The Mortal Cup is the premiere episode of Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments.
One young woman realizes how dark the city can really be when she learns the truth about her past in the series premiere of Shadowhunters. Based on the bestselling young adult fantasy book series The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, Shadowhunters follows Clary Fray, who finds out on her birthday that she is not who she thinks she is but rather comes from a long line of Shadowhunters – human-angel hybrids who hunt down demons. Now thrown into the world of demon hunting after her mother is kidnapped, Clary must rely on the mysterious Jace and his fellow Shadowhunters Isabelle and Alec to navigate this new dark world. With her best friend Simon in tow, Clary must now live among faeries, warlocks, vampires and werewolves to find answers that could help her find her mother. Nothing is as it seems, including her close family friend Luke who knows more than he is letting on, as well as the enigmatic warlock Magnus Bane who could hold the key to unlocking Clary's past.
On Clary Fray's 18th birthday, Clary goes to Brooklyn Academy of Art, where she had applied for the advanced program, to meet with the panel. She presents her assigned work, and a member of the panel is quick to point out flaws. Then, pages of illustrations of ideas for the graphic novel she was working on with her best friend Simon Lewis, which she'd only mistakenly put in the portfolio, catch their attention. They are impressed by it and Clary is immediately accepted into the program for it.
Clary then heads to Java Jones to meet with Simon. She briefly feigns sadness until Simon reads her acceptance letter. They confirm their plans to celebrate her birthday and admission after his band gig with Maureen later that night. Clary then points out that Simon was being naive for not seeing that Maureen had a crush on him, while Simon knowingly shoots back that he wasn't the only one, as he evidently holds feelings for Clary who was just as oblivious.
Her mother's assistant, Dot, greets her when she enters their store below their apartment, telling her that she learned of the acceptance news through Simon's Twitter account. Dot gives Clary her birthday gift: a top which they just know Jocelyn will disapprove of. Clary then heads up to tell her mom the good news, but once again, Simon's Twitter feed beat her to it and her mother, Jocelyn Fray, greets her with congratulations and gives her her birthday present: a stele—specifically, a family heirloom. Clary mistakes it for a paperweight, not realizing its importance just yet, and is surprised to hear that they had heirlooms, as she did not even know of any of their relatives. Clary then points out that she just drew a symbol similar to the one on the stele earlier that day, which prompts Jocelyn to try and tell Clary something important about their past. Clary, too excited about her birthday plans to care, convinces her mother to put off the conversation until the next day and heads to her room to get dressed.
While Clary prepares, Jocelyn remembers a time in Clary's youth when she was attacked by a demon while she was playing at the park. She remembers rushing to the home of Magnus Bane, a warlock who reluctantly agreed to take away her memories. Though unwanted, Magnus told Jocelyn that she wasn't protecting Clary but deceiving her, but Jocelyn says that she would like to keep protecting her that way for as long as she could.
Luke Garroway, a good friend of Jocelyn, arrives. Jocelyn shows him Clary's latest drawings, showing that she is beginning to have a sense for the Shadow World. Luke reminds her that she should tell her the truth soon, else put both of their lives at risk.
When Clary returns, Luke gives her spray paint—which Clary clarifies is for Simon's van—and tries to begin a speech similar to Jocelyn's earlier, regarding changes Clary would experience in her life now that she was eighteen, but Clary cuts him off. Simon later arrives, claiming that he and Clary will celebrate Clary's birthday at Lombardi's after his band's gig. Luke and Jocelyn try to talk them out of going out after the gig, but Clary wouldn't be swayed, insisting that she was now an adult, though she reinstates that she and Jocelyn will talk the next morning.
Simon and Maureen—with Simon singing and playing the guitar, and Maureen on the keyboard—perform a rendition of "Forever Young" at Java Jones. They head to the Pandemonium Club afterwards. Clary spray-paints Simon's van, adding in their latest band name, "Rock Solid Panda". In a daze, she also tags the van with a strange symbol—similar to the ones she'd been doodling and like the symbol on the stele. While loitering outside and waiting around, a mysterious, blond, tatted young man bumps into Clary on his way into the club, prompting Clary to admonish him. He's surprised and amused that she can see him and tells her without explanation that she has the Sight. He enters the club, going after his companions, shortly after, and through the whole encounter, Simon and Maureen watched Clary with wonder as they did not see the man. They point out that Clary looked crazy talking by herself. Determined to prove them wrong and find the man, she goes into the club to look for the man.
Clary is separated from the two as she tails the blond and ends up at the VIP section. She watches as the man confronts a woman but reacts when he pulls out a sword. She pushes the woman out of the way just as he is about to stab her, realizing too late that it was a shapeshifting demon. A vicious brawl breaks out between the demons in the room and the group with the man she'd followed. Confused and scared, Clary picks up one of the handles; upon her touch, it activates and transforms into a glowing blade. The blond pushes one of the demons into the sword and the demon disintegrates, making Clary accidentally kill for the first time. Horrified, Clary runs off, bumping into the owner of the club along the way, and races home, leaving Simon and Maureen behind.
At home, Clary frantically recounts her story to her mother, who remained strangely calm and was more concerned with what the markings on the young man looked like than the fact that Clary had apparently killed someone. Jocelyn then shows Clary her own runes, to Clary's surprise. Jocelyn tries to make sense of it all for Clary and explain what she was going to earlier, but before she could, Dot bursts in and says that the Circle has found them. Desperate to save her daughter, Jocelyn gives her the stele and quickly wraps a necklace around her neck, telling her to think of her while wearing it. She tells her to find Luke for help and answers. Jocelyn places her in front of the Portal Dot had just opened with her warlock powers and asks her where Luke would be at that moment. Clary says he should be at the station and is transported there.
Meanwhile, Jocelyn and Dot square off against the intruders.
- See more here
A list of the songs and score music featured in this episode:
- "Monsters" - Ruelle
- "Don't Come Over" - Jess Penner
- "Deez Nutz" - Extreme Music
- "Forever Young" - Alphaville; performed by Alberto Rosende and Shailene Garnett
- "Love Disease" - Extreme Music
- "Sweatin Out The Toxins" - Extreme Music
- "Redose" - The Prototypes
- Principal photography for the episode ran for 11 weekdays, from May 25 to June 8, 2015.
- Scenes for this episode were shot in Toronto as a stand-in for the series setting, New York. Some of the locations include:
- The Distillery District — for the opening scene
- The Great Hall — for Clary's scene set in the Brooklyn Academy of Art
- Lakeshore Blvd E parking lot — crime scene Luke and the NYPD are canvassing
- The Auction House — Jocelyn's store and apartment
- Metropolitan United Church — the exterior of the New York Institute
- The following are elements in early drafts of the script that did not make it to the final script:
The following are elements adapted from The Mortal Instruments book series:
- Clary and Simon often hang out at Java Jones.
- Clary is an artist. Simon is still a musician and quite "geeky". Clary and Simon bond over things like graphic novels.
- Clary remains oblivious to Simon's feelings for her and ironically calls him out for not noticing when girls like him.
- Maureen has a crush on Simon.
- Simon is Jewish.
- Dorothea lives in the same building as Jocelyn and Clary.
- Luke tells Jocelyn to tell her about the Shadow World. Jocelyn tries to get Clary to stay and talk with her on her birthday before she leaves with Simon.
- Clary (and Simon) believe that Clary has no other relatives.
- Simon's band constantly changes names.
- Jace and Alec's dynamic remained the same: Alec the responsible one, and Jace the reckless one.
- The Pandemonium Club: Clary and Simon decide to spend her birthday there. Jace, Isabelle, and Alec confront their targeted demon here.
- Jace is surprised and made curious that Clary saw him despite his glamour. When Jace was about to kill the demon they followed into the club, Clary intervened, thinking the demon was human.
- The Circle came for Jocelyn in search of the Cup, and she drank a potion that put her into a deep sleep to evade interrogation by Valentine.
- Clary overheard Luke lying to the Circle members about not caring about her and Jocelyn—hurting her and making her distrustful of Luke.
- Clary was attacked by a Ravener demon (albeit a different one from the books and only shares its name) left in their apartment after Jocelyn was taken. She was poisoned by demon venom, Marked by Jace with an iratze and taken back to the Institute to recover. She was out for days.
- A deleted scene has Clary slapping Jace for risking the 10% chance that she could have died from the Mark if she wasn't a Shadowhunter.
- Isabelle lent Clary her clothes.
- For their performance at Java Jones, Simon sang "Forever Young". Ironically, later in the series, Simon becomes a vampire and is currently immortal, expected to live a long life as a teenager ("forever young").
- Steve Lucescu (@lucescu) on Instagram
- Simon and Clary's casting sides for the Pilot