Thursday, March 10, 2016

Shadowhunters Review: 1x09 "Rise Up"

This episode was fantastic. I don't even know where to start

Just kidding. I know exactly where to start. It would be pointless to pretend like I don't want to talk about Alec and his characterization right of the bat. I think that last time I tried to hold off on the stuff I really wanted to talk about to get the other stuff out of the way, but I can't even do that this time. I just want to talk about Alec. (I mean, I always want to talk about Alec, but...)

I did tweet the other day and say essentially what I'm about to say here, but I'm all for talking about it again: Alec's characterization in the TV show so far has me so happy. It's just so perfect. I feel like anyone watching the show who hasn't read the books might have a hard time even getting why he's my favorite character at this point because he's really not coming across that well. Which is what I love so much. While I obviously love the Alec of the later books, what the TV show is doing right now feels so true to the Alec of the earlier books. On top of that though, it's been expanded on, and he has a storyline much larger than any storyline he had in the earlier books. So, basically, this is like a dream come true for me.

When I stop to think about the fact that we're going to get to see Alec's character development all over again and, not only that, but he'll be doing even more than he did in the books. It's just great. Wonderful, Fantastic. All of the positive adjectives. It just makes me so happy. Can you imagine what a large smile I have on my face right now? I'm just so excited about it.

So, yes, I am bouncing up and down in excitement because my favorite character is currently making every mistake he could make and hurting other people in the process.

That being said, I do have to talk more specifically about some of the stuff Alec does in this episode. When he told Jace and Izzy that he was engaged to Lydia, I legitimately laughed. I still can't watch that scene without laughing. I don't know if anyone watching it is worried that they'll actually get married, but I'm so unworried about that outcome that I just find it funny. Funny in a "it's also sad that Alec thinks he needs to do this" sort of way. That I don't find funny. The look on Jace's and Izzy's faces when Alec told them, however, was hilarious.

Magnus agreeing to help steal (or "borrow") Alec's stele only if Jace and Izzy agreed that Alec would never find out was also an interesting scene to me. Of course, I felt a bit like scolding Magnus for going along with it, but then you also know that it was extremely important. I don't know, but I'm more concerned about the portrayal of Malec in that scene. One of the things I think Harry is doing so well with Magnus is that it is very clear in the TV show how hesitant Magnus is around Alec almost. He's truly nervous about Alec not liking him back, and I love that so much. We get hints that Magnus in the books feels the same way. There's the scene where he rips the towel off his head when he sees Alec because he's insecure about how he looks in that moment. Obviously, a good deal of Malec in the fifth book came from Magnus being scared to open up to Alec. So all of it is there in the books, but I think being able to see Magnus' face and not just read his words like in the books makes it blatantly obvious that, while Alec's more inexperienced with relationships, Magnus isn't just super secure and confident around Alec, which I think it's easy to assume from the first book alone, if not the later ones.

Another interesting Malec bit from this episode was Alec's words to Magnus, which struck me because they seemed so self-assured. Like, we know Alec is running from himself really, even in that moment, but he manages to sound so confident with himself, which I found interesting. He knows he's turning down Magnus, and he really doesn't even try to deny that he's gay in that moment. He's almost honest about the fact that he is without directly saying the words. You know he's operating under the assumption that Magnus knows, and he doesn't act concerned that Magnus knows, even though he's gotten really fired up about people coming close (or outright stating it like Clary did) to the truth in the past. To me, that shows he's comfortable with Magnus in a way he isn't with the others. Probably largely because he both knows Magnus has feelings for him/isn't straight either and because Magnus has already proven that he's someone Alec can talk to without being judged.

Still, Alec has a long way to go considering the fact that he still thinks he can just stay married to a girl he doesn't love for his entire life and that it will work out fine. He's still in a deep pit of denial. It's just interesting to me how they're choosing to approach said denial, and I'm really liking it.

(Oh, and if I could never see the heartbroken look on Magnus' face when Alec tells him he's marrying Lydia again, then I would live a much happier life.)

Have I exhausted myself of Alec, Magnus, and Malec talk? Not really to be honest, but I'll try to move on anyway.

Let's go to Simon next. Simon who is also being portrayed wonderfully in the show so far, both through the writing and Alberto's performance. The immediate aftermath of his transformation is everything I wanted it to be. I love how you could tell how distraught he was and how much he's struggling with being turned into a "monster." This is one of the reasons I love that the transformation happened so early in the series. We get a lot of time to explore how he adjusts. I  think Clary also hit the nail on the head when she talked about how she'd been thrust into this new world and she wanted Simon there with her. I think it's very similar to the out-of-world reasoning for why I think doing this so early was a good storytelling choice.

Bit of a throwaway comment, but I just have to put it out there (again). I wonder if Camille is coming back and will ever play the role that she played later in the books. Because she's supposedly dead, but with the necklace and her connection to Magnus and the fact that she hasn't done anything she actually did in the books... I just wonder. It feels like she was gone too quickly, and each time they talk about Raphael being head of the clan now, I wonder. I don't know if she'll come back, but I wouldn't be surprised if she does. How they'll rationalize her not actually being killed by an entire group of vampires, I don't know.

From the end of this episode, it looks like we're going to have quite a bit of focus on Alec and Jace's parabatai bond in the next episode. I really wasn't expecting them to fight each other like that, and I'm really excited to see what this is going to do with their bond in the rest of the season. I think it's really great that the show is emphasizing that along with their disagreement. Hopefully, they really explore the fact that Jace and Alec are parabatai and the bond itself to lengths that the books never really did. I think that's what I'm looking forward to the most in the next episode. That and more vampire Simon.

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