Agents of SHIELD: 3.04 Devils You Know
Another solid episode this week as tensions rise within SHIELD following Coulson's uneasy alliance with the ATCU. There's a lot going on in this episode and whilst it didn't all land, there was plenty to get our teeth into.
We kick off with the Inhuman Alisha tracking down more of her kind who have been hiding out since Afterlife. However, Lash is after them and they don't stand a chance. There is a great sense of momentum in this episode and we learn a little more about who Lash is and what he is after.
Created by Charles Soule for the 2014 comic series Inhuman, Lash is doing his best rid the earth of Inhumans that should never have received the terrigenesis. He is using IT technician Dwight Frye to hunt down Inhumans – Frye's Inhuman ability is rather unfortunate, he's allergic to Inhumans. Not everyone is reacting well to their changes and not everyone is reacting well to the changes going on around them. Lash's attack on the ATCU van was fun stuff – who doesn't love a good truck flip - and he is clearly a solid match for Daisy. His line “I'm not merciful, I'm necessary” was chilling stuff and hopefully we get to see more of him soon.
Daisy has her own team now and isn't afraid to challenge Coulson and his alliance with the ATCU. There's so much going on here and the two actors spark off each other well. Though it seems the ATCU aren't to be trusted I can't help feeling like Coulson is playing a long game as he tries to figure them out. But how long will Daisy let him play, and at what cost?
It's not just Daisy that is giving Coulson a hard time as Andrew is also questioning the way the world and SHIELD is reacting to the Inhumans. This is a great thread for the show to unpick.
A quick word about Daisy, how much more exciting is she than when she was Skye? She handles her powers well and whilst she is still a little too earnest at times, she at least has somewhere to direct it as she tries to protect Inhumans. She may be a little black and white in her views next to Coulson's shades of grey, but she's a much more interesting character now.
The recurring gag about Bobbi using the wrong sample bags was lovely, showing that even when apart Fitz and Simmons are one entity. There were some great moments between Fitz and Simmons, wonderfully played by two of the most talented actors on the show. Fitz knows she is keeping a secret from him and there is some genuinely touching stuff here.
There were a few missteps. Alisha came and went and it was difficult to care too much about her when there was already such a large roster of more established characters to follow. Andrew and May's break up woes slowed the pace a little. That's not to say the scene wasn't well played, just with so much going on, it's the least interesting aspect of the episode. However, it does pay off later when Ward uses Andrew as leverage against May.
This is what makes Ward such a good villain, he knows the team, he knows their pressure points and asking that his Hydra team refer to him as the Director was a wonderfully sociopathic detail. (Whilst it might seem daft for Hydra to paint their logo on the walls of their bases it actually says something of Ward's confidence as he sets up Hyrdra as the Anti-SHIELD.)
It also seemed that Hunter's infiltration of Hydra was over as quickly as it was easy. That is a to say a little too much of both. Likewise, Werner Von Strucker seems to have played his hand quicker than I expected. It felt like he was being set up for a far more insidious plot but really it didn't happen. It's a shame as the Von Strucker's have really been sold short by the MCU. And I don't believe for a second that Andrew is dead.
However, with so much going on, not everything is going to get the time to breathe and play out as much as we'd like. Over all an episode with lots to talk about and lots to get excited about for the future – not least Simmons is finally going to tell us what happened on the alien planet...