Welcome to the first installment of Shadowhunters Buzz Sessions! Our social media editor, Samanthaand new contributor, Shanicka, are watching two episodes every week of the first season of Freeform’s Shadowhunters. The series is based on Cassandra Clare’s young adult urban fantasy series The Mortal Instruments.

Some background: Shanicka has been watching the series for a while now; Samantha watched the pilot for the first time when they agreed to do this series. Shanicka has not read the books; Samantha has. Together, their knowledge going into each episode is an interesting mish-mash of memory and opinion.

Each Shadowhunters Buzz Session begins in a chatroom while Shanicka and Samantha watch the episodes; then, those chats are transcribed here on Rogues Portal for your reading pleasure (with some points expanded and other, unrelated shenanigans deleted).

Let’s kick things off with Shadowhunters S01E01, “The Mortal Cup” and S01E02, “The Descent Into Hell Is Easy”.

WARNING: There will be spoilers for the series (duh) and the books! Proceed with caution! There will also be some swearing, because that happens. 

S01E01, “The Mortal Cup”

Samantha: Alec looks so smol! Did he just fly? Into the air? Is that a thing?
Shanicka: Alec is the love of my life. Especially in the first few eps. SO BITCHY. It’s incredible.
Samantha: He was my favorite in the books. Well, him and Magnus. And Isabelle.
Shanicka: Sameee. Izzy is a goddess and queen.

Samantha: What is this song? “Monsters stuck in your head” yes okay this is going to be stuck in my head. Thx.
Shanicka: The theme song is always stuck in my head.
Samantha: Also, totally unrelated, but those circular bike racks on straight poles are the worst. This scenery shot is great but those are a pain in the butt when you’ve got more than one bike to lock up.
Shanicka: Omg my fave part of the first season is how HARD they try to make it look like Brooklyn~~~~~ when it’s clearly Canada. You’re not fooling this literal actual native New Yorker soz.
Also the coloring of the first few eps…is so…strange?
Samantha: My editor said this is filmed somewhere in Toronto? (Shout out to Stephanie Cooke!) Which is where Rogues Portal is based, hahaha. I feel like we were meant to talk about this show on the site.

Shanicka: SIMON MY SON.
Samantha: Half the screen looks like it’s grayscale? What’s going on?
Shanicka: Yeah! And I don’t understand why. It’s so distracting.
Samantha: Simon is so cute! I love this casting choice. I never saw the film, but I liked the idea of Robert Sheehan for this role… That was at the height of my love for him because of Misfits. This kid is really cute, though. He has the right demeanor for Simon.
Shanicka: He’s presh. I adore him.

Samantha: This is not at all how I pictured Clary. This is better casting than the film? But still not quite right.
Shanicka: Have you never seen anyone but Magnus and Alec?
Samantha: No, I’ve seen them all! I always think this, hahaha.
Shanicka: Ahhhh okay okay got it!
Samantha: Wait, is the grayscale meant to be like… her seeing being the mortal world? Or is it just weird?
Shanicka: I honestly…don’t even think so? Because I feel like they eventually abandon it? I actually completely forgot about it until just now.
Samantha: That’s so bizarre.

Samantha: Those are the biggest tarot cards I have ever seen.
Shanicka: Holy shit yeah, they’re huge.
Samantha: Does she live in Brooklyn? Are there houses like this in Brooklyn??? LOL THIS IS SO BIZARRE THIS IS NOTHING LIKE THE BOOKS. Sorry to be that guy, oh my God.
Shanicka: LMAO. In gentrified Brooklyn, warehouses definitely are more believable but literally every other scene of the streets and stuff is…very clearly Canada.

Samantha: Ooh a flashback. I’m SO GLAD Magnus has the cat eyes.
Shanicka: They come and go!
Samantha: Is it weird for you to be watching the pilot again?
Shanicka: Hahaha a little. But I always like rewatching pilots! It’s like seeing how far all of the characters have come. They are like literal little bbs. I adore it.
Samantha: How many seasons are there? Two?
Shanicka: Yeah the last ep of season two is next Monday! Anddd it just got renewed for a third! I WOULD DIE FOR IZZY. AND ALEC. I’M SO BI, WOW.
Samantha: What attractive siblings.
Shanicka: It’s horrible.

Samantha: Jace just. Looks like Draco Malfoy.
Shanicka: I feel like he has the hair right but he’s not pointy enough for me!
Samantha: Okay, I have never heard Matthew Daddario SPEAK? His voice is lower than I expected. No one sounds like I imagined from gifsets on Tumblr hahaha.
Shanicka: He has such a like weird NYC accent. Not so much when he’s Alec but yeah it was surprising. Also the broken “Demon” sign lmao sooo heavy handed.

Samantha: The sign IS really heavy-handed, oh my word.
Shanicka: Hahaha I remember when I was first watched it I was just like uhhhhhhmmmm k.
Samantha: Maaaaagnus. HELLO.
Shanicka: The besttt. Harry is SO good as Magnus ugh.
Samantha: Cassie Clare once said she pictured Darren Criss in that role. Like, someone asked her how she would cast her books and that was her answer. IZZY’S WHIP! YES! Why are the swords like light sabers?

Shanicka: Weiiird. I’m so used to Harry [Shum Jr.] I can’t even picture anyone else. And Izzy’s. Fucking. Whip. Indeed.
Samantha: I looooove how they’re doing the parabatai thing, damn. The way that’s described in the books is REALLY cool, so it’s awesome to see it choreographed like this in the series. OKAY CAN I GO ON A BOOK RANT THOUGH? In the book she goes to the club and all of that happens but then she goes home and her mom has been attacked by a monster.
Shanicka: Just wait~
Samantha: I prefer this version, tbh. No, but there’s no interaction with her mom beforehand. Not from what I remember, anyway? It’s been awhile since I read these books!
Shanicka: OH. Okay! Yeah I like this better then. I like the pacing of this a lot.

Samantha: My clearest memory of the books is that Clary and Jace have sex for the first time in LITERAL Hell.
Shanicka: LMAO there’s is SO. MUCH. Casual incest on this show. Like. That should be the name of this column tbh. (Note: This title could also apply to Game of Thrones or The Borgias. Also Arrested Development. So we went with something else.)
Samantha: Oh you mean Clary and Jace? I want to ask so many questions but I don’t want to accidentally spoil anything if you haven’t read the books!
Shanicka: Clary and Jace but also Clary and…another character from season two. Like. Even if Jace and Clary aren’t actual siblings, there’s a LOT of UST when they both still think they’re related and it’s sooo wild. But yeah, I know about it. It’s all revealed~
Samantha: Okay, just making sure. I remember all of this.

Samantha: I love Isabelle. Alec is so SMOL, I cannot get over it. His extreme jealousy is fucking wild, god.
Shanicka: LMAO I don’t think that boy is small wtfff he’s a giant Sam!!! And he’s SO angsty.
Shanicka: OH lmao well yes in that case hahaha.
Samantha: I agonized over his feelings for Jace until he met Magnus when I read the books. My first reaction to Alec was just “protect this boy and his heart”. Glad to know I still feel that way. For those following along at home, the whole reason I’m watching Shadowhunters is because of how much I love Alec Lightwood and Magnus Bane! Woo!

Samantha: “What are you doing undressed in an abandoned church? Clary, is there a meth problem we have to talk about?” I’M SCREAMING. I just laughed out loud and scared the crap out of Reed. What a good Simon moment. …Does Izzy just exclusively wear leather?
Shanicka: LMAO pretty much. And like 6 inch heels.
Samantha: Bless. Is Simon a vamp in the later episodes?
Shanicka: Yep. Everything happens very quickly.
Samantha: I like that, to be honest. Give me good pacing. I can’t remember how fast the books moved but I feel like it must have been pretty fast. There are so many love triangles, though, ugh.

Shanicka: Speaking of which…this is important to know…are you a Clary/Jace shipper?
Samantha: I’m indifferent.
Shanicka: OKAY good. Cuz I reallly don’t like them. I’m so BORED of het love triangles? And they tease and draw this one out. Like. Instead of Clary/Jace gimme Clary/Izzy or Jace/Simon. I’m boooored of straight ships.
Samantha: I shipped Simon and Raphael in the books.
Shanicka: LOVE THEM
Samantha: YESSSS
Shanicka: Wanna know all of my ships? Well, for S01.
Samantha: Yes, duh.
Shanicka: Okay, Magnus/Alec obviously. Clary/Izzy. Simon/Jace. Simon/Raphael. Anything but fucking Clace tbh. Uhhh. I think that’s it. My other ships happen in S02.
Samantha: CLACE is such a bad ship name.
Shanicka: LMAO ISN’T IT. Let’s start episode two!

S01E02, “The Descent Into Hell Is Easy”

Samantha: I love that this episode starts with a MICK JAGGER comparison for Jace. Excellent. Poor Simon. There are so many jealous boys in this series. Semi-related, did Alec’s voice get higher?
Shanicka: OMG I also love Simon and Izzy. Lawd.
Samantha: Okay I can’t lie I do love Simon and Izzy. YES GOOD. “TWO FIRST NAMES, AM I STILL TALKING?” I’m such a sucker for hot girl/nerd boy.
Shanicka: Hahaha, sameeee.
Samantha: Jace just told Simon not to eat the food in the Institute… DID HE JUST MAKE A FAERIE REFERENCE? JACE. Oh, I guess it could have been a Hades reference too. Either way, Jace, chill.

Shanicka: OMG… I forgot how much of this season I like… forgot. I completely fucking forgot about this guy.
Samantha: Who the fuck is this?
Shanicka: Also LMAO Clary looks nothing like Jocelyn.
Samantha: OH WAIT NO I REMEMBER HODGE. That is… really not how I pictured him? Wow.
Shanicka: Yeah! I literally fucking forgot about him
Samantha: You’re right, though, she looks nothing like her mom. What is he talking about? This is like… some Harry Potter shit that failed. “You look so much like your father, except for your eyes.” No. This is also so much information so fast?
Shanicka: Yeppp.

Samantha: Her memory was SUPER wiped. Isn’t Magnus the most powerful warlock in New York?
Shanicka: He is and they never let you forget it lmao.
Samantha: Not in the books either, LMAO. He talks about it all the time.
Shanicka: ~~~Magnus Bane High Warlock of Brooklyn~~~ Every damn ep.
Samantha: Ohhhhh my god. That was one of the things I loved about him, though, just his totally over the top confidence. Especially because! Alec makes him soft! Don’t touch me!

Samantha: This is perfect. I want so much more of this.
Shanicka: She’s a goddess.
Samantha: Why are there not more orgies on this show?
Shanicka: Right??? Izzy openly ogling Clary’s body??? Liiiike bye.
Samantha: If this were a Netflix series there would defs be orgies. Sense8 style. Shadowhunters bonding.
Shanicka: I WISH.
Samantha: Izzy/Simon is basically the MV for “Touch My Body”.

Samantha: Wait, is the bald guy Valentine?
Shanicka: Yesss.
Samantha: He looks like that guy from Breaking Bad. OH MAN THE SILENT BROTHERS. THEY CREEPED ME OUT SO BAD IN THE BOOKS.
Shanicka: They are pretty fucked in the series too tbhhhhh.
Samantha: Alec has no chill. Alec. ALEC. MY SON.
Shanicka: I loooove him.
Samantha: I really love the Simon and Clary friendship? It sucks that he’s pining for her?
Shanicka: Yeah. Simon/Clary is my other HellNoTP. I love them as friends though!!! So much. Simon is a peach.
Samantha: I get really bored of the “straight best friends where one is pining” trope.
Shanicka: Saaame and this slathers it on.

At this point, the chat screen ate itself, so here is a quick summarization of the rest of Shanicka and Samantha’s conversation:

  • The Luke and Jocelyn relationship is apparently very different from the books, which Shanicka refused to explain. She confessed to avoiding the Shadowhunters fandom discourse — though the critiques are valid — because it takes away the fun of watching the show.
  • Izzy and Simon continued to be absolutely perfect, even while Clary was regaining her memories.
  • The Silent Brother looks like the zombie in Hocus Pocus. Like, same face.
  • Samantha said she didn’t remember this much information (about Valentine, the Circle, and the Mortal Cup) being revealed quite so quickly in the books.
  • Raphael! Showed up! And kidnapped Simon! AND THEN THE EPISODE ENDED.

Stay tuned next week for a full chat transcript on episodes three and four!

Shanicka Anderson is a freelance writer and editor from New York. Often and without prompting, she enjoys talking television, pop culture, Harry Styles, her year abroad in London, and the complexities of the Caribbean diaspora. If you've loved her words, check out her Twitter for a few more of them.

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