In the fourth episode, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. kept the ball rolling on a number of storylines, while continuing to tease what in the hell actually happened to Simmons on the mysterious alien world. We got to see another appearance by Lash – as well as hear his voice for the first time – and the clash between Hunter and Ward happened a lot sooner than any of us may have thought. Though not a perfect episode, AoS is demonstrating it is unafraid to slow down the pace; having learned their lesson with the second season, this show is a whole different animal from the first. The series is now quite effective at juggling multiple storylines and choosing which ones to service at each interval. It would have been great to delve more into the specifics of Simmons’ trip, but it was awesome to see more of Lash, as well as Ward’s supposed HYDRA lair. Also, is (SPOILERS!!!) Dr. Garner really dead? Wow, things really are escalating quickly.
The episode begins with a couple we haven’t seen before cooking dinner for each other. The seemingly normal occurrence is distorted when the guy levitates over to the stove to check on the chicken. These aren’t just any old humans – they’re Inhumans! They’re soon visited by an old friend, Alisha, an Inhuman viewers will remember from Afterlife last season. Before their reunion can be celebrated for long, the villainous Lash suddenly appears and begins to attack the Inhumans. It is at this time that we learn Alisha had sent one of her doubles there under the orders of Coulson, whom has also sent Daisy and Mack to the California apartment for backup.
While the team can’t find Lash, they do end up face-to-face with the A.T.C.U. After a rather humorous confrontation in which the S.H.I.E.L.D. and the A.T.C.U. agents scream at each other to “Stand down!” we learn that Coulson is with Rosalind and the latter agents, apparently as a part of their newfound agreement. It’s clear that the writers are really trying to make viewers uneasy that Coulson has put so much confidence into this partnership, though I’m not in love with how it’s being handled so far. Daisy and Mack didn’t seem to know that the partnership had even taken place. And taking into account the wars of witty, pseudo-sexual banter Rosalind and Coulson seem to engage in seemingly every time they get some time alone, it’s very likely that the team members will soon believe Coulson’s judgment has been clouded by his new female frenemy. I hope that I’m wrong and that the writers have something up their sleeve in regard to the importance of the A.T.C.U. this season, but as of now, it’s been one of the most bland plot-lines of this still young season.
As for the other main storyline this week, Hunter finally gets the chance to get Ward within his sights. First off, am I the only one that thinks it’s weird that Ward’s henchman refers to him as “Director”? Perhaps after all of the shit Ward has talked on S.H.I.E.L.D. he actually does have a soft spot for the organization, or at least a penchant for trolling Coulson in the most meta way possible? The action scenes in the hideout were a lot of fun and led to one of the coolest moments in the episode, in which May had to choose between her desire to take down Ward and save her ex-lover, Andrew.
Melinda May, I’m sorry to say, but I do hope Dr. Garner is dead. Blair Underwood is a fine actor, but the character has never been used for much more than exposition on powered people. More importantly, I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, but Agent May is at her best when she’s kicking ass and emotionless. In the beginning of the episode, I was a bit angry to see her be so honest about her emotions in two consecutive scenes. I’m sorry Marvel, but even after two seasons, I still cannot see May as a normal person with normal relationships. Instead, May is best serviced when her character is revealed bit by bit. Rather than continue to see this trend in character development, let’s hope that Garner’s death makes her realize she must stick to being an agent so that more people close to her don’t perish, too.
On the Lash front, Daisy was able to use some computer hacking skills (that’s right, don’t forget “Quake” was first introduced as a precocious computer hacker) to track the source of some shady emails that the Inhuman couple had received prior to getting murdered. The team is led to Dwight Frye, whom they eventually learn is a “divining rod” of sorts for Inhumans. Dwight is not Lash, but we do learn that it is through Dwight’s abilities that Lash has been able to track down the various Inhumans that he has recently killed. This was an interesting development, as was the reveal that Lash is not a “full-blown monster,” but an Inhuman with the ability to transform in and out of a human and monster form. Do you think we’ve encountered is human form already? Is Rosalind too much of a stretch? Probably. Would it make for a hilariously awkward conversation between her and Coulson? Definitely.
And finally, the episode ends with a bit of a cop-out. Simmons tells Fitz, “It’s time I told you the truth…about everything….” and then it’s over. I’m not exactly mad that the details of her adventure weren’t revealed in this episode, I just think this wasn’t a proper cliffhanger for this week’s episode, but rather a preview for what will be revealed in next week’s episode. Anyway, it should be exciting to see!
Final Grade: B
-Why does Daisy still continue to use a gun? Rock those gauntlets, girl.
-Rosalind to Coulson: “I like when you get all tough.” I’m starting to get annoyed by all the sexual tension between them. I hope they either bang soon or her ulterior motive is revealed pronto. We all know there isn’t going to be a “Happily Ever After” for these two.
-Coulson’s mechanical hand choke grip? Awesome.
-Speaking of Coulson’s robot hand, I loved May’s simple, “Hey, no tie?” I hadn’t even realized that the typically dapper Director hasn’t been seen in his trademark suit and tie all that much (if at all) this season, as he’s apparently still learning how to do some things without two fully functional hands.
-The look on Ward’s face when he realizes May was with Hunter? Classic.
-The haunted, almost malevolent look on the young Werner Von Strucker’s face after he darted out of the exploding supermarket was, I believe, the beginning of something truly sinister. I was very interested to see how his story would develop, and although he didn’t have much screentime this week, he sure made an impact. Let’s hope the origin of this madman continues along a solid arc.