Season 3 Episode 17: The Team

‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ has so many twists and double-crosses this week that you’d almost swear it was a Shonda Rhimes show. I’m hyperventilating. Did that really just happen?! If this episode is any indication of the caliber of the finale, were in for a ride of epic proportions. Ok, let’s get to this weeks review and apologies for presenting this one out of sequence – it was just too important to pass up, but I promise I’ll catch up on the outstanding episodes ASAP.

With Coulson and the S.H.I.E.L.D. command team trapped aboard Zephyr One as it was hijacked by Giyera and piloted to a HYDRA base, Daisy and Lincoln are left to rescue them. Using a quinjet, they fly around the world to pick up the members of Daisy’s “Secret Warriors Initiative,” which sounds pretty cool and impressive until you realize that it actually only consists of two other people: Joey (the guy who can manipulate metal) and Elena (the speedster who can spring back and forth faster than the eye can see). Elena has (conveniently) been practicing her English enough to carry a conversation now. Joey seems reluctant to get involved and put himself in danger, especially when Daisy makes them all HALO jump out of the jet – something neither he nor Elena has ever done before.

Starting a new chapter in your life is always difficult, and joining a team of Inhumans has to be hella difficult. Good thing Yo-Yo and Joey have each other. They commiserate in rapid-fire Spanish, just before taking the plunge out of the jet. Two newbies, becoming friends is very heartwarming; the conversations in Spanish make them that much better. Especially since not one other “agent” there understands the language. It becomes their thing and anchors them to each other.

Meanwhile, on the ground, Giyera leaves the plane and reports to Ward. A HYDRA team storms the plane to flush out the S.H.I.E.L.D.ies, who hold them off with a gunfight and then lock themselves into a storage room. (How the hell big is this plane?) May was injured in the last episode and is in pretty bad shape, but Simmons is able to stabilize her. Fitz works on MacGyvering a chlorine gas weapon using supplies in the room.

The warriors arrive and split up. Lincoln finds Malick (all of a sudden Lincoln seems like a pretty epic fighter to be honest!), Daisy finds the plane, Yoyo finds the team, and Melty Man… does… something? That really could have been clearer. Anyways, the team leaves on the plane with Malick, only to find that the Inhuman I call Secrets In Their Eyes is hiding on the plane. He eye freezes Lincoln but Melty stabs him with a pipe. This is his first “kill” and he’s rightfully NOT a happy camper about it. As it takes off and leaves the HYDRA base, Ward isn’t too concerned. He tells Giyera, “Now we have one on the inside.” That sounds ominous. Is he talking about Malick, or does he have a mole in S.H.I.E.L.D. now or is Eye guy not really dead?

Completely ignoring the conflict of interest, Coulson interrogates Malick, the man responsible for having Rosalind killed. Protocol is different from organization to organization, but this can’t be okay no matter what. Coulson is still so damn bitter about Rosalind. This may sound cold-hearted, but can we get past this? It’s been some time, they didn’t date very long, he got his revenge on Ward; let’s stop bringing up the dead lady! Anywho, Malick tells Coulson about the death of his daughter – remember that time that Hive killed Malick’s daugher by creepy alien tongue kissing her? – Malick reveals how Hive works and he says that he made a terrible mistake in bringing the Inhuman parasite (whose official name is Alveus, which supposedly translates as “Hive”) to Earth. He explains that Ward/Alveus/Hive murdered his daughter and says, “It is a god, just not ours.” Malick warns Coulson that the Inhumans will all worship Hive, who has the ability to control the mind of any Inhuman. He also suggests that some of Coulson’s own people may have already turned. Coulson isn’t sure if Malick is just playing him, but the seeds of doubt quickly grow in his mind. He asks Mack to quietly lock down the base and instructs Fitz and Simmons to work on making a test to see if anyone is under Hive’s spell.

Daisy immediately suspects that something is up and that Coulson is hiding something from her. She doesn’t like being left out of the loop. Elena also gets very agitated about being stuck in the base, and Joey disappears for a while. Mack watches all of them (plus Lincoln) on surveillance but doesn’t feel very good about it. Meanwhile, Fitz-Simmons discover the infection in Secrets In Their Eyes and cause the power to go out so the doors will lock for good. They find Malick’s door open with him dead inside laying next to a bomb which goes off and destroys all of the evidence.

At this point, nobody trusts anybody. Coulson and Mack try to round up the Inhumans, but Daisy is adamant that they’re being railroaded. She barricades the four of them into a room, where they even argue amongst themselves, each accusing the others of being traitors. They all take turns accusing each other of being infected and killing Malick, until Daisy tells them they need to stick together. She leads them out via a secret elevator, straight into a containment room, with Coulson waiting. Damn, Daisy, you turncoat. Coulson announces who the infected person is: Lincoln; they found the orb in his locker and they know he’s stolen before. Not only that, he’s been infected since the mission at Transia, and Daisy buys it. Lincoln denies it all and loses his temper on his team, leaving Daisy to take him down. Why would Coulson think he’d been turned at Transia? It’s not like whoever was infected would admit to seeing Hive; but wait, Lincoln did. The wonkiness of the events leading up to it certainly make clear the purpose of the last few episodes. If you thought that Daisy and Lincoln’s relationship was a bit ham-fisted, you’re not wrong, as it was clearly rushed in order to make this misdirection more shocking and emotionally resonant. Unfortunately, the relationship didn’t quite spark the way the writers had hoped, and as such the reveal was a little predictable.

FitzSimmons try to figure out how to help Secret Warriors, but have no real way of doing that outside the lab. So basically, they’re hanging out and mackin’ on each other. They’re worried about Hive, but Fitz says they’ll take care of him. Stuck in that dirty room, they finally have their moment, so they commence to kissing. About bloody time (pardon my french … only been 3 seasons of waiting for them to hook up!)

Coulson breaks the news to Daisy that he’s benching the Secret Warriors, because they can’t be near Hive; they’ll have to stay in quarantine. Daisy is understandably disappointed, but tells him they’ll be stronger next time. No fight at all, Daisy? She escapes quarantine to go see Lincoln. Everyone knows she designed the security protocols, why wouldn’t they alter them if she’s locked up, too? Lincoln maintains he didn’t betray the team. Not to worry, boo, Daisy is there to let him out so they can runaway together. Lincoln doesn’t want to leave because he’ll be proven innocent. Then it hits him: Daisy is the infected. She’s sick, no she’s happier than she’s ever been. She describes the infection as a bond. Lord, she sounds like one of Jasmine’s followers on BtVS. Yep, she killed Malick. Lincoln is equal parts disbelief and bitterness as he realizes she his past against him. Damn, she’s like a combination of Jasmine plus Raven from The 100. She can’t convince him to go, so she leaves, taking the orb and a fair number of crystals with her. It’s not enough she’s a lying liar who lies, on her way out, she disables the locking mechanism so no one can escape and destroys the base.

The last 10 minutes of the episode is the big reveal, as usual, with a pretty big change at the end that should be interesting to see where the final episode of the season goes. There’s still the eventual tie-in with Captain America: Civil War too to deal with.

I’m sad to see Powers Boothe exit the series. Malick was a great character and brought a lot of much-needed menace to the villain side of the equation. (I still don’t care for Brett Dalton as the new Big Bad.) That disappointment aside, this is a pretty terrific episode with lots of suspenseful twists and turns. Daisy being under Hive’s control means that, in a sense, Ward will finally get her as he always wanted. That dynamic should be interesting to watch play out. The episode is one of the better for the season, here’s hoping it keeps it up.

Among Us Hide – Season 3 Episode 6

Right missed a couple of these over the past little while so let’s try to get caught up as quick as we can shall we?  If you recall from the previous episode (Devils you Know & not 4,722 as while that was an excellent episode, it doesn’t (yet) do anything for the underlying story), May and Bobbi had managed to track down Strucker and while they weren’t in time to stop his beating, May managed to hear that Andrew might not be dead after all.  In fact, Andrew it  turns out is the Inhuman – Lash that Daisy has been searching for.  Turned out, he was the one who set the building ablaze. The worse part is Skye (Chloe Bennet) is right. The inhuman, Lash, they are hunting can indeed transform into human. To blend into the crowd, the beast becomes Garner.  May is in disbelief with the shocking revelation about her ex-husband.

I like giving credit where credit is due, and I can safely say that as someone who has been a fan and viewer since season 1, tonight’s game-changing reveal was on par with the great “Ward is Hydra” turn of 2014. I didn’t see it coming, and maybe I’m alone in that. But when a show can blindside me completely with a narrative that is interesting and unsuspecting, I have to give it props.

agents-of-shield-02Before we get to those big moments, though, let’s start with something important: Andrew Garner is alive. Not only that, he’s alive enough to talk and give May and Coulson the rundown on what happened when Werner von Strucker tried to kill him. He tells them about the men who followed him, who Coulson correctly calls out as being HYDRA. Turns out that Coulson had his own S.H.I.E.L.D. agents tailing Garner, which is how he got lucky: The agents gave him time to find cover, but just barely. (The way this scene was shot, with May watching the medics work on her husband, was incredibly reminiscent of Black Widow, Cap, and Maria Hill watching a dying Nick Fury in Winter Solider…at least for me.)

May’s still pissed at Hunter for putting Garner’s life in danger, and her anger’s not unwarranted. Unsurprisingly, Coulson pulls Hunter off the assignment while May puts herself on, because now she’s going after Ward, hell or high water. At least there’s one positive thing that comes out of Garner’s near-death experience: May’s back. I mean, really back. She’s got the Hunter “out for blood” thing going and takes it to the next level by “recruiting” Bobbi to help her in the way only S.H.I.E.L.D. agents can: by forcing her into a sparring session. Bobbi and Melinda make an amazing team, because they’re both total badasses, but watching Melinda mentor Bobbi and encourage her to see her pain and suffering as “experience” that makes her stronger is pure gold. And that’s an example of good therapy, that makes you more capable instead of making you doubt yourself—as Bobbi proves at the end, when she uses her “experience” to take down Ward’s right-hand man. As much as I enjoyed Scientist Bobbi Morse, I cannot express how happy I am to see my favorite character back in the field, kicking butt, and being an active part of the team again. (And those fight scenes in this week’s episode just proved that. Give me an entire episode of Bobbi and May undercover, please.)

It makes sense that Lash was someone with inside knowledge, and this may even explain why Andrew was so opposed to letting Inhumans go out into the field—since he’s apparently got a lot of issues with his own kind and sees it as a vital mission to hunt them all down and perforate them.

Did this episode have it all?  Well lets see – we had Ward (yay he’s back!), we had HYDRA (and we even got a glimpse of the Baron himself), we had an amazing time with Cal (Kyle MacLaclan) on his “day out” and we even got to see Lincoln strut his stuff a little bit.  So yes, there was tons to enjoy in the most recent episode of SHIELD.  Was it perfect … no, but then it never is … there are always some little quibbling little details that are just annoying, but there was lots to love here as I’m sure you’ll agree.

In Frenemy we had Coulson, Hunter and Fitz track down and make an uneasy alliance with Ward.  Coulson offers to have Ward get a clean slate via the Tahiti protocol (yeah I don’t think anyone believes that Ward will go through with this) so that he can help him infiltrate HYDRA in an effort to track down Skye.  We had Cal returning to his home in Milwaukee (ostensibly to collect his belongings in an effort to make his stay in the Afterlife more comfortable) with Skye in tow.  We also had HYDRA tracking the comings and goings of Gordon and his Nightcrawler-esque powers using “quantum entanglement” to arrive in Milwaukee and the “Real” SHIELD hacking into Deathlok’s vision circuits to find out what Coulson and crew were up to so that they also arrived in Milwaukee!  Basically everyone ends up in Cal’s Milwaukee office building for a variety of misunderstandings, double-crosses and plans being kept secret from the audience and all of the differing storylines all converge together – finally – in an orgasm of destruction!

When Jiaying makes the decision that Cal can no longer stay in the Afterlife – due to the concern she has for her fellow Inhumans, Skye counters that simply dropping him on the side of the road like a puppy is both cruel and malicious.  She makes the very cogent argument that while he might not belong with them, he absolutely should not just be discarded as he will literally explode at the rejection.  Making a deal to tag along so that she can let him down gently, Cal and Skye travel to Milwaukee where his enthusiasm to spend some time with his daughter can almost literally be felt.  Cal – played so well by Kyle MacLachlan – can emote with the best and his delivery of lines like, “How about next time we grill?!” and “Big overdoer!” was hysterical, even as he showed the manic, dangerous side of Cal always lurking below the surface – one he’d later unleash on those Hydra agents.  When they do arrive in Milwaukee, Skye is able to “obtain” a cell phone which she uses to contact May and the others while searching for Coulson.  This action helps to get Bobbi and Mac to Milwaukee also.

Talking about Bobbi and Mac, I actually quite enjoyed the interaction between them at the start of the episode where they were discussing whether they’d made the right decisions to betray Coulson.  Their banter and sparring (both verbal and physical) was excellently portrayed and when Mac literally bounced off the floor of the training room after being thrown by Bobbi I thought that was just excellent! However much they might be questioning their previous decisions though – they are still all in to find out what Coulson is actually up to and while no mention is made of the Theta protocol from last week’s episode, you can see that this is very much in their mind.

While Skye is sightseeing in Milwaukee with her dad, Coulson has managed to track down and corral Ward and makes him an offer he can’t refuse.  While Ward seems to agree to this and gives up Bakshee in an effort to find out what HYDRA is up to with powered people, you just know that his end game is going to be something completely unexpected.  If we were betting people, after the first episode of this season aired we wouldn’t have put any money whatsoever on Ward getting a redemption – while there are some instances here where he seems to show some remorse (specifically in regards to Skye), his actions till now have only demonstrated that he is nothing if not extremely dangerous.  A complement that Coulson also pays him by bringing Deathlok to their initial meeting.

After Bakshee is able to organize a meeting – one that Mike Peterson (Deathlok) attends, Coulson, Hunter, Fitz, Ward and Agent 33 are able to see that HYDRA is also stalking Gordon and they hope that this will lead them to Skye – this is where Ward might start to change as the only thing he seems to care about, genuinely care about is Skye.  Tailing them in their Quinjet they all arrive in Milwaukee also and Ward/Coulson head off in search of Skye while simultaneously fighting off the forces of HYDRA.

Kyle MacLachlan at 43rd Emmy Awards ceremony
Kyle MacLachlan at 43rd Emmy Awards ceremony (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bakshee meanwhile is seemingly NOT as brainwashed as we were led to believe as he manages to capture both Deathlok and Lincoln who were fighting each other, not really realizing that they were both there to protect and help Skye.  Perhaps he (Bakshee) has a larger role to play in this after all (?) unless the whole thing is still a long con and he’s actually following the orders of Ward and Agent33.

 

While Coulson and Skye finally get a chance to see other again … it really is a father/daughter moment … they are yanked apart again by Gordon.  Unfortunately Cal too joins in the teleport and you know that he is not going to be a happy camper when they get to the other side.  While he’s continued to help and save Skye/Daisy – he’s nothing if not disturbed and his temper is never that far away!

Some Quibbles & Thoughts

  • Skye/Daisy kind of “forgave” or empathized with Cal a bit too easily didn’t she?  Last week she had to almost be forced to have a dinner with him, but now she’s understanding him so well?  While her explanation made some sense – i.e. she’s been searching for her parents for so long and she did everything/anything to find them – I prefer to think that in reality she already had the idea that if she got out with him she could come up with a way of contacting SHIELD.  I like to think that she’s that devious/intelligent!
  • I hope that now that Skye has seen Coulson in person — even if it was in the unexpected company of Ward — we’ll see a bit more conflict between her SHIELD agent side and her reunited daughter side.  With both Cal and Coulson in her life she has to feel pulled in many different directions and while she doesn’t have all of the facts, she needs to wonder about the fact that SHIELD was both helping her and hunting her.
  • It was really, really good to have/see Ward again.  He’s definitely not reformed and seems to always have multiple plans underway. I’d hate to see them figure out a way to make him back into a good guy as he is an awesome villain – in fact the scene where May and the others back at SHIELD headquarters saw Coulson and Ward together was pretty priceless (even though it was 100% expected), as far as a big “Oh, crap” moment, seemingly reinforcing everyone’s worst fears about Coulson and what he’s been up to.  Unfortunately unless Ward becomes someone significantly greater than he is I do not see him staying around forever … I would expect that in an upcoming episode he is killed off while saving Skye giving him some (but not complete) redemption in the eyes of the world and SHIELD.
  • There were several Age of Ultron moments – the Baron, experiments on powered people – sprinkled throughout the show and it’s quite possible that the April UK release is going to give all of us some interesting tie-ins and details! There were also references to Raina and her precog talents … this is definitely going to be important in the future.

News and Gossip

Finally some rumors … there has long been speculation about an upcoming Agents of SHIELD spin-off … yesterday it was announced that this show would focus on Bobbi and Hunter and to be honest I’m a bit torn about this.  I absolutely love the interaction between the characters themselves – it’s very Mr. & Mrs. Smith with the bickering exes that do spy work together to be honest – and while I can see Hunter being a great standalone character, I’m actually not as enamored of Bobbi.  I know this is probably surprising as most reviewers like her character, but her motivations and reasons for betraying Coulson and team leave nothing more than a sour taste in my mouth and I really don’t know if I can allow myself to trust her (character) in the future.  Together they absolutely do add “something” to the show, but I also believe that the show could have done without her character and managed with a “throw away” mole within HYDRA to serve as Simmons rescuer.

All that being said though – you know me … I’m a Marvel junkie and I’ll be the first in line to watch this and report out to you all my thoughts when it finally does appear on our screens!