Shadowhunters “Bad Blood” Review (Season 1 Episode 8)

The problem with Shadowhunters has always been that it is completely lacking in any sort of originality. Even now, as my view of the show has shifted into a cheesier, more ludicrous one, the fact that everything is so familiar means that even though you can watch the show for how silly and idiotic it can be, there’s nothing that makes me want to recommend it to others; it’s no Z Nation, to draw a comparison. Still, viewing the show as almost-a-farce helps make an otherwise problematic installment like “Bad Blood” enjoyable.

On the problematic side, after briefly flirting with the idea of forward progression, the show’s MacGuffin Cup plot came to another screeching halt this week. Early on, I wondered how this show’s plot could be condensed into a movie, but now it’s clear that a movie was probably the right way to go. All the show has done is needlessly stretched out every possible subplot, giving entire episodes to tangential factions of supernatural characters. I still haven’t seen the movie or read the book, but I imagine a lot of these plots would easily be compacted down into thirty-second scenes.

The bigger problem, though, is that for all the episodes we’ve seen, Valentine remains a vague, undefined threat. We’ve glimpsed him briefly in flashbacks, but in the present, all he’s done is skulk around a warehouse and ominously monologue. For a moment, it seemed like he was actually making a move for the cup, but that turned out to be yet another new shadowhunter. Because the show needed another anonymous face in the crowd.

So, with Valentine continuing to do nothing much, this episode ultimately focused on Simon, finally on the cusp of becoming a vampire. This plot worked on a goofy level because the vampire characters are among the show’s most ridiculous. However, emotionally, the stakes – pun absolutely intended – couldn’t be lower because Simon has more or less been a non-character up to this point. Clary couldn’t drop his mundane butt faster upon finding out she was a shodowhunter, leaving him in his own narrative cul-de-sac for the past few weeks. It takes all tension out of the hour because he’s obviously going to turn; otherwise, the show would’ve spent weeks on a completely pointless side story.

Of course, pointless side stories are this show’s bread-and-butter, so… who knows, I guess.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments!