Thursday, October 15, 2015

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3x03 "A Wanted (Inhu)man" (Sparks Fly) [Contributor: Alice Walker]

"A Wanted (Inhu)man"
Original Airdate: October 13, 2015

When this episode opens, we’re already mid-chase. Lincoln has been flagged as an Inhuman after the hospital disaster and the ATCU is in hot pursuit in a scene that shows everything S.H.I.E.L.D. does right. We have the villainous agency who believes they are doing good (because villains are, after all, always the hero in their own story) tracking their prey that are persecuted for their otherness. Much like when S.H.I.E.L.D. 2.0 was chasing after the newly Inhuman Daisy (then Skye), it culminated in an impressive display of powers that allowed him to escape, but this chase is ultimately unsustainable and we all know it.

Who is Lincoln Campbell? That was the question I found myself asking throughout the episode, where his capture and emotional state was the A-plot. When we were first introduced to him, he was a zen-like mentor to Skye and had lived in Afterlife for some time. From the tenor of his interactions with John (Daniel Roebuck), it seems like he was in AA or NA, with John as his sponsor (though this is never explicitly said). If accurate, this would explain quite a bit about Lincoln’s character inconsistencies which I’ve been struggling with for the past few episodes. When anyone enters AA, they are asked to give themselves over to a higher power. Discovering Jiaying and his own powers would give any lost soul comfort and solace, and the destruction of his new (half-way) home would be that much more devastating.

Daisy delivers a pep talk that would give Dr. Garner a run for his money and also portrayed just how impressive Chloe Bennet has become as a leading actress. I don’t know if she could have convincingly pulled this off during season one, but her maturity and competence was front and center here. Lincoln seems on board to join them and the deal is sealed with a kiss, which just served to remind me of just how little romantic action there is on the show. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: romance helps shows in almost every way, raising the stakes and developing deeper character relationships. Why S.H.I.E.L.D. is so reluctant to employ it, especially with such an attractive cast, is beyond me.

Bennet and Luke Mitchell seem to be breaking the cycle of not-doing-it and while their chemistry doesn’t exactly sizzle off the screen, they’re both excellent actors and I’m optimistic this will be the beginning of an interesting new relationship (unless Dack become a thing, in which case see ya later Lincoln!).

Speaking of chemistry, Clark Gregg and Constance Zimmer have it in spades. And their tête-à-tête was by far and away the best part of this episode. Finally, we have a worthy and interesting match for Coulson in Rosalind Price. And watching their in-person negation play out with their operatives was fantastic. Coulson’s decision to work with her makes sense not only for the character (to save his pseudo-daughter Daisy) but also to avoid retreading the S.H.I.E.L.D. 2.0 plotline of last season. More of them please, and if they end up in bed together... so be it.

Over in the B-plot, Hunter joined Fight Club to get closer to Ward. Did anyone catch why Hunter’s drinking buddy wanted to kill him? Was it really because he was mad about one of Hunter’s jokes? That felt like a forced narrative trick to make Hunter’s fight (which we knew he would win) carry more weight. If they really wanted to raise the stakes, they should have had him fight May.

Highlights and low-lights:
  • May’s S.H.I.E.L.D. uniform should always have her rocking a Blondie T and leather jacket.
  • Daisy giving Simmons a bouquet of daisies: cute or narcissistic? 
  • Rosalind’s right-hand man seems like a B-rate Zeljko Ivanek (see: everything). I’m ready for him to bring a lot more menace to the table. 
  • Too soon Fitz, too soon.
  • The small struggle between Coulson and Daisy over how to manage the Secret Warriors project will be interesting to see play out since they are both so emotionally driven.
  • After seeing Fitz go through rehab for most of last season, I’m not looking forward to a protracted plot of how traumatized Simmons is. Hopefully her quest to get back to the alien planet will give her purpose (and spark) again. 
  • No Ward? Very little Mack? I need a higher handsome quota next week, S.H.I.E.L.D. 


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