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Shadowhunters Premiere Review: The Mortal Cup

Reviewed by on Jan 11, 2016
Rating: 4 Star Rating

Shadowhunters, based on the Mortal Instruments novels, will be a series on the Freeform (formerly ABC Family) network. Kidzworld intros the show and reviews the first episode, The Mortal Cup.

By: Lynn Barker

In “Shadowhunters: The Mortal Cup”, teen Clary Fray (Katherine Mcnamara) thinks she is losing it. She’s been sketching weird symbols on everything and, on her 18th birthday she sees three “Shadowhunters”, supernatural beings who have a big fight with otherworldly demons in a club. They’re surprised she can see them and tell her she’s one of them. Clary’s bestie Simon (Alberto Rosende) can’t see the hunters and questions Clary’s sobriety. When her house is ransacked and her mom Jocelyn disappears, Clary is more confused and frightened than ever.

Clary wonders if she is seeing thingsClary wonders if she is seeing things

Happy Birthday

We see a group of young people following an Asian man in the city. This guy shapeshifts into several other forms. Nothing about this bunch of people is “normal”. Earlier, newly 18-year-old Clary Fray is admitted into the Berkley Academy of Art and celebrates with her pal Simon. Meanwhile, a cop name Luke Garroway (Isaiah Mustafa) investigates the latest in a series of murders in which the victims are drained of blood. Clary is given a hot dress by Dot, her mom’s assistant, and mom Jocelyn gives her a Stele (a pen-like instrument) but Clary doesn’t give her time to explain what it does.

Mom Jocelyn gives Clary the SteleMom Jocelyn gives Clary the Stele

Simon and Clary celebrate her art school admissionSimon and Clary celebrate her art school admission

10 Years Ago

When Clary was a kid, she was attacked by a demon. Her mom took her to Warlock Magnus Bane (Harry Shum Jr.) to erase her memory.

Warlock Magnus at the Pandemonium ClubWarlock Magnus at the Pandemonium Club

Magnus Bane played by Harry Shum Jr.Magnus Bane played by Harry Shum Jr.Courtesy of ABC Family

At Shadowhunters H.Q.

Shadowhunters (half angel, half human beings who fight demons) Jace Wayland (Dominic Sherwood), Isabelle Lightwood (Emeraude Toubia) and her brother Alec (Matthew Daddario) puzzle over which demon is taking mortal blood and why.

Shadowhunter Jace searches for demonsShadowhunter Jace searches for demons

Why, Mom?

Freaked out after seeing the Shadowhunters fight demons at a club on her birthday, Clary runs home to mom Jocelyn who tries to explain the bizarre world of Shadowhunters and demons and the fact that baddies called “The Circle” and its leader Valentine are hunting for “The Mortal Cup” and they are coming for it, mom and Clary. Mom teleports Clary to the police station where family friend Luke can protect her. At home, mom fights demons with a magical sword but as it appears she might be beaten, she swallows a potion that puts her into a deep sleep. At the police station, Clary overhears Luke telling demons that he too is after the Cup and cares nothing for Clary and her mom. Heartbroken, Clary returns home to find it trashed and mom gone.

Mom tries to warn Clary that time is upMom tries to warn Clary that time is up

A startled Clary uses a Shadowhunter swordA startled Clary uses a Shadowhunter sword

More of the Truth

When Clary seeks help from Dot, the family friend morphs into her true demon self and wants the Cup. Jace kills her but not before she has spewed venom on a frightened, bewildered Clary. Waking up in an “abandoned” church that serves as Shadowhunters H.Q., Clary meets Isabelle and Alec and Jace explains that all the old legends of demons, werewolves, vampires, etc. are true. Shadowhunters protect the human world from these bad guys and Clary is a Shadowhunter. He says that Clary’s doodles are protective runes. All she cares about is finding her mom.

Shadowhunters Alec and IsabelleShadowhunters Alec and Isabelle

The Future?

When Jace uses his Stele to remove a “glamour” that keeps him invisible, Simon finally sees and meets him. Jace says Clary must stay with him and the other hunters to survive while Simon wants her to come with him. She’s torn. Meanwhile, leader of The Circle Valentine sees that Jocelyn is in a trance and that she has a daughter who might know where the Mortal Cup is hidden.

Simon serenades ClarySimon serenades Clary

Wrapping Up

In 2013, City of Bones, Cassandra Clare’s first “Mortal Instruments” novel, was made into a film starring Lily Collins as Clary Fray. Fans were happy enough in the beginning but the film didn’t do that well in theaters. It seemed that too much info was stuffed into that film, making it confusing, especially to newbies.

Luke (played by Isaiah Mustafa)Luke (played by Isaiah Mustafa)Courtesy of ABC Family

The main cast of ShadowhuntersThe main cast of Shadowhunters

This TV version seems more action-packed and fast-moving yet more slowly begins to unravel the mysteries of the Shadowhunters, demons, The Circle and all the family histories that collide in Clare’s novels. Overall, although not everything is explained, the first episode is a good set-up for the rest of the story and it’s too early to tell if the books’ lovers Clary and Jace actually have any chemistry as played by relative newcomers Katherine Mcnamara and Dominic Sherwood. For entertainment value, we will go 4 stars.

"Shadowhunters: The Mortal Cup" Episode Rating: 4

Shadowhunters: The Mortal InstrumentsShadowhunters: The Mortal InstrumentsCourtesy of ABC Family

"Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments" Series Premiere is Tuesday January 12th, 2016.


Have Your Say

Did you enjoy the Mortal Instruments novels? Were you a fan of the big screen movie or are you glad there is a re-imagining on TV? Leave a comment!