Shadowhunters – S01E01 – The Mortal Cup

Here we go! Episode 1 of Shadowhunters.

It’s always great when people can do backflips off overpasses without anyone noticing. Oh right, no one can notice. Except our star, who is *special*.

I'm Clary

Meet Clary. It’s her 18th birthday and she’s applying to attend the Brooklyn Academy of Art. They’re not impressed with her presented portfolio, but whoops! She’s sketched images for her and her friend’s graphic novel all over her portfolio by “mistake” and now she’s in the advanced program.

She has a guy friend, Simon, who is our classic “adorable invisible nerd who’s obviously in love with her but she doesn’t know it”. And his bandmate, Maureen, is also in love with him without his noticing. Is it really a YA show if there isn’t a love triangle of some kind? (Seriously, does that exist? Let me know if it does.) While they discuss this love blindness, Clary sets down her biscotti on the table, which appears to be covered in white paper. When she looks back down at it, the biscotti has been replaced with a detailed, realistic drawing of biscotti.

Not weird at all

Somehow, neither of them question the drawing’s appearance, only the her memory that she had a real one at all. “Hm, that’s weird… I thought I had a biscotti, but now I just see a drawing of a biscotti. But it’s totally not weird at all that this tablecloth has a single drawing of biscotti on it right where I put mine.”  Oh, and it’s her 18th birthday, which she immediately curses by declaring it “the greatest 18th birthday I ever had.” She’s bright, this one.

I'm on a horse!

I’m on a horse!

Oooh! It’s the soap guy. I’m looking forward to imaging his every scene with a hidden white horse under him. This is Luke, Jocelyn’s (Clary’s mother) boyfriend. He seems to be some kind of detective investigating corpses that have been drained of blood and artfully covered in satin sheets before being abandoned.

Death and Satin

Does she look exsanguinated to you?


His captain urges him to marry Jocelyn, but he delivers the line, “We’re.. different.” like he’s mocking someone that would have that line on a soap opera. Also, his eyes glow green and dogs just stop barking. That’s a skill I think a lot of people would love to have.


When Clary gets home, we see that her house is fronted by Greenpoint Antiques, which either includes or is next to a tarot reading/psychic shop. Inside is Dot, who I guess works there? She’s playing with tarot cards and joking about her ability to “see the future”. Pretending she didn’t just turn over what appears to be a death card and that she’s not acting weird at all. We get some ominous music there as Dot flips the shop sign to Closed.

Clary heads upstairs and we meet Jocelyn, her mother.

Jocelyn: You did it, yay!!
Clary: You also follow Simon?
Jocelyn: He only has 92 followers. He needs the retweets. Congratulations.
Clary: Thank you. Hashtag, stalker mom.

Just shoot me now. If things don’t get better once all the magic and sword fighting pick up, I’m not sure I’ll be able to stomach this even for the laughs.

Jocelyn gives Clary a stele, which looks like a little crystal tipped wand. Clary has apparently been doodling the symbols that are sculpted on the handle. Her mother obviously wants to tell her some family secret, but clueless Clary [Clueless Clary] doesn’t pick up on it and is angling to get out as fast as possible to celebrate with Simon and Maureen. S&M (lol, perfect) have a band together currently called Champagne Enema. Seriously. This show is great.

While Clary dresses, Jocelyn is daydreaming about 10 years earlier, when some pond monster nearly ate Clary until Jocelyn kicked its ass.  Terrified, she takes Clary to Magnus, a warlock, to take away her memories of the shadowhunter world. Only Jocelyn thinks this is a good idea. Magnus has glowing yellow eyes. Glowing eyes are obviously a thing here.  When Luke gets home (is this his home? I can’t tell), he gives her a set of spray paints, which she accepts as if they were socks even though her words suggest it’s what she wanted. She has the emotional range of a lamp. Luke tries to breach the Family Secret conversation again, and Clary again chooses to believe nothing her parental units could say would be important and cuts them off. Simon shows up then to take her to his gig. He has an interaction with Luke that I think suggests he’s supposed to be a funny character? Instead, I’m just confused as to why he’s pointing at his nose.

Simon's Nose

For this night out, Clary dresses in her gift from Dot, a striped black tee where with alternating see through fishnet blocks. She puts a plain zip-up hoodie on over it to tone it down and I assume hide it from her mother. She hugs her mom bye, pointing out that she’s “biologically and legally an adult now” and presumably able to make sound decisions regarding her safety in the city late at night, and then illustrates that maturity by getting a piggy back ride from Simon out of the house.

Maureen questions Clary about her family background, skeptical when Clary says her mom doesn’t have any family and her dad died, so it’s just the two of them. “You guys don’t think that’s a little bit suspicious? You not knowing anything about your family? Your mom could be hiding some deep, dark secret.”  Yeah! Like the one she just tried to tell you! When she gave you the family heirloom crystal wand. “My mother is incapable of concealing anything from me.” Seriously, this chick is dumb. You obviously had no idea that a crystal wand was an important family heirloom Clueless Clary! Did you forget that already?? Probably. They drive home the point by showing Jocelyn getting out her shadowhunter sword before dramatically going to commercial.

Shadowhunter central is teeming with people, (and I know this show is already taking liberty with the books, but wasn’t that place basically a ghost town?) and complete with massive hi-tech touch screens. Alex and Isabelle are brother and sister. She’s dressed like an extra out of call girl portions of Pretty Woman, her runes glistening on her bare skin in a way that makes them look like lip gloss. I’m not sure they’re supposed to do that? Alec is giving her crap about her outfit, especially the wig, which is a platinum bob. She explains it’s what demons like, and Jace, our apparent ring leader who walks like a he really really wants you to know he’s the brawn to Alec’s brains, agrees with her. They leave one screen to walk through the house to another one that has a picture of their shapeshifting demon in his current guise. Maybe these screens aren’t as hi tech as I thought if they can’t even pull that picture up on the screen where they started. These demons are responsible for the now 7 murders of “mundanes” that are showing up with all of their blood drained, which confuses the trio because “isn’t that vampire territory?”  Isabelle is sure she can find out why they want it if she can get a sample. They head out to do whatever it is they do after shutting down Alec when he mentioned getting permission for the mission.

Sure, just rudely leave this door of swords wide open.

Sure, just rudely leave this door of swords wide open.

Next we get to see the end of the gig, complete with lots of awkward ogling from all of the lovebirds, followed by awkward staring when Simon changes shirts by the van later. They’ve decided to rename the band Rock Solid Panda, and so Clary gets out her new spray paints to decorate the van. Instead, she mysteriously paints another rune. This does not scare her nearly as much as it should. She has no memory of doing it, doesn’t know why she did, and it’s even in three different colors so it wasn’t like a small unnoticed hand movement. “Weird, I didn’t even mean to draw that.” Maureen again points out how weird that is.

Jace ends up bumping into Clary on his way into Pandemonium, where he’s following the shapeshifter. She tells him to watch where he’s going, and he’s surprised she can see him. They have a weird conversation where she accuses him of flirting and he’s mostly flabbergasted, while Simon and Maureen watch her talk to thin air. Finally, Clueless Clary realizes something is off about herself, and chooses to confront the issue by going after Jace to prove he’s real.


Subtle Guys

Inside the night club, where Clary has removed her hoodie, she follows Jace through a very large and crowded space. We see Magnus, surrounded by followers on a corner couch, react to what seems to be seeing Clary, but when he moves it’s to force two members of “Circle” to leave his club. Isabelle starts dancing on a table to lure demons, taking off her ill-fitting coat and wig. Why did she need that wig again? Clary sees one of the light swords and attempts to push the shapeshifter out of the way in some of the world’s worse action effects. Then have a choreographed fight scene where demons explode into little bits like the floating embers from burning paper. At one point, Clary picks up a dropped sword, which had gone out (why didn’t they go out in storage?), and it comes back to life right as a demon happens to fall on it. She ends up running away, catching a cab home, leaving her underage friends there with their martinis.

She is frantically retelling all of this to her mother, who is not that surprised. Somehow, despite describing how people were sprouting tentacles from their faces and being vaporized, Clueless Clary is fixated on the idea that she might have killed someone. Is she drugged? Is she going insane? Maybe she should shut up for 10 seconds so her mom can answer their questions. Before she can explain, Dot runs in to let them know the Circle has found them. Jocelyn puts a necklace on Clary, has Dot open a portal, and then pushes her through it to get her to Luke and safety. Dot gives Jocelyn a potion to use “only if you need it.”

While Clary waits for Luke at the police station, Jocelyn sets fire to Clary’s room and heads through the house to fight. Dot has been pushed out the window and is presumably dead. Sorry Dot. We learn that the Circle is looking for the Mortal Cup for Valentine, who she thought (hoped?) was dead. Jocelyn takes the potion and collapses. Clary is listening in on Luke’s “interrogation”, where two people from the Circle are confronting Luke about hiding the Cup with Jocelyn. Clary is confused by that they refer to her mother as Jocelyn Fairchild, because everything confuses her. Luke tells them they can kill Jocelyn and Clary, but if he finds the cup he’s keeping it for himself. Despite what her mother told her about only trusting Luke, Clary is now, perhaps understandably for once, confused and frightened and runs away again. Luke toward where she was hiding like he knows she’s there, but if so they don’t follow up on it.

In Chernobyl (because radiation’s fun!), a man we learn is Valentine is overseeing some growling creatures in cages that we can’t see while holding a syringe of blood. Jocelyn is brought back with the teleporting Circle in some kind of stasis, and Valentine sort of moons over her like a deranged person. One of the people who brought her chides her decision to run from the circle and Valentine kills him with a smile. You have no idea how much I love it that this crazy is played by the same person who humped a woman out a window to her death as crazy King Henry II in Reign.

Mad is what I do!

Mad is what I do!

Clary runs home through some dramatic rain to find her house in ruins. Dot shows up asking about the cup, and when Clary fails to answer her, she turns into a demon. Clueless Clary just stands there and stares. I think she has a death wish. Jace shows up to save her, but Clary was scratched by the demon and faints.

She wakes up to Isabelle sitting on her bed, which is a little creepy. Isabelle is worried about Jace being distracted by a mundane, but as Jace points out, she can’t be a mundane because the seraph blade lit up when she touched it. Isabelle reminds me strongly of Rosalie from Twilight. She walks Alec out of the room because he’s very upset that Clary is there. He claims he’s worried about the mission failing and them not knowing who the blood was for.

Jace stays behind to talk to Clary. She doesn’t understand anything he says to her, and their conversation pretty much goes like this:

Clary: I’m miraculously healed and all of you have magical powers?
Jace: I’m not a warlock.
Clary: Huh?
Jace: I’m a shadowhunter.
Clary: What?
Jace: We fight downworlders.
Clary: Huh?

Poor Clueless Clary. Her listening comprehension is terrible. All she cares about is her kidnapped mother, and she tells us this with her usual lamp emotions.

This is my confused face. And my cry face. And my mad face.

This is my confused face. And my cry face. And my mad face.

Simon comes looking for her by tracing her phone signal. He’s worried to hear that she needs to get dressed before leaving an “abandoned church.”  We get another glimpse at the potential for Simon to be a comedic character.

Simon: Meth Problem?

Jace started looking through her sketchbook, because that’s just something you do without permission. Clary puts on a tight leather ensemble of Isabelle’s. “She’s very comfortable with her body.” CC’s hair looks like it’s just been styled for the runway, which is crazy, because she was in a fight and ran through rain, and then was apparently passed out for two days. They walk outside together, Jace hiding his sword behind his back while he explains to Clary about his invisibility rune, so I have no idea *why* he’s hiding it. Surely any real threat would notice his awkward “I’m hiding something big behind my back” stance. Naturally, the rune is place so that he can show off his abs when he points it out, and then he makes a joke about how it’s shame no one gets to see him because “of all this.” And then we see that Jace definitely shouldn’t be the comedic relief.

Clary’s suddenly calm and collected like it’s totally fine her house is destroyed when Simon comes to take her home. He’s really worried about her outfit, even though it covers more than her fishnet shirt did. This guy probably should be made the funny friend, because he doesn’t do pearl clutching very well. The guy from the police station comes to get Clary, but Jace takes him out, so now Simon is freaked and really wants to take her away and call Luke. Clary really doesn’t want to do that, but she doesn’t seem to explain why.

After all of this, Valentine has Jocelyn, but not the Mortal Cup, which is what he was after.  One of his minions tells him it wasn’t there, but he replies, “Just because you couldn’t see it, doesn’t mean it wasn’t there.” Is it just me immediately thinking about Clary’s weird ability to accidentally and unknowingly turn real objects into art? The underling is worried about his failure and tries to save himself by bringing up the daughter.  Valentine didn’t know she existed, and he’s weirdly excited and has decided to meet her.

And that’s it! Bad makeup runes, seraph blades that come and go based on rules they don’t even seem to understand, annoying always perfect hair that’s so perfect it looks like a wig, stupid love triangles, bad acting, jokes that may or may not be jokes? I can’t help but compare it to the plethora of similar fare on the CW, though there was less of the “hey! we listen to young, hip music!” that I saw in Reign. We’re in for some terrible fun. See you next time!

The crafty Sleep Goblin is our resident Reign recapper and maker of great things.

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  1. ChristinaB

    I hate to say it, but the movie was better than that episode.

    How disappointing.

  2. Pingback: Shadowhunters ou la coupe de l’ennui mortel ? : – Le blog de Fifi

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