Synopsis of 3×11: The aftermath of Coulson’s trip to Maveth has him more determined than ever to shut Hydra down; Daisy and the team encounter more Inhumans with unknown loyalties.
Ahh the age old tv trick of showing you a future that’s set in stone and then trying to make you figure out what is going to happen in the time between then and now. It’s tired, and kind of an old schtick. The opening scene suggests that the newest member of the yet-unannounced-but-heavily-marketed “secret warriors” Elena “Yo-Yo” Rodriguez (Natalia Cordova) is in space, she’s joined up with SHIELD, and she’s probably going to narrowly escape death. Either that or she’ll actually be dead to keep the show from racking up even more series regulars.
The episode as a whole is struggles with pacing. I found myself bored at some moments and enthused at others. The introduction of Slingshot, a regular of the Secret Warriors, is a nice addition. While Juan Pablo Raba’s Joey was also enjoyable, Cordova has a nice energy in a character that is reminiscent of season one’s Skye. Her chemistry with Henry Simmons’s Mack is great, and her ability seems a bit more helpful than just melting people or shocking them.
She’s picked up from Columbia after she’s been caught stealing guns from the police. An episode of Narcos and a good internet search could have told you that the cops were probably corrupt, but it gets spelled out pretty clearly for SHIELD that she’s one of the good guys.
After being captured by SHIELD, they end up recruiting Elena (Yo-Yo, Elena? Honestly why couldn’t Yo-Yo just be her name, guys? It’s not that farfetched when you have Fitz creating perfect human hands for Coulson like a week after they get back from space). She’s been fighting against corruption and for the forces of good and believes her powers were sent by god. She is initially cautious of SHIELD, but after her cousin is killed she seems ready to sign on to help the fight.
It’s a little weird how easily SHIELD is getting these allies who are so ready to join what is basically a secret society of spies and killers, but I guess when a bad fish taco leaves you with superpowers, what are you going to do? I’m not knocking this. The show does way too much explaining and buildup and it often bogs down the show.
In this episode, it was the whole SHEILD being acknowledged, but not really, situation. Coulson meets with the president who basically tells Coulson that he’s not going to stop SHIELD, but no one will know they exist. Which is Marvel Cinematic Universe speak for, you can still be a show, but we probably won’t be talking about you in Civil War. It’s pretty clear the television shows get pushed to the back burner for all of the movies, and that’s not really a big deal. The show benefits from not trying so hard to stay connected with them.
When season three was first doing promotion they were pushing hard for the whole “It’s all connected” thing. It’s a little funny to see them back so hard away from that now, but it’s necessary. The more the movies expand, the more they struggle to include everything. The Netflix shows Daredevil and Jessica Jones have already showed that they can be just as good as the movies without mentioning much of the Avengers or the movie characters at all.
The issue that crops up with Agents of SHIELD and connecting itself to the MCU is a problem that the Netflix shows don’t have. Daredevil and Jessica Jones primarily operate in Hell’s Kitchen. It’s closed off. Any massive issues always seem small when compared to the rest of the world. They’re not dealing with international agencies and the president. SHIELD has often bitten off more than it can chew, and it has to work extra hard to reason why they don’t just call in the Avengers to help or at least inform the public of what is going on.
So, while Jessica has to deal with a murderous Kilgrave in midtown, the secret agents of SHIELD have to deal with a hydra god from another world.
Yes, in case you’ve missed the articles online and Elizabeth Henstridge’s leak of Brett Dalton’s new character, Hive has arrived. For anyone still confused, Grant Ward is definitely dead. The alien form that inhabited Will’s body is now inside of Ward’s old body — with some biologically questionable ribs — and spends his days on Egyptian cotton sheets watching death and destruction while eating raw meat.
Hive hasn’t exactly dropped his name yet, but he’s already being cryptic and holier-than-thou — though I guess that’s kind of what he is. It’s clear he’s ready to just start eating inhumans, and Malick’s inhuman Iron Chef could be the next guy on the menu if they don’t keep capturing other inhumans. Dalton is able to play the new role of Hive with a good measure of eerie creepiness. It’s entertaining to watch him freak out Malick and Iron Chef, but until he is actually let out to do something, his character is essentially cut off from the rest of the cast.
In addition to Hive and bringing in Slingshot, there’s Coulson’s personal mission against Malick. The president can’t do anything about the guy, since he’s so well connected and there’s basically no proof against him — other than a whole agency of witnesses to his crimes — so Coulson’s got to go at this alone. They find a nearly dead Werner von Strucker, and put him in that same machine that brought Coulson back to life in order to figure out where Malick is hiding.
You remember that machine. It was the one that Coulson described as incredibly painful. The one that made him basically beg the people operating on him to kill him instead. The one that he says is painful and that they shouldn’t use, but then he promptly uses. Oh, Coulson. One day someone will call you out, but that day is not today.
His character would be infinitely more complex if they acknowledged that most of his actions are based on revenge and that “sometimes there’s no choice by the hard choice”, but no one in the history of the world has categorized revenge as a hard choice. They seem to be suggesting a possible path down him questioning his actions on the planet, but the one person who could have held him accountable, Fitz, is more concerned that he killed Will.
The other characters kind of take a backseat in this episode — an unavoidable problem with a large cast. Bobbi and Hunter are paralyzed for about the entire episode. Lincoln works with Fitz and Simmons, and basically get about ten minutes of screen time doing science with Lincoln as an awkward third wheel. When Daisy offers Joey and Elena freedom to go home provided they remain attached to SHIELD, she offers Lincoln the same thing. He doesn’t seem as adamant about going back to his “normal life” as he did before.
Fitz and Simmons, feeling a rift in their relationship after Fitz killed Will on the planet, decide to start over and “begin again”. It could have been a really cute scene between the two. For all intents and purposes, it should have been. They two don’t lack chemistry, but the conversation felt stilted. The use of hyperbolic words in their dialogue felt like it was compensating for something that didn’t need compensating for. Maybe it’s the weird pseudo love triangle that existed for a while, but I’m ready for them to stop being awkward around each other.
The episode ends with May calling Coulson one of the cavalry, though the meaning is muddled since May has never really liked the name and it seems weird for her to give a name she has rejected to someone she considers a friend. Meanwhile Talbot is named the head of the ATCU for some unknown reason, since the guy shows neither tact nor subtlety like Rosalind did.
Here’s fingers crossed next week will be a little better.