"The shadow world is not easy on anyone:" Shadowhunters star Alberto Rosende on Simon and Maia, that double date and what's next

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Apr 3, 2018

At the end of Shadowhunters Season 2, we learned that Simon (Alberto Rosende) made a deal with the Seelie Queen (Sarah Hyland) to save Maia (Alisha Wainwright). No one—not even Simon—knows what he's bargained for. But, in the most recent episode, we got a little hint of the things to come (but not yet the reasons why).

Simon was told in the season premiere, "Though you walk in the daylight, darkness will follow" while receiving a mark on his forehead. Last week that mark went all glowy and protected him from a pack of werewolves, but there's no way the Seelie Queen is protecting Simon out of the goodness of her heart. She wants something. We talked to Simon himself—Alberto Rosende—about his new relationship with Maia, his old relationship with Clary and what we can expect in a show that thrives on the unexpected.

So when I talked to Kat it was right before the season started and one thing that she discussed was how everything's kind of changed. Valentine is gone, and so there's all new adventures happening while still dealing with the fallout from all that happened last season. How's Simon kind of dealing with everything?

I think he's taking it one step at a time. Simon was very overwhelmed at the beginning. Season 2 kind of helped him find his footing and then he met Maia, who really helped him start to make that transition into being a downworlder, because she is one, but she was also as with a lot of werewolves and vampires they were mundanes for a while before. They knew nothing of this world and then were unfairly without asking were tossed into it and then kind of had to learn their place again. So thankfully he's got Maia and then we saw in these first two episodes that she really does ground and they do really work together, which I think has really helped. He's still learning.

Yeah, how's that relationship going to change? I mean, I'm sure they're gonna see some hurdles and hiccups, but can you tell us a little bit about what we can expect? 

Oh, yeah, it wouldn't be our show if it weren't a little tough for them.

Of course; nothing can be easy.

Yeah, the shadow world is not easy on anyone. But we definitely saw the beginning of what some of those hiccups might be in episode two of season three where you saw that deep seated hatred stamp between vampires and werewolves. That traditional idea that they're not supposed to like each other, and they don't. And Simon is kind of overstaying his welcome at the J Wolf, so that's part of the tension they'll have as a couple. And how they deal with that and where that world takes them with Simon's new gained ability as well will be a lot of their journey together.

Speaking of some new Simon abilities, we saw a bit of what, obviously, people are speculating to be the mark of Cain. How are we going to continue to see the ramifications of this and the deal with the Seelie Queen? 

Well, I mean, as we saw, Simon had no idea what it was, and then something crazy happened. And then the Seelie Queen did give him that extremely ominous ... what is it called? Like, a prophecy. Like, "Wherever you walk, darkness will follow." And then the fact that the first time the werewolves enact any sort of violence on him was after that. I don't think that's a coincidence. You know what I mean? I think there's something to it, and Simon really has to figure out what that is because we saw that he doesn't know what it does and the consequences are very violent and can really hurt people. We don't know what else that mark can do, we don't know what else that gives him. So he really needs to dive in on that. And I think that's what we'll see some of too. 

Now, are there other parts of that deal that we haven't seen yet? Is there more to it than this mark?

Well, like everything the Seelies do, there's always something behind it, and it's never something obvious. There are other things underneath it and the reason why...we have to figure it out. That's gonna be a journey for him for sure. 

Simon and Clary just had this hugely awkward double date. How is their relationship going to continue on throughout the season? 

They both know that they're kind of in this place where they're giving each other space and doing their own thing, but they've known each other for so long and that double date just proved how close they really were. Yes, they have that romantic thing and didn't work out, but they still really care about each other and they still know each other extremely well. And the one thing that Simon and Clary both have that no one else can take from them is that they entered this world together at the same time. And they were with each other before and they're gonna be with each other after. So whenever they do connect it's always gonna be important and nice for them to kind of come home for a sec and ground themselves, but they do have their own journeys. Clary's whole role, and now, she's officially a shadow hunter. How does that change for her? And Simon's whole thing with this mark and just trying to date a werewolf in the shadow world in 2018. You know? 

Yeah, it's nice to see a healthy breakup on TV. That's weirdly rare.  

Yeah, well, I mean, I feel like if there was ever gonna be a healthy breakup ever, it would be between Simon and Clary. To me, that makes total sense. They're both grounded, caring, compassionate, understanding people. They do have their own things, but for the most part they care about each other so much that they would never sacrifice what they've built just because one path didn't work out. 

One thing Kat and I talked about was that there are some exploring of new dynamics in relationships that we haven't really seen as much before. Different people being paired off and exploring those relationships and friendships more than we have in the past. Are there any scenes with other characters and cast members that you are excited about or looking forward to deepening those relationships? 

I know that we saw in the double date that Jace recognizes that Simon knows a lot about Clary, in a way that he kind of wants to, in a way that Jace himself wants to be that close to her. So there will be a deepening in that relationship because of the proximity of how close they to Clary. And how while they do have this contentious relationship there is a lot of respect between them.

Simon has been through so much. What has it been like to play that as an actor? 

Although now, he's more grounded in the shadow world, and he has a better understanding of how that world works, he still is the Mundane seeing this world with the audience. Recognizing things, making jokes that the Shadowhunters don't know because it's a reference to pop culture they don't have. So there are parts of it that are easy because it's just me getting to say like, "Wow. I'm sitting in front of a person that calls himself a Shadowhunter, who gets these cool tattoos that gives him powers because they are angelic beings, and they live in a world of vampires and werewolves, and Seelies and all this crazy stuff that for the longest time I thought was only things people did on Halloween, and now, you're telling me that they're real?" So he still gets to have those moments, and he's seeing everything for the first time.

Have, you been surprised by some of the turns that your character has taken?  Did the writers fill you in on what's going to happen, or do you get to be surprised too, just like that fans? 

At the beginning of every season our showrunners we sit down and they don't tell us everything because they like to give us little gifts and little surprises here and there, but we do sit down and they kind of talk about an arc. They say, "So, Alberto, were thinking this to this. We're thinking something like this might happen around here. And then we want to do this, and then this is our goal for here." And you're like, "OK, cool." That's a very general arc, but there's enough specificity where I know there's gonna be three big things that happen to him, and then two little things or whatever that is. But then there's also stuff in the episodes where I'm reading other people's parts because I only ask about Simon and then what's happening in other people's worlds what that's really in relation to because that's all we have time for. And then when it gets revealed in episode, let's say, 16, and you're like, "Whoa, wait, what? I'm meeting this person? I'm going where? With who? This is so ... " And then the writers are like, "Yeah, that's really cool." And you're like, "Oh, my gosh, I know you said this was going to happen sometime around there, but I didn't realize you meant it was going to happen like this." It's like they give you the painting, so you can see it, and then in the episodes they give you the color. And then you're blown away, you're like, "Whoa, I did not think that could be that blue, that orange. That's beautiful. That's awesome."