Thursday, March 24, 2016

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3x12 Recap: "The Inside Man" (Pour Some Honey On Me) [Contributor: Alice Walker]

"The Inside Man"
Original Airdate: March 15, 2016

It's a little challenging for me to judge the quality of this Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. We got some good, old-fashioned espionage mixed in with our usual action, and it’s always my favorite when the team goes all Ocean’s Eleven on us. This week had them crashing an international symposium (which looked like an Oscars after party), using all manner of gadgetry to try and figure out who was working for Gideon Malick.

Like an enchanted snitch, we open this episode at the close. We see the moment Grant Ward dies and Hive (they haven't said it explicitly on the show yet but at this point it is a given) takes over, gaining a rush of memories as everything that made Grant Ward who is was flowed into Hive. Did your precious SkyeWard hearts break at the flashes of his kiss with Skye? Mine sure did. The moment is dashed when we are reminded of the horrible things death has done to Ward's glorious body. Now all handprints and sagging skin, his physique is starting to bother Malick as much as the rest of us. He urges Hive to find a new host but he’s all about that Ward body. Frankly, who can blame him?

The rest of the world is all degrees of worried about these new Inhumans, and an exclusive conference is being thrown to try and put together some policies regarding them. With the conference having a strict "no Inhumans" policy, Coulson takes off with his new bestie Talbut, as well as May, Bobbi, and Hunter. The latter two are still struggling with the questions from last week. How do you beat people with superpowers? Who regulates them? It not only sounds like a neat tie-in to the upcoming Captain America: Civil War film, but will (most likely) factor in heavily with their spinoff departure.

In addition to heading out with Talbut, they also are forced to bring his bodyguard along. This turns out to be none other than Carl Creel who is — twist! — not only alive and well, but apparently fully recovered from his HYDRA "brainwashing." Since he's not technically an Inhuman (even though he survived Terrigenisis) he's allowed to tag along. This is a big problem for Hunter, who has not forgotten that Creel killed many of his friends (which feels like a million years ago to me but in show time was probably only a few months prior). This is easily the most we've ever heard Creel talk and, maybe I’m the world's most shallow recapper, but I like him already.

The conference is where all of the good spy drama goes down: false identities, stealing handprints, trying to smoke out the HYDRA agents — it's got it all! Things are going swimmingly until Talbot turns on Coulson, calling him a HYDRA mole, and Creel knocks out Hunter (who abandoned the mission to fulfill his vendetta). The double crosses don't stop there — Talbut was working for Malick who was holding his son hostage (much like what happened to Mike Peterson — get a new trope, writers!) and gave him Coulson. Predictably, Malick then turned on Talbut and moved to have them both executed. Things were looking bad until Hunky McYum... I mean, Creel, saved the day and the team was able to rescue mini-Talbut. He and Coulson have reached more of an understanding and I for one am fine with seeing more of the General, even if Adrian Pasdar's presence does make the show feel a bit like a Heroes spinoff.

Back at the playground, Daisy is punching Lincoln right in the face. I’m cheering at my TV, but it turned out to be their weird version of foreplay. Simmons throws some cold scientific analysis water on them, bringing them to the lab where they've discovered that Creel's blood acts as a cure for Inhumanism — it can literally stop Terrigenisis. Lincoln thinks this might be a good thing — he did study under Jiaying after all — but Daisy is not having it. Their first fight digs up everything from education to the right to choose, but ends with some make-up sexytimes. Doctor or not, Lincoln remains as boring as a sack of potatoes even as their "chemistry" is touted non-stop. He also might have anger issues? It's hard to tell, but the writers are clearly trying to give him a real personality, without much success.

We end on a few sinister notes. Malick and Anton Petrov are scheming to relocate all of the Inhumans to Russia (which sounds like a terrible vacation spot) and Hunter and Bobbi have tagged along in his private jet to places unknown. By far the biggest twist was Hive's brutal method for getting Ward's body back into fighting shape: killing five healthy people and (somehow) using that to power himself back into the beautiful, six-pack rocking, perfect specimen of a man that he was. Oh, and he was covered in honey. Because bees. Either way, he's a much more formidable villain now, and I am here for it.

Highlights and lowlights: 
  • That slow motion pan over Brett Dalton's body, though! 
  • FitzSimmons are back to working together. Only two more seasons before they finally do it! 
  • This episode was painfully lacking in Mack. 
  • Can Mack and Creel get a spinoff? That's a show I would watch. 
  • It's good to see Phil Coulson remain the King of Sass, even when about to be executed.
  • Hopefully it's not much longer until the gang is finally reunited with Ward 3.0. That should be a charged reunion. 


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