‘Shadowhunters’: better than pilot, but ‘frustrating’

“Shadowhunters” has become a show that time and time again gives me conflicted feelings. One moment I’m smiling and laughing at things pulled from the books or cool new substances, and the next I’m grimacing at the complicated changes and plot-holes that are created. While season two is a massive improvement from the trainwreck of a first season, there are still aspects that definitely need brushing up.

The latest three episodes are the first couple of episodes this season that I have not been  pleased with and accepting of. There were some flaws in the previous episodes, but I could easily brush those aside, unlike the ones I’ve noticed in the past three weeks.

In the seventh episode “How Are Thou Fallen,” we are introduced to Valentine’s plan for the Soul Sword. For one thing, the Soul Sword should actually be called the Mortal Sword, as it one of three Mortal Instruments, which is basically what the whole plot revolves around. But more importantly, his plan in the TV show is a big necessary change. In the books, Valentine wants to use the Mortal Instruments in order to raise the great angel Raziel, and along with those three items he also needs blood from each type of Downworlder to activate the Mortal Sword. If Raziel is raised by Valentine placing his name in a rune, then the angel will grant him one wish. Valentine’s plan is to use this wish to create a new race of Nephilim who will not ally themselves with Downworlders like the current race has, not create a genocide like the show is suggesting.

But perhaps the most frustrating of all is the early and underwhelming arrival of the angel Ithuriel, which Valentine captured in his earlier days to use for experiments. Capturing an angel and imprisoning it is a great crime in this world, but the show did not treat it like the complete horror it was. And when Clary and Jace released the angel, the moment was not as empowering as it should have been. The scene was personally a huge letdown compared to the greatness it was in the books.

“Love is a Devil” may not have been as frustrating, but it was even more confusing. Isabelle is currently struggling with a drug addiction that started when Victor Aldertree introduced her to a medicine named Yin Fen, which fans of the books know is very important. However, instead of being a drug created from demon poison, the writers of the show decided to change it to vampire venom. But what I don’t understand is why they changed it. If it’s vampire venom, it’s vampire venom. It wouldn’t have a different name. Instead of changing something that plays a huge part of a plot, why not just use vampire venom itself, especially if Isabelle is just going to go to Raphael for his venom when she runs out? I don’t see why the essence of Yin Fen had to be changed for this. As for the other things that didn’t make sense in this episode, why would a little 9-year-old be able to knock out two of his teachers? Why would Clary be worried that Simon would cheat on her literally a day after they got together? And why, why, why did the warlock Iris not have a warlock mark? There are simply too many to name them all.

Aside from those complications in the show, this season is definitely pleasing me in terms of character interactions and development. It is probably my favorite aspect of the show. Jace is finally starting to act like the Jace from the books, Simon is still incredible, Simon and Clary are finally trying out dating, Simon and Jace’s bickering is on point, Magnus and Jace are having funny conversations and Magnus and Alec’s relationship is developing adorably. Though I would like to see more interaction between Jace and Maryse, and I’m a bit taken aback by Maia suddenly trying to attack Clary, the character interactions in the show are definitely something I appreciate from the new showrunners.

These past few episodes certainly have their flaws, but I’m just relieved that this season is developing much better versus the pilot season. And although I’m a bit concerned about what will happen in future episodes, I am relieved knowing the show is doing better in the hands of the news runners and writers.

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)