It’s clear that Agents of SHIELD is far more comfortable tackling espionage, spy trickery, and double-crossing than it is with superpowers and Inhumans. In a way it felt like I’d seen this episode before however, that they’ve done this song and dance. Coulson using a false identity, at some dignified party trying to discern who’s HYDRA and who’s not. I’d be tempted to slam this installment for that alone if the result of it hadn’t ended up being so effective.
With the rise of the Inhumans in public consciousness and their reputation becoming known to the world, world leaders are attempting to unite and create a plan on how to tackle this alien dilemma and regulate it. In a way, this seems to be building up toward the crossover event with the upcoming Civil War, with superhero registration and control becoming a hot topic. The concept of “five delegates, and one of them has to be dirty” isn’t new, and seeing the agents invade their privacy to figure out who it could be was the least interesting aspect at play here. That it was Talbot, and that he had Carl “Crusher” Creel in tow, was interesting.
I really do like Coulson and Talbot’s little adversarial game. Ever since his introduction we weren’t sure if he was on the right side, or if he was just misguided. Being the representation of the United States government and what we imagine military response to be to superhuman threats creates the perfect contrast with our own Phil Coulson. That he would get into bed with Malick and HYDRA and flipped sides wasn’t the most unlikely thing; that it ended up being blackmail and he flipped back was even better. His extra set of precautions in Creel were smart considering the circumstances, and it was great to see The Absorbing Man kick some ass. With Talbot in a position to work with SHIELD more regularly, perhaps we will see Creel go toe-to-toe with some Inhumans.
The subject of what to do with the Inhumans is one that has been addressed many times so far, but among the different propositions we’ve seen thus far, the idea that Creel’s blood could sterilize the dormant Inhuman genes is a provoking concept. That someone could choose whether or not they want their entire life to change into something else. Daisy and Lincoln’s contrasting viewpoints added substance to their relationship, and neither of them are really in the wrong. If only there was some way to test what powers someone could obtain or what they would become beforehand then it’d be a non-issue; but as it stands now I’m hoping this vaccine is brought up again.
Then there’s Hive. I guess that’s what we’re supposed to call the thing in Ward’s body now right? Seems a bit better than “It.” Anyway, Hive is still just as enigmatic and menacing as it was last week, and it seems this will be a slow-burning escalation before we see the true extent to what Hive is truly capable of. Like any story where the bad guy revives an ancient evil in hopes of using its powers, it won’t end well for anyone. As for how long it will take before Hive will no longer need Malick or HYDRA’s assistance, or even until we find out just what the little sand thing he does to Inhumans is, we don’t really know. Agents of SHIELD has done a good job of bringing the heat in its plotlines sooner as opposed to later, as the Lash story earlier in the season demonstrated, so if all goes right we won’t have to wait long.
For my review of the previous episode of Agents of SHIELD, “Bouncing Back,” click here.