Wow. This changes everything. Spoilers ahead!
The sixth episode of the third season juggled several storylines, effectively moving the plot along with some poignant relationship developments. Then again, who am I kidding? The major reveal that S.H.I.E.L.D.’s resident psychologist for people with powers, Dr. Andrew Garner is Lash, is the defining moment of the entire episode. Period. The Inhuman monster whose been relentlessly murdering his own kind is none other than Melinda May’s ex-husband.
It is at this time that I need to refer back to my review for episode 3×04 so that I can eat my own words. “Devils You Know” ended with the young HYDRA hopeful, Werner Von Strucker, seemingly kill Dr. Garner after he’s seen running out of a pharmacy before it explodes. In my review, I wrote:
“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.”
Once again, I must eat my words. I’d seen some theories that Dr. Garner was actually Lash, but I still honestly never suspected him. He was introduced last season and ever since has been a helpful, guiding presence for Coulson and Daisy as they attempt to get a better understanding for the Inhuman psyche. Now that I think about it, it actually makes perfect sense that Garner is Lash. The one thing we knew about Lash was that he was an Inhuman who believed he was a necessary force, performing his rightful duty by murdering “unworthy” Inhumans. Is it too much of a stretch to think Garner used his background in psychology to help vet those with powers and thus get a better idea of whether or not they’re worth? Can this then explain why Lash never killed Daisy when he had the chance? Suffice it to say, I’m now fully intrigued by the consequences of this episode. This season is really hitting its stride.
The implications of Garner’s reveal as Lash are the most egregious for May. With Garner (supposedly) nearly dead, May enlists the help of Bobbi to finally put an end to Ward’s plans. We luckily got to see Mockingbird back in action, but that was not nearly the most interesting development between the two female agents. Bobbi is clearly still reeling from the torture she suffered at the hands of Ward. Despite the fact that we know she’s a kickass agent, it’s easy to forget that she’s still fairly young and inexperienced when compared to someone like “The Cavalry.” Melinda becomes a true role model for Bobbi, who tells her that the experience can make Bobbi stronger. May’s confidence in both herself and her counterpart is palpable, which only makes Lash’s true identity that much more shocking.
The other major development in the episode was the introduction of Gideon Malick, played by Powers Boothe. There wasn’t much traction in the storyline, as all we learned that Malick was a close confidante to the late Baron Von Strucker and is described by Ward as “the one all the others were afraid of.” Clearly, this guy’s a hotshot in HYDRA. The most interesting insight into Gideon, however, can’t be found in last night’s episode, but in The Avengers. Boothe has appeared in the MCU before, in the aforementioned film, as a member of the World Security Council, which appeared periodically on several adjacent jumbotrons in a closeted room before Nick Fury, each instance attempting to tell Nick Fury what to do. Fans may recall this same Council electing to bypass Fury – or S.H.I.E.L.D. altogether – and nuke New York so as to neutralize the Chitauri invasion. The Council again appears in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, under the leadership of Alexander Pierce, as the HYDRA cell within S.H.I.E.L.D. was fully revealed. Though Boothe’s appearance as a member of the Security Council in MCU past is merely meant to be a fun connection for fans, it’d be really neat to see Malick harken back to his time serving an executive position within S.H.I.E.L.D., only to be actually serving the interests of HYDRA.
There wasn’t much time devoted to continuing the sensational Jemma storyline from last week, although what little we did see led to perhaps the best line of the night. When Fitz explains to Hunter his desire to help Jemma return to the alien planet to save Will, Hunter deadpans, “If your girlfriend’s ex wants to visit from Phoenix, you do not buy him a plane ticket.” Hunter’s hilarious analogy is not far off from the truth, but Fitz is Fitz, and his devotion to Jemma is unparalleled. Their relationship has taken major strides over the last year, now being one of the most complex dynamics within the entire show.
Up until now, I’ve been satisfied, but not quite ecstatic about this season. After this monster episode, I’m all-in. I cannot wait for next week’s episode. I hope they keep the momentum going.
Final Grade: A
-Despite the criticism, Hunter continues to shoot first and ask questions later.
-Mack: We don’t have the equipment to draw Banks’ blood.”
Hunter punches Banks in the face
Hunter: There ya go. Blood.
-Rosalind’s revealed to be a widow. Her husband died several years ago from cancer. This is used to explain her thought process for the Inhuman storage facility, for she would have loved to be able to “put her husband asleep for a little while until someone found a cure.” Coulson takes issue with her ethics, but he isn’t overly critical.
-Garner is after Lincoln. Why does he want him so? Is he “unworthy” for whatever reason? If not, why does Lash need to kill him?