Shadowhunters “Blood Calls to Blood” Review (Season 1 Episode 11)

I was about ready to declare this the episode of Shadowhunters where pretty much every character showed just how clueless they can be, but Clary saved it at the end by seeing through the disguise of Jace’s evil dad. Because really, obvious evil dad was obvious pretty much from the word go, so it would’ve been a facepalm moment to see them lose the mortal cup that way. That “Blood Calls to Blood” had so many other facepalm moments is beside the point.

Because really, the rest of the dumb moments from tonight’s episode were of the goofy, enjoyable kind I’ve been praising for the past several weeks. There’s the way Simon and Luke continued to develop their bromance over a raw steak. There’s the ever-ridiculous Raphael, whose prowess for scenery-chewing remains unrivaled in its time. And, of course, there’s the utterly insane, and inane, courtroom scenes that ran throughout the episode.

There are plenty of reasons why the trial of Isabelle Lightwood was so ludicrous, starting with the fact that pretty much everyone involved was aware that it was a farce, with the Clave very obviously just looking to punish someone for Clary taking the mortal cup. Beyond that, Isabelle’s decision to have Magnus as her defense attorney pretty much guaranteed an emphasis on what a kangaroo court the whole proceeding was, though any excuse to give the character screen time is appreciated.

But perhaps most impressive is the show’s ability to not only render the whole trial meaningless by having the inquisitor force a guilty verdict, but to in turn invalidate these scenes a second time by having Clary immediately return and hand over the mortal cup. Only on Shadowhunters do you see a show go the extra mile in proving that its own scenes are pointless filler material.

Because really, this whole episode should, on a technical storytelling level, be focused on Clary and Jace. However, while it probably is structured that way in the novel, a television show has to regularly check in with its other characters to justify their existence as main cast members. And look, even the best TV shows create or extend material from the book in order to keep characters around; just look at the Theon torture arc from season 3 of Game of Thrones. But Shadowhunters fails to do so in a captivating way, and the result is the meandering, unfocused mess we’ve been watching for the past few months.

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