If I were to do a midseason superlatives for most improved show, Agents of SHIELD would win in a landslide. Season 3 hasn’t lacked for big events, it’s consistently delivered on quality action scenes without sacrificing strong character development and it can pack a mean surprise.
Among Us Hide was full of them leading to a major twist ending.
We start off with a surprise as Andrew managed to escape Werner Von Strucker’s ambush and was back at SHIELD HQ being nursed back to health.
Initially this put me off as I was ready to grab my popcorn and enjoy the resulting season long tension between May and Hunter over his screw-up directly leading to the death of May’s husband.
Andrew’s death seemed like it was going to be one of those pivotal moments that would either rally the team or shatter them and I was fascinated with the possibilities. That would prove moot later on. Andrew recalls how Coulson had a SHIELD agent tailing him and he sacrificed himself to keep Andrew safe.
SHIELD’s mission squad finally got some much needed help with the return to active duty of Bobbi and May. I appreciated how matter-of-fact Coulson was regarding Hunter’s failure to take out Ward. He dropped the ball and Coulson’s giving it to May who’s back…for now. Immediately May sizes up Bobbi to determine if she’s ready to join her on Ward Hunt The Sequel.
While watching Coulson’s two most kick-tail agents team up is always welcome, the quick return to action erased Bobbi’s major subplot of trying to get back in action. Returning to the field will likely nix Bobbi’s growing bond with both Fitz and Simmons.
After being the main focus of last week’s sensational episode, Simmons and Fitz are largely back to the bench this week and just called on to do basic lab work.[irp]
Hunter joins up with Mack and Daisy as they pursue a viable lead on Rosalind’s No. 1 man Banks possibly being Lash. This is a group combination we haven’t seen a lot of yet and it results in near immediate SHIELD gold.Hunter’s still playing loose cannon and knocks out Banks so Simmons can analyze his blood to see if he is in fact an Inhuman. Daisy and Mack have worked together long enough to have a comfortable bond on the field and it was fun seeing Hunter screw it all up.
While Simmons’ research proves Banks is just a human, the Away team does manage to stumble onto a surprise in surveying the ACTU base — they’re placing Inhumans in storage.
Coulson was planning to see Rosalind’s base when her place gets robbed. Coulson’s immediately suspicious he’s being worked especially after Rosalind has police officers pick up food from Coulson’s favorite burger joint. Coulson may be the head of SHIELD, but he’s a bit slow on the dating/flirting scene.
Seeing the stored Inhumans, Coulson is not as aghast as he probably should seemingly going along with Rosalind’s story this suspended animation will allow them to be cured without endangering their loved ones. It still seems a pretty super villainy thing to do and I was with Daisy in thinking SHIELD needs to cut ties ASAP with Rosalind and crew. That’s looking less likely as Rosalind and Coulson increase their flirting level 0.2 percent.
Ward is on a hunt of his own trying to find Werner before he can spill too much of Hydra’s long-term plans. This was weird as Ward hasn’t seemed the type to share anything of value to a new recruit. Ward gets a call from Gideon Malick (Powers Boothe), a presumed high-ranking Hydra official, who offers up Werner’s location to prove his loyalty.
Boothe is one of my favorite character actors and along with Blair Underwood and Constance Zimmer, the show has significantly increased its talent base.
Bobbi and May find Werner being tortured by Kebo — again this was all for TV effect as Kebo could have easily just killed Werner and been done with him.
After Bobbi gets her fighting groove back by beating Kebo, May takes down two more Hydra agents and tries to debrief Werner about Ward’s location.
Instead, a dying Werner recalls his take on the botched Andrew assassination revealing he didn’t know he would turn into that … thing. Sure enough, we see the true flashback now as Andrew turned into Lash, killing one of the Hydra agents and starting the explosion himself.
I’m not gonna pretend I even remotely saw that coming. I was as stunned as May, but the clues have been there all along.
Andrew has constantly rejected Inhumans to join SHIELD, presumably because trained Inhumans would be more formidable than the hapless isolated ones running around without a clue. His personal connection to Daisy somewhat explains why he didn’t kill her when she was trapped in the van.
Few issues though. I don’t see why Andrew is so focused on finding Lincoln. He’s got a cool power sure, but it’s not a game changer or anything.
I’m also still not sold on Andrew’s reasons for not taking out SHIELD. They’re the only ones who can really offer any possible resistance beyond the need to stretch the story out over the season. I’m optimistic some of these issues will get resolved as the season unfolds though.
Rating: 9 out of 10
A major surprising payoff was the cherry on top, but this episode also delivered some great character moments and sets up for some intriguing story options going forward. ‘AOS’ has been a can’t miss show this season and it’s close to being appointment TV.
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Photo Credit: ABC