It’s time for a recap of episode two of Shadowhunters — titled “The Descent Into Hell Isn’t Easy.” You know what else isn’t easy? Recaps, I’ve found, but I’m going to stick with it regardless.
We open with a close-up of Clary’s closed eyes, getting a glimpse of some excellently applied Wet n’ Wild. In one ear, Simon continues to implore Clary to come with him and seek mundane help for her troubles. In the other ear, Jace has stopped talking, because he has dignity like that.
Clary ultimately chooses the blonde, buff option over the weedy, bespectacled one and tells Simon, gently, that Jace can help them, really.
When they get inside the Institute (Simon tags along), the place looks like a trashed, old cathedral. Jace whips out his stele and starts marking a rune onto his skin. It burns and glows and Jace makes appropriately pained sounds — “Aaah! Gah!”
Jace then grabs Simon’s arm and Simon has a mild flip-out — “I’m not your type!” But then the old church becomes the high-tech Institute right before our eyes. Such is the power of runes.
Simon casts his eyes over the scene — the high-tech screens and equipment, the mouldering columns, the bustling extras in their leather-y Olive Garden uniforms… “What the hell? Where are we?” he asks in a trembling voice. “Is there a war going on?”
“There is now,” says Jace coolly, walking off.
“I think my mother is in the middle of it,” Clary tell Simon, gravely.
They join Jace at one of the oversized screens. He swishes his finger around on it, jabbing occasionally.
“This guy is supposed to protect us?” mutters Simon.
“He is going to protect us,” reassures Clary, with all the faith in the world.
“Specifically you,” corrects Jace, referring to Clary. “It’s kind of our thing.”
“A thing?! You guys have a thing?!” freaks Simon.
Clary is all, “Relax, he means a ‘shadowhunter’ thing. They protect people.” But she’s either lying straight-up or Jace’s flirting went over her head.
Alec walks up to them. Like in the last episode, Alec has a stick up his bottom. He complains about Simon’s mundane presence in the Institute. Jace explains that a Circle member was outside and Simon needed refuge.
“What is a Circle member?” asks Simon.
Jace explains to Simon and for those watchers who have forgotten: “All we know is that the Circle led a revolt a long time ago. A lot of shadowhunters were killed, including—” he chokes “— my father.” The acting is glorious.
“Since the revolt we’ve been forbidden from even hearing about the Circle,” Alec intones.
Clary objects to this censorship of history.
Jace sniffs, “Says the girl who didn’t even know she was a shadowhunter!”
Clary gives him the point. “But the only person who knows the truth has been taken! I don’t care about your rules! I just want my mother back! There’s got to be someone out there who knows where she is!”
“There is,” says Jace, who has been tapping on a screen near Isabelle. “You comin’?” he starts lurching away.
“Yah,” says Clary.
Simon follows but Jace stops him with a hand to the shoulder.
“Hey! We’re a package deal!” objects Clary.
“There are RUNES all over the training room floor that would kill your boyfriend,” says Jace.
Clary and Simon awkwardly object to the “boyfriend” title.
“And I’m tough!” says Simon. “I can take your runes. Bring on the runes! What are runes?”
“They give shadowhunters our demon-fighting powers,” exposits Isabelle, sexily running her stele over her rune scars, which — sorry make-up department — are the color of old hickeys.
Simon melts down, babbling that about how hot Isabelle is, in lieu of introducing himself like a normal person.
Isabelle laughs delightedly. She tells Clary that she’ll take good care of Simon. In fact she was just about to make breakfast.
Jace cracks that the training room runes might be less lethal than Isabelle’s breakfast.
Isabelle, apologizes for everyone’s lack of manners and introduces Alec and herself to Simon. Simon continues to spaz, but Isabelle seems charmed by his melt-down.
With one more reassurance that Simon will be fine in the capable hands of Isabelle, Jace escorts Clary towards the training room.
We cut to the interior of a parking garage at night, which can’t mean anything good.
Sure enough, a young guy with bud-like horns is accosted by Circle Member Six, the attractive black woman from the previous episode. She’s wearing a skin-tight white dress and heels, so I’m surprised that she’s able to get the upper hand in this situation.
But she’s only able to bite out the words, “where is Magnus Bane?” before Luke gets the drop on her from behind. Luke tells the horned boy, a warlock, to take off, and he begins to interrogate Six by slamming her up against a car and pressing into her with his body. Six groans and breaths heavily. It’s plenty sexual.
The two bite out words at each other while they slam around and pant. Six accuses Luke of being a traitor to the Circle and killing her boyfriend, Konrad. Luke blames Valentine for Konrad’s death, but threatens Six with a similar demise if she doesn’t spill Circle secrets.
But Six knows how to fight in her orange, ankle-breaker heels and starts pushing back against Luke, brandishing a seraph blade. We only hear what happens next, because an SUV blocks our view, but it sounds as if a large, snarling dog appears. Hmm.
Back at the Institute, Clary and Jace have arrived at the training room. A woman in yoga gear is wielding a staff at a shirtless man, who is defending himself with exotic looking blades. This man is probably the hottest guy we’ve seen yet on the show, body-wise.
Clary agrees with me because she asks after him: “Who is that guy?”
“That’s Hodge,” replies Jace, and I wan’t to laugh because Jared Harris played Hodge in the movie. The casting department seems to be moving this character in a fresher direction.
Jace explains that Hodge used to be a Circle member, but that the Shadowhunter “Clave” spared his life. However, Hodge is forbidden from ever leaving the Institute.
Hodge’s training fight ends with him chopping the woman’s staff into firewood, to her shock. He then regains his shirt with blissfully lingering movements. Moving towards Jace, Hodge sees Clary and mistakes her for Jocelyn for a moment, before explaining that Jocelyn Fairchild was one of his best friends.
Jace explains that Jocelyn was taken by the Circle. Hodge tries to speak to them about it, but every time he attempts to say the word “Circle,” or “Valentine,” an angry, circular welt on his neck starts to sizzle and burn, cutting him off. Despite his pain, Hodge tells them that Jocelyn was once a member of the Circle as well, to Clary’s shock.
Supported from collapsing by Jace, Hodge continues to explain that Jocelyn left the Circle, taking a very important shadowhunter object with her — the Mortal Cup — which can create more shadowhunters and control demons.
The pain from his punishment rune is too great at this point, and Hodge breaks away from Jace and crawls away from them, Gollum-like, but not before imploring Clary to protect Jocelyn.
Clary is walk-running as fast as she can in her borrowed, thigh-high boots towards the exit. She will not calm down, despite Jace’s cajoling. She tells Jace that, unlike him, she is not an emotionless G.I. Joe.
“What is a G.I. Joe?” asks Jace, with confusion.
That is exactly Clary’s point. Jace doesn’t know anything about anything, especially what’s it’s like to have a mother kidnapped.
Jace agrees with her on that point. He never had a mother. “You don’t know anything about me or my life or what it means to be a shadowhunter.” Jace tells her that running off without a plan will get her killed.
Clary’s fury abates. She slumps against the wall and recounts all that they know… Valentine has taken Jocelyn, because he thinks Jocelyn has the Mortal Cup.
Jace urges Clary to remember if Jocelyn indeed has the Cup, but Clary can’t remember anything about it. Then, Jace has a moment of enlightenment. Clary’s memory could have been wiped by a warlock! Does Clary remember any person who fits the description?
Clary thinks of Dot, who made the portal to send Clary to the police station in the last episode. The last Clary saw of Dot, a demon had taken her guise. Clary resolves to find the real Dot and seek answers. With this new mission, Clary bounces off to find Simon.
Luke is in Clary’s room, boxing up her belongings.
The door opens and Luke spins around, gun drawn. But it’s only Dot.
Luke immediately asks after Clary, but Dot insists that the last she saw of Clary, the girl was being sent through a portal to Luke. To that thinly-veiled barb, Luke has no answer.
The two exchange some jumbled dialogue, bristling with hostility. We learn that Dot is, indeed, a warlock. She survived her lethal fall from the last episode and put a spell on the Fray house to ward off the mundane police. Luke is taking Clary’s possessions with him, so that no one from the Circle can track the girl. Both seem to want the same things — to find Clary and Jocelyn — but can’t work together due to lack of trust.
The scene closes with Dot announcing her intent to enlist Magnus Bane’s help.
Simon is sitting on Isabelle’s magnificent bed when Isabelle brings breakfast in on a tray. There are some glasses of juice, bowls of mush, and poorly cooked eggs.
Isabelle takes a sip of juice, eyeing Simon beguilingly over the lip of her cup. Simon gulps and asks after runes. He must be inspired by Isabelle’s own, which are on prominent display, because she’s not wearing much of a top.
Isabelle explains that runes will kill a mundane if drawn on their skin — either that or the mundane will become mad, a “forsaken.” Then shadowhunters have to kill them.
Wait! thinks Simon. What about the healing rune on Clary’s neck? Did Jace know that Clary was a shadowhunter when he drew that?
“He was almost certain,” replies Isabelle.
Simon is enraged and rises to his feet, but Isabelle uses the power of her runes to speed-walk and block Simon’s path. “Where are you going?” she breathes.
Simon is going to protect Clary from Jace!
Isabelle laughs. Clary is with the ultimate protector in Jace. He’s the strongest, fiercest, and handsomest shadowhunter of them all.
Simon has no choice but to sit back down. Isabelle is essentially holding him hostage right now. And the prison food sucks. “There’s more where this came from,” coos Isabelle, dipping some blackened toast into the mush.
All of Simon’s ardor for Isabelle appears to have been firmly doused. All he can talk about is Clary. Will the Circle really be a threat to his friend?
“They’ll be a threat to us all,” says Isabelle gravely.
Scenes Seven, Eight, and Nine
We reenter the tech-room in the Institute. Jace stops in front of a screen, muttering, “Where are you, Jocelyn Fray?”
But his search, whatever it was, pulls up a RESTRICTED error. Jace grimaces in frustration, while the camera fades to Jocelyn, still unconscious in Chernobyl.
Valentine stands, shifting from foot to foot, over her levitating body. He cocks his head, watching her beadily, like a crazy bird.
The camera cuts to the box of Clary’s belongings. Luke is at the police station, shoving the items into his desk drawers. His captain, Vargas, appears, wanting to know about Clary’s well-being. Luke lies to her smoothly and Vargas moves on.
Clary stands in front of a mirror in Isabelle’s room, wearing more of Isabelle’s clothes. She’s uncomfortable with the skin she’s showing, but Isabelle laughs at Clary’s modesty.
Clary asks after Simon, but Isabelle has passed the geeky friend off to Jace and Alec.
The coast is clear for girl talk — Clary probes about Isabelle’s relationship with Jace. “Are you all like family?”
Isabelle sees through the cover and puts Clary’s real question out in the open. “You want to know if Jace and I are a thing.”
Clary looks embarrassed, but she wants to know. Isabelle obliges — Jace is Isabelle’s brother in every way. Her parents took Jace in when the boy was ten. They learned to fight together, and do so, side by side.
Clary looks sick at the idea of fighting like a shadowhunter, and expresses her worry, but Isabelle tells Clary that the girl was born to the shadowhunter life, even if Clary doesn’t feel the part yet.
The girls then transition into more exposition:
“But now we need to find Dot.”
“And track down the most dangerous rogue shadowhunter in history before he kills us all. Let’s go.”
Luke is swaggering around a darkened police station. He notes his coworker from the previous episode walking by and flags the man down. He tells the coworker that Clary was at the station the night before, when the Circle members were there. He instructs the coworker to “work the Simon Lewis angle,” to find Clary by finding her best friend.
Back at the Institute, Simon and Clary are putting on their coats. Simon is talking to Clary frantically under his breath. “We can find Dot without these guys, let’s GO.”
But Clary will not be deterred. She tells Simon that they need the shadowhunters. Simon and Clary have no idea how to kill demons.
“Just one internet search away,” Simon objects.
Meanwhile, Isabelle has opened a weapons locker and is stroking the seraph blades inside fondly. Jace comes up. The two bet that Alec will disapprove of the mission in three, two…
“I disapprove of this mission,” barks Alec, striding up. “I contacted the Clave, they’re going to send seelie scouts in.” The teen shadowhunters are off the job.
Clary says she’s going to look for Dot with or without the Clave’s approval.
Jace pleads to Alec — Clary won’t be safe out there alone. Isabelle agrees with Jace and Clary, to Alec’s consternation.
“Where should we start then?” Alec asks Clary hostilely.
Clary begins to mutter about Dot’s apartment, while fiddling with her magical necklace, but the jewelry gives her a vision just then — of Dot running into Magnus Bane’s club, PANDEMONIUM. She tells the shadowhunters that she knows where to find Dot.
“Great, I’ll drive!” pipes Simon.
Inside Pandemonium, Magnus Bane is sending a line of warlocks through a portal, telling them that it’s their last train to salvation. Dot comes running up and latches onto Magnus’s arm. He gives her a withering look for touching his person.
Dot cries about Jocelyn being missing, but Magnus is unmoved. Valentine, Magnus explains, is hunting down warlocks one-by-one, trying to find the one who put Jocelyn into a magical slumber.
Magnus invites “Dorothy” to hop through the portal with him, but Dot can’t leave the shadowhunters behind, not when they’re in a lurch like this. Magnus scoffs, refuses to put his life on the line for a hostile species, and walks through the portal.
Dot runs out of the club. She exits into an alley, looking super uncomfortable at being a lone female in the city at night. Her instincts are spot on, because when she turns the corner, Circle members accost her.
Meanwhile, nearby, Clary and the rest are striding towards the club. Clary grasps her necklace and sees Dot’s attack. She screams for Dot and runs…
But when she arrives at the scene of the attack, Dot and the Circle goons are gone. She hastily explains what happened to her comrades and they run into Pandemonium, searching for Dot.
Inside, the club is empty, and Dot is nowhere to be found. Clary despairs, knowing that the Circle must have Dot, who’s like her big sister, in their clutches.
Jace mentions that there’s one other thing they can do to bring back her memories… visit the Silent Brothers.
Alec, AND Isabelle this time, object stridently to this plan. The Silent Brothers can retrieve memories, but the process could kill Clary.
Clary, of course, is all for the plan, if it helps to get her mother back. If anyone has a better way to do that she’s all ears.
But no one has a better plan, so it’s off to the Silent Brothers and their “City of Bones.” Jace is triumphant.
Simon’s yellow band-wagon is parked in a seedy, weedy part of town, full of brush and abandoned machinery. There are some torches lit, lighting a path to a creepy looking structure. Jace tells Clary and Simon to stay behind while he scouts for danger with Alec and Isabelle.
When they’re off a ways, Alec and Jace start a conversation. Alec warns Jace that if Clary’s injured in this endeavor, the responsibility will be on them, the shadowhunters.
Jace defends himself, saying that it’s of crucial importance that they get the Cup before Valentine. Besides, Clary has the right to risk herself. She’s lost everything and Jace knows exactly what that feels like.
“What’s your problem with her, anyway?” Jace continues. He thought Alec’s family liked picking up strays.
Alec reassures Jace that he was never a stray, not in Alec’s family’s eyes.
Jace tells Alec that nothing has changed between them. There’s just one more family member in the fight.
Back at Clary and Simon’s pow-wow, Simon is wondering at Clary’s calm in the tornado of weird that has just swept the two of them up. Clary insists that her life is actually just starting to make sense, but that it won’t be much of a life until her mom is with her again.
Jace interrupts, saying that the coast is clear.
Inside the laboratory at Chernobyl, Dot is in a cell, a ways away from Jocelyn’s floating body. Valentine stops by. He slickly bemoans the fact that Dot won’t cooperate and wake Jocelyn. Dot may be old, but she isn’t wise.
Dot protests, saying that the warlock who made the potion is the one to reverse it. Valentine demands a name, but Dot won’t give one up. Valentine grabs one of his humongous syringes and plunges it into Dot’s neck.
Back at the weed-ridden, torch-lit path to the City of Bones, Clary and Jace are alone. The others have lagged behind. Jace warns Clary that the Silent Brothers will hold a Soul-Sword to her head and carve the truth from her mind to get at her memories. If she isn’t “strong” enough, she will die. The pain will be excruciating…
Jace seems to second guess himself at this point, but Clary insists that she will do anything to retrieve her mother.
The group approaches the entrance to the City of Bones. Jace bars Simon’s progress. Simon will die if he enters the City. Jace was joking before about the training room, but the rune-energy here IS lethal. Isabelle volunteers to stay behind with Simon, while Alec, rolling his eyes, retreats to the perimeter.
Clary gives Simon a lingering hug good-bye and Jace barks for Clary to not keep the Silent Brothers waiting. Clary goes to him and Jace places a hand on her back. Simon watches them go.
Reading this fraught situation, Isabelle decides to stir the cauldron by whispering in Simon’s ear: “They’re getting to be quite the team!”
At the police station that never turns on the lights, Vargas is on the warpath. She’s caught on to Luke’s suspicious behavior, especially because one of his “witnesses,” a circle member, turned up dead outside an old church. And his other “witness,” the sexy Goon Six, was horribly mauled in a parking garage. Vargas warns Luke to not give her a reason to doubt him.
She clicks away and Luke’s coworker quietly berates him for flying above the radar. And also, Luke had better find Clary soon or the Circle will get her.
Luke mutters that he will find Clary. No one knows her better than him.
Back with Jace and Clary, they are descending into the City of Bones. Jace pulls out a glowing stone, “a WITCHLIGHT,” which he says all shadowhunters carry to remind them that “there is light, even in the darkest of places.”
What can I say? This reminds me VERY STRONGLY of Lord of the Rings, when Galadriel gives Frodo that pretty, glow-y crystal, calling it the elves’ “brightest star… may it be a light to you when all other lights go out.” But J.R.R. Tolkien is dead, so I guess this is more homage than rip-off.
Anyway, Jace gives Clary the witchlight and the two move towards a statue of an angel wielding the Mortal Cup and a sword. On the sword, the shadowhunter creed is written: “NEPHILIM FACILIS DECURSUS IN INFERNUM EST.” At first Jace tells Clary that it means, “Shadowhunters: Looking Better In Black Than the Widows of Our Enemies,” but she’s not fooled. Okay, it means “For Shadowhunters, The Descent Into Hell Is Easy.” The sword points towards the path down into the City of Bones.
The two reach a lighter area and Jace takes the witchlight from Clary and pockets it. It’s a bit abrupt, so maybe that’s why — or the fact that she might soon die — that causes her to apologize to Jace for saying that stuff about him not knowing about mothers earlier.
Jace grins. “You assume I have feelings. I don’t.” His mother died when he was a baby. His father died when he was ten. He keeps it together.
“Wait. Is your father buried here?” asks Clary with horror.
“… No. Circle members aren’t allowed to be buried in the City of Bones.” Jace’s face twitches and convulses with anger and pain. The actor goes for it so hard. I guess Jace is not so together after all. “My father tried to leave the Circle, and it cost him his LIFE.”
Clary gets a realization. “That’s why you’re helping me.”
Jace’s face continues to tremble and spasm. “Valentine and his followers need to PAY.”
Clary takes Jace’s hand, tenderly. “For what’s it’s worth, I’m sorry.”
Jace grins, his face normal once again. No more of that. “You’re a shadowhunter now.”
The two, with clasped hands, walk into the City of Bones. Unsurprisingly, there are crumbly, human remains everywhere. They stop at a rune on the floor, which Clary recognizes from having drawn it before. It mean’s “clairvoyance,” explains Jace.
Then the torches flare! They are surrounded by men in robes. Their… how can I say this… their mouths and eyes are sewn shut. It’s gross! I actually shout “ew!” when I see this, instead of guffawing like I did at the movie version of the Silent Brothers. I don’t remember the Brother’s eyes being that way in the film version, but it’s GROSS here. There are these awful puckered gaps in the eyelids… ugh, I can’t.
One of the Brothers removes his hood, with pale, mouldering hands. He speaks to Clary and Jace inside their heads. “SHADOWHUNTER…COME INTO THE CIRCLE.” He gestures to Clary.
Clary does so.
“STEP AWAY, JACE WAYLAND!” bellows the Silent Brother clairvoyantly. Jace backs up, letting Clary know that he’ll be waiting in the wings.
The Silent Brother asks Clary again if she’s sure she wants to go through with the process of retrieving her memories. He tells her, as we’ve heard before, that if she’s not strong enough the Soul-Sword will kill her.
Clary flashes back to all of the encouragement we’ve seen her get this episode and last. Everyone’s building her up! She’s more powerful than she knows! She was born to do this! She’s a SHADOWHUNTER!
Clary nods. She’s ready.
Back to Simon, Isabelle, and Alec, who are waiting outside. Simon is uncertain about his choice to stay behind. Does Jace really have this under hand? Simon is just worry-worting away and it annoys Alec, who snaps rudely.
Simon balks at Alec’s bad manners, but Isabelle explains that Alec just suffers from Oldest Child Syndrome.
Ah yes, says Simon, he’s an only son as well. Lots of responsibility. His mom wants him to be a CPA.
“And you?” purrs Isabelle. “What do you want?”
“Well… I’m in a band.”
“REALLY?!? What kind of music? Let me guess… Indie rock?”
“Yeah,” blushes Simon prettily.
“Do you have any songs on your phone?”
Simon has the last set recorded, actually, but the phone is in the car.
Oh, let’s GO to the CAR, Isabelle says, all but waggling her eyebrows suggestively.
Alec intones mildly dismay at Isabelle’s choice of make-out partner, but Isabelle brushes him off.
“It passes the time.”
Simon: “I can hear you, you know.”
In the van, Maureen is texting Simon’s phone. She wants to know if they’re still on for rehearsal tonight. Simon ignores her, instead trying to find the right set clip to impress Isabelle.
Suddenly Isabelle hears something. She goes off, warning Simon to stay in the van. Simon swears he will and then puts on his oversize headphones to wait. He tries pick a song, but discards his first choice. He moves onto the next choice. This song has to be perfect. Is has to be — a long-nailed hand clamps onto him from behind!!!
In the City of Bones, the brothers chant in a circle around Clary. The Soul-Sword descends upon her from above, almost piercing her forehead. She flashes back to a blocked memory.
Luke and Jocelyn are talking within earshot of Clary, who is pretending to be asleep. Clary hears as Luke tries to persuade Jocelyn to stop blocking Clary’s memories. Jocelyn objects, saying that if Clary ever found out that a dude like Valentine was her father, it would destroy her.
Clary comes back to the present. The Soul-Sword has pierced her skin, and a little rivulet of blood is on her head. She’s gasping, hard.
The Silent Brothers say that only fragments of memories were accessible. Jace asks after the Mortal Cup, but Clary still doesn’t know anything about that. What she found out… is… that Valentine is… Valentine is her father!
Jace looks shocked and Clary runs off, in distress.
Dot is alone in her cell. She has survived Valentine’s Chernobyl Injection Special for the time being. She breaks her cage lock with magic. She limps towards Jocelyn, saying that she knows Jocelyn can hear. Clary is so brave and strong and she won’t let Valentine win.
Dot is almost to Jocelyn when Circle Goon Two jumps her. Two chokes Dot against a laboratory desk, but Dot reaches for a syringe, in the style of Grace Kelly in Dial M For Murder, and gives Two the Chernobyl Special in the neck.
Dot is crawling away from Two’s convulsing body when Valentine appears. He bends over Two, compliments his loyalty and sacrifice, and pushes the syringe plunger in all the way. Two dies.
Meanwhile, Dot has made it about three feet. Valentine easy traps her and kills her with a seraph blade, stating that Dot was right. “I was never going to let you go.”
Clary and Jace emerge from the City of Bones. Alec is straight to business: “What did you find out.”
The two confide the truth — that Valentine is Clary’s father.
Alec immediately posits that Clary is a spy for Valentine, but Jace and Clary object to this, especially Clary, who is in great distress. Her unease sharpens when Isabelle shows up and relates the alarming truth — Simon has disappeared.
Back at the van, Clary fumbles with Simon’s headphones on his empty seat. “Simon!” she keens.
But they don’t even have to search, because Simon’s kidnappers reveal themselves. They’re standing on top of a nearby… fire tower? Electrical tower? Some sort of tower — dangling Simon by his ankles.
Jace informs the kidnappers that he will gladly destroy them.
“Careful,” says Alec. “You’ll be violating the Accords.”
The vampires holding Simon look smug. And they are vampires, although they call themselves “Night Children.” We can see their fangs. (The one holding Simon is a smoking Asian girl in a red dress.) The vampires will exchange Simon for the Mortal Cup. No more, no less. With that, the vamps drop the mike and disappear with our favorite geek.
And that, dear readers, is that. I can’t believe I finished a second one of these recaps. It was easier, this time around, mainly because I typed WAY less and am grateful for it.
I give this episode three stars out of five. I liked it!