Episode 1 – The Mortal Cup
The Mortal Instruments novels by Cassandra Clare have been brought to the small screen in the Netflix adaption Shadowhunters. For those who are not familiar with the book series, it follows a young woman, named Clary Fray, and a band of half angel, half human hybrids, known as Nephilim, who battle demons, vampires and all sorts of other things that go bump in the night to save the human or ‘mundane’ world.
After the failure of the movie adaption of the first book, City of Bones, the books have now been given a TV makeover, so let’s start with episode 1.
We begin with Clary (Kat McNamara) celebrating her 18th birthday with her best friend Simon Lewis (Alberto Rosende) at Pandemonium nightclub, when suspicious memories start bleeding through and she sees a trio of mysterious youths: cocky and cool Jace Wayland (Dominic Sherwood), introverted and sullen Alec Lightwood (Matthew Daddario) and his sister – the strong and rebellious Isabelle Lightwood (Emeraude Toubia), who possess supernatural abilities and call themselves Shadowhunters.
We also meet Jocelyn Fray (Maxim Roy), Clary’s mother, and Luke Garroway (Isaiah Mustafa) – an old family friend who wishes to tell Clary something very important but, like any typical teenager, she blows them off to attend a night out with her best friend. I mean come on, who wouldn’t, but it turns out their message is one of the utmost importance.
Clary soon finds herself thrown into the Shadowhunter’s world when she inadvertently interferes with Jace, Alec and Isabelle’s work, and finds herself on the wrong side of a demon attack but is rescued by that blonde wonder Jace. Forming a friendship with the beautiful and powerful Isabelle, and a rivalry with the moody Alec (who must complete with Clary for Jace’s affections), Clary discovers she and her mother are Shadowhunters. But this proves too late when Jocelyn is captured by demons and mysterious man named Valentine (Alan Van Sprang), so it’s up to Clary, Jace, Alec and Isabelle to find Jocelyn and the save the day.
It’s a tall order but someone has to do it.
Also introduced in this episode we have my favourite character from the books, Magnus Bane (Harry Shum Jr.) – a warlock who’s powerful, sassy and flamboyant (all things I can identify with). Although Mr. Bane isn’t around much in the pilot, since he’s an important character in the books, I have a strong sense we will be seeing more of him very soon.
The special effects in this episode are stunning, as we see an array of supernatural powers and weapons, such as angelic swords brought to life, like the markings Shadowhunters use to give themselves powers, and the magic Magnus Bane weaves between his polished fingers – which literally kept me spellbound to the show. The visual effects for the demons were mesmerising but, at the same time, absolutely terrifying.
In the books, there is plenty of romance between the characters, and Jace and Clary’s budding romance has begun, so if they’re keeping in time with the books then the two of them have a very brutal road ahead of them. Cassandra Clare has confirmed that the romances in the books will definitely be coming, and it won’t be one book per season but will be more of a blend.
As much as I like the Mortal Instruments, I feel that this was a good episode but they tried to put too much into one episode – a bit like Gotham. They try to get the backstory behind the show down in the first episode but then again with a mythology like this they had to, so people would understand it.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the first episode of Shadowhunters, as it had plenty of combat, drama and magic and I will continue to watch the rest of the 13 part season on Netflix.