Episode two of Shadowhunters: The Descent Into Hell is Easy, finds Clary and Simon being allowed into the inner fold of the Shadowhunter’s “lair,” aka the Institute. This verse of magic, vampires, demons, warlocks and shape-shifters also includes an incredible amount of technology. The headquarters of Jace, Isabelle and Alec may be hidden behind the derelict ruins of a building, but once the rune is lifted, “mundane” Simon and his “gal pal” Fray enter a world of high tech and magic.
Once again, not having read the books that the series is based on, it is interesting to note the dynamic between different factions. Most notably between the Shadowhunters and the mundanes that they are pledged to save. This episode takes up where the pilot ended, for all intents and purposes, and Simon can now see Jace, as well as the dead demon.
Fray (Katherine McNamara) and best friend Lewis (Alberto Rosende) are escorted to the Institute by Wayland (Dominic Sherwood) who then introduces the mundane buddy of Fray to Isabelle (Emeraude Toubia) and Alec (Matthew Daddario); the sibling Shadowhunters. Alec is the “leader” although he is constantly overruled by Isabelle and Jace.
In terms of dynamic, no one in this magical verse, created by Cassandra Clare, gets along. It is a huge warring population of different individuals and groups attempting to control the world they inhabit. Even factions that are “allies” do not get along. For example, the Shadowhunters, who are responsible for the safety of mere mundanes, treat their “charges” with contempt, derision and they are incredibly antagonistic toward them.
The exception to this is Isabelle who, upon meeting Simon, is apparently attracted to this mundane with an “Indie band”even if Lewis is pretty much a buzzkill. Although, compared to “Mr. Grumpy Pants” Alec Lightwood, Simon is the life of the party. Granted, Clary’s BFF thinks he is amusing, although according to Jace, that is debatable.
Personality conflicts aside, quite a lot is revealed and one character close to Clary is killed. While Fray learns that the “big bad” Valentine (Alan Van Sprang) is “Daddy Dearest.” The newest Shadowhunter also learns, via the auspices of the Silent Brothers in the City of Bones, that Jocelyn (Maxim Roy) wiped Clary’s memory and lied to her.
The main point of interest is still The Mortal Cup, which Jocelyn has hidden. Mother Fray is in Chernobyl, still in a trance, or coma, and Dot (Vanessa Matsui) is taken there as well. Sadly for her, she does not stay there long and after a failed escape attempt, is taken out of the picture. Whether this is permanent or not remains to be seen.
Before Dot is removed, Magnus (Harry Shum Jr.) takes all his people and bolts, Dorothy refuses to leave and is caught as a result, which is how she ends up in Chernobyl. The City of Bones and the Silent Brothers become the next destination for the Shadowhunters and their “plus-one.
Sidenote: It is a nice touch, and a nod to the 2013 film “The Immoral Instruments:City of Bones,” that actor Stephen R. Hart is used to reprise his role of Brother Jeremiah here in this second episode of Shadowhunters.
Clary and Jace enter the city, to speak with the Silent Brothers, leaving Simon, Isabelle and Alec behind. Jace tells Lewis that if he enters the City of Bones he will, as a mundane, die instantly. Simon, after being lied to about the runes at the Institutes, argues:
“No mundanes allowed, just like in the training room, right? Wrong! I’ve seen every horror movie ever made and the funny best friend who gets left behind… dead man.” [Isabelle laughs]
Jace: “You’re not that funny.”
One of the more amusing exchanges in the series thus far and it opens up the possibility that more of these funny moments might become a mainstay in this very serious shadow world.
Alec refuses to look after Simon, so Isabelle volunteers while Clary and Jace go to see the “brothers.” Once inside the area, Brother Jeremiah makes Jace step back and a dangling sword restores part of Fray’s memory.
Sidenote: Once again, not having read the source books, it is not known whether or not Clary Fray ends up with a Harry Potter type scar on her forehead from the memory sword, (It may not be a lightning bolt but she does end up with a scar nonetheless) but it certainly seems that way…
By the end of this second episode of Shadowhunters Clary finds out that Valentine is her father (“Clary I am your father…”) the viewers learn more about family friend and cop Luke Garroway (Isaiah Mustafa), Dot dies and Simon is kidnapped by vampires who will trade the mundane for the cup.
Shadowhunters looks sharp, dark and intricate. It is a world where each faction fights the other and McNamara plays the plucky new hero who does not have enough memories to help her to fight. The series airs Tuesdays on ABC Freeform, tune in and watch this catch YA program.