It was the moment we’ve all been waiting for. With a switch in showrunners and evidence of many other production changes going on behind the scenes trickling through on social media, fans of Freeform’s fantasy hit Shadowhunters have been split – was it going to help or hinder the show they’ve come to love?
Earlier today at New York’s Comic-Con, the showrunners and cast convened on stage to give us a taste of how season two is looking. Not only did it look good, but it seems a change in production teams across the board – the showrunners, the show’s new special effects company FolksVFX and a new extensive stunt team – is doing wonders to the overall production value and quality of our favorite supernatural show.
Bigger, Better, and Darker Than Ever
The Shadowhunter world is in turmoil, especially the residents of the New York Institute. Valentine is back in force, finally armed with more than verbal promises of warfare – and even worse, he now has the Institute’s golden boy, Jace Wayland on his side. We know what went down in the final moments of the season finale and understand Jace’s reasons for willingly leaving with the man who raised and abused him as a child, but the Clave and individual members of the Institute see his absence as treasonous. They’re ready to find answers to questions in order to pursue and stop Valentine at any cost, which will probably take them a lifetime with the snail’s pace the Clave is known for. For our main squad, however, getting Jace back now is their top priority. At least someone is thinking clearly.
Jace, it seems, will be struggling big time. Visibly torn between his father’s orders and thoughts of the loved ones he left behind, he seems to be battling Valentine and his delusions of grandeur while also reluctantly fulfilling his command by slaughtering Downworlders and leaving a trail of bodies in his wake. It’s not going to earn him any favors if the way he looks tied up, tortured and battered around like a rag doll is anything to go by. Who is going to hurt him more – Downworlders with a grudge? Or Valentine himself?
Alec and his mother Maryse are at odds on how to deal with Jace. She appears to have washed her hands of her adopted child following the knowledge that Jace is the enemy’s son and has run off to the dark side. Alec, his Parabatai, isn’t willing to give up. Closer than blood, he explains, their bond emotionally and physically intertwines their lives – to kill Jace would be to kill a part of him, and he’s against anything that would take his most cherished person away from him.
On the other side of things, Clary and her newly woken mother Jocelyn are trying to reconnect after a lengthy, eye-opening separation. Clary insists she’s all caught up and fitting nicely in her big Shadowhunter boots, but Jocelyn’s experience within Nephilim society is very different, and she believes her daughter is unequipped to handle it. She also seems to have learned that Jace is her long-dead child, but she’s not exactly calling him her son. Instead, she believes Clary’s brother – a telling use of words – will only bring death and destruction. With Jace gone and Jocelyn back on board, mother and son haven’t had a chance to meet yet. Will she retract her words once she looks into his eyes? Who knows? But Clary, much like Alec, isn’t willing to cast Jace aside and the fact that her mother is makes her no better than Valentine. Family dramas, here we come.
Fun Is Still to Be Had
Simon, as Alberto Rosende explained during their Comic-Con panel, will be exploring the extent of his vampiric abilities and owning the new path his life (or unlife) has taken. Hilariously, he looks set to try his Encanto techniques, however spirit-fingery they may appear, on a bunch of werewolves who aren’t all that impressed and dub him ‘the worst vampire ever.’ It’s evidence that the show will continue to have its lighter moments which, thank the universe. It’s the only reprieve from the newly dark, ominous, twisted soul of a show this trailer conveyed. Also, fans of the book series will be familiar with the character of Maia Roberts, and her appearance in the season’s first look show exciting things to come.
We all remember the elation of seeing Alec and Magnus finally meet halfway, but their happiness was cut short during the season finale when, following the incredible high they shared, both came back down to earth and realized the path of love wasn’t going to be easy. Alec was confronted with the realization that Magnus’ immortality posed a challenge, and Magnus found himself having to employ damage control for the deliberate actions of other unsanitary creatures. With season two set to pick things up where the finale left off, things don’t look any easier for them.
Alec being Alec is choosing to deal with his job confusion and worries for Jace the same way he always has; alone. He’s never been in a romantic relationship before, so he has no knowledge of the dynamic he and Magnus can have or how it can work in his favor. Magnus implores him to confide in him, not to push him away when things get confusing – the question is, will he or won’t he? Here’s hoping with all of our Malec-loving hearts that Alec finally allows himself to lean on someone. And with a first date on the horizon, it’s almost, almost safe to say he’ll make that first step.
Everyone Is a Loose Unit and It’s Glorious
Jace appears to be morally unraveling, and perhaps even mentally unraveling as his treatment of Clary in the trailer’s final moments showed. Clary’s new drive has taken her from the whingey headless chicken of yore and made her into a fierce, bloodied, Shadowhunter with a mission, parents left right and center are throwing their children aside, Downworlders are closing ranks against the threat hanging over their heads and Alec’s a one-man band of walking angst. It’s brilliant news for the show’s writing, as its freshman effort shined brightest when the story focussed on the trials, tribulations, and growth of its characters.
Shadowhunters is wearing its new dark tone proudly, and it looks exceptional. The shows new heads in charge Todd Slavkin, and Darren Swimmer bring a wealth of Sci-Fi and Fantasy experience to the board, and in doing so, it appears to be paying off. The visual effects have boosted in quality, the brutality of its action and fight scenes is hard-hitting and ferocious, and the hopelessness abound finally raises the stakes.
Has the trailer set you off into a flailing fan-tailspin? Excited? Let us know!
Shadowhunters second season premieres Monday, 2nd of January at 8pm/c on Freeform.