Shadowhunters season 3 premiere recap and review: On Infernal Ground


Valentine is gone, but an even bigger danger has come to town. Beware: spoilers ahead for the Shadowhunters season 3 premiere!

Shadowhunters has returned for its third season, and by the angel, it’s going to be a dark one. The good news is, Valentine’s dead, Jace is alive and Clary is now a full fledged Shadowhunter. And that’s just about the only good news.

The episode opens on the woman seen at the end of the season 2 finale: Jonathan Morgenstern’s demon mother. Obviously hell hath no fury like a demon mother scorned, and she’s determined to bring her son back. 

There’s something inherently scarier about Lilith, played brilliantly by Anna Hopkins, and I have a feeling that by the end of the season it’ll kind of be like “Valentine who?” But that doesn’t mean celebration isn’t in order for his demise.

Clary and Jace are the only ones who know the specifics of what happened that night, but Alec is intent on figuring it out. After all, parabatai runes don’t just disappear — still, Jace is alive and that’s what counts. Cut to: Jace in a cemetery.

He’s still alive and well, just visiting the graves of his real parents. Clary offers words of comfort, but is mostly concerned about Alec’s suspicions. Unfortunately, that doesn’t matter; compelling a wish from the angel can only happen once, and if anyone — especially Alec — finds out, Clary’s got a life in Shadowhunter prison ahead of her. That’s okay with Clary though, because if she had to do it again, she would. I admit, I’m digging the Bonnie and Clyde vibes between these two.

Sadly, #Malec looks to be headed for the rocks. Magnus gets fired as the High Warlock of Brooklyn, after pledging allegiance to the Seelie Queen. I mean, he had to see that coming. Still, he loved the job and is heartbroken, but he certainly didn’t let Alec know that.

On the flip side, Alec gets offered a new job. In Idris. Where no warlocks are allowed to visit.

After an hour of dangling, Magnus finally admits he doesn’t want Alec to take the job in Idris. That works out well, because Alec doesn’t want to leave Magnus either. But if they’re already having communication issues this season, I’m nervous about the rest of the year.

Speaking of communication issues, Luke’s partner is not giving up on proving his werewolf status, and he’s not giving up on trying to convince her otherwise. But as it turns out, this isn’t a newfound obsession; she’s been convinced werewolves exist for four years, after being attacked by one. It’s helpful backstory, but unfortunately doesn’t make Ollie any less frustrating.

It’s actually pretty easy to forget that the mother of all demons is on the loose, since she’s laying pretty low. For now, she’s cleaned herself up and at the hospital looking at babies, lamenting her “curse” of a barren womb.

SHADOWHUNTERS – “On Infernal Ground” – In the season three premiere, secrets abound as the Shadowhunters and Downworlders try to get back to normal after ValentineÕs death. This episode of “Shadowhunters” airs Tuesday, March 20 (8:00 – 9:00 P.M. ET/PT) on Freeform. (Freeform/John Medland)


Enter Tim, a kind nurse who sympathizes with her story, but still can’t let her hold a baby that’s not hers. At least his last night of duty is an honorable one, because by the time he gets home, Tim is now just a body for a demon (one of the show’s scariest to date).

No worries, Clary was ready for him, having picked her signature weapon from the new weapons master: Isabelle. Moment to pause here for a hearty HELL YEAH. Between her whip skills and rocking most of her battles in heels, no one is more deserving of the job.

Following Isabelle’s advice to follow her gut, Clary opts for dual blades. She’s not sure what’s pulling her to them, but doesn’t really have time to dwell on it because Izzy wants to know about meeting the angel. Clary brushes it off and makes a swift exit.

Her next stop is Jace’s room, because there’s no better way to handle insomnia and secrets than making out. The moment is cut short though, when a very alive and crazed Jonathan appears, encouraging Jace to kill Clary. And he does, after a quick scuffle with Jonathan leads to her accidental impalement by Jace’s hand.

The sequence is mercifully revealed to be a dream, as Jace wakes up alone. For those who have read the books, it was another nod to the source material and a brilliant way to keep Will Tudor involved. I just love to hate him.

But it’s not a good sign for Clace fans. Jace is traumatized by the dream and probably won’t get too close to Clary for awhile.

Someone I love just as much as Will Tudor: Alberto Rosende. Especially his singing. And so do the Seelies — they even compare him to Bowie. Are we surprised David Bowie frequented the Faerie Realm? Not even a little bit.

But Simon’s not just there to serenade the court. He’s there to receive a mark from Meliorn (he’s back again!) and head home. The mark definitely looks familiar, but more on that later. According to the Queen, anyone but Simon who received that mark would be “dead, dead, dead…”

Kind of like Tim’s wife. Mrs. Dempsey became the first casualty of the season when Demon Tim sliced her neck open. The special effects team is clearly having a field day this year. The thing is, with a possessed killer, there’s some blackness left in the veins of the victim. Luke spots it immediately and finally, the gang’s all back together and on the case.

Jace, Isabelle and Alec head to the hospital to find out more about Tim Dempsey.

SHADOWHUNTERS – “On Infernal Ground” – In the season three premiere, secrets abound as the Shadowhunters and Downworlders try to get back to normal after ValentineÕs death. This episode of “Shadowhunters” airs Tuesday, March 20 (8:00 – 9:00 P.M. ET/PT) on Freeform. (Freeform/John Medland)


Before they can leave, Izzy needs sugar. Remember that weird yin fen storyline last season? Well, apparently candy helps her manage her cravings. I’ll let this one go because not only does it lead to her giving the vending machine an incredible kick (again, in heels!), it also introduces a new man: Dr. Charlie.

Could he be a new love interest for Isabelle? Maybe. But Rafael did say his sister isn’t doing too well. At some point, he might need a bit more comfort than a tranquilizer. Unless of course he was lying, and there’s a new woman in his life. Because that tranquilizer was definitely not for him.

While that squad handles the hospital, Clary and Luke set out to canvass the neighborhood. In the process, Clary learns why she was so drawn to the daggers; one was her father’s and one was her mother’s. The symbolism’s a bit heavy-handed, but it landed well enough.

Once again, the moment is cut short when Luke’s phone rings. Ollie has found Tim and is determined to bring him in — even when he flees at superhuman speed. Not great at knowing her depth, this Ollie.

Luckily, Clary manages to dispose of Tim — not with her blades, but with her rune creation skills and a sick Michael Jackson slide. Cue the after-school special quote of the night: “I guess those blades aren’t your signature weapon after all.”

Regardless, Clary will need everything she’s got this season, because according to Lilith, Tim is just the first of 34 “virtuous disciples.”

As premieres go, it was a gory and foreboding start to season 3, but in the best way. It’s a dark path ahead, and I’m ready to take it.

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Shadowhunters airs on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. EST on Freeform.