Agents of SHIELD: The Inside Man, S3Ep.12

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s dynamic has changed since the mid-season break and the jury’s still out if the new status quo is an improvement.

The Inside Man is still re-establishing the latest direction and while I’m not fully sold, SHIELD is at least keeping my interest.

With Glenn Talbot appointed the head of the ATCU, Coulson knew his job wasn’t going to get any easier. Talbot is a character the writers have played for laughs more than I’d like, but I’m a big fan of Adrian Pasdar so I’ll deal with the jokes at Talbot’s expense. Since ironing out their previous tensions, Coulson and Talbot’s uneasy alliance was tested here as the duo attended an international summit to discuss the Inhuman problem.

agents of shield review inside man -lucio and giyeraTalbot wasn’t going unprepared though and had Crusher Creel as his bodyguard/powered agent. Creel’s absorption powers make him a tremendously fun character, particularly in action scenes, even if he gets taken down a little too easily. While the rest of the team was very reluctant to accept Creel tagging along, Hunter wanted nothing to do with the guy who killed his old partners. Of all the potential powered agents, it was weird that Talbot was comfortable working with the same man who tried to kill him a few months back. Where’s the Mack? Seriously, where was the team’s field leader for this week’s installment? Did Creel fulfill the bald tough guy requirements for the episode?

There were some fun spy moments here. Coulson used his prosthetic hand to collect fingerprints of the assembled world representatives so Hunter, Bobbi and May could search for further intel. The Russian representative wants to establish Genosha a safe haven for the Inhumans, which doesn’t seem like the kind of strategy anyone should agree with since it consolidates all the Inhumans either as victims or a powerful sovereign state.

Gideon Malick crashed the assembly labeling Coulson a HYDRA mole. Talbot was forced to sell Coulson out as Malick had his son. Thankfully, Talbot only aligned with Malick long enough for Creel to find his son. I appreciated for once a character being blackmailed was smart enough to prepare for the inevitable betrayal.

agents of shield review inside man -hunter and bobbi_1Talbot and Coulson proved they can work well together although this episode reinforced how much time this season Coulson has spent with a government peer instead of heading his team.

Lincoln remains the least electrifying man on AOS. I appreciate the writers trying to give him an actual personality this week, but Lincoln suddenly losing control over his temper and powers was a stretch. This was the same guy training the Inhumans in their mountain paradise and now he wants to Hulk out every time he loses his cool? And if we can fast forward to the inevitable breakup between him and Daisy that would be swell. They have the least chemistry of any pairing on the show.

Fitz and Simmons discover Creel’s blood can act as a neutralizing agent for the Terragenesis process meaning no more Inhumans. Lincoln of all people has to play devil’s advocate to suggest this antidote would be helpful for those who didn’t want to be Inhumans while Daisy insists its their birthright. The show hasn’t done the best job handling the Inhumans’ transformation making it seem as simple as getting exposed to the appropriate affected batch of fish oil pills.

agents of shield review inside man -malick and hive wardHunter and Bobbi stowaway on Malick’s plane presumably to whet our appetites for their spin-off. I’ll give Daisy and Lincoln this much — at least they provide a worse team couple than Mr. and Mrs. S.H.I.E.L.D.

Evil Ward > Alien inhabiting Ward’s body. I really miss our favorite cocky bastard agent. Alien husk isn’t nearly as interesting. He can influence other Inhumans like Lucio and Giyera in some manner and has this nifty sand spraying trick that helps him absorb his victim’s life force. But Evil Ward had a hulking henchman, a hottie ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and Generic Villain Warehouse Hideout #9 so he wins.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Talbot and Coulson’s budding bromance was entertaining and Creel’s return was welcome, but it’s time for HYDRA to make moves with its agenda to really get things rolling again.

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Photo Credit: ABC