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'Shadowhunters' recap: 'The Descent Into Hell Isn’t Easy'

In the biggest reveal since Luke and Vader, Clary learns the name of her real father

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John Medland/Free Form


TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Katherine McNamara, Dominic Sherwood, Alberto Rosende
Action, Drama, Fantasy

For those of you who read The Mortal Instruments books, you were probably surprised by the Shadowhunters writers’ decision to reveal in episode 2 that Clary’s father is none other than the biggest villain in shadowhunter history. You were probably equally shocked to learn that in the television version of the franchise, Hodge is not an older, pompous professor type, but a smoking-hot warrior. Sometimes change is good.

Our episode begins where we left off last week. Clary is confused. Jace has just taken out one of the Circle members. Simon begs Clary to come with him to find Luke so they can sort everything out. Although Clary eventually chooses the mysterious dude who tattooed her neck and dressed her up in a black leather miniskirt, Clary will not leave Simon behind. She forces Jace to un-glamour the Institute so Simon can see what they are really walking into. 

The Institute is full of shadowhunters who train relentlessly to save mundanes from certain death. For Simon, it’s a real, live New York version of Dungeons & Dragons, and Clary’s mom is somehow the dungeon master. He’s equally scared and ecstatic — just like every D&D quest he’s ever been on. Leave it to Alec to ruin geeky the moment. He warns Simon not to step on any of the runes on the ground or he will surely die. Alec is quickly becoming the most miserable person on television.

Jace explains that the Circle is an elite group who led a revolt years ago against fellow shadowhunters. Jace’s father was killed in this war. Everyone is forbidden to talk about it. This doesn’t stop Clary from demanding that someone talk about it. Jace suggests they visit Hodge. He instructs Simon to stay with Isabelle, but Clary balks. She and Simon are a package deal. It’s important that everyone knows that THEY ARE NOT TOGETHER in a romantic sense, but they are best friends — and BFFs are inseparable. Simon remembers the rune warning, checks out the equivalent of a Victoria’s Secret model standing before him, and opts to stay with Izzy. 

Since Hodge (Jon Cor) chose to abandon the Circle back in the day, he is forbidden from leaving the Institute. He spends all of his time as the weapons trainer. Translation? We can appreciate his impressive set of abs before he puts on a pesky shirt. Clary calmly explains that her mother was kidnapped by Circle members, and Hodge laughs. Valentine is dead, and the Circle died with him. Everyone knows that. The minute Hodge speaks the name Valentine, a rune on his neck begins burning by itself. It’s the Clave’s (shadowhunter justice system) way of making sure what happened in the Circle, stays in the Circle.

Clary is frustrated. Why does the Circle want her mother? Spoiler: Jocelyn was a former Circle member! As Hodge’s neck continues to sizzle, he wonders out loud what would happen if Valentine actually got the cup? Clary offers that her mother talked about a cup before she shoved her one and only daughter through a scary portal. Jace looks shocked. Could she be talking about the Mortal Cup? The most important artifact in the shadow world? It can create more shadowhunters, but left in the wrong hands, it can also control the demons. This is not good. 

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Jace warns Clary that going after the Mortal Cup is a good way to die, especially since she doesn’t have training. Clary doesn’t care. Jace finds her defiant attitude attractive, so he goes with it. Where would Clary’s mom hide the cup? THINK! When Clary reports nothing but empty blackness, it dawns on Jace that Clary’s memories have probably been erased. The only person who can do that is a warlock. Does she know anybody who may have accidentally released some purple sparks from his or her fingertips? Clary can only think of one person who fits that description — Dot.  

Just as I was thinking, “Too bad she is dead,” Dot graces my TV screen, looking all sorts of alive. The last we saw this woman, she was crunched up on the concrete pavement after being thrown out of a window. I guess that demon from episode 1 didn’t confiscate her skin as I originally thought. Details. 

Before the ragtag team of shadowhunters and one bespectacled mundane set out on an adventure to find Dot, Izzy gives Clary some clothes to wear for their journey featuring her two favorite colors: short and tight. Nothing says demon slayer like a tall pair of stiletto boots. Bring on the forsaken! Clary casually brings up Jace’s name in conversation, and Izzy cuts to the chase. Jace is like her brother. Her parents took him in when he was 10, and they’ve been training side-by-side ever since. Clary adjusts her leather bustier and follows Izzy into the hall.

Jace encourages Clary to embrace her inner shadowhunter. She was born to do this. It’s who she is. Now lets go track down the worst rogue demon exterminator in the history of ever before he kills us all! Clary touches her mother’s necklace and has a vision of Dot running into the club Pandemonium. Simon offers to drive. You know, unless they have a shadowhunter-mobile out back. I absolutely love this guy. Simon for the win.

NEXT: That’s going to leave a scar