggling with addiction to the evil demon drug that Victor got her hooked on because… because this is Shadowhunters and no-one makes good decisions. Izzy looks for more but Victor’s run out and looking for a dealer puts her on Magnus’s radar (who is, of course, willing to run and rescue because this is what he exists for). This leaves Izzy having to go to the source – the drug is made from vampire venom. After trying to get Simon to bite her she turns to vampire producers of the drug. This will not end well

She’s also super pissed with Clary for hiding her super rune from her – since Izzy has done so much to trust her, help her and generally be a friend to her and Clary won’t even show basic trust. This is presented more of Izzy’s addiction based irritability rather than

Over to Simon – after a shirtless scene to remind us that while Simon has a very very very ripped body complete with 8 pack. In the first moment of actual decent acting, Clary is reduced to a bit of a stammering mess seeing his rippled physique. He heads off to a date with Maia being super duper awkward and being generally bad and awkward. Even worse he turns to Jace for advice on how to be good with women (Jace has been seen with a whole string of women in and out of bed this episode) and nearly ruins his date by trying to imitate Jace. It doesn’t help that Jace basically tries to ruin his self confidence with disparaging comments about his appearance

It feels faintly bizarre that this show seems determined to downplay Simon’s attractiveness when talking to Jace; clearly aiming for someone geeky, nerdy, sweet but not as physically conventionally attractive as Jace. But then they went to casting they just couldn’t actually bring themselves to cast someone who isn’t rocking 2% body fat. It’s weird because there’s no development of that; at very least we need some exploration of WHY Simon clearly isn’t seeing what we’re seeing when he looks in the mirror and perhaps some intervention on that score: not just a “hey you’re sweet and funny” but “you realise you’re smoking hot, right?” Because without addressing it, there’s this weird feeling we’re expected to buy Jace’s narrative of Simon’s appearance (while still accepting Jace’s ultra-confidence could make Simon’s looks work because he’s just that good) but the casting director simply couldn’t bring themselves to not cast a gorgeous person and just have everyone pretend they’re not gorgeous (Renee and I joke that Freeform is CW on a budget – and only pretty people may apply). I think without that this is damaging – without the exploration of body image and confidence and how even beautiful people can often only see their flaws we’re literally presenting this man, with that body, as physically unappealing when he has a body that most men couldn’t even hope to achieve. I’m going to have to chew this over but 

Even when the date is a disaster (because Simon follows Jace’s advice) it’s because he isn’t being himself – and Maia fell for the geeky Simon. Which is great advice for anyone and definitely not something I have a problem with – but we still seem to be putting Simon in an odd, awkward, uncomfortable, ill-fitting box.

In the end they don’t head down the relationship road despite really liking each other because it’s obvious to Maia and everyone else that Simon is still pining after Clary.

Over to Magnus and Alec – and their relationship is definitely progressing. Off screen. There’s no development here, we’re just jumping several stages with references to lots of world-wide visits they’re taking together without seeing any of it. Alec has got Magnus a gift which is touching because no-one gives Magnus anything – they just make endless demands of him. Oh Shadowhunters lampshading how everyone treats Magnus as a servant doesn’t make it ok or not problematic if they keep doing it and he keeps letting them.

Every kiss they have is even interrupted by Jace (having sex in Magnus’s house where he is staying. Tacky, man. Very tacky) or the Clave so we have lots of almost. And when Alec finally discusses taking the next step and having sex with Magnus (Alec is a virgin and we briefly touch on his anxiety here. Briefy) there’s another fade to black. I just saw Jace rolling around in bed with a completely strange naked woman and now we get a fade to black? Hmmmm.

I’m glad Magnus and Alec now have a relationship beyond service – but it’s happening entirely off screen. It’s a “lets take this as done” and we’ve still had more development of Maia and Simon’s non-existent relationship than Alec and Magnus’s real one