Shadowhunters season 3 episode 8 recap and review: A Heart Of Darkness


While one Shadowhunter begs for death, another has just been sentenced. It was a rough week on Shadowhunters.

Lilith has her Owl back on Shadowhunters, and she left a bloody wake behind her. But first, let’s pick up where we left off last week.

Simon’s both concerned and confused; he’s injured people but never turned anyone to salt before. It’s a pretty big deal though. According to Lilith, Simon could ruin everything.

So, the fact that he’s still in the building is a bit of an issue. Ollie, who seems to have become Lilith’s right-hand disciple overnight, votes in favor of keeping her queen, and soon-to-be prince safe, encouraging Lilith to leave before Luke and Simon find her.

Lilith intends to do just that, but not out the front door. Using her magic, she transports herself, Ollie and Jonathan’s tomb, to a city rooftop. With Luke and Simon left baffled at the church, Lilith is off to pay a visit to the place “where all my troubles began.”

It’s not Lake Lynn or Edom, it’s the Seelie Realm. Lilith knows exactly what mark Simon bears, and where he got it. After killing the Queen’s knights (RIP Meliorn?), Lilith demands that the Seelie Queen strip Simon of the Mark of Cain.

It’s the first time the mark has been called by name, and it’s apparently the only thing that can banish Lilith back to Edom. No pressure, Simon. When the Queen refuses, Lilith poises to strike once again, until the Queen mentions the Owl.

This whole time, Lilith has known the Owl was missing but didn’t know why or where he was. But we do, and so does the Seelie Queen.

SHADOWHUNTERS – “A Heart of Darkness” – Magnus, Alec and Isabelle try to reach Jace inside The Owl, but even as powerful as Magnus is, can he help the Lightwoods retrieve their brother from his demon prison? Maia and Jordan join Simon on the hunt for Lilith, while Luke tries to find a way to get to Clary. This episode of “Shadowhunters” airs Tuesday, May 8 (8:00 Ð 9:01 p.m. EDT) on Freeform. (Freeform/John Medland)


Jace is safely imprisoned at Magnus’ apartment, with Alec and Izzy ready to try anything to save him. That includes entering Jace’s mind. According to Magnus, he’s trapped in there and needs to be led out.

To make that happen, they have to appeal to him using the strongest bond in his life: his parabatai. The only problem is, it’s entirely possible that Lilith could possess Alec while he’s in there too. Of course, that doesn’t matter to Alec or Izzy; they want their brother back.

While the Owl scoffs at the idea and taunts Jace’s siblings, using a weird, almost Batman voice, the team goes over their assignments. Magnus will get Izzy and Alec into Jace’s head, Luke will get information on what’s happening with Clary, and Simon will track Lilith. Ready, break!

Getting information from the Clave is hard to begin with. Being a Downworlder makes it even harder. So Luke calls in a favor, from none other than Maryse Lightwood.

I’m still nowhere close to shipping this, despite Luke basically quoting Star Wars — “Please Maryse, you’re my only hope” — and how the writers seem to be hinting at it. But if it helps Clary’s case, I’ll deal with it for now.

But even Maryse points out that asking a de-runed, former Circle member to pull strings with the Clave is a bit farfetched. That said, she does know someone: her ex-husband’s mistress. It’s all very soapy, but she’s a decent person and can help them get info on Clary.

Luke isn’t the only one getting help on this mission. Despite his best protests, Maia won’t let Simon leave her behind on this one. After all, he’s taking on the Queen of Hell; any and all support should be accepted.

That includes Jordan’s assistance too. Things are still tense between the three of them, but Clary needs help and Simon needs protection. Maia can put aside her anger for that. Alisha Wainwright has been a sneaky standout this season, and I’m here for it.

Plus, she’s not wrong. Clary could use some serious help. As a prisoner of the Clave, she’s put on trial, by means of the Soul Sword. She may have destroyed its Downworlder killing powers, but it can still compel the truth.

And that’s exactly what it does, for the most part. When asked about Jace’s actions, and why she was protecting him, Clary reveals to the Clave that he’s been possessed. Their next question: how?

Once again, we’re given the generic answer; Jace was vulnerable after being brought back by Raziel. That part Clary reveals of her own accord though. After being asked why the angel brought Jace back, Clary was blunt.

She asked for the wish, and she would do it again. The Clave can defend it as a backup plan for beating an insurmountable evil, but any wish that has the power to wipe out all Downworlders shouldn’t be an option in the first place.

It’s an inspiring performance, but the best of the night goes to Dominic Sherwood.

The Owl was able to block his mind from Jace’s friends once, but on the second try, they’re in. What they find is heartbreaking, to say the least.

The inside of Jace’s mind is the Institute, the only home he’s ever known. Upon their arrival, they come across younger versions of themselves training with a young Jace. When the pint-size Lightwoods disappear, Jace runs off frightened, thinking it’s Lilith’s doing.

In true nightmare fashion, Alec and Izzy get separated, left to find Jace without help. Fortunately, they do — twice.

Izzy manages to find young Jace at the piano and, using a lullaby Maryse used to sing them, convinces him to trust her. Hearing Emeraude Toubia sing was unexpected, but certainly not unwelcome.

Together, they head to Jace’s room, where Alec is with present-day Jace. Sadly, Alec’s encounter with Jace is much less heartwarming. He followed a trail of blood to Jace’s room, where he found Clary, dead against the wall.

It wasn’t just one Clary though. It was several Clarys, all dead and scattered through the room. This Jace, having just killed another Clary, is sobbing over her on the bed. He’s completely broken and horrified by what he’s done.

Though his siblings convince him none of it is real, Jace still doesn’t want to come back with them. He knows Lilith will compel him to do much worse, and he can’t take it. He begs Alec and Izzy to kill him (he can’t do it himself, he’s tried) and save everyone from himself.

It’s one of Sherwood’s most vulnerable, heart-wrenching scenes all season, and strikes just the right cord. It’s not enough to convince Alec and Izzy to kill him though. To really drive the stake through our hearts, Izzy reminds them both: “Three go in, three come out.”

All three do come out, but it’s not a happy landing. As they’re coming out of the spell, Lilith arrives, thanks to her tip from the Seelie Queen. She’s none too happy that Magnus has been tampering with her work, strangling him to show it.

He did say he would fix this, even if it killed him. Luckily, Lilith doesn’t kill him because she doesn’t want to start a war with Magnus’ father. But if Asmodeus is a Prince of Hell, and Lilith is the Queen, doesn’t make that related somehow? That’s a question for a different day.

For now, Lilith has taken Jace again, and Alec is overwhelmed with guilt. Magnus reminds him that they did everything they could, but it makes no difference. Alec promised his parabatai that he wouldn’t let Lilith take him again.

There might be hope yet though. Simon still has the Mark of Cain and he’s still working to track Lilith down with Jordan and Maia. Thanks to them, they now have a general idea of her plan.

Upon returning to her church, the three of them discovered her altar. They all smell the blood, but quickly realize it’s not just one person’s. They also discover that the top of the altar comes off. Below it are several markings, which Jordan translates, revealing it’s a demonic resurrection.

The only question left is who would Lilith want to resurrect? With that, Simon heads off to give Luke a call about all they’ve learned.

What he comes back to is less than ideal. Simon walks in on Jordan and Maia having a heated discussion on whether Jordan’s really changed. So heated, that Maia herself literally starts to change.

Simon steps in before her turn is complete, but she’s clearly shaken. By the end of the night, she’s headed out of town, and Simon lets her go.

It’s probably best for now since he’s going to be dealing with a lot next week. His best friend was just sentenced to death by the Clave.

It’s hard to believe we’re already at the summer finale, but that’s what we face next week. “A Heart of Darkness” was certainly an appropriate build-up, and the two-hour finale looks to be quite the ride.

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The Shadowhunters finale airs Tuesday, May 15 at 8 p.m. EST on Freeform.