Our Spoiler-Free SHADOWHUNTERS Season 2 Premiere Review

We saw the SHADOWHUNTERS Season 2 premiere, and we’re sharing our spoiler-free thoughts!

We checked out the Shadowhunters Season 2 premiere, “This Guilty Blood,” a bit early and we have a lot of feelings to share! You’ve seen the promos, the clips, and the cast interviews, so you know there’s some wild stuff to come. But a little spoiler-free review to get some more impressions never hurt, right?

Let me start by saying that I definitely enjoyed Shadowhunters Season 1, but had some qualms about it. I’ve described my Season 1 needs more than once as “A little less General Hospital, a little more action.” It’s not that I don’t love the ships and a bit of drama, but as someone who’s already been through their late teens and early twenties, it felt like the characters were written in a tone that was very young for their age. Sometimes, I felt like that had effects on the story progression. But I’ve been around long enough to know how damn lucky we are to be getting an adaptation (a second adaptation, at that!) of one of my favorite book series. Flawed or not, Malec and Izzy’s whip and brooding Jace and “My name is not little girl” and Vampire!Simon were all happening on my television screen, so I was a happy (rock solid) panda.

Did you like Season 1 of Shadowhunters? GOOD. We think you’re going to be even more hyped after the Season 2 premiere. Here’s why:

The tension is real. Right away, the premiere episode makes a play to reel you in. You can’t help but wonder what’s happening, what will happen next, and how it will all turn out. Even if you’ve read the books, things don’t play out exactly the same so there are still elements for you to consider. The tone is definitely more desperate and less casual than the Season 1 premiere, making it clear that matters are life or death this time around. There’s less telling, more showing when it comes to the big problems within the Shadowhunter world and overall, it helped us feel more invested.

The character bonds feel stronger and more realistic. It’s all about finding the balance and the premiere episode does just that. There’s still drama– plenty of relationships are being tested in the wake of Valentine’s return– but it feels more justified in the context. War has begun and everyone is feeling it. Still, the episode found time for some sweet, humorous moments that show the true nature of the characters and their bonds. There’s one particular moment we want to gush about but won’t, because you deserve to enjoy it with fresh eyes. Though romance definitely has its role, the episode spent much-needed time digging into the role of family, friendships, and moral dilemmas within. Credit should be given to the actors here, because they’re doing the heavy lifting when it comes to making the relationships in the script feel genuine.

Things are still relatively true to the books. When new showrunners come in and say “We’re changing things,” we all worry. Yes, some plot points are definitely played around with. However, there was no premiere moment that was too far out in left field and the spirit of the original story seemed to be kept in mind. We don’t think any of the tweaks will leave you screaming in agony or mad that a major plot point was dismissed (because we don’t think any really were.)

We’re getting in on the action! It’s not that Season 1 didn’t have any action, but it was generally reserved for major story moments and the fight sequences themselves were pretty short. The Season 2 premiere had more than one palpable action sequence that remind us that Shadowhunters are fierce protectors facing down some gruesome business.

The visuals blow last season out of the water. Whether it be effects, hair and makeup, or props, things just look better this time around. The effects were more realistic and used more frequently, which allowed us to zone into and enjoy the rune-filled, magical world with less hesitation. The beautiful stars remain the same type of beautiful, but more twisted characters have a tortured look about them. And guys, seraph blades aren’t giant blue glow sticks anymore!

TWISTS! We can’t say much about this at all, but we really liked a couple of changes that were made and the way it affected character interplay. That’s especially true of the ending… Let’s just say there was a cliff and we’re still hanging from it.

So can we guarantee that Season 2 will be everything that you’ve ever hoped for? No, of course not. We’ve only seen one episode! However, we can say that one episode left us feeling really optimistic about the season to come. If this first episode is any indication, new showrunners Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer, the cast, and crew will make the second season even better than the first.

“This Guilty Blood” airs Monday, January 2, 2017 on Freeform.

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