Monday, August 5, 2019

Shadowhunters Talk: 3x10 "Erchomai

Another episode full of some heavy stuff.

Jonathan and Lilith

This episode starts with a flashback to Jonathan arriving in Edom and the first time she burns him. I appreciate getting that scene because it helps us understand Jonathan better. Before, we'd gotten bits and pieces of information about what happened to Jonathan, but with something as messed up as this, it's more powerful to see it. The scene also gave us a better idea of what Jonathan and Lilith's dynamics are like, since we hadn't see them actually interact much before, and it shows that Lilith isn't really a mother to Jonathan despite both of them using that word.

Simon and His Mom

While that scene made me feel bad for Jonathan, Simon's storyline in this episode was the most upsetting because I'm more attached to him. Watching him wipe his mom's memory was heartbreaking. While it's understandable that she's better off not knowing (look what happened to Ollie after learning about the Shadow World), I'm sad that Simon couldn't maintain any kind of relationship with her, even one where she doesn't know the full truth.

Special Effects

My least favorite part of this episode has to be the CGI fire they used when Magnus sent himself to Edom. I don't expect Shadowhunters to have blockbuster movie special effects, but that one did make me cringe, I'll admit it.

Magnus and Asmodeus

We get a better sense of what Asmodeus and Magnus' relationship has been like in this episode too, and I liked seeing them interact, especially when it being in Edom meant that it mirrored Jonathan and Lilith even more closely. That being said, some of the lines in the scene confused me. Magnus refers to himself as Asmodeus's "chosen son", and it's not entirely clear what he means by that. If the show is following the books in this respect, Asmodeus is Magnus' biological father, but the wording on top of the given backstory of him picking Magnus up off the streets kind of imply that he just adopted Magnus.

Considering they did give Asmodeus cat eyes like Magnus, it's more likely that "chosen son" was only meant to imply that Asmodeus had more biological children and Magnus was the one he chose to raise. If I didn't know from the books that he was Magnus' biological father, though, I don't think that's how I'd have interpreted that scene.

Maryse

Maryse tells Luke that the Owl broke Clary out of the Gard, and they track Lilith down together. I'm really impressed with Maryse's commitment to remaining part of everything despite losing her runes. It's also impressive how much information she's able to get when she's supposed to be completely cut off from the Clave. While it undoubtedly had some major connections before, I think it's interesting how many people are apparently willing to help her despite her crimes.

The Ending

The episode ends with Magnus giving up his powers, something I'll talk more about when I discuss the following episodes and the aftermath of it.

The biggest cliffhanger here is that Clary and Jonathan both seem to be dead. Again, since I know what comes next, I won't talk about that much in this post, but I did enjoy both Jace's and Simon's reactions to thinking she's dead. They were powerful.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Shadowhunters Talk: 3x09 "Familia Ante Omnia"

In this episode, we learn that the Clave executes death row prisoners by burning them alive. Clary describes the practice as barbaric, and I definitely agree that it's messed up. The idea that they put a large number of people to death in one go and that the consul stands there and coldly watches the whole thing with no concerns blows my mind. Honestly, I know the show has been canceled, but if it had gone on longer, this is something I'd want the show to come back to and make the Clave improve on.

Simon learns that it's the Mark of Cain on his forehead in this episode. That isn't news to anyone who's read the book, but since he knows exactly what the mark is when he receives it in the books, it's interesting to watch him figure it out in the show.

Lilith seeking Heidi's help was a good idea, but it's frustrating to watch Heidi fall so easily for Lilith's manipulation while thinking she's empowering herself. Watching Heidi threaten Simon's family was particularly difficult. Both because the blood made me squeamish and because it's just sad to watch, especially when Simon's mom begins yelling at him that he's a monster.

Clary uses a rune to bring Valentine back to life, which is kind of terrifying as well. That's the kind of power that no one should have, and as far as I can remember, it's not mentioned again after this episode, which is kind of wild if you think about it. It's something I'd imagine becoming extremely classified, with Clary being forbidden to share the rune with anyone in the future. If I were part of the Clave, I'd certainly be worried about her being capable of such a thing.

Between bringing back the dead and Simon's family calling him a monster, this was an intense episode, but I really like how they did it.

Race to the Edge Talk: 5x06 "Return of Thor Bonecrusher"

This episode opens with Snotlout sees some women in wigs, and when he finds out they're women, he says it's "false advertising". Ugh. Snotlout is always portrayed as a misogynistic jerk, but even for him, that joke went way too far. It shouldn't have been in the episode for a long list of reasons that I just don't want to list, and I felt sour towards the whole episode after that start.

Snotlout also proves how stupid he is in this episode by hypnotizing Fishlegs into Thor Bonecrusher again and making him an antihero instead of a hero. I totally buy that Snotlout wouldn't know what that term meant, but it was a strange phrase for him to choose given the circumstances. It felt out of place.

Fishlegs snaps out of being Thor Bonecrusher when Snotlout claps, but he continues to pretend in order to keep his cover from being blown. I liked seeing Fishlegs act bravely. It was nice for him.

The end of the episode features Kronan and Viggo, and we learn that they're working together. It's an effective cliffhanger I think, leaving us wondering just what it is they're up to.

All in all, I realize that this is shorter than my usual Race to the Edge posts. I couldn't get into this episode at all after the beginning with Snotlout, and it left me pretty angry with the show for a while. I'm still uncomfortable about it, and to be honest, it's left me feeling uneasy whenever I watch Race to the Edge since.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Shadowhunters Talk: 3x08 "A Walk in Darkness"

Unless I'm forgetting something, this episode marks the first time we see Lilith move the apartment she's using, something which will become important later on.

The demon inside Jace taunting everyone was hard to watch because you know he's hitting them where it really does hurt the most. Despite knowing it's not really Jace, I struggled not to feel angry with him in that scene.

Alec wants to use his parabatai bond to help Jace, saying that he's nothing without his parabatai. The parabatai bond is something that's tricky to convey well, I think, because parabatai are supposed to be closer than siblings or lovers. I'm not sure how often, if ever, Jace and Alec appear that way. They're close, yes, but I've never felt that they come across as close as they should be. Losing his parabatai really should be the ultimate loss in Alec's life, but based on what we see in the show, I don't think Alec would be more upset losing Jace than if he lost Izzy or Magnus or someone else, which kind of makes his lines in this episode feel melodramatic.

Seeing Jace vulnerable was one of the highlights of this episode for me. It's not a way we've seen him often. Even in other supposedly vulnerable moments, I've never felt we were going very deep, but I did feel that way in this episode. It was the most broken we've seen him, and I think that it was good to finally see his character like that.

Clary gets a nice burn in when she says that she's glad the wish is gone because she doesn't see the mass murder of Downworlders as something to celebrate. I like small reminders that the Clave isn't a friend to Downworlders and is downright cruel to them most of the time.

Another nice moment in the episode was Izzy singing Jace the lullaby to show she was his friend. One thing I think the show does well compared to the books is showing that Jace is Izzy and Alec's sibling after being raised by the Lightwoods. In the books, I always got the sense that Maryse and Robert were constantly gone, giving the Lightwood children free reign at the Institute and making them feel less like they were actually Jace's parents. Details like this in the show, though, help show us that Maryse really was a mother to Jace, and I appreciate that.

One of the biggest reasons I hate Jordan (both in the books and in the show) is how hard he tries to worm his way back into Maia's life and find redemption for himself by using her to make himself feel better. I hate watching it play out, and every time we see him, I hate him more.

He also prompts Maia to leave town for to clear her head. I'm mixed on how I feel about that. From a character standpoint, it makes complete sense that she'd want a break. From a story telling standpoint, it's odd to take one of your main characters out of the story for the time that Maia is gone. When I first watched this episode, I didn't think she would be gone for as long as she was, and I'm not a huge fan of that.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Shadowhunters Talk: 3x07 "Salt in the Wound"

This episode begins with Maia finding Jordan in the apartment and revealing to Simon that he's the werewolf who changed her. I remember being relieved when this episode first aired because I could call him Jordan again. Before, I didn't want to spoil anything for people who hadn't read the books, but calling him Kyle also felt weird.

At the same time, it hurts seeing Maia have to deal with the guy who caused her so much pain again.

It struck me that Clary called Simon when she was horribly injured instead of calling Izzy or Alec or Magnus. Their friendship seems to have been put on the back burner with everything else going on, so I was glad to see her reaching out to him instead of anyone else.

Alec hugging Clary felt a little awkward to me. I'm all for Alec and Clary forming a stronger friendship, and I also get Alec being thankful that Clary saved his parabatai. At the same time, the hug felt strange and out of place. It was hard to believe that Alec would do something like that, even in such circumstances.

As I have a blood phobia, watching Lilith drain people's blood was probably the worst part of the episode for me.

It's revealed that Luke is the one who called the Praetor for Simon. I'm always up for Luke acting like a father to Simon. We even get a small detail about Luke bringing Simon to the station for Bring Your Child to Work Day. That warmed my heart.

Imogen got more character development in the show than she did in the books, and I admit that I have warmer feelings for her in the show because of it, particularly in this episode. If nothing else, I'm glad she cares enough about her grandson that she's willing to hide what's happened to him from Consul Penhallow to protect him.

Catarina and Magnus' friendship will always make me happy. I loved seeing her build up his confidence a bit.

Isabelle tells Clary that Jace has been a happier person since she joined them. To be honest, I don't get the impression that's the case from what we see on the show. We see flashbacks where he's happy with Alec and Izzy as a kid, and he hasn't seemed all that happy since Clary joined. That's mostly because of what's going on around them, but it still makes Izzy's words here feel straight up wrong to me. Jace seems the same he's always been if anything.

Overall, I supposed this episode was a mixed bag for me. Some of the story decisions were questionable, but there were a number of moments that I liked, particularly with Catarina and Magnus.