SHIELD is trying not to war with other agencies, but there are still deadly consequences! Secrets are revealed, characters die, and new powers are revealed in this week’s Agents of SHIELD!
Not a bad episode, overall. It’s funny though, the first season suffered too much from the monster-of-the-week syndrome, but the latest season seems like it could use a bit more variety – not that what we’re getting isn’t dramatic.
This episode means some major losses will be felt by the cast, and there will be ramifications.
The Spoiler-Light Recap: Ward has a spy near May’s ex. May has a spy near Ward’s second-in-command. Coulson is helping other spies spy on his own spies. There’s an Inhuman spying on other Inhumans for other Inhumans. And there’s the monster out killing people! This much espionage is bound to get someone killed.
On with the Comic Connections
The episode opens with the quiet civilian lives of Inhumans Shane and Lori Hanson. The former’s ability to float and the latter’s ability to burn with energy may seem impressive, but they were happy to live normal lives in North Hollywood since the Afterlife was abandoned after last season’s finale. A mysterious e-mail and a visit from the multiplying redhead Alicia brought the growing Inhuman conflict to their door as the mysterious Lash appeared, killing all two-and-a-fifth of them. Shane and Lori do not seem to have obvious comic book counterparts, but there’s a long tradition of showing how non-combatant superhumans survive day to day. On the Inhuman front, a few were spotlighted in the ground-breaking 1998 mini-series aptly title Inhumans (and the 2003 follow-up series), and as far as mutants go, a lot of everyday superpeople were spotlighted in the 2002 mini Muties. All worth checking out!
Alicia, much like Jamie Madrox the Multiple Man, has a main body that splits off duplicates, and like Jamie, she can feel when one of her other selves dies. That’s pretty harsh, and it creates a strange sense of mortality as she can feel death and fear it, while surviving it. Neither here nor there, but Multiple Man, despite being in various X-teams, is considered by some to not even be a true mutant, but some other subspecies of humanity often confused for mutants. Food for thought.
The SHIELD team scrambles to track Lash, but they run afoul of ATCU (lead their by Coulson, who is trying his darndest to be a team player). ATCU head Rosalind Price claims she has 19 Agent Johnsons, but not strong enough to take down a building. What does this mean exactly? Does the ATCU actually employ Inhumans? Are they training them? If they aren’t as powerful as Daisy, what can they do?
Meanwhile over on the Eastern Seaboard with Hydra, Ward and Kebo are setting up their agency as a more guerrilla-style operation than its predecessor, but they are using a lot of SHIELD techniques and terms. Director Ward even jokes that he can’t tell Kebo things that are on “Level 7” (a reference to the series’ first episode). Neither here nor there, but last week Stick reminded me that there may be other reasons Kebo survived his apparent death at the hands of young Werner a few episodes back. When Wolfgang von Strucker was/is in charge, he has a nasty habit of cloning any agents he feels might be useful. This is particularly troubling, as this makes existing agents expendable. Displease him, and he’ll blow up your head – he can always make a new you later.
Back at SHIELD Dr. Andrew Garner, the former Mr. May, is keeping busy. He checks in on Alicia (whom he hasn’t officially examined yet), tries to get Simmons to open up about possible planet-related PTSD, and tries to mend bridges with May. Interestingly, Coulson tells May that Andrew is replaceable, if his presence bothers her, but she doesn’t mind his presence, for the most part. In fact, Andrew offers to get together with her again just after he teaches class the next day. Man, good thing this isn’t a Joss Whedon show, or this might seem like it’s setting Dr. Garner up for the chopping block!
Just as an aside, Coulson’s prosthetic arm may be amazing, but it has trouble tying ties. Also, it may or may not have laser fingers. Y’know which other spy has laser fingers? Mutant MI-13 agent Pete Wisdom, that’s who.
Following up on the Henson’s e-mail comment, Daisy finds the mysterious e-mail and a nasty virus attached to it. Coulson forces her to share that intel with the ATCU, but she doesn’t share her success in tracking the virus back to its source: online gamer and IT Inhuman guy, Dwight Frye in Baltimore, Maryland. Of course, Coulson tells the ATCU anyway, because he’s just that helpful (this is after he calls Daisy a “conspiracy nut,” referencing her time with the terrorist group Rising Tide). It turns out Frye is an Inhuman who’s allergic to other Inhumans, allowing him to (painfully) sense where other Inhumans are. As Lash is out killing Inhumans, Frye gladly helps to alleviate his own pain. Marvel’s mutants have often been used to hunt each other. Notably, the Morlock named Caliban can track mutants (and was easily persuaded into doing so), and Rachel – the time-lost future daughter of Cyclops and Phoenix – was a Hound in her own timeline, forced to track and hunt her own kind.
SHIELD allows the ATCU to take Frye in, but Daisy and Mack accompany him, to see what the ATCU has planned. Before that can be sussed out, Lash lashes out at the group, killing Frye and giving Mack a concussion. Interestingly, he lets Daisy live before walking away and apparently transforming into a regular-sized human (he could be anyone! Well, almost, anyway). This is probably tied to why the Lash hairs Bobbi examined were deteriorating. In the comics, Lash has not shown the ability to transform, but he does absorb and redirect energy. And similar to the mutant Apocalypse, Lash believes that only the strong deserve to live, so he kills any who are not useful to him. Having seen Daisy in action, this is likely why he doesn’t kill her.
When not studying hair samples, Bobbi is busy recovering from the tortures Ward gave her, but she seems to have a premonition that her ex-hubby Hunter is in trouble. Interestingly, comic book-Bobbi is mildly psychic, or claims to be, or is covering it up, or is pretending to be. Something. Spies are confusing.
Hunter finds himself in Ward’s secret Hydra base, either called Nemesis or Point Omega. Ominous, man. When he realizes he’s going to meet up with Ward sooner rather than later, Hunter blows his own cover to take on all of Hydra. Things go about as well as one could hope, but May soon jumps in to help out.
Unfortunately, the rest of SHIELD’s tac(tical) team is 20 minutes away when Ward reveals his ace – Werner von Strucker (alias “Adams”)is ready to kill Dr. Garner unless Ward orders him to stand down, and that’ll only happen if May and Hunter surrender. May makes the very Coulson-like call to stand down, but Hunter rightly points out how much more damage Hydra could do if they do not act, and moves in anyway. Ward, apparently distraught over losing his love Agent 33 (he did accidentally shoot her himself), is more than willing to have Garner killed before his Psych 301 class, and apparently does so just as he escapes (though Hunter did shoot Ward in the shoulder and May killed most of the Hydra agents present). Dang.
We don’t find out what May does next (not yet anyway), but we do get to learn a bit more about Fitz-Simmons. Fitz knows Simmons is trying to rebuild the machine, and she wants him to help her. First, he has to learn why she wants to go back so bad!
Next week: This is hell.