Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3x06 "Among Us Hide" (What We Do In The Shadows) [Contributor: Alice Walker]

"Among Us Hide"
Original Airdate: November 3, 2015

This week's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. marked its 50th episode, and for a show that has flirted with low ratings and cancellation as much as it has, this is quite the achievement. The monumental episode was solid, though it was nothing compared to last week's tour de force. After two seasons of churn, an influx of new agents, and losing people to solo missions, the cast has finally settled. They were allowed to interact and work together like a real team would, and those casual encounters and interactions between characters are key to making a good show great. Hooray, friendship!

Before we break down the amazing action-hero duo that is May and Mockingbird, we need to address Lash, the monster hiding in plain sight. It turns out, my theory from two weeks ago proved correct: Agent Banks was the red herring and Andrew is now an Inhuman, transforming from sexy beast to murderous monster. While I wasn't blown away by this twist (Andrew's explanation of how he escaped the blast was shady at best, and he is the only other one with key insight on where the Inhumans are), it does answer the lingering question about why Daisy was left unharmed. When I was kicking around different theories for why Andrew would go on a killing spree, I considered that when he transformed, he blacked out and was unaware of what he did as Lash. We can now see he is fully aware of his hunt for Inhumans, and his eyes are trained on Lincoln.

Every season has come with its own major betrayal. Season one had Ward as a HYDRA agent (which has yet to be topped); season two had Bobbi and Mack working for "the other" S.H.I.E.L.D.; and now season three has Andrew killing the very people Daisy has been feeding him information about. Honestly, the biggest downside to Andrew being the killer is the toll it’s going to inflict on all these characters’ already fragile psyches. How they can still trust anyone after all they’ve been through is beyond me, and since Andrew is connected to so many agents, this reveal is sure to have some ripples — especially if they eventually need to put him down.

Speaking of trust, Coulson was building some with none other than Rosalind Pike, in what is — so far — one of the best plotlines of the season. Coulson (rightly) thinks she is playing him, trying to get him to like her for intel, though really, she's just a good woman in a hard world trying to not cut herself off from humanity. Her sad backstory (her husband died of cancer) went some way in explaining how she can stand freezing the Inhumans in suspended animation while they work on a cure for their "disease." But I don't know if I'm buying it. They are walking a fine line between developing real feelings and playing one another and I love that I cannot get a good read on the situation and how it might play out.

Daisy is not having any of it — and seeing how the ATCU is treating Inhumans is going to cause more trouble with her relationship with Coulson, who has been around the block and has seen crazier things this before. We are clearly building to a power struggle between Coulson and his protégé, and my guess is that Andrew's reveal will deepen the fractures in their relationship.

Meanwhile, after Andrew's brush with death, May was on a tear, ready to find Werner von Strucker and make him pay for his role in the explosion, as well as use him to find Ward. May and Mockingbird have a number of fight scenes together and watching the two women fight was breathtaking. I'm glad we're done with Bobbi-as-a-lab-assistant: she works best in the field and this episode showcased that, along with her excellent Mandarin. While I understand May's rage — and her violent solutions — I was thrown by her uncharacteristically emotional take on Bobbi's injury. The doctors haven't cleared her to fight, her lung is still not fully healed, but May thinks she's... being a chicken? Hiding behind a damaged lung? I'd understand if it turned out Bobbi was physically fine and she was just pretending to still be injured, but overall she was acting very reasonably and May pushing her into a fight felt like some weird macho bullying. Project much, Agent May?

Lance is also on a tear after his failed attempt to kill Ward acting out in a roguish, the-ends-justify-the-means, cowboy way. It's a lot more sudden then we've seen in the past, and I think I would have an easier time believing his emotional beats if I didn't feel like they were just moving chess pieces on a board, preparing for his (and Bobbi's) eventual departure to Marvel's Most Wanted. I've reconciled myself to their leaving, even if I think it's a mistake — all I ask is that they don't take Mack with them.

Highlights and low lights:

  • Fitz continues to be the greatest ever, searching for a way to get Will back even as he obsessed over his life before the alien. 
  • Hunter continues to be kind of a jerk, warning Fitz about saving his competition and basically telling him to leave Will alone on an alien planet to die a terrible death. Rude. 
  • With Daisy, Hunter, and Mack in the field and FitzSimmons on call running tech and lab work, everyone not only spoke to one another, but operated like a real team. 
  • Mack calling Daisy "Tremors" is just everything. Everything. 
  • A warm welcome to Powers Boothe — the new HYDRA head honcho. Eagle-eyed viewers will recognize him from the World Security Council in The Avengers, and Deadwood fans will celebrate Cy Tolliver being back on their screens. 
  • Break-in or set-up? I just cannot decide. But for now I'm going set-up, because I trust no one. 


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