‘Shadowhunters’: Can Alec Balance Malec and His Shadowhunter Duties?

Harry Shum, Jr and Matthew Daddario

[SPOILER ALERT: Only read on if you have watched this week’s episode of Shadowhunters. You’ve been warned!]

What did you all think about the more confident and (surprisingly) aggressive Alec Lightwood that we saw in this week’s episode of Freeform’s Shadowhunters?

First up, after the date in last week’s episode with Alec (Matthew Daddario) and Magnus (Harry Shum, Jr.) where we all found out that Magnus has had more than a few partners in the bedroom over his multiple centuries of being alive (approximately 17,000!), Alec could’ve taken issue with the difference in experience between the two men, right? However, in this week’s episode, Alec took big steps to no longer let Magnus call all the shots in their relationship, even pushing him behind closed doors for what we can only imagine could be some much needed sexy time. We’ll have to wait until next week’s episode to find out exactly what happened but it’s all a step in the right direction!

All that excitement aside, is Alec’s preoccupation with Magnus and progressing their relationship getting in the way of his responsibilities to the Shadowhunters and, also, his sister, Isabelle (Emeraude Toubia)? Can he find a way to find balance between his personal life and his Shadowhunter duties?

TV Insider went right to the source and talked with Daddario about what his new side of Alec, the addition of more humor in the show’s second season and, because we all need to know, how has it been for the actor kissing Shum now that Magnus has been sporting more facial hair this season?

This is a great episode to really see how far Alec has come since the series started. Do you feel he’s changed a lot in the second season?

Matthew Daddario: I do. That’s one of the biggest changes even beyond his relationship with Magnus. I think it also extends into how he interacts with the other Shadowhunters and everybody else. Unfortunately, you know, he keeps getting put into scenarios where he’s getting beaten and bruised a little bit, I mean, he kills poor Clary’s mother but even through all that, he’s still showing signs of being a more available and confident individual. Although it still hasn’t been very much time, so, these changes are very quick. It’s good he’s taking these steps but hopefully it’s not too fast.

Were you surprised when you found out Alec really has never been with anybody?

We actually had an extensive discussion about whether or not we would say that he’s been with someone. We played with the ideas, maybe a teenage fling, or we went so far to think maybe he had some illicit affairs that he hid from everybody but ultimately we decided to go this route. We wanted to explore this area with this kind of a person. A person who hasn’t had anything in the past and it’s sort of realistic. I’ve always thought of Alec…anything sexual that he’s ever thought about, he’s pushed out of the way very quickly. In the case of Jace (Dominic Sherwood), he was confused as hell about what love is and does love equal sexual attraction? It’s been a confusing time for Alec and its finally time that he gets what he wants.

I think it’s time!

Yeah, the poor guy, c’mon!

The show has not used the word ‘virgin’ to describe Alec but he essentially is a virgin…

Yeah, he is but the discussion of virginity, personally, I don’t find so interesting. It’s a big step, the first time, but honestly it’s a bigger step all the other times as you go along. It’s just one part of the process, so the finality of it is not so interesting to me. People who have had sex can be more virginal than people who haven’t had sex. It’s a confusing process. Alex has killed things, a lots of things if you think about it. From that perspective it’s not like he’s an innocent child. He’s far from it. I wouldn’t say he’s naïve, he’s just closed-off. So, virginal doesn’t really seem to describe Alec to me.

Since we found out that Magnus has been with more than a few people…

A couple people, yeah. [laughs]

Would you say Alec feels he needs to step up in the bedroom if he’s going to keep Magnus interested or why does he kind of push to take it to that next level?

That’s an interesting comment because there are a few things going on. First of all, can you be mad at somebody for all their exes because you weren’t around so it’s none of your business really unless it was harmful to them. It’s not really your business. You can’t be upset about it, you can’t be jealous about it. However, it’s really hard to think that way, especially when there’s 17,000 of them, so let’s also look at the fact that Alec doesn’t want to be not good at certain things and there were 17,000 before him so maybe that influences his decision. Although it’s possible that he’s doing that, it initially runs through his head. Ultimately, Alec is a twenty-something year-old guy who’s been closed-off for quite some time. Honestly, I think that he’s been thinking about this for years. He wants this.

I’ve noticed a lot more humor this season. How has it been playing some of those scenes that aren’t so serious and dire?

I think it’s a really nice to get the opportunity to play something humorous, especially considering that with this show is, you can’t take yourself too seriously. If we all take ourselves too seriously, it’s gonna get lost pretty quick because it’s werewolves and vampires and all these issues are very dramatic so you need a little bit of humor in order to break up the direness of the whole thing, the end of the world is coming and yada, yada, yada. I think the Jace and Simon scene is really great. I’m actually really looking forward to it. I remember the table read was hilarious. I didn’t get to see them film it, unfortunately, and I haven’t seen any real clips from it so I’m really looking forward to that.

Here’s a clip from last week’s episode where Magnus and Alec talk over their relationship:

Talk about Izzy for a minute because the audience knows that Izzy is basically needing her fix but Alec doesn’t pick up on that too much

It’s one of Alec’s biggest failings that he doesn’t pick up on it. Alec has always been focusing on work and all the Shadowhunting and all that. Normally, he would have found out all this immediately but he’s caught up in something new which is this relationship. Now, is that a bad thing? No, it’s not a bad thing. It’s a good thing that he’s doing this but he’s finally doing this. But he has to be able to balance these two things: the world of his work and the world of his relationship. The second half of this season we’re gonna be dealing with that issue of balancing that work and life and his failing to recognize his sister’s issue is part of the reason he feels this need to dedicate himself to his work.

Very important question. Have there been any new challenges with the fact that Harry has facial hair this season? Cuz it’s different kissing somebody who’s smooth-skinned face than somebody who has facial hair.

You know, I have not thought about that. Thanks a lot, now you pointed that out! I hadn’t considered it! I don’t know! Maybe I won’t like it. Maybe I will. I don’t know. Ultimately, it’s just about filming the scene so you’re just thinking about where you’re emotionally at. I hadn’t really thought about it. (laughs) Thanks a lot. Now, I’m gonna focus on it. I’m definitely gonna make fun of him for it.

Shadowhunters, Mondays, 8/7c, Freeform