Initial Thoughts on Season Two

Wow, I haven’t posted in a minute, hey?

But it is the new season, and I have some thoughts. It’s not really fair to drop into full judgement mode after only the second episode, so again, just things that have been on my mind last week and this. (WOW, THIS TURNED OUT TO BE SERIOUSLY LONG, AND I’M NOT SURE I WAS EVEN DONE WHEN I STOPPED!)

  1. DAYUM. Harry looks SO fine! I can’t believe how just… wow he got over hiatus. Not that he was like, NOT in shape before. But those guns tho! I was almost afraid that he was going to lose some of that unique Magnus catlike fey-ness because he was just SO butched up body-wise. But then I remembered — it’s still HARRY. Harry is frickin grace personified. He could gain 200 lbs. of muscle and still move like a jungle cat, only now… did I mention the guns? ‘Cause… yeah. That sweatshirt in episode 1 was the ugliest thing I’d ever seen, and I was thinking, “Why the hell would Magnus even own that, let alone wear it?” But then… THE GUNS. So, okay, I won’t make him burn it.
  2. I’m not sure how I feel about the new showrunners and their changes yet. They have experience in “this kind of show,” yes. But that has us running the danger of this show, with its unique story, characters, and feel, starting to look and feel like those shows. Which is good for those shows, bad for this show. I’ll discuss.
  3. I AM SO SICK OF DARK, GRIM, & GRITTY. Every frickin’ sci fi/urban fantasy show geared to young adults is tinted frickin’ dried blood red, mold green, zombie grey, and babypuke mustard yellow. One of the things that made Shadowhunters stand out was the colors. They weren’t afraid to use brights, neons, pastels in the right situations (like Magnus’ wardrobe, various nightclubs, etc.) . When everything is dreary and drab, it’s just… bleh. There’s no depth, no character to the environment.
  4. THE OMG FREAKING MUSIC. The songs aren’t bad. But seriously–can we not have the show be half EDM and half a soundtrack you can pick up at Hot Topic (actually, can you get EDM at Hot Topic)? I wasn’t sure if I was watching a touching scene between Clary and Izzy or teen wangst between Joey and Dawson, any of the Fosters, or, again, any other teen show on television, past or present. No. Just no.
  5. The music? Is just pointing at the INCREASED WANGST. No scenes with anybody brooding, please. It was hot when Angel did it. 20 years ago. Actually, any vampires in any show can do it… except this one.  I wanted to break into the weepy Clary scene in episode 2 and beat her with her stele. Why with the wangst? Wangst was for last season. Move on.
  6. And then I remembered: the new showrunners were bragging about “staying closer to the books.” I had a panic attack last summer when I read that. You know one of the things that really pulled me in about the show last year? It was almost nothing like those crap books. No truck-sized narrative holes, no dozens and dozens of pages of whiny inner monologue, no central relationships developing OFF SCREEN, no turning LGBT characters into one-note stereotypes, jokes, tokens, or… well, the problems with LGBT representation in Claire’s books deserve an essay in themselves. Anyway, things that made me huck the books across the room seemed absent in the show. Now, I fear they’re creeping back.
  7. Malec remains life and everything. I was, however, kind of annoyed that we didn’t actually see their HANDS touching in a shot the way we did in promo picks. That could be a seriously bad sign, or simply sacrificing a small shot for that stunning view of the city at the end of the scene at Magnus’s loft. If they de-sexualize Malec the way they do in the books while Clace is running around humping like bunnies, there’s gonna be blood. And not just drawn by me.
  8. There is a trope common to YA (young adult) media, including books, TV, and movies: Evil Grownups (and people in positions of authority). Parents, relatives, and other people who wield power over the young heroes are always some degree of clueless, dangerous, ignorant, mean, and/or stupid. There is always an exception or two: the mentor, the teacher, the guide. It’s understandable: YA stories are for young adults, to make them feel in control, to give them a sense of agency, that they are not as dumb and useless as adults sometimes make them feel. The problem is, if this trope is overused, or too over the top, it’s ANNOYING. The Mortal Instruments universe is incredibly insular: really, the only characters we are supposed to root for/admire are our heroes. ANY new character, but especially adults and people in positions of power over our heroes, are BAD.

    Let’s just look at the parents we know: the Lightwoods, and now Jocelyn (I swear, I call her JOYCE every single time! Joyce was a way better mother.). I’ve seen fish who are better parents than these people. Robert is kind of a weenie, but at least sympathetic (unlike in the books), but Maryse is just… intolerable. First, her own children get nothing but scorn from her,  but her adopted child is the golden boy. But the minute he’s not shiny and perfect, he’s not only not the favorite anymore, she completely rejects him, wants him dead, and expects the people who grew up with him as their sibling to instantly feel the same. She’s social climbing, selfish, and couldn’t seem to care less about basic humanity. STFU, Maryse.

    Now we have Jocelyn. All through season 1, I felt fairly good about Jocelyn — not great about her lying to Clary her whole life, but understandable. I mean, Luke loves her, and I love Luke, so… But now that I’ve met her? Wow. She is one of the least sympathetic characters on the show for some reason. She’s in a horrible position, of course, but she gives absolutely no credit to Clary, considering it’s her daughter who has survived all of this AND brought Jocelyn back at great cost to herself. I just keep liking her less and less, and I can’t WAIT for episode 3 when Our Most Holy Bane-ness FINALLY takes her to task. Search for the sneak peak. You’re welcome.

    It’s not just parents, either. Remember when Lydia arrived? Yuck. We all hated her. Not only was she a direct Malec-block and a means for Alec to be a GIANT self-deluded dingbat, but she tried to get our Iz de-runed, threw her weight around like she was entitled, and was just generally annoying (except for her love of The Bane, of course.) BUT… she redeemed herself, tried to save Izzy, helped save Alec (from himself), and Malec, and now we love her. So yay!

    And… here comes Aldertree. I had a rough time with cognitive dissonance here (as I do with some of the other characters I can’t stand, but think the actors who play them are dope ), because I’ve been seeing Nick Sagar around Twitter since he was cast, and he is awesome. But oh, his character. That slimy, insincere charm, the orders, the manipulations. JERK. (And I think it gets worse.) The difference between Aldertree and Jocelyn, however, is that we’re supposed to hate Aldertree. He’s an antagonist. Jocelyn is supposed to be a member of Team Good, but instead just seems to be another reminder of all the flaws of the Shadowhunter race. Can we never get a sympathetic adult character besides Luke and Our Beloved Magnus?

Okay, that got too long, and I’m still pretty sure there’s more. But I think I’ll post some more positive thoughts later. Bring on the Malec!

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