Shelter (2023) season 1 episodes 1, 2, and 3 recaps and review

Harlan Coben’s Shelter is a mystery series based on the novel of the same name that follows a young boy who investigates the disappearance of a girl and uncovers a conspiracy involving his father. The episodes are streaming on Prime Video.

Episode 1 recap: Pilot

Brad Bolitar grew up in New Jersey and went through something traumatic in his youth. 25 years later, he moves back to Los Angeles with his wife Kitty and his son Mickey after several years abroad.

On their way home one night, their car is hit by a truck and Mickey watches his father be carted away in an ambulance by a paramedic with a distinct facial scar.

4 months later, Mickey moves to his father’s hometown of Kasselton with his aunt Shira. His mother is in a behavioral facility, and Mickey doesn’t get to meet her too often.

Mickey is greeted on his first day of school by Arthur Spindell, the nerdy kid who is there to welcome him. He also meets Troy, the captain of the basketball team, Rachel, the cheerleading captain, and Ashley Kent, a fellow new kid.

On his way to school, Mickey comes across an old house and when he asks Arthur about it, he learns that it belongs to “bat lady”, an old woman who has become an urban legend rumored to eat children.

Mickey hits it off with Ashley and they make plans to meet after school. While he’s headed back, he stops at a court and plays a game of basketball with Troy, doing well until Troy makes a cheap shot at Mickey.

Arthur picks up the nickname “Spoon” because he carries one around in his pocket and Mickey calls him that since he doesn’t remember his name at first.

He walks past the bat lady’s house once again and the woman from inside calls out to him by name and tells him that his father is still alive before heading back inside. He tries to go after her, and another girl from school comes across him and calls him weird.

Mickey goes out for his date with Ashley but she never shows up. He goes back home in a frustrated mood and gets into a fight with Shira before going back to the bat lady’s house and causing a ruckus.

He is immediately picked up by an officer named Ken, who happens to be Troy’s father. Shira picks him up from jail and tells him about Dylan Shakes, a young boy who went missing years ago, and how Mickey’s father was bullied into going into the bat lady’s house sometime after the disappearance.

Ashley doesn’t show up to school the next day and Mickey has no clue where she might be. At lunch, he sits down with the girl who saw him the previous day and she introduces herself as Ema. Arthur joins them and they ask Mickey about his interaction with the bat lady.

He’s cagey about what happened so they wait for him outside the house later that evening. He tells them what actually happened and then sneaks in while they keep watch outside.

A man with sunglasses arrives much later and tells Arthur and Ema to leave, and Mickey joins them later after finding one of Ashley’s things in the house. They dig into Ashley and rush to her address to find the cops and an ambulance taking someone away.

Mickey and Arthur try to force their way in worrying that it’s Ashley but Mrs. Kent says she doesn’t even have a daughter and the man being taken away is Dr. Kent, her husband.

Episode 2 recap: Catch Me If U Can

Arthur and Mickey discuss why Dr. Kent could have been beaten up on the same day that Ashley went missing and why Mrs. Kent would deny having a daughter while they sit in a holding cell.

Shira comes to bail Mickey out once again and tells him that his mother is going to be discharged in two days. Ema has cause for worry after it is revealed that she has a tattoo of a butterfly which is closely associated with a song that Mickey heard in the bat lady’s house.

Rachel brushes off Ashley’s disappearance but is shown to have her backpack with her, which has a gun inside. Arthur, Mickey, and Ema decide to dig into Ashley’s disappearance further.

Mickey finds out from his teacher, Mrs. Friedman, that Ashley withdrew from school that morning. The teacher looks concerned as she reads a resignation email from a colleague, who was actually killed by at the bat lady’s house and was connected to Ashley’s disappearance.

In history class, they learn about Lizzy Sobek, a young girl who saved several children from meeting their end at Auschwitz during World War II. The teacher assigns everyone a partner project and Rachel chooses Mickey as her partner.

The trio head to the hospital where they meet Mrs. Kent. She tells them that the man who hurt Dr. Kent had an octopus tattoo on his face. Mickey finds out from Shira that his father and Dylan Shakes were actually best friends.

He then goes out for a walk with Ema and she asks about his mother. He says that she was a junior tennis pro before being forced to retire for depression which is also why she’s in the facility.

He suddenly notices that the man with the sunglasses is watching them so Mickey goes after him. He jumps onto his car as he’s trying to drive away and the man tells Mickey that he should keep their meeting a secret or else he’ll kill Mickey’s friends.

Ema wanted to tell Mickey about the butterfly tattoo but changed her mind. Shira and Mickey go to pick up Kitty the next day so that the mother-daughter can spend some time together.

Mrs. Friedman finds photographs of Ashley in her colleague’s drawer and appears very worried. Mickey notices Ashley’s terrified expression in one of their photos and after some digging, sees that she was reacting to the man with the face tattoo.

Ema takes them to a tattoo artist that she knows to find out if he knows who that man is or who did his tattoo. She then pulls him aside and asks him why he tattooed her with the butterfly.

He says that it signifies the goddess protector of children and suggests that she might have to protect someone. Mickey gets back home to find that his mother hasn’t returned and is missing.

He and Shira find her at a nearby waterfall where she’s having an emotional breakdown. She has to be readmitted as the suit guy sneaks into Mickey’s place to copy all the files from his laptop.

Mrs. Friedman goes to the backyard of the bat lady’s house where she finds the grave of her colleague. The tattoo artist is seen burning a photo of the face tattoo man.

Rachel goes to a train station and finds a locker filled with a bag full of cash and fake passports for Ashley. The face tattoo man confronts her and tells her that it doesn’t belong to her.

Episode 3 recap: The Dirt Locker

Sunglasses man is going through the things he found on Mickey’s laptop while Bat Lady eagerly waits. Mickey blames himself for his mother’s relapse but Shira comforts him.

Rachel returns home with a cut on her arm after escaping Octoface. She and Mickey don’t show up to school for different reasons and Troy is worried about that.

Shira’s parents show up and say that they’re going to be having a party at the house. Ema bonds with Whitney, Buck’s twin sister, during art class.

Mrs. Friedman announces that Angelica Wyatt is the celebrity sponsor for the school musical and Angelica announces that they will be doing ‘Phantom of the Opera’.

Mickey finally shows up and tells Ema and Spoon what happened with his mother. Spoon takes them all to an abandoned boiler room where they can chill and investigate.

Spoon shows Mickey the connections they have made between Ashley’s disappearance and Dylan Shakes’ disappearance. They check out Ashley’s locker but it’s empty so they decide to check the security cam footage of the school.

Mickey goes back home and finds a party going on and Rachel waits for him to work on their project. His grandparents greet him with excitement and he heads off.

Ken’s family shows up because they were invited and it is a bit awkward for everyone because Hannah and Shira were best friends in high school and Ken and Shira dated back then.

Rachel leaves with Troy following her and he grabs her arm which triggers a memory of her shooting Octoface. Mickey remembers a camping trip from a while ago where he saw his father washing blood off his hands.

Ema and Spoon see sunglasses man in the security feed and Mickey rushes to Bat Lady’s house as soon as he sees it. Hannah returns to Shira’s place at night and the two of them hook up.

Mickey confronts Bat Lady and she talks to him about Lizzy Sobek and shares some information that he wasn’t taught. He realizes that she is Lizzy Sobek and she shows him a picture of the man that chased after her, but it is photoshopped with Luther’s face, the man that killed his father.

Ema and Spoon see Rachel on the security feed with Ashley’s bag.


  • The mystery starts off a little slow but by the third episode do pick up and it appears quite interesting. There’s a good score backing up the series and maintaining the exciting tone.
  • The lead characters are very interesting and they work well with each other. It will be a fun experience to see where they go from here.
  • There are a few moments where things get a little too dialogue heavy and that is a drawback. Thankfully, those moments aren’t very common and they could possibly improve with time.
Harlan Coben's Shelter season 1 episodes 1, 2, and 3
Shelter (2023) season 1 episodes 1, 2, and 3 recaps and review 1

Director: Patricia Cardoso, Edward Ornelas, Christina Choe

Date Created: 2023-08-18 05:30

Editor's Rating:

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