The second episode of Shadowhunters season 2, “A Door into the Dark,” takes us through Clary’s search for where she fits in and Alec’s growing desperation and anger the longer Jace is away.
It begins with Jace dealing with the consequences of killing the vampire in the previous episode. He feels remorse, though Valentine tries to convince him that it was the right thing to do. Valentine continues his manipulation of Jace that has been going on for quite some time now. I have to commend Jace on his mental strength: Every time I think Valentine’s finally said something that could push him over the edge, he still sticks to his morals and fights for what he believes is right.
Clary spends a majority of this episode figuring out where she belongs. From the beginning, she seems a bit lost. Jocelyn keeps telling her that there’s still more about the Shadow world that she doesn’t understand, and in the midst of his frustrations, Alec flat-out told Clary she’d never belong in the Shadow world. As everyone was preparing to fight Valentine and bring back Jace, they insisted Clary stay put because she hasn’t had enough training. This really had her questioning who she was. She couldn’t fit in with the Shadow world because she didn’t grow up in it; yet, she couldn’t live as a mundane because of her ties to the Shadow world.
There is a key scene where Clary leaves the institute to spend some time in the art school where she would have studied had she continued her life as a mundane. It’s an empty room full of art supplies, and Clary seemed at peace as she started sketching by herself, trying to get a taste of the normal life she might’ve had. Of course, this time is cut short when Jocelyn and Luke find her and bring her back to reality, prompting yet another emotional breakdown by Clary. She storms out of the school in the dramatic way she does — or I suppose it’s understandable considering the circumstances, but it’s still a bit excessive — leaving her words “I’m not anything!” hanging in the air for Jocelyn and Luke.
Outside the school, Clary runs into Dot, who has veins popping out on her face — sort of reminiscent of Dark Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer — due to Valentine experimenting on her. But still, she’s alive sort of! Dot kidnaps Clary, bringing her to Valentine’s ship and convinces her that she has some sort of psychic powers by giving her a vision of the future where Downworlders are slaughtering mundanes and destroying the world. Under Dot’s spell, Clary tells Jace about this, another failed attempt by Valentine and his followers to convince Jace to join his cause.
For a majority of the episode, Alec is very distressed, letting out his frustrations about Jace to anyone who will listen. Jocelyn later tells Alec and Izzy that Dot kidnapped Clary and convinces Alec to use the adamas to track Clary and Jace. Though Alec initially has some concerns about Jocelyn’s intentions, his need to find Jace overpowers them and he does it anyway.
In the meantime, Simon is on a search for Camille per Raphael’s request — Raphael was mad at Simon for revealing some information to Aldertree — and seeks out Magnus for help. Magnus takes him through a portal to a large house in India where Camille is supposedly staying. Their mission together was probably the most entertaining of the episode. Magnus is a great asset to Simon, as he helps him realize that, as a new vampire, he is much stronger than he knows. There’s a pivotal moment when a rattlesnake is cornering Simon and he actually believes in himself enough to seriously try stopping it with his powers. Regardless of the fact that Magnus was actually the one to stop it, this was important for Simon’s growth as a vampire and as a character.
Overall, Magnus’ confidence and sarcasm mixes well with Simon’s awkwardness, and after Magnus tells of his difficult journey alone discovering his powers and learning about the world, he vows to be something of a mentor Simon. I hope this means we get to see more of their relationship on screen!
All this time, Valentine is collecting strong mundanes from gyms, karate classes, etc. in the hopes that they could survive the conversions. Knowing this, Izzy and Alec go to a place full of buff guys with tattoos. Izzy fights one of the toughest guys there, much to his surprise, and poses as him when one of Valentine’s helpers comes to retrieve him. Once the helper realizes he’s cornered by two Shadowhunters that want answers, he slits his own throat to avoid revealing any information.
Valentine kidnaps Gretyl, the werewolf who allegedly killed Jeremy’s father. (Jeremy is a former mundane who sides with Valentine and wants to kill Downworlders, despite Jace’s arguments against it). Valentine almost gets Jace to kill her, but Clary interjects right when Jace is holding the knife at the werewolf’s neck and says that she was under a spell when she told him about her vision of the Downworlders. Since there is really nowhere to escape on the ship, they run off and jump into the ocean together.
Back at the institute, Alec is channeling Jace and his escape into the water causes Alec to have some sort of convulsion. The episode ends with Valentine killing the werewolf himself.