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‘Shadowhunters’ 3×02 Review: ‘The Powers That Be’

By Beata (Guest Contributor)

We’re two episodes into Shadowhunters season three, and already we have a pretty good idea of what this season is going to be like.

The Powers That Be featured all the things that make Shadowhunters so endearing and fun. It was hilarious, sometimes intentionally and sometimes my mistake. It was ridiculous and downright nonsensical at times. It balanced good couple moments with very cringe-worthy couple moments. Every once in awhile, it delivered a few genuinely touching moments. And the dialogue… the dialogue was something else.

All that, and Javier Muñoz was there.

It was a good episode.

Javier… I mean Lorenzo


This episode introduced us to a new quasi-villain, in Lorenzo Ray. The new High Warlock of Brooklyn is kind of the worst, but it’s very hard to dislike him when he’s being played by Alexander Hamilton himself.

I’m also intrigued by how much he knows about Magnus. Their dynamic should be a fun one to watch in the coming episodes, and Lorenzo might help us learn more about Magnus.

Warlock sickness?

The main conflict (sort of) in The Powers That Be was the warlocks suddenly losing control over their powers at Lorenzo’s party. Kind of like what happens in a certain Shadowhunter book that Shadowhunters doesn’t have the rights to.

I’m not entirely clear on the details of exactly how this feat was accomplished, or why it was a huge priority of Lilith’s, and quite frankly I don’t see why it was important to the plot, but okay.

It did lead to some cute Malec moments, so there’s that.

Apparently this had something to do with ley lines being corrupted, so Alec’s solution was to flood the ley lines with angelic power, which is apparently very dangerous. Again, this entire plot seemed unnecessary and too complicated, so hopefully it ends up being important in the long run because I don’t get why we needed it now.

Maia and Simon


While the season premiere focused a lot on plot, this second episode was more concerned with its characters and their relationships. Early on, we got to see how well Maia and Simon’s relationship is going with both of them out of the Seelie realm. While I obviously ship Simon with Isabelle (at least in the long term), I really enjoyed his scenes with Maia in this episode. Those two are incredibly cute together, and I think they work really well as friends.

It might seem weird that a werewolf and a vampire are dating, but Simon is still figuring out how to be a downworlder, and Maia can help him out with that. His Shadowhunter friends don’t really understand in the way she does, and Luke is a bit too busy to help all the time.

Maia is also great because she’s fierce enough to stand up to the other werewolves, and help establish something of a partnership between



Another big storyline in this episode was Clary and Jace figuring out how to be a normal couple.

I’m kind of confused about what Shadowhunters is doing with Clary and Jace right now, because their relationship drama seems almost entirely taken out of City of Fallen Angels, and yet up to this point, they have had a very different journey as a couple than the Clary and Jace we see in the Mortal Instruments series.

Clary and Jace were a couple in season 1, yes, but they were definitely not even close to being a couple in season 2. They didn’t spend nearly as much time obviously pining for each other as Book Clace did in City of Ashes, and that’s fine! But now that they’re together, it feels a liiiiitle bit instalove-y.

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I just don’t see the chemistry between these two and need more time before I can really believe them as a couple. Time that I didn’t need in the books because I thought their relationship was done a lot better. Again, just my opinion.

In this episode, we saw Jace give a long and sappy speech explaining how much he loves Clary, which was extremely in character for Book Jace. For TV Jace, though, it seemed a bit strange. Especially since we haven’t seen him spend that much time getting to know Clary, so it doesn’t quite make sense that he suddenly feels so strongly about her. Maybe we could have seen this a little more before the show told us?

Their entire storyline in this episode was a bit weird because while it kind of fit their relationship in the books, it felt very incongruous with what we’ve been shown so far in the TV show. Of course, I say this knowing perfectly well that I’ve been asking for the show to be closer to the books for a very long time, but I feel like there must be a way of doing that in a way that doesn’t betray what has already been established in this show’s canon. There are many storylines the Shadowhunters writers could use from the books that would make a lot of sense for their show, and I don’t see why they’re putting those aside while bringing in storylines and characterizations that are sort of incongruous with what the show has shown us in the past.

My life is not important right now


Isabelle’s storyline in the episode felt a little bit shoehorned in, and I would have liked to see more focus on her character, because I think the journey she’s on right now is a very interesting one.

It sounds like Isabelle has completely given up her personal life in favour of her professional life, which is a storyline we see a lot on TV, especially in the Fantasy and Sci Fi genres. I hope in the coming episodes we get a better idea of why Isabelle suddenly feels like she can’t have a normal life, or like her life isn’t worth focusing on at this moment. We didn’t see much of that last episode, so why the sudden change? Does it have to do with the drug addiction storyline from last season? Guilt over things that happened in the season finale? Or is she just the fact that everyone else is pairing up and moving on with their lives, leaving her kind of alone as she deals with stuff.

If this is really the direction we’re taking Isabelle’s character, I have to go back to the question of why Max didn’t die last season. Because that certainly would have been the best way to get her to this place.

I’m crossing all my fingers that this means the writers are giving her a storyline similar to the one she gets in City of Fallen Angels and City of Lost Souls, because that was the part of the series that really made me fall in love with her character (even though she was already one of my favourite fictional characters of all time). I loved seeing a much more vulnerable version of her, and I loved how that affected her relationship with Simon. I’m not totally confident that Shadowhunters would do a good job with that storyline, but I still want them to try because I love Isabelle and I want the show to explore her character more.

Things That Do Not Make Sense, A List


Look at that, it’s my shortest list yet! Is it because I’m out of practice? Because I had less time to write this review? Or because I’m not competing against anyone this year so it doesn’t matter nearly as much?

  1. How are there so many warlocks in New York?
  2. Since when can the Institute’s weapons master repair weapons and magical objects? That’s an Iron Sisters thing.
  3. Why couldn’t Alec stop smelling Magnus’ shampoo? I’m just… so perplexed by that scene. Why did they do it like that? It seemed so weird to me.
  4. Since when do Warlocks have to expose their marks in order to use magic?
  5. How does Lorenzo know who Magnus’ father is? Magnus doesn’t exactly volunteer that information.
  6. The High Warlock is able to banish people to other dimensions?
  7. How exactly did Alec become head of the Institute? This isn’t a knock on him at all. I’m curious as to how he could have been elected when his ideas are clearly way too progressive for the average shadowhunter.
  8. The fact that Jace was able to overpower Raj so easily. He’s still a shadowhunter.
  9. Dance music playing while Simon and Magnus were flooding the ley lines with angelic energy. That might have been the most inappropriate use of dance music I have ever seen, and that’s saying something.

Odds and Ends


  • I don’t know if it was intentional, but I laughed at Javier Muñoz referencing a “cabinet meeting”
  • I need someone to write a fic that’s just a shadow world cabinet meeting in rap form, like Hamilton. Please. There must be someone in this fandom with the talent for it.
  • It was nice to see Madzie again! And to see Alec with her!
  • I’m not sure why they made the mark of cain invisible?
  • I kind of like that Alec doesn’t care who Magnus’s father is. These two are so past that now.
  • The double date scene was kind of cringe-worthy but also so funny.
  • Same with Alec in Lorenzo’s house.
  • I find it so cute that Simon knows Clary so much better than Jace does
  • “Ketchup on fish… that’s disgusting.” “That is not ketchup.”
  • Raj sucks and he sounded like a lot of very awful real-world people when he was trying to defend the Institute at the expense of innocent downworlders.
  • So we got confirmation that Simon’s mark is the Mark of Cain and I’m not sure how I feel about it, but I’m sure it’ll be explored in more detail in the next episode.

Shadowhunters airs Tuesdays at 8pm EST on Freeform.

About Alyssa Barbieri (2800 Articles)
Alyssa is the Managing Editor for Bears Wire. You can reach her at or follow her on Twitter @AlyssaBarbieri

1 Comment on ‘Shadowhunters’ 3×02 Review: ‘The Powers That Be’

  1. I do like that Jace and Clary are back on track and I actually do like the awkwardness because up to this point it’s been nonstop fighting demons and of course the whole we aren’t biologically related. As for Izzy I think she’s feeling extreme guilt and trying to right the wrongs by overworking herself. I actually like they didn’t kill Max that just would have been sad to see it’s a lot different than just reading about it. Jace on his own I believe is an amazing shadowhunter he was trained since birth. Add in his extra abilities and I don’t see anyone beating him. I feel every episode is getting more closer to the books and I sure hope they decide to get all the others.

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