Shadowhunters S01E10 “The World Inverted” REVIEW

Shadowhunters S01E10 “The World Inverted” REVIEW

0 comments 📅16 March 2016, 15:22

Shadowhunters S01E10 “The World Inverted” REVIEW


stars 3.5

Airing in the UK on Netflix, new episodes each week on Wednesdays
Writer: Y Shireen Razack
Director: J Miles Dale


Essential Plot Points:

  • Meliorn says that Clary can use secret Seelie portals to reach her father.
  • But she has to go via a parallel dimension, where she can find another portal which – when used in conjunction with her own portal pendent – will take her to her father.
  • Meliorn only allows Clary through to the parallel dimension. He and Jace remain to guard the open portal in case it attracts demons.
  • The alternate reality is like a happy happy happy joy joy version of Clary’s own life.
  • Her mum and dad (who’s an Alice Through The Looking Glass-obsessed internet guru) are still together; Alec is openly gay; Simon and Izzy (who’s a complete nerd) are going out; Jace serves burgers; Magnus is a spiritual healer who advertises on TV.
  • Clary meets alt-Magnus and convinces him of her story. She reignites his magic which he hasn’t used for a while.
  • He uses his magic to locate the portal; it’s in the Institute, which here is the HQ of Valentine’s internet company.
  • Luckily there’s going to a party there that night and Clary, being Valentine’s daughter, has a plus one invite!
  • Back in the real world, the Clave arrests Izzy on suspicion of aiding Meliorn. If found guilty she will have all her runes removed and no longer be a Shadowhunter.
  • Alec tries to save her from this fate by bargaining the Mortal Cup for her freedom. Then he finds out Jace and Clary have swiped it.
  • Furious, he uses some parabatai version of Friend Locator to find Jace, which apparently is very rude and not the done thing in polite Shadowhunter society.
  • Annoyingly for Jace, Alec does this just as a demon attacks. Distracted by his brother’s meddling, Jace lets the demon slip through the portal.
  • Meliorn allows Jace through the portal to defeat the demon then closes the portal for safety.
  • At the party in the alt-Institute Magnus and Clary slip into the basement when nobody (except alt-Jace) is looking to find the portal.
  • The demon attacks, but our-world Jace arrives to help Clary defeat it. However, Jace is badly injured in the fight.
  • Magnus finds the portal and Clary uses her pendent to take her and Jace to Valentine’s Chernobyl base in our world.
  • There they find Jace’s presumed-dead dad in a cupboard. Which is only slightly less silly on screen than that makes it sound.
  • Meanwhile (on our world) Simon uses his vampiric abilities to help Luke get the internal affairs cop investigating him off his back; Simon pretends to be the “demonic killer” and allows Luke to shoot him “dead” in front of the investigator.




There comes a time in every telefantasy show’s life when it has a stab at an alternate reality episode. And since Shadowhunters has cheerily ripped off Buffy in every other way, it was bound to give us its own version of “The Wish” at some point (it even has a demon that looks suspiciously like it’s a hand-me-down from Buffy). But whether by accident or design, Shadowhunters does give us a new twist on the old trope (we’re guessing accident). Usually the alternate reality is a place full of evil versions – or at least darker, twisted versions – of the show’s main characters. In the parallel reality of “The World Inverted”, though, everybody’s really normal and nice. Hell, Valentine wears comedy hats and laughs off his daughter holding a knife to his throat. So no evil-double-goatees but a lot of spectacles and sensible haircuts.

Actually, Magnus wears a cardigan. That’s pretty terrifying.

To be honest it’s difficult to bollocks up an alternate reality episode. All you have to do is have fun reinventing your main characters in unexpected ways, usually making them as opposite to what they really are as possible. Shadowhunters embraces the rules and we get a geeky version of Izzy, a cowardly version of Jace, an out-and-proud version on Alec and a restrained version of Magnus. Oh and Valentine as Dad Of The Year (though with a disturbing hint that he would quietly murder Jace if he ever hurt Clary). Oddly, Simon is barely any different, but there are a couple of “Hey, you’re not a vampire!” gags (which don’t ring totally true as he hasn’t been a bloodsucker long enough for Clary to instinctively protect him from sunlight yet.)

There’s a lot to enjoy here – including Magnus’s wonderfully awful TV ad – but you can’t help feeling that the episode doesn’t fully exploit the potential in its set-up. Because the alt-characters are all so nice, the episode doesn’t have the self-parodying bite that these episodes often have. Alternate reality episode can also be used to reveal something unexpected about the main characters in a lateral manner; readers of the books will know there’s one humdinger that could have been revealed in a jawdropping way here, but the episode shies away from it. The end result is that while this detour through the Looking Glass is entertaining fluff, it remains fluff.

Back in the real world, becoming a vampire means Simon no longer wears Converse All-Star. Creatures of the night wear stylish shoes only. And he doesn’t need glasses any more. In every other way, though, Simon is now the same old Simon, just with a bloodlust and unwanted dental erections in moments of hormonal lust. This is a good thing, as the whingy Simon of the past few week was getting dull. At the Initiative, the low-rent politicking continues with Alec showing a loyalty to Lydia that she’s done precious little to deserve. Every week she proves to be ever more of an unimaginative jobsworth. Alec, meanwhile, seems convinced he’s ripped his parabatai connection with Jace to shreds while Jace shows every sign of not having noticed in the slightest.

As for the cliffhanger… it’s really difficult to be gobsmacked by the revelation when you’re distracted by the fact that Jace has just found his dad in a cupboard. How very odd.


The Good:


  • Clary’s impression of Magnus.


  • Izzy as a geek. Especially her dancing. Emeraude Toubia is one of the best things about this show.
  • As with any “alternate reality” episode of any genre show, there’s fun to be had seeing how the writers have reinvented the characters. Aside from Izzy the geek, recasting Valentine as Mad Hatter-obsessed Steve Jobs was an amusing choice, and confident-in-his-sexuality Alec was a nice touch especially when he echoes “our” Magnus’s words about “our” Alec a few week’s back: “Playing hard to get? I do like a challenge.”


  • Alt-Simon giving a “Dracula stare” was a nicely-ironic injoke too.


The Bad:


  • Meliorn’s Doctor Strange moment. You must have heard jokes about drama students being asked  to “act like a tree” – that’s exactly what Meliorn looks like he’s doing here.
  • Lydia now officially has no discernible character whatsoever. She just appears in scenes and intones her lines.
  • The demon was so Buffy, it would have been downright nostalgic if the director hadn’t decided to cut every scene involving the damned thing so fast in an obvious attempt to stop us seeing how poor the rubber suit was.
  • The explanation for why Clary needed to go to the alternate dimension as the worst kind of fantasy babble that failed miserably to disguise the real reason Clary had to go there – because alternate reality episodes are fun.
  • The web of relationships in the alternate reality doesn’t really make sense: if shadowhunters had become obsolete here long ago, that negates the reason why many of these character would ever meet.


And The Random:


  • There are Alice Through the Looking Glass references throughout the episodes, though unlike many other telefantasy shows, Shadowhunters resists the opportunity to call the episode “Through The Looking Glass” (Angel, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Farscape, Lost, Earth: Final ConflictFringe all had episodes by that name although Fringe’s was actually called in full, “Through the Looking Glass and What Walter Found There”).




  • A few grabs from the faux-advert, just because we know you like this sort of thing.


  • Why does Magnus use a graphic of a set of fireplace tools to snap Clary out of her haze?


  • When Simon says, “You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry,” he’s referencing the early ’80s TV series The Incredible Hulk.
  • POTENTIAL SPOILER IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE BOOK Um… if the show has the same revelation as the books about Clary and Jace relationship (and there are no signs so far that it won’t) how does that pan out as regards the relationship between their alt-selves in this episodes? There would be no reason for them not to know…!

Review by Dave Golder

Read our other Shadowhunter reviews

No Comments

  1. Cadiva
    17 March 2016, 14:58 Cadiva

    Re the big reveal at the end, book readers know who Michael Wayland is (and who Jace’s actual real father is) so if this is their way of adding in some dynamic and twist to the Clace relationship rather than “fakecest” then I’m all for it!

    Reply to this comment

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.