Season 2, Episode 1: “A Door Into the Dark”
Teleplay by Y. Shireen Razack
Directed by Andy Wolk
Last week’s episode of Shadowhunters really started turning the tables and leading towards a path of doubt and confusion for everyone. While we all know Jace (Dominic Sherwood) was forced into joining Valentine (Alan Van Sprang) to save his loved ones, the Clave sees things differently. Victor Aldertree (Nick Sagar) takes over at the Institute and his first order of business is putting Jace on the wanted list, dead or alive. After torturing Jace, Valentine attempts to show Jace how evil the downworlders are by taking him to a den of mundane-killing vampires. When Jace ends up killing Maria (Jessica Matten), he begins to question his own motives and morals. He ends up saving an injured Valentine and leaving Clary (Katherine McNamara) behind. For a more in-depth look at last week’s episode, check out my recap and review here, then watch my 1-minute recap of tonight’s episode below.
We start out pretty much where we left off. Jace and Valentine have portaled to the Morgenstern ship and Clary is angrily stomping away from Jocelyn (Maxim Roy) back at the Institute. Valentine is pretty pleased that Jace didn’t abandon him, but Jace still refuses to kill innocent downworlders for him, so he doesn’t stay happy for long. Side note: the portals they started using in the second season look much better now. They remind me of representations of wormholes from other sci-fi type shows and movies.
Back at the Institute, Jocelyn admits to Clary that Valentine experimented on Johnathan (Jace’s actual first name) and that he is evil because of the demon blood that was injected into him. To prove this, she uses the same memory-sharing technique that Valentine used previously to show Clary how her baby brother had disintegrated a flower with his black eyes before he could really even babble. It definitely seems to be a very convenient rune for flashbacks, now. Those eyes, though, look pretty cool in a crazy, demonic sort of way!
The new introduction is way better than season one’s. It’s darker and more powerful, so it conveys the start of the second season well so far. This season certainly has a darker edge to it, but I love how it’s drawing out so many more intense interactions. Clary seems to be fighting an inner struggle as much as Jace is right now. She wants a normal life back at her awesome art school instead of the responsibilities that were suddenly thrust on her. While Simon (Alberto Rosende) has always been a constant supporter for her, Clary’s relationship with Izzy (Emeraude Toubia) is really developing into a touching friendship. Unfortunately, she’s at odds with most of the other people in her life, and it’s making everything all the more difficult. She doesn’t feel she can trust Jocelyn, and Alec (Matthew Daddario) doesn’t feel he can trust her. With Jace gone, she’s losing interest in this shadow world that’s been nothing but a struggle for her.
The electronica music at the beginning of the dojo scene was distracting. I ended up thinking about the music more than the fighting. On the other side of that coin, I thought the song that played while Clary was reminiscing about her art was beautiful and added to the emotion of the scene. The acting is all consistent from the previous episode, and Daddario is back to the excellent and broody portrayal of Alec that I’ve loved in the past.
We finally have some new, beautiful scenery added to the show in this episode. Simon and Magnus (Harry Shum Jr.) go to Agra, India to track down Camille (Kaitlyn Leeb) while Alec and Izzy attempt, and fail, to catch and question a Circle member. I’m not sure if it’s the lighting, different makeup, or different clothes, but Clary looks especially pretty when she visits the Brooklyn Academy of Art to get away from the demanding yet confining shadow world. Unfortunately, Dot (Vanessa Matsui) has seen better days since Valentine started experimenting on her. I don’t know that I’d be as trusting of a person with black veins on her face and who I thought was dead as Clary is when she sees Dot. Though she doesn’t exactly jump through the portal willingly, she still gets closer to Dot that I probably would’ve felt comfortable getting.
Clary’s vision of the future was intense. There was a lot of destruction and violence, and it all flashed by so quickly. Her explanation seemed quite fishy when she told Jace about her powers, and as it turned out, she was being tricked by Dot. I really feel terrible for Dot. She’s been through so much, and we’ve only seen a fraction of her suffering. I can totally understand why she’d end up helping Valentine out, especially knowing what he’d probably do if she didn’t.
Back in India, Simon gets trapped by a fire-breathing snake. The snake was certainly creepy and well done, but the flames just didn’t do it for me. On top of that, Simon somehow makes it from the door at the end of one scene to a cushion in the middle of the room the next time we see him. I’m not really sure the logistics of that, considering the snake had him cornered, but okay. I’m very curious about the dagger Magnus finds in India, as it seems very important, at least to him. I so loved that Magnus volunteered to essentially take Simon under his wing so he wouldn’t have to learn about his powers and the downworlders alone!
I love Alec’s extremely strong bond with Jace. His willingness to potentially die for Jace because he can’t live without him is so touching. Using the Adamas doesn’t seem very helpful in the end, though. It mostly just slows Jace down, causes Alec to seize, and gives both of them a bloody nose. Maybe we’ll get more of an explanation on what exactly it did in an upcoming episode. I hope it doesn’t knock Alec out of commission for too long, either.
I absolutely love the fight scenes in this show. They are always intense and so exciting to watch. The use of the slow motion and the choreography play perfectly together. Add in the awesome new seraph blades (a HUGE improvement from last season!) and the sparking effects, and you have one amazing sequence here. Sherwood does a beautiful job of moving fluidly through the fight while maintaining the intensity of the situation. These and the Malec scenes are my favorites! And of course, who didn’t jump for joy when Dot created an escape for Clary and Jace so they could jump off the boat?
Unfortunately, Gretel (Joanne Jansen) doesn’t make it through this episode. She’s been Simon’s nemesis at the Jade Wolf since he got there, and their bickering is always entertaining to watch because of her angry seriousness mixing with his lighthearted banter.
This episode was as good as I expected and followed directly in line with the quality of the season 2 premiere last week. The show is really picking up, and it wasn’t exactly lacking in the first place. Yes, some of the acting and drama are a little over done, but it is a young adult series, after all. I love watching every scene, and every episode keeps my full attention. This show definitely curves those Monday blues! I’m really hoping for more Malec, which I’ve seen hints suggesting that’ll happen soon. I also can’t wait for one of my favorite characters to make a debut. That one’s going to throw a real curveball, and I’m excited to see how the story progresses from there.
What did you think of this episode? What do you hope to see for the rest of season 2? Comment below and let us know!
Shadowhunters airs Mondays at 8/7c on Freeform. You can catch up on previous episodes and watch new ones on the Freeform app or site. Don’t forget to come back each week for a new recap and review!