Shadowhunters (S03E01) "On Infernal Ground" Review

SHADOWHUNTERS came back with a bang. The season 3 premiere proved everyone’s promises right: they all said the adjective to describe it would be “darker”. The episode opens in the gloomy and mysterious Church of Talto in New York, with Lilith (Anna Hopkins) clutching Sebastian’s corpse and promising her son she will bring him back. She spends the rest of the episode creepily staring at newborns and possessing people. The City of Fallen Angels vibes are definitely there.

We are transported to the Guard in Alicante, to Clary’s runing ceremony. Izzy, Jace and Alec are so proud of Clary finally becoming an official Shadowhunter. But Alec knows Clary and Jace are keeping something from him, because he felt Jace die during his fight with Valentine through their parabatai bond.

Clary (Kat McNamara) comforts Jace (Dominic Sherwood) while he’s visiting his parents’ graves in the cemetery of the disgraced. She also pressures him to tell Alec the truth, but Jace refuses.

Back in New York, the werewolves are facing very… mundane problems. Maia (Alisha Wainwright, finally a main) wonders where Simon is, and she cautions Luke about Ollie. The woman won’t stop chasing him around, demanding answers. Luke (Isaiah Mustafa) tries to feed her lies, but Ollie (Alexandra Ordolis) reveals she was bitten by a werewolf too. Only, she never turned. Luke still denies the existence of the supernatural.

In Brooklyn, big change is in the air. Magnus (Harry Shum Jr) has been dismissed from his position as High Warlock. He tells Alec (Matthew Daddario) he’s happy he can see clients again, help people and basically make more money. Jia Penhallow, the new consul and Aline’s mom, has offered Alec a delegate position in Alicante, but he’d have to move to Idris. Magnus acts like the supporting boyfriend and tells him he’s happy for him, that Alec should freely choose what he wants.

Izzy (Emeraude Toubia) is the new weapons master of the NY Institute and she helps Clary choose her signature weapon. The two girls are so genuinely happy for each other, so content in spending time together. (Hearing Clary’s laugh, seeing them walk hand in hand… we need more Clizzy please!) Izzy tells her she’ll be drawn to a weapon, and Clary – who never likes to do what she’s told – chooses two: a set of twin kindjals, that Izzy explains perfectly match her fighting style.

Jace’s sexy dreams are interrupted by visions of Sebastian (Will Tudor), telling him to kill Clary. We can tell this is really getting to him, because when the couple is training the next day – such a hot scene – and Jace cuts Clary on the arm, she dismisses it as an accident, but he can’t let it go. He is spared from having to justify his panic by Luke calling a meeting to discuss a case he’s investigating. A woman was found dead and her husband disappeared. Alec suggests the Lightwoods go investigate at the hospital the man works at – since it’s also where Magnus’s best friend Catarina works.

Clary is facing a big struggle. She can’t keep the secret in anymore. She barely held it in with Izzy when she asked about what it was like meeting the Angel Raziel. Luke comments on her new blades and reveals the match belonged to Valentine and Jocelyn. Clary is very shaken by this, hating every reminder of the fact that Valentine was her father. “The blade chooses you, Clary” (is he quoting Ollivander??) It is only fitting that Clary was drawn to both blades. Luke gives her a wise dad talk about how she needs to accept the darkness as a part of her, as well as the light. Clary is about to finally confess to Luke, but they are interrupted by Ollie calling to say she found their suspect.

Ollie follows Tim – who has been abducted by Lilith and possessed by one of her disciples. Clary and Luke – in wolf form – run to Ollie’s rescue and kill the demon. In the church, Lilith senses his death and screams (kind of like Voldemort every time one of his Horcrux was destroyed).

Simon (Alberto Rosende) is being held hostage in the Seelie court. He’s singing her songs, but it’s not all fun and games. The Queen (Lola Flanery) orders it’s time for him to be branded, and Meliorn (Jade Hassoune) burns a sign on his forehead. It looks like the tv writers have merged several storylines from the books: Maureen (who’s just a little girl then turned into a vampire) and her crazy obsession and kidnapping of Simon, and the Mark of Cain. In the books though, Clary marks Simon to protect him before the battle in City of Glass, not fully knowing the consequences of what she’s doing. It’s a rune that Clary only can make and it protects him from any kind physical harm: anyone who tries to hurt him will be hurt sevenfold. But there is a downside, which I won’t reveal because it might spoil an upcoming plotline on the show as well.

Alec, Izzy and Jace go see Catarina (Sophia Walker), but she has no information about Tim. She does however tell Alec that Magnus is devastated for losing the High Warlock position. The tension is relieved thanks to Izzy in need of sugar fighting a vending machine, where she meets a cute doctor who is really keen on getting to know her. His name is Charlie and he seems great but I don’t like where this is going.

Luke finally tells Ollie she was right about him being a werewolf. Simon convinces the Seelie Queen to let him go, and he runs to the Jade Wolf, where Maia demands the truth from him, knowing that he wasn’t at the Dumort. He tries to lie, but she’s having none of that. I love that she is not taking bullshit from him. I know Simon is only trying to protect her, but she’s been in a toxic relationship in the past, and she won’t stand for toxicity or lies again. You go girl.

About truth and communication, Malec hanging out at their bar playing pool, also finally talk eye to eye. Alec confronts Magnus about faking happiness, and Magnus confesses he doesn’t want Alec to move to Idris.

Raphael, who asked Magnus for a vampire tranquilizer and lied about why, does some shady things to Heidi McKenzie, the mundane girl Simon almost killed at the bleeder’s den. I don’t trust you, boy. Magnus loves him like a son and gives him free stuff and he’s over there drugging women.

Meanwhile Jace is pulling an Edward Cullen: when Clary goes into his room at night – and we relive the scene from his nightmare – he frankly tells her he just wants to hold her. We understand he’s too scared he will lose control and hurt her, the dagger on his bedside table a stark reminder of Sebastian’s order to kill her.

Overall a good episode, a decently strong season premiere but not one of the best episodes Shadowhunters has ever made. I’m curious about where this season is going to go. I just really hope they don’t plan on pairing Izzy with Charlie, because I would very much like her storyline not to include a man right now. We know she will get together with Simon in 3B, so there is absolutely no point in introducing another man in her life for half a season. Surely they can write her a kickass plot that doesn’t necessarily include romance?

That’s my hope for this season: for Shadowhunters to stop being the show where everyone randomly sleeps with everyone. Hopefully, once the endgame ships are all settled, this won’t be a problem any longer.

See you next week, and talk to me at @ladymultifandom!