‘Shadowhunters’ 3×03 Review: ‘What Lies Beneath’

What Lies Beneath was… well, it was an episode of Shadowhunters.

It was weird and confusing, but also kind of fun, as long as you’re not taking it too seriously. There was a lot going on. Less than usual, perhaps, but still a lot.

What I did appreciate about What Lies Beneath is that it gave a bit more time to each of its storylines. Not much more, but enough for me to notice it. I’ve written before about Shadowhunters’ annoying habit of jumping around between a bunch of different storylines without fully fleshing them out, and messing up its pacing in the process. I still think that’s a problem, but it wasn’t quite as pronounced in this episode. We got a nice, complete arc about Maryse and Malec, an interesting side plot about Raphael, and some other stuff that was a bit confusing but still cool. We’re getting there. Baby steps.

Come to think of it, there was still a lot happening. Like, a lot. But some of the storylines were actually much more fleshed out than they usually are in this show, and that’s something.

Maryse and Malec


So. Maryse came back.

And she’s… not Maryse?

Her character has done a complete 180 since we last saw her. Her change in attitude has been so dramatic that there were moments in this episode where I wondered if this was even Maryse at all, or if it was someone pretending to be her. This is Shadowhunters, after all. Where anyone can be anyone and you never know who is who because we have a million different ways to disguise yourself as someone else. Or rather one. It’s called the shapeshifting rune and it is my mortal enemy.

Anyway, Maryse appeared in New York to talk to her children about the divorce and, apparently, her imminent exile from the Clave.

Um. What?

I understand that Maryse did bad things when she was with the Circle, but I’m with Alec on this one: this is bullshit. Why on earth should she be exiled just because some other guy decided to join back up with Valentine? What does this even have to do with her? And why on earth is her prior involvement with the Circle – which has been followed by several years of total devotion to the Clave, by the way! – grounds for de-runing all of a sudden? It just doesn’t make sense.

Putting that aside, though, I did enjoy Maryse’s scenes, especially her interactions with Magnus. It still seems strange to me that she’s suddenly so accepting of her son’s relationship, and so friendly toward Magnus, but it did make for some pretty nice moments, so there’s that.



The biggest mystery of this episode was, of course, who was under the owl mask. Where did the owl come from? Nobody knows. But he’s here and he’s attacking people, and our main cast wants to know who he is.

Jace has a theory of his own, and that’s that the owl guy is actually Jonathan, AKA Sebastian. He thinks Clary’s real brother was resurrected in the same way he was in the season 2 finale. Clary is understandably sceptical, even despite the reasoning he provides.

I mean, can you really blame her? The guy’s hardly been getting any sleep lately, and as Isabelle put it, that does stuff to your brain.

I’m still not that happy about Jace seeing visions of Jonathan/Sebastian. It feels kind of corny and it makes it way too obvious that Sebastian is coming back. I don’t want Jace to see Sebastian as the evil version of him. I want him to think that he’s evil all on his own. That sounds more like Jace. And it’s generally more interesting for his character.

In the end, the Owl turned out to be Jace, or possibly someone disguising themselves as Jace, because this is Shadowhunters and everyone is using the fucking shapeshifting rune.

The Mark of Cain


I still don’t understand why the Mark of Cain is a Seelie thing and a Daylighter thing instead of a thing that Clary gives Simon in a moment of desperation. When are Clary’s superpowers going to be used for real? I want her superpowers.

A fairly significant part of this episode was Simon trying to figure out what this Mark is, and why it’s hurting everyone who tries to hurt him. He went to Clary, but that was a dead end. He went to Raphael, but the other vampire wasn’t in the mood. He tried to go back to the Seelie Queen, but he wasn’t allowed back in her realm.

However, having read the books, and therefore knowing what this Mark is all about, I wasn’t nearly as interested in this storyline as I was interested in the story of his exile.

A huge part of Simon’s experience of having the Mark of Cain is how he slowly gets rejected by everyone until he’s all on his own. This episode showed us the very beginning of that journey.  The werewolves at the Jade Wolf decided once and for all that Simon was no longer welcome at their place and Luke was forced to kick him out of his home. We know that Simon can’t go back to his mom’s house, or to the Hotel Dumort, so I’m guessing this is where Jordan will come in. I’m nervous about how Shadowhunters will handle Jordan’s storyline, but curious to see what they do with this part of the story.



And finally, we come to a surprisingly heartwrenching part of this week’s episode. Raphael said goodbye to his last living relative; his sister Rosa.

Raphael has somehow become one of the most compelling characters in Shadowhunters, and it was cool to get a bit of insight into his character and backstory in this episode. The dialogue in his conversation with Rosa was pretty cringey, but what else is new? This is Shadowhunters. The rest of it was emotional and well-acted.

I really appreciated, not just the exploration of Raphael’s character, but the look into what it’s like to be immortal, and see all your loved ones die while you keep living. It would have been really nice to see Simon tie into this a bit, since he’s currently facing that horrifying future, but I guess he had his own stuff to deal with. It’s understandable.

Things That Do Not Make Sense, A List


  1. Why is everyone calling Sebastian Jonathan and not Sebastian? That is the name they know him by, and the one he prefers, even if it’s not the one he was given at birth.
  2. What happened to Maureen? Because this Heidi person is starting to look a lot like Book Maureen. Except we haven’t seen Maureen in ages.
  3. Izzy asking Raphael to promise her that he’ll ask for help if he needs it, then walking away before he can even answer.
  4. What exactly was Maryse talking about when she referenced everything Alec has accomplished as head of the Institute? I’m not trying to bash Alec here, I swear! I’m just confused because we haven’t really seen him do anything yet.
  5. How did Isabelle recognize Morgan’s phone on the floor in a crowded club?
  6. Clary using her swords more than her stele, only a week after we established that her weapon of choice is her stele and not her swords.

Odds and Ends


  • Can we cut to Sebastian’s resurrection already? This is reaching “Simon is slowly turning into a vampire!!!1” levels of dragging things out unnecessarily.


  • Shadowhunters continues to throw in very accurate connections to real-world issues. The werewolf complaining about Simon, saying that Luke has “let one of them sleep with our women” gets even more disgusting when you realize that’s how a lot of people thought and still do think about different groups of people.


  • If you’re wondering why I don’t complain as much about the dialogue as I used to, I’d like to clarify that’s it’s definitely not because it’s gotten better. It’s because there are only so many ways you can say “this dialogue is awful” before you start to sound like a broken record.
  • Izzy is sweet and I enjoyed her scene with Raphael, but I still don’t like that relationship.
  • I still adore Isabelle’s friendship with Clary.
  • “You might find I’m actually pretty lost”
  • I like that guy Izzy met at the hospital last episode, and again at the club in this episode. He seems sweet and he understands consent.

Shadowhunters airs Tuesdays at 8pm EST on Freeform.

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