Title: Shadowhunters S1.E03 “Dead Man’s Party”
Released: 2016
Series:  Shadowhunters

Shadowwinner of the Week: Clary
Shadowloser of the Week: Jace

Previously: The warlocks have all left the human world, Valentine is Clary’s biological father, and Simon got tooken!

What Happened

Clary has a (Mortal) Cup conundrum: Valentine wants it in exchange for Jocelyn, and this new crew of vampires want it in exchange for Simon. Never mind that Clary doesn’t know where it actually is, but it’s the most in-demand cup outside of sports trophies. Since Jocelyn’s sitch is a season-long problem the Shadowhunters know who took Simon, they’ll work on getting him back first. Although not through official channels, since the Clave totally frowns upon starting a war against the vampires.

To pull off this covert ops, our Shadowhunters need weapons and intel. For the former, they go grave robbing to find an old Shadowhunter stash hidden in a cemetery. For the latter — sighhhhhh, the obligatory Isabelle Is Sexy scenes of the week. (Nothing against sex positivity, but this is like the only kind of thing Isabelle gets to do.) She seduces the whereabouts of the vampire lair out of her Seelie (i.e., half-angel, half-demon) contact, Meliorn. Meanwhile, Alec goes back to the Institute to grab his bow, almost undetected until he runs into Hot Hodge, who cautions him against being loyal to a fault. And Jace takes Clary to a vampire biker bar to steal a flying motorbike powered by demon energy, because Reasons. (I mean, flying motorbikes are all the rage — just ask Sirius Black! (SOB.) — but there really was no reason why they HAD to use it, esp. given the sorry state of this show’s special effects.)

All of this leads the Shadowhunters to… HOTEL DUMORT. Complete with a slogan that says, “Live Your Way Now… and Forever”. SUBTLE, SHOW. Simon’s being held hostage by Vampire HBIC Camille, who alternates between making out with him and snacking on him, and Camille’s underling, Raphael, whose main role is telling Simon to accept his fate as a hostage. The Shadowhunters defeat a bunch of vampire redshirts, and YESSSSS, we have an honest-to-goodness slo-mo entrance!

The Dead Man’s Party don’t start ’til they walk in…

WIth their backs against the proverbial wall, Raphael helps Camille escape, under the guise of using Simon to buy more time with the Shadowhunters. Instead, Raphael leads them all outside and lets Simon go, out of fear that the vampires’ play for the Mortal Cup would piss off Valentine (and for Jace to owe him one in the future), in a rather underwhelming end to this plot. 

But it’s not exactly all’s well that ends well for our Shadowhunters. Alec’s still suspicious of Clary, and Jace is still clueless as to why Alec would help her rescue Simon anyway, which causes a rift between the parabatai (basically, a pair of Shadowhunter warriors who are bound for life — although the feelings aren’t so platonic on one end, as Isabelle’s always hinting at). And Simon’s time as a vampire juice box has given him a serious case of BLOOD LUST. Dun-dun-dunnnnn…!

Shadowwinner of the Week

As tempted as I am to keep giving this award to Alec, I’ll go with Clary instead, for baby’s first demon kill! (Plus, she tied her hair up for the fight, and we were just talking about that in last week’s comments!) She was also unintentionally instrumental in my fave moment of the episode, when Alec (of course) uses a bit of ingenuity to kill the vampire that was threatening her. 

Although I question 1) how strong that arrow is, and 2) how weak that wall is. But WHATEVER, IT WAS COOL.

Shadowloser of the Week

Similarly, I didn’t want to repeat poor Isabelle as the loser (mostly since the exact same thing from last episode would still apply), so I went with Jace. The show’s attempts at making him charming haven’t really worked for me. His retorts and comebacks that are supposed to be amusing just come off like one line too many; it’s like the writers can’t leave well enough alone because Jace MUST get the last word in, even at the detriment of the lines that come before it. Although props for Jace’s mini-rant about how the mundane world is obsessed with vampires. I SEE YOU, SHOW.

Say What?

Alec: “What, are you so desperate to get laid that you’ll risk killing us?”

Alec wondering which head Jace is thinking with.

Jace: “It’s saying you belong together.”

Jace showing Clary how to use a sword (not a euphemism). Gee, it’s almost as if the weapon isn’t the only one that belongs with Clary!

Camille: “Remember chocolates? Sometimes the plainest candy shell has the tastiest centre.”

Show, stop trying to convince me that Simon’s plain. I’ve seen his abs.

Vampire: “I don’t know what the hell you are, angel doll, but you’re one tasty treat.”

In case it wasn’t clear, vamps are REALLY into tasty business.

Isabelle: “You’d be a lot happier if you weren’t so freaking repressed.”

Maybe shelve this discussion until AFTER your vampire-killing mission?

Swimfan Says

Here’s Shadowhunter Chronicles expert, Meredith (@legallyblonde), with her take!

  • Overall, this episode felt stronger than the previous two, which is hopeful for the rest of the season.  My favorite part of this episode was hands down the final scene, which was both similar and not similar to the book in showing just how oblivious Clary and Jace are to other people’s certain feelings that should be obvious (or I’m just reading book knowledge into that), and I loved it.

  • I’m pretty sure I currently like TV!Alec more than Book!Alec (definitely more than Movie!Alec), so way to go show in keeping a character the same and still making me like him more.  (I can’t wait until Alec meets Magnus!)

  • I’m starting to love Dominic as Jace. A lot.  The humor is very similar to Book!Jace, and he’s good in the role.

  • The whole method/process of rescuing Simon was different than the books (notably, Camille isn’t in the books until much later, only Jace and Clary go on the rescue mission, there’s no werewolf interference), but in a way that worked for the show.  Raphael’s motives were different in the book, too, and I’m curious to see how that plays out.  By the way, this is something the movie could’ve learned: it’s fine to change things if it’s in a way that actually works.

Burning Questions

  • Y’all — am I under a vampire encanto, or was this episode actually an improvement?! Obvs, the dialogue is still roooough, but the plot was a lot tighter and more focused than it has been so far. (AND NO C-WORD.) Maybe we just have to ride out all this initial exposition and it’ll keep getting better? LIE TO ME IF YOU MUST.

  • What am I saying? Of course the best is yet to come, because THE SHADOWHUNTERS FINALLY MEET MAGNUS BANE NEXT WEEK.

Mandy (she/her) lives in Edmonton, AB. When she’s not raiding the library for YA books, she enjoys eating ice cream (esp. in cold weather), learning fancy pole dance tricks, and stanning BTS. Mandy has been writing for FYA since 2012, and she oversaw all things FYA Book Club from 2013 to 2023.