Agents of Shield: 3.03 A Wanted (Inhu)man
The third episode of this season starts with a short, sharp opening. Lincoln is on the run as the Inhumans begin to face the same mistrust and hatred that the X-Men have endured for decades. It's fun little scene with some nice effects that sets us up for the core of this episode.
The other main story of this episode is Simmons' recovery after her thrilling rescue by Fitz last week. Whilst this thread initially looked like it was going to be sidelined for the more action packed storylines it was given time to breathe and Fitz's attempts to help Jemma acclimatise to Earth was lovely stuff. Fitz – having made a remarkable recovery from that brain damage he had last season thanks to Simmons' care – is now the caregiver. That Fitz had held the reservation for her was touching and both actors played the comedy and the drama brilliantly. Will they ever get together?
Meanwhile Hunter and May are going undercover trying to infiltrate Hydra. The two spark off each other well and, it appears, are acting as the comic relief in an otherwise dramatic episode. May dealing with Hunter and his contact Spud getting drunk was fun but subtitling the perfectly legible English guys? Offensive. Also Spud's English accent was just naff (as network television continues to not be able to differentiate Australian and English accents).
Lincoln is on the run and Daisy is trying to bring him in before more people get hurt. Luke Mitchell and Chloe Bennett both have some great material here and use it well. Though I don't quite believe Lincoln would be prepared to hand himself in so easily no matter how good a kisser Daisy is.
The hunt for Lincoln gives us another chance to see Coulson and co. interacting with the ATCU. I have to agree with Phil, it's refreshing to see SHIELD team up with instead of have another antagonistic relationship with another agency – though don't expect it to be smooth sailing. Coulson and Price spark off each other well, the kind of sparring partner that Clark Gregg really benefits from. Just what lengths are the ATCU prepared to go to? Price even uses his Coulson's love of cars against him.
This week's crazy fan wish: wouldn't it be nice if the ATCU eventually gave way to S.W.O.R.D the extra-terrestrial division of SHIELD (or, the Captain Marvel led Alpha Flight). Though don't expect Abigail Brand to turn up – she's an X-Character and thus belongs to Fox.
It will be interesting to see which side of the fence Coulson sits on come Civil War and his actions here already seem to be causing a schism between him and Daisy – even though he was just trying to save her.
The potential to explore really interesting areas with the Inhuman storyline means this may be the most important series yet, not just in terms of it's place in the MCU but it's effect on the audience. Whilst the early X-Men films have already explored this ground, times have changed. America has changed. Sort of. Where Bryan Singer's X-2 wonderfully explored the humanity's hatred for mutants, positing it as a metaphor for homophobia - featuring a wonderful “coming out” scene – the Inhumans exist in a post Battle of New York Marvel continuity and the potential to explore the post 9/11 divisions in America, especially race and class is something I hope the writers aren't too afraid to tackle.
Overall another fine episode that gives us much to speculate on in the coming months before Civil War inevitably shakes up the show once again.