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

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John Medland/Free Form

Shadowhunters

type:
TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
seasons:
1
run date:
01/12/16
performer:
Katherine McNamara, Dominic Sherwood, Alberto Rosende
broadcaster:
Freeform
genre:
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

[pagebreak]

Dot finds warlock Magnus Bane in Pandemonium. She tells him that Jocelyn has been kidnapped and Clary is unaccounted for. Magnus is indifferent. He knows that Valentine is hunting warlocks and it would be in her best interest to run with him. Valentine can’t kill what he can’t find. Dot refuses. She wanders outside, and it’s clear someone is about to snatch her. Geez. How many supposedly dead Circle members are there? 

Clary is frustrated that the Scooby Gang didn’t get to Dot before she was abducted. How will she ever recover her memories now? Jace mentions the Silent Brothers, and the Lightwood siblings freak out. She doesn’t know what she’s facing! She’s not prepared! She’ll DIE! Jace glances at Clary and asks her what she wants to do. She wants to go see these Silent Brothers. She’s not afraid. At this response, Clary slides up a few notches on Jace’s “She’s So Awesome” scale. He instructs Simon to drive them to the City of Bones. Something tells me I wouldn’t want a summer home here.  

We find the Mystery Machine in a generic creepy location. Alec grabs Jace, making sure he understands that if something happens to Clary, her death is on them. Jace tries to pull at Alec’s heartstrings (too bad they don’t exist), reminding Alec that Clary lost everything. He knows what that’s like, and he had good people to step in and help him in his time of need. Alec seems to soften (WHAT?) and offers to guard the perimeter. Simon offers to stay behind to guard the entrance, or gates of hell as he calls it, with Izzy. 

Back in town, the Captain asks Luke about the two witnesses he was questioning before. It seems that one turned up dead in front of an old church (thank you, Jace) and the other was discovered all bloody in a parking garage with claw marks all over a nearby vehicle. Luke keeps it to himself that he attacked the second victim, knowing that the Captain would never understand the lengths he will go to when threatened. Turning into an animal is just one of his worries.

Speaking of worries, Jace looks like he’s ready to hurl as he descends the steps into the City of Bones. He babbles on about how the Silent Brothers could kill Clary if she’s not strong enough. The process to retrieve her memories will be excruciating. Clary presses on, her flaming red hair bouncing. Jace refrains from stopping to carve “J+C” one the walls of the crypt. He grabs her hand and leads her into a circular room.

The Silent Brothers are not an attractive group. Although powerful and wise are certainly strong character traits, their decision to gouge out their eyeballs and stitch their mouths closed probably hinders them from ranking very high on OKCupid. The fact that they speak though your thoughts is straight-up unfortunate. Nevertheless, Clary stands in the middle of this weird band of brothers as they lower a special sword from the ceiling. 

A few memories flitter to the surface. Clary sees Luke trying to persuade Jocelyn to tell Clary the truth. But what is this horrific truth? That’s she’s a shadowhunter? That her mother has been hiding her heritage for her entire life? That she’s not a true redhead? Please. That’s child’s play. The big, bad secret is that Valentine is Clary’s father. How’s that for a reveal, Jace? Do you still think she’s hot knowing that the blood in her veins runs a little dark? Time will tell.

Over at the bad guy’s lair, Dot uses magic to get out of a locked cage. She groggily crawls over to Jocelyn. She tells her glowing friend that Clary is strong and is going to be okay. Dot fights off one of Valentine’s goons but is unable to escape Valentine himself. He picks up a seraph blade and strikes her. I’d say RIP Dot, but this chick has nine lives. I assume she’ll be back eventually. 

While Clary and Jace make their way above ground, Simon does a little flirting with Izzy. His opening line? I’m in a band. Izzy asks if he has any of his music on his phone? Unlike everyone his age, Simon doesn’t have his phone with him. He left it in the van. Izzy hears something. She demands that Simon get inside the van and lock the door. He obliges yet puts on his headphones to cue up the track. Like most horror movies, the sound Izzy heard was coming from INSIDE THE VAN. A pair of hands grab Simon and pull him to the back.

Izzy frantically tells the others that she lost Simon. They put their heads together to make a plan when a voice rings out from above. A tiny, wisp of a girl dangles Simon by his ankles from a high bridge. Say hello to the vampire division of the downworlders, everyone! The young girl’s co-kidnapper gives the shadowhunters an ultimatum: The mundane in exchange for the Mortal Cup. 

And just like that, Clary’s to-do list gets a little bit longer. 

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