This week marks the 50th episode of Agents of SHIELD, and I think the show would have been better off if that anniversary was last week. Not that this week’s episode was bad per se–it began and ended with pretty big bangs. But after last week’s semi-tour de force, this week had a lot of things that reminded us of SHIELD‘s weaknesses. Fitz and Simmons were basically backburnered completely for the other plot lines. Instead we focused on Coulson and Rosiland, Daisy and Co, and Agent May’s going after Hydra. And for 90% of the episode these three threads, as far as we could tell, basically had nothing to do with each other. Not only did they have nothing to do with each other, but each was cringe worthy in their own way.
Coulson: “You know I run a spy organization, right?”
It is amazing to me how incompetent SHIELD is when it comes to tracking Hydra. Not only that, but when May and Bobbi find themselves locked up in a bank vault, and need to talk their way out, the entire premise was fairly unbelievable. I was relieved when the ass kicking finally started in that scene. I could almost hear Han Solo mutter “Boring conversation anyway.” (One thing the show did right this week? Lots and lots of ass kicking by Bobbi and May.) But speaking of unbelievable, let’s now turn to that scene with Hunter, Daisy and Mac in the truck. Daisy and Mac facepalm because Hunter’s gone out and shot a guy. I’m headdesking because somehow the entire episode seems to have gone off the rails into ludicrous speed. We’re supposed to believe any of that? Why do we need to punch banks in the face to get his blood–hello, THE MAN HAS BEEN SHOT, he should be bleeding rather profusely. Oh we’re done with him? Let’s just prop him back in the car. I think the scene was supposed to be funny, but I was laughing for the wrong reasons.
And then, just as I was about to give up, all three plots suddenly came together, with the answer: Andrew Garner. Oh, by the way, all the doubters were right. He wasn’t dead. Garner himself was right–there was no way he should have survived. And from the looks of it, we’re all going to wish he hadn’t.
Fitz: What, you don’t think I should help Simmons rescue Will?
Hunter: Do you think you should? He’s the competition. If your girlfriend’s ex wants to visit from Phoenix, you do not buy him a plane ticket.
Fitz: That’s really specific.
So, we now have an answer of why Garner left May in Hawaii. He turned. We also have a good idea of why he keeps denying Daisy anyone on her team. He’s apparently very anti Inhuman. So much so, his Inhuman side, Lash, has made it his mission to kill them all and put them out of their misery. Of course, now May knows. And though I would suspect next week, she’ll at least try to talk to Andrew, I think we can all agree that’s not going to go well, and that now we are facing the prospect of a season where we have two ex-SHIELD members as villains for the team to deal with over the season: Ward for the Hydra thread and Garner for the Inhuman thread.
Perhaps we’ve just found a use for Rosalind stasis boxes instead? The Coulson/Rosalind relationship remains the strongest part of the show outside the FitzSimmons dilemma. I’m still not sure I trust her, or believe her (and I’m pretty sure neither does Coulson.) But if her story is to be believed–that her husband’s death from cancer has driven her to basically put Inhumans in stasis “until they can be cured”–I actually feel for her somewhat. Of course, there’s the little matter of “maybe they don’t want to be cured” and “maybe they can live perfectly good lives in a mutated state.” Oh and then there’s “Becoming an Inhuman isn’t anything like contracting a deadly disease that will kill you.” Daisy is going to be most vocal on that point. But at least–if this story of having a heart is true that is–it’s good to know it’s in the right place, even if it’s probably in a very wrong pew.
Coulson: “How many biographies of Margaret Thatcher are there?”
I suppose letting the Andrew/Lash twist out of the bag quickly was for the best. (Again, it’s part and parcel with SHIELD’s sped up pacing.) And I have to admit I thought for a second “Lash?” when Garner said “There’s no way I should have survived.” but I probably would have banked on him having a different Inhuman power, and Lash coming from the ATCU for at least another week or two if the show hadn’t have Von Strucker reveal the truth to may with his dying breath.So now where do our pieces stand? We have Daisy, who apparently has been leading Lash to all his victims so far, ready to break away from the MCU if it continues to go along with “boxing” her Inhuman brethren like so many Cylons. Though May and Bobbi didn’t get Ward, they did get an extra answer they weren’t looking for. Speaking of Ward, it was nice to see Powers Boothe cameo again in the Marvel-verse. (I assume he’s still playing Malick from the first Avengers movie, and that his throughline is proof of how some of those who once ordered around Fury in the early days were actually Hydra operatives.) It would be nice to see Ward have a bigger fish to focus on that doesn’t involve SHIELD. As for Coulson, now that he’s got something of a lead on who Rosalind is and what she is doing, do we think that relationship will continue? (Also, why is her furniture all new? Did that matter?)
Daisy: This is ATCU. This is where they’re storing Inhumans they find. Like animals in cages.
Glad to see Fitz cyberstalking the coming competition. I wonder if it’s occurred to Simmons to google the shit out of Will now that’s she’s back on Earth? It is, after all, as I understand it, something of standard dating practice nowadays.