After Shadowhunters‘ terrific premiere on January 12, I, like many fans, was on the edge of my seat, excited to see what the show would do next. Luckily, we didn’t have to wait long. Almost immediately after the pilot episode aired, Freeform generously unlocked the second episode on their Freeform app to the surprised delight of fans, many of whom scrambled to watch the next installment early–including this fan.
To say that I was impressed with the episode would be an understatement. In many ways, the second episode, titled “The Descent Into Hell Is Easy,” maintains the momentum of the premiere, delivering action combined with mind-blowing plot twists. Like the premiere, the story moves fast; you’d be surprised by how much the writers manage to accomplish in this 40-minute episode. The focus this time around is on recovering Clary’s lost memories, which she thinks are the key to finding Jocelyn as well as the Mortal Cup. Assisted by Jace, Isabelle and Alec, Clary ventures into the City of Bones in order to seek the assistance of the powerful and intimidating Silent Brothers. Meanwhile, Luke continues to search for Clary while Simon struggles to understand his best friend’s new life and how he fits into it–and eventually ends up facing a turning point of his own.
Not only do we learn a lot more about the Shadow World in this episode but we also learn a lot more about the characters. We get glimpses into their past as well as into their relationships, and get to see the groundwork for new relationships begin to be laid. Even this early on, I can see that many of these relationships are complicated but intriguing at the same time, in particular the relationship between Jace and Alec. But, before I dive too deep into that one, let’s go over the five best moments from Shadowhunters’ episode 2, “The Descent Into Hell Is Easy”!
Luke Has a Tussle With a Circle Member (And Kicks Ass)
I’ve mentioned before that I adore Isaiah Mustafa as Luke, and this episode made me adore him even more. He’s suave, sexy and confident, which is exactly how I imagined Luke to be. In this episode, we don’t learn any more about Luke’s past and secrets, but this scene does give us some clues. I was so happy that we got the chance to see Luke in action fighting-wise, since he’s obviously a force to be reckoned with. The most important thing that I learned via this scene, however, is that Luke is as fiercely protective of Jocelyn and Clary as I had always hoped he would be.
The Institute Appears (And Jace and Simon Hold Hands)
The reveal of the Institute in this episode is epic for more than one reason. For starters, we get to finally see the headquarters of the Shadowhunters, complete with displays, terminals and technology beyond what even I had imagined–and, of course, runes galore! I was also delighted to see Isabelle at the helm of it, since she’s becoming one of my favorite characters on the show. Nonetheless, the biggest reason why this scene makes the list is the hilarious yet awkward exchange between Jace and Simon that preludes it. Because Simon is a mundane, he needs the assistance of a Shadowhunter in order to access The Institute, which Jace accomplishes by holding his hand. Simon, of course, reacts hysterically. I’ll let you fill in the blanks!
The Interrogation of Hodge (And the Coinciding Torture)
This scene is both captivating and horrifying to watch, since Jon Cor does such a brilliant job of showing how much pain Hodge is in due to the curse bestowed upon him. To give some context: Hodge, a former Circle member, is forced to live at The Institute as atonement for his crimes, as per The Clave. Moreover, he is also cursed to never speak of Valentine or the Circle–and, if he does, he is subjected to excruciating amounts of pain delivered by a series of runes scattered across his body. However, because Clary and the others are desperate for any leads in regard to Jocelyn, Valentine and The Mortal Cup, interrogating Hodge is their only option. Once again, I have to applaud Jon Cor for his performance in this scene; it is gripping and heart-wrenching, and won’t soon be forgotten.
The Silent Brothers Make Their Debut (And Scare the Pants Off of Everyone)
Throughout this scene, I was literally on the edge of my seat, since the arrival of The Silent Brothers was my favorite part of the first book in The Mortal Instruments series. For that reason, I was also a little nervous; I had imagined The Silent Brothers as looking and acting a certain way and didn’t know how well the show’s version of them would mesh with my own. To my immense relief, I wasn’t disappointed. In this scene, the arrival of the Silent Brothers is staged perfectly, with them hovering in the shadows, intently watching everything that is going on. They are creepy, sinister and intimidating, radiating power as well as mystery. Kudos to the make-up artists for making them so outstandingly ominous!
Raphael Steals Simon (And Sets Things Into Motion)
This scene honestly surprised me, since I didn’t expect it to happen so soon in the series. However, now that it has, I’m excited to see how this storyline will play out in future episodes. In this scene, Raphael, the head of the New York Vampire Clan, steals Simon in order to get his hands on The Mortal Cup, and although it doesn’t happen the same way that it does in the book, I was happy with how the writers decided to execute this particular plot development. In the next episode, I hope we gain some insights into the vampire portion of the Shadow World!
Isabelle and Simon Chat About Music (And Are Cute As Hell)
In the books, the relationship between Isabelle and Simon was one of my favorites of the entire series, so I was happy to see them start to get to know each other in this episode. It’s obvious, however, that both of them still have some issues that they need to resolve before they can commit to a relationship with each other–but here’s hoping that we get at least a kiss in the next episode or so!
Jace and Alec Share a Meaningful Look (And Feelings, Lots of Feelings)
The relationship between Jace and Alec is one of the most complicated in the series. For starters, they grew up together, so they already know more about one another than anybody else does. Secondly (and this is a spoiler), they are what Shadowhunters call “parabatai”, bound by oath to protect and look after each other as lifelong partners in battle. This alone indicates that there is an intimacy there that needs to be represented in the show. Lastly, it’s obvious that Alec is attracted to Jace and is jealous of anybody who manages to capture Jace’s affections. We started to see hints of this in the premiere, so I was glad when this episode followed up on it. In particular, I was impressed by the scene outside the City of Bones, in which Alec and Jace discuss Clary and Simon. When Jace mentions that the Lightwoods should be more open to accepting strays because they took him in, Alec gives him this deep look and says “You were never a stray.” That look speaks volumes and gives viewers a good indication that there will be a lot of angst surrounding Jace and Alec in subsequent episodes.