Thursday, October 22, 2015

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3x04 "Devils You Know" (Not Merciful, Necessary) [Contributor: Alice]

"Devils You Know"
Original Airdate: October 20, 2015

This week's "Devils You Know" was a brisk, packed episode that managed to move multiple storylines along while hitting some emotional high notes. The last few weeks have felt like a prolonged set-up, moving pieces around the board and positioning players to move, and this week delivered the payoff.

Coulson's uneasy alliance with the ATCU allows his relationship with Rosalind Pike to continually develop and gives both actors in these roles a chance to shine, shifting from defensive to flirtatious and back again in the blink of an eye. His smaller conflicts with Daisy continue as well, as he shares information with the ATCU. In the process, we can see his protégée struggle to become a leader in her own right. We already know that Daisy will become the figurehead for the Secret Warriors and it is likely she will one day take over S.H.I.E.L.D. — it will be interesting to see if she and Coulson are able to stay so close during her ascension.

Since Hunter first launched his cowboy mission to kill Ward, his one glaring flaw was obvious: what happens if Ward IDs him before he's close enough to kill him? He had brushed off concerns from May about this in the past and, wouldn't you know, this is exactly what goes down. This shootout tied together numerous stories at once, with Coulson bringing in back-up, and leaving Bobbi out of the loop. The Calvary was in her element, executing flips and kills. Ming-Na Wen brings such a physicality to the role and she is in fantastic shape, too. All of her fighting isn't enough against Ward's trump card, however, and putting Andrew's life on the line is pitch-perfect Villains 101 behavior. May had to choose between innocent lives and her ex-husband — and she chose Andrew. Hunter had to choose between May and his revenge — and he chose revenge.

Last week I said that if this show wanted to up their emotional stakes, they should have Hunter fight May, and that's exactly what happened — though nothing could have prepared me for the charged look they shared after Ward escaped. Regardless of how this all plays out, I'm glad that that the writers ended the separate storyline and brought both May and Hunter back to the fold. This show has enough going on without putting two of their strongest characters on a plot-island for weeks on end.

Meanwhile, the S.H.I.E.L.D. gods again proved they read my reviews (so flattering!) and we had Mack bringing his charm out in full force as he and Daisy investigated the Inhuman's death and worked with the ATCU to hunt down Lash — who is less great white shark and more harbinger of death. Matthew Willig's first piece of real dialog was chilling, and his reasonable, calm attitude makes him that much more dangerous. Although the fact that he didn't kill Daisy after the truck flipped doesn't make much narrative sense. The real reveal, of course, is that Lash can transform into a human and could be anyone. My first guess was Agent Banks — since we saw him leave before Lash attacked and he would have intel on the Inhumans — but that seems a bit too obvious.

My current conspiracy theory is that Andrew is an Inhuman, which is why he disappeared on his romantic getaway with May and whatever powers he has will allow him to escape death. Listen folks, I adhere to the soap opera rules of television: if a woman throws up on screen she is either pregnant or will have a pregnancy scare. If they don't show the face on the dead body, they are not really dead. Could Andrew be Lash — his transformation changing his patient, intelligent nature into a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde situation? It would certainly pack an emotional punch, but it would also be a close rehash of Cal Zobo/The Doctor/Mr. Hyde from last season. I hope they let the mystery build, because this is already a very intriguing Big Bad.

Highlights and low lights:
  • Coulson mounting the axe that chopped off his arm on his wall. Perfect. 
  • Fitz was throwing around all kinds of sass about people are keeping things from.  He knows he works for a secret agency, right?  
  • Shane Larson — the floating Inhuman from the opening scene — was played by Nick Eversman, a.k.a Toby from The Duff!
  • We finally get more alien planet information next week. Anyone want to bet that Simmons found love in a hopeless place? 
  • No Lincoln this episode — he must have found a better hiding spot.
  • There was a definite vibe between May and Coulson when she complimented his no tie look. I'm ready to see more of that. 
  • Ward building HYRDA back up in the image of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Kinda cute. I mean twisted. Wait, no, I mean cute. 


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