Shadowhunters S02E02 “A Door Into The Dark” REVIEW
Essential Plot Points:
- Jace portals Valentine and himself back to Valentine’s ship; Jocelyn’s second arrow failed to hit either of them (and Valentine seems remarkably unperturbed by being skewered by first one – he simply yanks it out and pretends like nothing’s happened for the rest of the episode).
- Valentine believes the fact that Jace just saved him and returned him to the ship means that deep down, Jace is on his side.
- Back at the Institute Jocelyn admits to Clary that she wants Jace dead because he was mean to flowers as a baby. Oh, and there was the matter of some prophecy Magnus made about him growing up to be all evil. But Clary remains far from on board.
- Alec blames Clary for everything. The list goes on and on but Izzy stops him before he gets to bubonic plague, Crocs and One Direction breaking up.
- Victor Aldertree forces Simon to become his reluctant inside man among the vampires.
- Raphael is pissed that Simon has ratted on him to Victor (albeit unwittingly) – consequently he demands that Simon finds Camille and convince her to return to the Hotel Dumort.
- Aldertree demands that Clary must not take part in the search for Jace and Valentine.
- Clary leaves the Institute in a huff and goes back to her art college to pretend she’s having a normal life.
- Luke and Jocelyn track her there and Clary storms out, only to be kidnapped and portalled away by… DOT???
- Yep, Clary’s former warlock mentor wasn’t killed way back at the start of season one, and now she’s totally team Valentine because she’s pissed Clary didn’t search for her.
- Dot has portalled them to Valentine’s ship. She apparently unleashes a new power in Clary to see the future… Clary has visions of a bloody underworlder uprising.
- Clary and Jace reunite on the ship, and Clary tells him about her vision and how she now realises that Valentine’s campaign is the right thing to back.
- This is enough to convince Jace to go on a werewolf hunt with Jeremy, Valentine’s most loyal supporter, whose dad was killed by werewolves.
- Valentine, meanwhile, is kidnapping the city’s meanest and strongest fighters, intending to transform them into members of his dark Shadowhunter army. Izzy impersonates a fighter so that she and Alec can entrap Valentine, but one of his goons turns up instead and slits his throat rather than betray his boss’s whereabouts.
- Jace and Jeremy return to the ship with the blonde werewolf who’s been mean to Simon for the past two episodes. She’s probably not the werewolf who killed Jeremy’s dad but no one on team Valentine seems unduly concerned with this minor detail. Valentine demands Jace kill the werewolf.
- In the meantime, though, Clary has woken up in a cell on Valentine’s ship, realising she was under a spell when she told Jace she now supported Valentine.
- Dot admits that she lied when she told Clary that she had the power to see the future, and that she created the visions.
- But in a major turn of heart – brought about by Clary basically going, “Pretty, pretty please?!” – Dot frees Clary.
- Meanwhile, Luke and Jocelyn have come up with a new way of tracing Jace using a magic stone that belongs to Luke’s mum (an “Iron Sister” whatever that is) combined with Alec’s parabatai link to Jace. It could mean death for Alec but he’s game because he’s all mopey and dull without Jace.
- What actually happens isn’t clear: Alec gets a nosebleed; Jace looks constipated; and they have a shared flashback to when they were kids.
- Clary runs to Jace. She stops him killing the werewolf and tells him the truth about not adding Valentine to her Christmas card list. They make their escape, aided by Dot (it’s not immediately clear but she opens a hole in the forcefield surrounding the ship), and they throw themselves over the side of the ship.
- A pissed Valentine stabs the werewolf and demands that Dot be taken, “down below”.
- While all this is going on Magnus portals Simon to Agra in India in search of Camille (his payment is some of Simon’s hair… he’s low on vampire hair).
- They don’t find Camille in her house, but Magnus does find a lot of his old belongings and starts collecting them together to take back with him. This includes a very ornate knife.
- Simon, after an altercation with a firebreathing snake that was a present from Magnus to Camille, finds a hidden puzzle box, which he takes back to New York. But he can’t open it.
- Magnus, impressed with how Simon dealt with the snake, agrees to become the newbie vampire’s Downworld mentor.
We’d be quite happy if Shadowhunters were cancelled tomorrow only so long as a Magnus & Simon spin-off is announced at the same time. Clary’s apocalyptic vision aside, these two provide all the best moments of the episode by a long way.
That’s not to say the rest of the episode’s dull – it’s actually a pretty decent, fast-paced revelation-packed episode, if still a little heavy on the exposition side – but The Misadventures Of Vampire Geek & The Cocksure Warlock is a series waiting to happen. These two could be the fantasy’s answer to Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. The dialogue certainly becomes a lot more fun whenever they’re on screen:
“I know she could be holding a grudge about the whole blackmail thing…”
“Could be? Camille’s absolute favourite thing is holding grudges.”
“I created it [the fire-breathing snake] for Camille ages ago. Best gift I ever gave.”
“Well, then, maybe don’t include me on your Christmas list.”
Elsewhere, it’s pretty much Shadowhunters-by-numbers. Alec whinges incessantly then prepares to sacrifice himself for his parabatai; Clary gets the hump and tries to recall what it means to live a normal life; Izzy acts as Clary’s counsellor then kicks some ass; the upper echelons of the Clave act like authoritarian dictators; Luke and Jocelyn talk to each other in a code that says “big revelations coming down the line”; Valentine tries to entice Jace to the Dark Side; Jace mopes about until Clary turns up to tell him what to do. In fact, it seems he is happy to do whatever Clary says, even if it’s diametrically opposed to his own views, going by the way he buries his principles and takes down a werewolf when enchanted Clary tells him she’s batting for Valentine now. That guy needs to find a mind of his own.
The return of Dot is pretty badly handled; her sudden appearance, her sketchy explanation for being on Team Valentine now and her remarkable transfer back to Team Clary is all so clunky it’s impossible to care that’s back or whether she’s good or evil. Also, Jocelyn’s murderous attitude towards Jace is difficult to swallow; he’s her son for Christ’s sake – a bit of flower shrivelling and some vague prediction Magnus made about him being a potential bad’un hardly seem enough to make a mother give up on her child in such an extreme way. We assume there must be more to this tale but for the moment it’s not very convincing, and you wish someone would call Jocelyn out on that. Clary does make some remark to Simon about how ludicrous it is that Jocelyn wants to kill her own son for being a “flower-killing” monster, but she really needs to tackle Jocelyn about this to her face. It’s ludicrous.
On the plus side, Clary’s vision of the downworlder apocalypse is massively chilling, and – as discussed below – we’re not entirely convinced it’s a total red herring.
Oh, and there’s more gratuitous shirtlessness. We’re now convinced that this the new showrunners’ main contribution to the show so far.
- Magnus & Simon’s Excellent Adventure In India is a lot of fun.
- Good to see Simon returning to the lovable geek persona of early season one; we couldn’t handle him as a faux-cool vampire. He’s much more likeable in a hoodie and Converse All-Stars.
- Fire breathing snake!
- Izzy being all kick-ass and sassy again for the first time in ages.
- “Why do they always seem to get my bad side?”
- Magnus: “What are you so afraid of?”
Simon: “Where do I start? Elevators. Snakes. Clowns.” These two make such a great double act that we’re glad Magnus has agreed to be Simon’s downworld “sponsor” as it means we’ll be seeing more of them together.
- Jocelyn’s wants Jace dead? Seriously? Wouldn’t most mother’s instincts be, “Until he turns out to be a bona fide serial killer – or a Trump supporter – I’ll defend my little boy to the ends of the Earth!”? Even if there’s something more Jocelyn’s not telling us yet, the whole floral-killing flashback remains unintentionally silly.
- Alec’s a bit irritating when he hasn’t got Magnus around to knock him out of his ennui, isn’t he?
- So Luke’s mum is an Iron Sister who has access to a magic plot device from clichéd-sounding fantasy place? The who? The what? The where? Talk about dumping a whole load of new world-building on us!
- The logic of the steps that lead from “Victor forces Simon to be a vampire spy” to “Raphael demands that Simons gets Camille to return to the Hotel Dumort” may make sense to the writers and the characters, but there seem to be at least two line of exposition missing if you’re a mere viewer.
And The Random:
- Okay, so let’s talk about those visions that Dot made Clary see. Dot tells Clary that they were all a lie and that Clary cannot actually see into the future, but even taking that into account, they remain odd for two main reasons. First, according to Clary, her visions showed underworlders killing mundanes, yet some of the images appear to be downworlders dying horribly too. There’s also an image of a mushroom cloud; are we supposed to believe the downworlders have nuclear capabilities? The second oddness is that they look like a very expensive set shots to produce just for something that’s make believe and not going to happen. We’re pretty sure this isn’t all stock footage, so we have to assume that we will be seeing some – if not all – of these scenarios playing out in some ways in future episodes. Click on all images for larger versions.
- We couldn’t help wondering if Adamant Citadel is ruled by Prince Charming? Or maybe the Kings of the Wild Frontier?
- Gratuitous shirtless shot of the week:
Review by Dave Golder