Agents of SHIELD: Many Heads, One Tale

Wasn’t I just complaining about the Hydra going limp the other week? (I was. In fact, it was last week.) I saw the turn around coming in last week’s bumper as we tied the ATCU to Malick and Hydra. But I’m not sure anyone saw the historical long tail coming that would encompass not only the answer to our Shadow group in the NASA space program, but also those medieval period flashbacks from earlier in the season, as well as tying both the monolith and the Inhumans all into the same plot.

Malick: Thousands of years ago, an Inhuman was born on this planet that was destined to rule it. So powerful, so fearsome, that others were consumed with dread and so they banished it from the Earth. Sent it through the portal to a distant planet. HYDRA was founded with the sole purpose of engineering its return.

To be fair, once Powers Boothe showed up on the TV show, he was either going to be a Sam Jackson like momentary cameo, or the central figure. This week determined he was the latter. Now, I’m certain there are going to be many, many Marvel fans out there who are cranky about the obvious retcon of Hydra “existing long before Red Skull.” But if one takes it as a read on more as “there was this evil shadowy group already in the world, and Red Skull simply became a beacon they all gravitated to,” it both makes sense, and doesn’t totally ruin the entire history of the organization. One just has to assume that final morph of the ancient symbol into the Hydra one came around the 1950s mark.Clipboard01

 

 

Of course, now that we know Hydra, or a group that Hydra absorbed when they were created, has ties directly back to the Inhumans, including worshiping one. We know that what Simmons and Will were facing on the planet has a scientific (well, terrigenisitic) explanation. Once again, all plot lines are linked into a single narrative.  But in doing so, just as many questions come up as do answers. Starting with: A Hydra Inhuman Army, lead by the former Chairman of Iron Chef America?

Coulson:  “We really have to figure out other ways to flirt.”

That’s slightly unfair of me. Mark Dacascos was a martial arts performer before he was hired by Food Network. With Iron Chef America having run as far as the network could force it before replacing it with shows like Chopped and Cutthroat Kitchen, it was time he returned to his roots. And having him as one of the lead evil Inhumans “Giyera” means we’ll get to see him semi regularly, fighting against amazeballs performers like Ming-Na Wen, I’m not going to argue, even if I am waiting for him to randomly yell ingredients at me, such as “PIZZA DOUGH!” Perhaps we could even make fighting with food part of his Inhuman powers? No? We have to make him Joey’s evil twin, also able to control metal, like a certain X-Men character whose name we already know cannot be uttered in the Marvels-verse, leaving the Scarlet Witch an orphan?

mark dacascos

This focusing of all the different plot streams into one coherent narrative helped carry along threads that might have otherwise felt superfluous. That meant even Hunter and Bobbi, and Hunter’s total inability to fucking type as the IT hacker dude, which might have felt like an annoying distraction in another setting, held real tension this week. Though, I did realize in this episode that Nick Blood and Adrienne Palicki are far less irritating when their characters are getting into scrapes together than when they are getting into scrapes separately. Perhaps there’s something to giving them a spin-off after all. If anything, I was slightly disappointed to see that the Lincoln/Agent May team up was for emotional apology/thanking purposes, and not for ass kicking. I am looking froward to seeing them work together later to take down bad guys, not just perform random parking lot airlifts.

Rosalind: He’s a friend. I worked with him more than a decade. He advises the President’s staff. Helped design the ATCU. Oversees the science division. He gave me the T.A.H.I.T.I. intel.

Speaking of which, do we believe Rosalind Price? Call me paranoid, suggest I have deep-seated issues, say that I am as cruel and heartless and non-human as my robotic hand–but I’m still not convinced Ros doesn’t know who she works for with Malick. Or that she doesn’t know her staff is populated with Hydra-made Inhumans. After all, she seemed to know just fine that Andrew had been taken away. And of course she had her lackey Banks rescue Hunter and Bobbi. It was the fastest way to regain trust, now that SHIELD had uncovered quite a bit, while deflecting everything onto Malick. But I’m withholding said trust for now, if for no other reason than we know from his talk with Ward that Malick wants a mole in SHIELD to figure out just how Fitz brought Simmons back. The question is if that chiseled off piece of transporter monolith will come in to play. One suspects that SHIELD will be allowed to get their hands on it, so that Hydra can follow their next steps.

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Ahh, yes, Fitz and Simmons. Finally, three years in, the kiss we’ve been waiting for. A kiss with the ghost of Will Daniels hanging over it, and ending with Fitz declaring them cursed. I’ve been really impressed with this handling of the love triangle so far. Moments like the one where Fitz basically starts on his own self loathing, and how of course Simmons will pick the other guy, only to be reminded that he’s really no slouch about this either. “You dove through a hole in the universe for me.” I mean seriously, “TrueLove” doesn’t get any more dramatic than that. This is how you make two characters who need to be kept apart for as long as possible believable. Love triangles everywhere should be taking notes.

Fitz: You think I didn’t look for dirt on him? I did, and there’s nothing. I can’t hate him, he’s great. Why else would you fall for him? He did everything right.
Simmons: And you dove through a hole in the universe for me.

One other note for this week: the most effective Ward is a solo Ward. Ward against SHIELD still feels pointless, since neither of them are going to die. Ward against Hydra is just as ineffective, as we know those who Hydra sends against him will be tortured to death. But Ward with a bunch of random ass extras in a plane that he sacrifices for the jump? That’s a pretty effective Ward. Too bad a Ward gassing Andrew back into Lash isn’t quite so potent. (Ny the way, should we be concerned that the pod Lash is in is marked with the Faux-NASA symbol? Is Lash heading through a portal soon?) After enjoying solo Ward this week, it’s too bad next week looks like a Ward-Coulson showdown. Let’s hope it’s sidecarred by SHIELD getting their hands on monolith bits. I’m still banking on getting back to the Blue Planet and Will Daniels home in time for the holiday break.

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