[This is a review of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 3, episode 3. There will be SPOILERS.]
Last week’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. took a brief reprieve from the Inhuman politics of the widespread release of Terrigen crystals in order to follow Fitz’s quest to discover the secret of the monolith and recover Simmons from the mystery planet on which she lived for a number of months. The episode also saw Hunter track down May and bring her back into the field in order to aid his mission to bring down Hydra — and exact revenge on Ward in the process.
However, this week’s episode, ‘A Wanted (Inhu)man’, returns us to the major conflict established in the season 3 premiere: the ATCU and their hunt of Inhuman individuals. In this case their target is Lincoln, so Daisy, Coulson, and Mack must race to find him before Rosalind and the ATCU. However, given his distrust of S.H.I.E.L.D., it takes more than a few days on the lam before he’s willing to accept their help. Meanwhile, Fitz attempts to help Simmons readjust to Earth and Hunter takes his first steps to infiltrating Hydra.
As has been the case for much of the series, Fitz and Simmons again act as the emotional heart of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in ‘A Wanted (Inhu)man’. While the other characters have their moments of vulnerability in between the action set pieces, de Caestecker and Henstridge thrive in the little moments, such as Simmons’ struggle with the simple task of taking a shower because she isn’t used to the lights or sounds of the bathroom. But their moments together, when Fitz shows her the lab, or later, when they’re in the restaurant, continue to act as the steady ground on which the more fantastic elements of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are based. Their (relatively) simple task of healing Simmons works to balance out the more action-heavy narrative in ‘A Wanted (Inhu)man.’
Still, while Simmons’ character arc seems to be at the forefront this episode, ‘A Wanted (Inhu)man’ leaves the viewers with a cliffhanger in that Simmons wants to go back to the planet on which she was trapped. Now, without knowing what planet (or moon) she was stuck on, it’s difficult to say why she would want to return, or what she would return to. Although we know Simmons was hunted while on the planet, it’s unclear if she met anyone (or anything) friendly. However, if the planet was some sort of prison or penal colony, it stands to reason she may have had help staying alive for so long — and may wish to go back in order to repay the debt.
In order to infiltrate Hydra, Hunter contacts an old friend, called Spud (Daniel Feuerriegel), who can help set up a meeting. However, the trick to getting a meeting is that Hunter must prove himself through fighting, but it turns out he’ll be fighting Spud, who isn’t quite a friend at all. Despite being outmatched, Hunter manages to win his fight and is able to meet with Kebo (Daz Crawford), Ward’s right-hand man. Also, May continues to avoid her talking about relationships, and takes down some thugs who ask to buy her a drink
So far, Hunter’s mission has felt the most removed from the rest of the goings-on at S.H.I.E.L.D., perhaps because it’s so far down on Coulson’s radar and the other team members are dealing with their own issues. Still, the fight scenes between Hunter and Spud, as well as May and the unnamed thugs, largely felt like filler in an episode with so much else going on. Though their work to get an in with Hydra — which still felt too easy, even considering the newness of Ward’s operation — may pay off down the line, it seemed the writers weren’t quite sure how to move their story thread along in a manner that was both entertaining and a good use of time.
A Wanted Inhuman
Following the attack on the hospital where Lincoln worked, the Inhuman seemed to be laying low. But, with the ATCU calling in local law enforcement, as well as the public’s watchful (and paranoid) eye, Lincoln is forced to seek help from an old friend of his named John. However, when John betrays Lincoln by calling the ATCU, and Lincoln accidentally kills him, he calls in Daisy and S.H.I.E.L.D. The events leave Lincoln questioning whether or not he’s a monster, but Daisy attempts to assuage his self-doubt.
In a reversal of roles, Daisy is now the Inhuman who has a better control on her identity as it relates to her powers than Lincoln. Though it shows how far Daisy has come in accepting herself for who she is, seeing the reverse in Lincoln seems more like a shadow of Daisy’s struggle to reconcile her powers with herself last season. This seems to be the result of the writers, who skipped over seemingly important aspects of Lincoln’s past by only briefly alluding to a history of addiction. But, with Mitchell as a series regular on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., this won’t be the last time Lincoln is forced to confront his identity as an Inhuman.
A New Ally?
While Daisy and Mack go to bring in Lincoln, Coulson attends a meeting with Rosalind, this time without either leader having a team at their sides. The two test the waters, Coulson asking whether Rosalind is heading Hydra 2.0 and Rosalind taking swipes at his underground organization. However, with both their teams closing in on Lincoln, Rosalind forces Coulson to choose between Lincoln or keeping Daisy’s status as an Inhuman secret. But, when Lincoln escapes and Rosalind threatens to take Daisy as a replacement, Coulson barters himself and his knowledge, making S.H.I.E.L.D. an ally of the ATCU.
It has been clear since the season premiere that Zimmer’s Rosalind will act as foil to Coulson, and this is never more blatant than when he asks her the name of her black sports car: “I love my car but it’s just a car. And it’s a him.” Still, Gregg and Zimmer manage to bring equal parts tension and humor to their exchange, belying the seriousness of their conversation. The resulting scene is as fun to watch as their scenes in the season premiere, and with the two organizations working together, it’s sure there will be plenty more interactions between Coulson and Rosalind. Of course, the ATCU still remains mostly a mystery — with its more-than-questionable methods of tracking and researching Inhumans –so perhaps Coulson, and the viewers, will learn more about the new organization by working together.
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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues next Tuesday with ‘Devils You Know’ at 9pm on ABC. Check out a preview below: