Shadowhunters: Bad Blood – Bad Decisions (Recap/Review)

In Shadowhunters: Bad Blood Clary still has the Mortal Cup and it seems that all this episode is about bad decisions versus right ones.


In Shadowhunters: Bad Blood Clary still has the Mortal Cup and it seems that all this episode is about bad decisions versus right ones.  The Institute is in trouble, mainly because of Clary Fray being allowed to run about rather than saying in the Institute under their protection.  An envoy from the Clave; Lydia Branwell (Stephanie Bennettis put in charge of the Institute and Simon is dead.

Although Clary’s BFF is not really dead just yet, he is a fledgling  in “transition” according to Raphael (David Castro) who brings the young man to the Institute. Apart from explaining what Simon is going through, Raphael tells Clary and her fellow Shadowhunters  that Camille, who turned Simon, is the one who broke the accords. 

Valentine begins making his move to get the cup in earnest. Sending Forsaken to attack first the werewolves and then the Institute. At each attack a former Circle member is the target as Clary’s father starts seeking revenge from all who betrayed him.

Luke Garroway (Isaiah Mustafais first on Valentine’s list and Hodge (Jon Coris number two. Clary is beside herself with guilt over letting Simon down and Raphael explains that she must either allow her best friend to transform or kill him.

Magnus arrives at the Institute after being called by Lydia to research the dead Forsaken. The warlock is pleased to see Alec still does not know how he feels about Bane.  Alec also seems pretty impressed  with Lydia.  Lightwood may be uncertain about how he feels about Magnus but  either the Clave envoy nor Bane have any doubt about how they feel about Alec.

As Clary struggles with her decision about Simon, Luke reveals that her mother, Jocelyn stuck by him after Valentine changed him from  Shadowhunter to werewolf. Another revelation has to do with Alec learning that his parents are also former Circle members.

Jace tells Clary the story of a boy and a wild falcon. The boy is told, by his father, to tame the bird and when he succeeds the man kills the creature. After Fray declares this the worst story she has ever heard, Jace reveals the morale of the tale. The boy was not meant to love the bird, just tame it.

Before Fray can choose Simon’s fate, Camille arrives to reclaim her pet mundane. Raphael, with the aid of other vampires stages a coup and Camille is destroyed. Simon is allowed to turn and when he becomes a vampire he is filled with revulsion at becoming a monster. He flees and Raphael promises to look after him before following the former mundane.

Lydia, who shared her backstory with Alec, takes over the Institute permanently and after Magnus advises Alec to follow his own heart, he proposes to the envoy. The plan being the they rule the Institute together. Branwell seems to like the idea.

It is also revealed that Luke was Valentine’s parabatai before he attacked him and turned Garroway into a werewolf.    Apart from certain “bad” decisions much more of the Shadowhunters’ world is revealed. The backstories show a lot of history and explains a lot about Valentine’s rage.

By the end of the episode, Clary obviously feels that she has made a couple of bad decisions, not telling Simon’s mother and letting her best friend turn into a vampire.  Simon is definitely not pleased about his new “state” and right now it looks like Fray has lost her BFF.

Harry Shum Jr. was not given a lot of screen time in this episode, but it is interesting to see his rather “fey” warlock again after watching his recent performance in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: Sword of DestinyKatherine McNamara is still working hard at being the heroine from Clare’s novels and only time will tell if she can completely convince fans of the franchise of her “veracity” as Clary Fray. 

Mad props to Alberto Rosende for knocking it out of the park with his transformation scene, one for the tissue box most definitely. Kudos too have to be given to McNamara for her reaction to same.  The scene had one reviewer reaching for a hanky and doing a bit of eye dabbing…

Thus far Shadowhunters continues to entertain, although it has lost that “snappy” feel from the opening episodes and moving into darker more tragic territory.  The series airs Tuesdays on Freeform, tune in and see what you think. Does the show capture Cassandra Clare’s world or is it a complete miss?


Shadowhunters: Raising Hell – Infection (Review)

After retrieving Simon from the Hotel Dumort vampire enclave last week in Shadowhunters, Raising Hell sees Clary getting closer to Jace and further away from her best friend who is now suffering from a Camille infection.


After retrieving Simon from the vampire enclave last week in Shadowhunters, this week Raising Hell sees Clary getting closer to Jace and further away from her best friend who is now suffering from a Camille infection. The vampire leader offered up vampire blood to Simon while he was a hostage and Clary’s BFF is not himself.

Infected or not, Simon offers up the first real lead that Fray has gotten; Magnus Bane.  After this transfer of information, Lewis bolts from the safety of the Shadowhunter lair. The first real gulf appears between the two and after Clary reveals that she belongs with the Shadowhunters, Simon leaves.

In order to find Magnus, who wiped Clary’s memory, Isabelle suggests throwing a Downworld rave.  The lure works and the warlock teams up with Fray and her group of protectors.  Bane falls instantly for Alec who, it seems, only has eyes for his parrabati Jace.

Valentine continues his search for both Magnus and Clary while Luke Garroway also searches for the girl. Each  are looking for the Mortal Cup.  Valentine is still based at Chernobyl and Luke is still at the precinct, but only just.

Alan Van Spang as Valentine.

As the episode progresses, Clary learns that Magnus gave her childhood memory to a memory demon and Valentine tracks Bane down and begins killing warlocks.  Simon starts having strange urges and sees visions of Camille and blood. He also gets told off by his mother and Maureen tells Simon how she feels.

“I’d like to date you.”

This confessional moment, which doubles as a request, becomes more than a little awkward as Simon “zones” out. Upset at this lack of response Maureen leaves.

Clary finds out that Dot is dead after meeting Magnus. He explains that Valentine killed her and offers to protect Fray. She refuses just as an assassin sent by Valentine strikes and misses when Alec saves Bane. Magnus is smitten by Isabelle’s brother but leaves as Clary grabs a button off his outfit.

Jace and Alec track Magnus down, after Jace argues again with his parrabati about Clary. As the Shadowhunters arrive at the Warlock lair, Valentine’s minions are killing everyone. Fray saves a warlock child and Magnus helps to summon the memory demon.

The Shadowhunters take position around the pentagram that Clary draws to summon the demon and as it appears, each one must give up a memory of the one they love most. Despite being warned not to break contact, when Alec’s memory turns out to be of Jace, he reacts badly and lets go of Jace’s hand.

The demon begins killing Jace and Clary jumps in to kill the demon. This act also destroys Clary’s  memories that Magnus stored in the creature. Simon spends a lot of time trying to contact his friend to apologize. Later, when Clary attempt to call him, Simon ignores the call. He is on his way back to Camille.

The revelation at the demon summoning, or “hell raising,” that Alec loves Jace explains all that animosity towards Clary…he is jealous.  The male Lightwood is also apparently in denial about his true feelings and nature.

Clary now must live with losing any chance of reclaiming the memories her mother asked Magnus to take but she and Jace are even closer than before.

Emeraude Toubia, the sexiest Shadowhunter

Thus far in Shadowhunters Isabelle,  as played by Emeraude Toubia,  is the sexiest and most sensual character hands down.  Her character is a fashionista as well and she makes this Lightwood sister captivating,  full stop.

Harry Shum Jr. plays Magnus with a fey self awareness that makes his character interesting and vulnerable.  Bane is world weary in some areas, offering sage advice to Alec after the  Jace demon revelation  that “it’s nothing to be ashamed of,” yet is still able to be swept off his feet by the male Lightwood like a giddy teenager. 

Alberto Rosende has stepped fully into vampire infection territory as his character heads unsteadily back to Camille. Dominic Sherwood convinces as the Shadowhunter who thinks “outside the box” and the guy who is steadily falling for Clary Fray.  

Alan Van Sprang gives Valentine a most impressive air of menace and danger while also conveying a sort of faded sophistication. Matthew Daddario does a good job of being the jealous parrabati who may, or may not, love Jace.

Katherine McNamara has her work cut out for her as Clary.  The young actress has to vacillate between desperation, wonder, disbelief and heroic gestures.  Not surprisingly, as it is early days yet, McNamara struggles with some nuances but never fails to keep her character interesting and earnestly vital.

Clary and Jace being watched by Alec.

Part of the problem may be with the dialogue as written but that will obviously improve as the season moves along. Certainly with a script that includes a topical gag of David Guetta being a Downworlder…

Shadowhunters ended last week with Jace learning that he had a supporter in the vampire camp. This world is in upheaval as all search for the Mortal Cup and things should only get more interesting.

This series airs Tuesdays on ABC Freeform and one does not have to be a fan of the YA franchise by Cassandra Clare to enjoy the show.  Tune in and let the camerawork, music and editing carry along the storyline of Clary Fray in her quest to free her mother and to defeat Valentine.

Shadowhunters: The Descent Into Hell is Easy (Review)

Episode two of Shadowhunters: The Descent Into Hell is Easy, finds Clary and Simon being allowed into the inner fold of the Shadowhunter’s “lair,” aka the Institute.


Episode two of Shadowhunters: The Descent Into Hell is Easy, finds Clary and Simon being allowed into the inner fold of the Shadowhunter’s “lair,” aka the Institute.  This verse of magic, vampires, demons, warlocks and shape-shifters also includes an incredible amount of technology.  The headquarters of Jace, Isabelle and Alec may be hidden behind the derelict ruins of a building, but once the rune is lifted, “mundane” Simon and his “gal pal” Fray enter a world of high tech and magic.

Once again, not having read the books that the series is based on, it is interesting to note the dynamic between different factions.  Most notably between the Shadowhunters and the mundanes that they are pledged to save.  This episode takes up where the pilot ended, for all intents and purposes, and Simon can now see Jace, as well as the dead demon.

Fray (Katherine McNamara) and best friend Lewis (Alberto Rosende) are escorted to the Institute by Wayland (Dominic Sherwood) who then introduces the mundane buddy of Fray to Isabelle (Emeraude Toubia) and Alec (Matthew Daddario); the sibling Shadowhunters. Alec is the “leader” although he is constantly overruled by Isabelle and Jace. 

In terms of dynamic, no one in this magical verse, created by Cassandra Clare, gets along. It is a huge warring population of different individuals and groups attempting to control the world they inhabit.  Even factions that are “allies” do not get along. For example, the Shadowhunters, who are responsible for the safety of mere mundanes, treat their “charges” with contempt, derision and they are incredibly antagonistic toward them.

Isabelle introduces herself to Simon and offers him breakfast…

The exception to this is Isabelle who, upon meeting Simon, is apparently attracted to this mundane with an “Indie band”even if Lewis is pretty much a buzzkill. Although, compared to “Mr. Grumpy Pants” Alec Lightwood, Simon is the life of the party. Granted, Clary’s BFF thinks he is amusing, although according to Jace, that is debatable.

Personality conflicts aside, quite a lot is revealed and one character close to Clary is killed. While Fray learns that the “big bad”  Valentine (Alan Van Sprang) is “Daddy Dearest.” The newest Shadowhunter also learns, via the auspices of the Silent Brothers in the City of Bones, that Jocelyn (Maxim Roy) wiped Clary’s memory and lied to her.

The main point of interest is still The Mortal Cup, which Jocelyn has hidden.  Mother Fray is in Chernobyl, still in a trance, or coma, and Dot (Vanessa Matsuiis taken there as well. Sadly for her, she does not stay there long and after a failed escape attempt, is taken out of the picture. Whether this is permanent or not remains to be seen.

Before Dot is removed, Magnus (Harry Shum Jr.) takes all his people and bolts, Dorothy  refuses to leave and is caught as a result, which is how she ends up in Chernobyl. The City of Bones and the Silent Brothers  become the next destination for the Shadowhunters and their “plus-one.

Sidenote: It is a nice touch, and a nod to the 2013 film “The Immoral Instruments:City of Bones,” that actor Stephen R. Hart is used to reprise his role of Brother Jeremiah here in this second episode of Shadowhunters.

Clary and Jace enter the city, to speak with the Silent Brothers, leaving Simon, Isabelle and Alec behind.  Jace tells Lewis that if he enters the City of Bones he will, as a mundane, die instantly. Simon, after being lied to about the runes at the Institutes, argues:

“No mundanes allowed, just like in the training room, right? Wrong! I’ve seen every horror movie ever made and the funny best friend who gets left behind… dead man.”  [Isabelle laughs]

Jace: “You’re not that funny.”

One of the more amusing exchanges in the series thus far and it opens up the possibility that more of these funny moments  might become a mainstay in this very serious shadow world.

Alec refuses to look after Simon, so Isabelle volunteers while Clary and Jace go to see the “brothers.” Once inside the area, Brother Jeremiah makes Jace step back and a dangling sword restores part of Fray’s memory.

Clary leaning an unfortunate truth.

Sidenote: Once again, not having read the source books, it is not known whether or not Clary Fray ends up with a  Harry Potter type scar on her forehead from the memory sword, (It may not be a lightning bolt but she does end up with a scar nonetheless) but it certainly seems that way…

By the end of this second episode of Shadowhunters Clary finds out that Valentine is her father (“Clary I am your father…”) the viewers learn more about family friend and cop Luke Garroway (Isaiah Mustafa), Dot dies and Simon is kidnapped by vampires who will trade the mundane for the cup.

Shadowhunters looks sharp, dark and intricate. It is a world where each faction fights the other and McNamara plays the plucky new hero who does not have enough memories to help her to fight.  The series airs Tuesdays on ABC Freeform, tune in and watch this catch YA program.

Shadowhunters Pilot: The Mortal Cup – Killing it Softly

Shadowhunters, the new Young Adult adaptation of Cassandra Claire’s popular The Mortal Instruments series has its season one pilot airing on ABC’s new Freeform and as pilots go, it is killing it softly with its song…sort of.

Shadowhunters, the new adaptation of Cassandra Claire’s popular Young Adult The Mortal Instruments series has its season one pilot, The Mortal Cup, airing on ABC’s new Freeform and as pilots go, it is killing it softly with its song…sort of. Initial complaints thus far have been from “fangirls” of the franchise who a) did not like the big screen adaptation and b) want the McG directed opener to be more like the books.

Admittedly, this reviewer has not read the source material but after watching The Maze Runner big screen adaptation (once the entire trilogy by James Dashner was ingested in a couple of long sittings) the lesson was learned. Do not watch a film (or television) adaptation of a literary effort that blows the reader away. Especially YA tales that are good enough to bring the reader back to “that place” no matter how long ago it was.

Sidenote: The same rule applies with any Stephen King adaptation, with the except of a couple of offerings…

Claire has a firm fanbase, however, so all will most likely approach the new series with all the passion of any fangirl/boy.  The premise is one that any young adult, or old one with a great memory, will be attracted to.

Clary Fray (Katherine McNamara) learns, on her 18th birthday, that she has unique and magical powers and is indeed very special, not just a normal teenager who can now vote and legally drink in some states.  The very idea of being more than the sum of all your parts is pretty addictive stuff to any reader. 

Memory messing mother and daughter, Jocelyn and Clary Frey

Fray, as a child, had her memory wiped by a powerful man, at the behest of mommy, and while out on her birthday celebrations, she sees demons and those who hunt them. It seems the memory cleanse only lasted until her 18th.

As mentioned by at least two reviewers, the pilot is clunky, but that is based upon comparisons to the source material, never a good idea.  In reality, once the adaptation is aired the fans of the books should just be happy that none of the characters were lost or that two, or more, were merged into one.

(Or worse, a new one invented to satisfy the adapting screenwriter’s hubris…)

Other complaints have to do with the “cheesy” special effects. To be fair, the biggest problems with the pilot effects were their unevenness. Some looked pretty acceptable, for example  the riff on the old “Buffy dusting” technique (an amping up  of the process to where the demons disappear not in a flash of ash but sparks of fiery light) and from certain angles the “white” swords that “glow” like a Toys R Us light sabre,  look pretty cool.

Dominic Sherwood is fan fave Jace Wayland…

On a sidenote, the blades retract and only come out when grabbed by a Shadowhunter. The whole thing is vaguely reminiscent of the 2003 action/adventure/comedy Vampire Effect and the swords welded by vampire hunters Reeve, Lila and Gypsy…

Fangirl complaints and similarities aside, Shadowhunters looks very promising. The show’s opening sequence is brilliant. Great musical score, action that captures the eye and some good looking young people “stalking” their target.

Once the catchy opening is through we meet Clary (McNamara) and her mother Jocelyn (Maxim Roy) along with good friend Simon (Alberto Rosende) who is, despite being a musician, a bit of a “stick in the mud.”

The Shadowhunters themselves are introduced, Jace (Sherwood) by bumping into the heroine Clary and when she can see him, it understandably freaks him out a little. The rest are brought into Fray’s sightline after the big demon slaying at the Pandemonium nightclub.

Clary and Jace meet…

Before the end credits roll, Jocelyn goes missing, a family friend appears to be a villain (cop pal Luke Garroway, played by Isaiah Mustafa) and a powerful magician; Magnus Bane (Harry Shum Jr) makes his presence known.

Clary Fray learns about glamours, runes, magic, demons and an invisible world that she can see but her friends cannot.

All in all, the pilot, which airs January 12 on the new ABC Freeform channel, does move a little softly, and admittedly with some hiccups on the way, toward a promising start to a new YA based series. Clearly, fans of Cassandra Claire’s books will be rushing to both watch and rate this latest adaptation of her work.

Tune in and see what you think of this version of Claire’s verse and characters. Without reading the books, this reviewer found that despite the “clunk” it was pleasing to watch and further episodes are now eagerly awaited.

Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments ABC Freeform Style

It may still be a few months till January 2016, and still a further 12 days after that till the premiere of ABC Freeform ‘nee Family show Shadowhunters, but it already feels like the network has another hit on its hands. Based upon the young adult fantasy series by Cassandra Clare (who wrote a total of six books, the last being published in 2014) the new show is the second adaption of this popular franchise.

Starring Katherine McNamara as the series’ heroine Clary Fray, Shadowhunters follows the girl as she learns, after reaching 18 that nothing in the world is what it seems and that she can see things other’s cannot. The new birthday girl learns she very special and her family tree contains, not royalty, but a long line of half-angel/half-human shadowhunters. These “hunters” chase down demons and she joins a team of other hunters while learning of a whole host of supernatural entities that share our world.

“Shadowhunters” is produced by Constantin Film are producing Shadowhunters, Ed Decter (Helix, The Client List) and McG (Supernatural, Chuck) are the show’s executive producers and  the first episode will be directed by  McG . Apart from McNamara (as Fray)  the cast will include  Dominic Sherwood  (Jace Wayland), Alberto Rosende as Simon, Emeraude Toubia and will include Matthew Daddario  Isaiah Mustafa and Glee’s Harry Shum Jr.

The network will be wetting fans appetite for the new show in December, on the 6th, when a “making of” special.  Beyond the Shadows: The Making of Shadowhunters  showing fans of the Cassandra Clare book series a look at what went into making the series. This special, which will air at 9:30 pm ET/PT on Sunday December, 6, will include interviews with the show’s stars who will talk about what they did to prepare for their roles.

Beyond the Shadows: The Making of Shadowhunters is produced by Big Door, Inc. and Jen X Productions, Inc.,  Jennifer Erwin is executive producer and Max Yoffe is co-executive producer.

For those who are familiar with Clare’s books already below are two trailers released by the network. One is a promo, which will explain the series to fans and newbies alike and a “teaser” sneak peak is also included.  Not everyone will be familiar with the literary version of this new series, which has also been made into a film, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013)  and another installment of the big screen adaptation will hit the big screen in 2016.

Shadowhunters looks brilliant, in both the promo video and the sneak peak. This one has MikesFilmTalk pretty excited. Spectacular looking sets, some pretty cool FX and a glimpse of some exciting “sword play.” McNamara looks ready to take her character to the limit. Watch these video offerings and see what you think.  The series airs January 12, 2016, tune in and see if it delivers.