Picking up right where the first season left off, the “Shadowhunters” season two debut has Jace on Valentine’s side and his friends trying to find a way to save him. Unfortunately for them, a new face at the Institute makes saving him a little harder.

‘Shadowhunters’ continues its action-packed openings

Just as the series premiere grabbed the attention of the audience with an action-packed opening sequence, so does season two of “Shadowhunters.” Instead of opening with the young team of Shadowhunters the audience met last season, we’re treated to Jace and Clary trying to escape Valentine on his boat - or so we think.

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To be honest, the sequence felt like a dream sequence to me from the moment the show opened, but the reveal that Valentine was actually masquerading as Clary while his followers were taking turns masquerading as him was a great reveal to make that “off” feeling we get from dream sequences work.

It also lets the audience know immediately that Jace isn’t a lost cause to his friends and that he really does want to take Valentine, the man who is out to rule all Shadowhunters, down.

The show goes even darker

In addition to a few new faces, like Victor Aldertree, there are quite a few changes made this season, most notably in the tone of the show. The tone is considerably darker in this episode than it was in season one. As you watch Valentine’s men try to torture Jace into submission, the first season seems like child's play in comparison. As Valentine eventually goads Jace into killing vampires instead of capturing them, you know you’re in for a darker ride.

Of course, the show does double down on the generational divide with that new character introduction. While the younger Shadowhunters are willing to work with Downworlders and explore all of their options, the older generation is stuck in their ways.

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Those ways mean not trusting vampires or werewolves, and being quick to believe Jace is a traitor.

Being a vampire kind of sucks

Victor decides to crackdown on Downworlders in the Institute, which means Luke and Simon are no longer welcome. While Luke is the leader of a pack of werewolves, Simon is the odd man out. Not only can he not go home, but he can’t stay with his friends, and Luke’s pack is hostile.

Simon doesn’t get a ton of screentime in the premiere, but he’s clearly getting the short end of the stick in the undead life.

Lydia is still hanging around

Despite the introduction of Victor Aldertree as the leader of the Institute, Lydia, a character created for the television series, instead of one from the novels, is still hanging around the main storylines. This is great! Why? Because there’s a lot, and I mean a lot, of testosterone on this show. It’s gratifying to see characters like Isabelle, Lydia, and Maryse, who are smart, capable, and knowledgeable in the world of the Shadowhunters.

This is especially true since Clary is still, as a result of her not being raised in this world, blind to rules, traditions, and the expectations of older Shadowhunters. Clary was frequently the weak link in the first season, and that looks to remain true this season as well as even her own mother is able to dupe her into giving up her stele when she offers to help her find Jace before Victor can get to him.

I want more character focus

I really want to see more of Isabelle, Alec, Magnus, Luke, and Lydia. There wasn’t nearly enough of them in the premiere as it focused so heavily on whether Valentine could turn Jace and whether Clary could find him. These five, so far at least, have been the most interesting characters in the series.

The Verdict and What's Next

Not as gripping as the series premiere, but a worthy successor, I look forward to seeing what’s next. I'd give the episode 3 out of 5 stars.

Clary will continue struggling to find her place in the world of the “Shadowhunters” next week, but the following week, the search for Jace intensifies.