Shadowhunters season 3 episode 2 recap and review: The Powers That Be


Lilith is on the move, and the fallout is already massive. Spoilers ahead for last night’s episode of Shadowhunters, “The Powers That Be.”

It’s set to be a dark season on Shadowhunters, but two episodes in and we’ve gone to two parties. Last week, we started things off with a Shadowhunter initiation ceremony. This week, it was the Warlocks’ turn.

Ain’t no party like a Warlock party, but this Warlock party had problems. The night is awkward to begin with, considering Magnus’ obligation to attend and celebrate his own replacement: Lorenzo Rey, played by Javier Muñoz. Luckily, Magnus has Alec by his side; uncomfortable as the situation was, these two needed a date night.

And, as Catarina points out, there’s the added bonus that Alec’s presence seriously irks Lorenzo. Always the observant one, she also notes that Alec is great with kids as he’s playing with Madzie.

Just look at this:

SHADOWHUNTERS – “The Powers That Be” – The WarlocksÕ magic is becoming corrupted by a demonic presence, while Izzy and Luke try to track down more information on the recent series of possessions. This episode of “Shadowhunters” airs Tuesday, March 27 (8:00 – 9:00 p.m. EDT) on Freeform. (Freeform/Ian Watson)


That’s a conversation that Malec shippers might want to circle back to.

Magnus barely heard the comment though, because all at once, the Warlocks lost control of their magic — himself included. It’s unfortunate circumstances, but seeing his cat eyes again was undeniably fun.

While Magnus and Alec deal with that, Maia is determined to figure out what exactly the Seelie Queen did to Simon’s forehead (I have some idea, but more on that in a bit). Simon seems to have moved past it, which is odd considering, well, it’s Simon. He worries about everything.

But he made a good point. Even if they did figure it out, what can Maia really do? So things devolve into flirty banter and a makeout session. They’re young and in love. Let them enjoy it while it lasts.

Speaking of young and in love, Jace is seriously in love, and wants to take Clary on a real date. The problem is, he’s never truly dated someone — at least not someone he cares about. Of all people, Jace ends up getting help in the dating department from Simon. He recommends a restaurant called Woods, and the date night plans are set.

Meanwhile, Alec and Magnus are still recovering from their date night, when the moment is cut short by Lorenzo’s arrival. If he was icy at the party, he’s downright frigid during this visit. Javier Muñoz is going to be fun to watch this season.

Lorenzo has discovered the ley lines beneath his home were intentionally corrupted, and he believes it was Magnus’s doing — with a bit of help. Only a select few greater demons could create such damage, and it just so happens Magnus knows one: Asmodeus.

Well, he doesn’t just know Asmodeus: Magnus is his son. Add this to the list of things Magnus hadn’t told Alec. It’s understandable. Magnus was ashamed. But these two should probably have a tell-all kind of conversation at some point.

SHADOWHUNTERS – “The Powers That Be” – The WarlocksÕ magic is becoming corrupted by a demonic presence, while Izzy and Luke try to track down more information on the recent series of possessions. This episode of “Shadowhunters” airs Tuesday, March 27 (8:00 – 9:00 p.m. EDT) on Freeform. (Freeform/Ian Watson)


To prove his innocence, Magnus needs to study the corrupted ley lines up close. And so we get date night part two: spy edition. While Alec distracts Rey, Magnus will slip in and check out the lines.

It’s a close call, but they make it through the night undetected, and with an important revelation: it’s definitely not Magnus’s father who’s responsible for this chaos.

Of course, we already knew that. But something tells me Asmodeus will come up again at some point. To only bring him up as a tool to give more of Magnus’s background feels counterproductive. Maybe Asmodeus will be our next big bad? (He did wreak some havoc in the final books.)

No, this mess is the work of Lilith, who’s keeping her anonymity for now. It doesn’t seem like she can stay hidden much longer though — her work is about as subtle as a wormhole, and the Institute is paying attention.

While everyone else takes the night off, Izzy is pouring over evidence, trying to figure out what’s behind all these possessions. First Tim Dempsey, now four more people. Lilith has been recruiting her disciples very quickly.

In another odd team-up of the episode, Izzy gets some help from Luke. He’s really working the dad angle this season, and let’s get honest — it looks good on him. After his moment with Clary and her daggers last week, this week he gets to give Isabelle advice on balancing love and her career.

Love is a tricky thing though. The Shadow World deals with Hell’s worst demons everyday. But nothing could’ve prepared Jace and Clary for the double date from hell. Now we know why Simon recommended Woods; he was taking Maia there himself. And, without a reservation, of course Jace and Clary get seated right next to them.

The bright spot of the night comes when Clary asks what we’ve all been thinking: what happens to werewolves’ clothes when they transform? Answer: Nothing good. RIP Maia’s wardrobe.

Even so, she’d rather be a werewolf than a Shadowhunter — tattoos aren’t her thing. That’s odd, considering she has a butterfly tattoo, Jace notes. Poor Jace really is terrible at this dating thing. Pro tip: maybe don’t mention anything that indicates you’ve slept with your girlfriend’s ex’s current girlfriend (it’s a twisted web).

Fortunately, they all handle it fairly gracefully. Simon doesn’t expect an apology from Maia, which is good because she wasn’t planning to give one. She was single at the time, so she did nothing wrong. Maia had an especially strong episode and hopefully the writers continue giving her moments like this.

Clary just wants to understand why she’s apparently the only one Jace doesn’t want to be with. It’s a heartbreakingly bittersweet moment, as he lists all the things he knows and loves about her, saying it’s just because he’s never felt this way before and wants to take it slow.

But he’s clearly avoiding her physical advances because of those nightmares he had. As it turns out, those haven’t stopped. Jonathan wasn’t in the latest one, but his influence was. And he may fully return sooner than later.

Using the blood of her followers, Lilith is corrupting ley lines all throughout the city. So, Alec plans to use the Angelic Core to flush out the demonic presence. Or, as Clary so eloquently puts it, “divine Drano.” Not everyone’s on board though.

Raj, who is for some reason relevant again, is worried that Alec’s plan will result in the explosion of the institute. He’s so worried, in fact, that he locks Alec — the Head of the Institute — out of the system, with no way to override it. Because, sure, okay.

But that’s the beauty of a strength rune. Using that, Alec manages to manually release the angelic energy in the knick of time. It stops Lilith in the moment, but doesn’t hit the altar. As expected, she’s not going to be taken down so easily. At least it resulted in the banishment of Raj and his buddies, and the repair of the ley lines.

That wasn’t the only attempted banishment though. With his buddies, Russell — again with the return of annoying, irrelevant characters — tries to intimidate Simon into leaving. When that doesn’t work, the wolves go to physical violence — or at least try to.

Looks like that mark on Simon’s forehead is indeed meant for something! It’s the first demonstration of what is most likely the Mark of Cain, and it’s impressive. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait for more on that until next week.

Overall, it was an exposition-heavy episode. Having the romantic bits spread out through the episode helped, but it was a lot of storybuilding. The good news is, they still have an entire season to unpack it all.

Related Story: Shadowhunters season 3 premiere recap and review

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