Shadowhunters (S03E03) "What Lies Beneath" Review

Episode 3×03 of Shadowhunters, aptly titled “What Lies Beneath”, didn’t move the general plot forward, but at least it moved it sideways. We caught up with Raphael, Maryse, and Heidi. And we also found out who Lilith’s owl is. But more on that later.

Malec fans will rejoice at the domesticity we’re being shown this season. The showrunners clearly learned from their past mistakes and are giving fans everything they asked for. The people in the writers room need to be careful not to tip into fanservice though. It’s a slippery slope, but it’s best if they don’t fall. Alec receives a message from his mother asking her children to dinner, possibly somewhere away from the Institute. It is decided that Alec, Izzy and Jace should have the dinner at Magnus’s loft which honestly didn’t make too much sense logistically, but it resulted in cute Malec moments so I’m sure 99% of the audience wasn’t complaining. Magnus is invited to stay, whereas Maryse’s youngest child Max is nowhere to be seen (again, consistency).

Because of Things, Jace and Izzy have to sadly get a raincheck on the family dinner as they have a demon to catch. Jace, who clearly hasn’t been sleeping – but hasn’t been spending all his time at the Institute either – is hellbent on finding the demon, whom he deeply believes to be Sebastian, despite the absurdity of it. Clary tries to talk sense into him: Sebastian is dead, Jace has seen him die. But our Herondale boy reminds Clary and the audience of the One Rule of Fantasy: they never found his body, and the enemy is never dead until you’ve seen the corpse.

Clary, Jace and Izzy go to this party (and they look goooood) where they believe the owl will show up, and very ironically, they are not mistaken. Thank the Angel for that “let’s split, we’ll cover more ground” because the entire plot of the episode would’ve been lost if either of the girls had kept their eyes on Jace. When the demon shows himself, the girls fight him, but they don’t stand a chance. At one point, the owl is strangling Clary and she says something along the lines of “show yourself, Jonathan!” I haven’t stopped laughing at the irony since. She isn’t wrong, the owl is Jonathan, but not the one she thinks. Her brother is still dead, but Lilith’s new servant is actually Jace. *Le gasp* What a mind-blowing plot twist. Book spoiler: don’t worry, he’s kind of being possessed, at least he’s not willingly acting on a Greater Demon’s orders.

Something else happens at the party: the writers probably don’t believe Izzy can exist as her own character without the support of a male love interest. Guess who cornered her at the bar? Charlie, the cute mundane doctor who couldn’t take a no at the vending machine. How many people live in New York, exactly? Is it normal to randomly run into a stranger in two different neighborhoods twice? Asking for a friend.

In the Downworld, things aren’t looking much brighter. Luke tells Simon he really needs to find himself another place now, because the pack’s hate surely isn’t going to be stifled now that he hurt a wolf – inadvertently and in self-defense, but they don’t really care about his excuses. Simon seeks help and answers from Raphael, but the head of the NY clan isn’t in the mood to mess with the Daylighter. So as a last resort and against Maia’s wishes, Simon tries to enter the Seelie realm, but the passage won’t open for him. Kudos for also giving Maia an incredibly important role this episode. (Please detect the sarcasm)
We see Raphael spend some quality time with his elderly sister Rosa, and there’s even a beautiful, touching moment where she seems to be overcoming Alzheimer to remember her brother. But she passes away during the course of the episode, and Raphael is in a lot of pain for the death of his closest and last family member. He cannot even attend the funeral because it happens in plain daylight, which gives him another reason to haye Simon at the moment. Isabelle finds out about Rosa, and she goes to Raphael to offer her condolences and support. (Remember what I said about Izzy not having scenes that don’t have to do with men?)

At the Hotel Dumort, Heidi, the newborn vampire Raphael has been keeping sedated for quite some time now, demands to see her sire. We can only assume that to be Simon. Raphael only tricks her and sedates again, until she kills her jailer and finds a way to escape.

In Malecland, the two lovebirds have fun cooking meals and sharing memories. Magnus secretly fixes Alec’s stew recipe because apparently it’s inedible but he doesn’t have the heart to tell him. (Wasn’t bad cooking Izzy’s thing? Especially the part where she thinks she can cook but everybody else can’t stand her food?)

Things become less lovey dovey when Maryse shows up – am I the only one who thought she was already drunk?? – bringing bad news. Twenty years pardoning her, the Clave spontaneously went back on her case and now deemed her a traitor. Maryse even mentions they’ll be stripping off her runes soon, which is the biggest deal in the Shadow World because a) it hurts like hell and b) you are forever exiled and forced to live as a mundane. The dinner ends with a bittersweet tone instead of a tragic one because Maryse has finally fully accepted Magnus as his son’s partner and even thanks him for “loving my boy.” (Yes, I cried, don’t judge.)

Lots of exciting things happening next episode, like the introduction of Chai Hansen’s Jordan Kyle, one of the most hated and most loved characters in the source material. We know he meets Simon from the promotional pictures, but will he also run into his ex Maia? We can only tune in and see, and hope the girls have more prominent roles in the upcoming episodes.