NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are present in this review
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. went big for its well-publicized 50th episode this week, “Among Us Hide…”, titled with a clever reference to the debut comic of the Inhumans, which made the same statement about the super-powered race’s debut on the cover, in 1965’s Fantastic Four #45. There were tons of plots at work this week, some better than others, but it all came together with a fantastic reveal at the end that should have fans of the series incredibly excited!
To start, after the question lingered with the offshoot of the stellar Simmons-focused “4,722 Hours” last week, the fate of Dr. Garner was confirmed this week. No, he’s not dead. Coulson’s crew managed to extract him from the burning marketplace after the HYDRA attack, with a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent tailing Garner ultimately being responsible for saving him, at the cost of his own life. Looks like Garner’s secret escort paid off, when he would otherwise be pretty unhappy about having one.
Regardless, the threat on Dr. Garner leaves May furious, and eager to pick up the vendetta against Ward that Hunter formerly held. Hunter ends up being benched by Coulson this week, after failing to kill Ward during the events of “Devils You Know” a couple of weeks ago, and May declares that she is, “Back” with the team, which is great news. May also picks a fight with Bobbi, where Bobbi manages to hold her own, and May responds by confirming that she was testing her, and wants Bobbi as her mission partner, despite Coulson previously refusing to let her into the field.
The plot with May and Bobbi delivered most of the episode’s excitement, and virtually all of the action. It was wonderful to see Bobbi back in the field, and not having lost a step. Her covert operation with May was also equal parts amusing and engaging, leading to a pretty awesome final fight with some HYDRA goons that included Ward’s number-two man, after May and Bobbi manage to track down their quarry, Werner von Strucker, who also survived the fire at the market. Werner is stabbed and left to die in May’s arms however, as he gives his testimony of what really happened. Yep, so much for the son of Baron von Strucker. Just like his father, he died rather thanklessly. Maybe there’s another lost son kicking around to become the new Baron von Strucker for the Marvel Cinematic Universe? More than likely though, we’ll probably just have Ward take up that role, or, if we’re really lucky, maybe Red Skull will come back, after his very vague disappearance during the climax in 2011 movie, Captain America: The First Avenger. That’s probably wishful thinking at this point though.
We do however get a re-introduction of Powers Boothe on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. this week, who is maybe (?) playing the same character that he played in The Avengers, one of the nameless folks on the World Security Council at the time. It’s quite possible that Boothe’s character, Gideon Malick, is the same man as in The Avengers, and could have been one of the numerous undercover HYDRA operatives that collapsed S.H.I.E.L.D. during the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which might also explain why he tried to make a mess during The Battle of New York within the climax of The Avengers. The dramatic musical sting that came with the reveal of Boothe’s face also seems to suggest that Marvel fans should recognize him. For now though, he’s just a promising new baddie for Season Three of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and seems to be just as much of a HYDRA catalyst as Ward, if not more.
As for the other plots, they were alright, but it was easy to get the sense that the show was spinning its wheels a bit, outside of the May/Bobbi operation. We get some conversations between Fitz and Simmons about trying to re-open the portal to the alien world, but nothing comes of it. Likewise, Daisy and Mack, along with a bored Hunter, decide to capture and steal a blood sample from Rosalind’s number-two man, undertaking a tense operation of their own to get it, since they’re speculating that the guy is an Inhuman, and could be Lash. When they get the sample back to Simmons however, she confirms that he’s not an Inhuman, and is obviously not Lash, so they just dump the guy back in his car. Progress…? Yeah, behind the reveal that Daisy is secretly communicating with Lincoln, and not giving up his location to the rest of Coulson’s outfit (which even she hasn’t pinpointed), not much really happened with her, or Mack, or Hunter this week.
At least with Coulson, we got some neat insight into Rosalind’s personal life, when Coulson refuses to abandon Rosalind’s side, since he doesn’t trust her not to clean up the ATCU’s Inhuman containment operation in advance, knowing he probably won’t approve of it. Coulson is left to make his way around Rosalind’s house, getting hints as to who she really is, and becomes convinced that Rosalind is trying to butter him up, because she knows that the ATCU is up to some shady dealings.
What was effectively surprising about this storyline however is that Rosalind actually didn’t have an angle this time. Despite appearing to stage a house robbery, she was legitimately broken into, and was legitimately trying to get Coulson to like her, simply because she likes him. She even presents the shady-looking Inhuman containment facility as it is, with no touch-ups, and reveals that she once had a husband, though he died from cancer some years back. It was actually kind of satisfying to see Coulson be wrong about his paranoia for once, and it helped to perpetuate Rosalind being a morally ambiguous character, and not a straight-up villain. That’s what makes her rapport with Coulson so exciting.
We do get a slight hint that Daisy is going to be angry at Coulson for not appearing horrified at the Inhuman containment by the ATCU when it looks barbaric, though when we actually hear Coulson speak, which the dwarf drone conveniently can’t pick up (hey, remember the dwarf drones from Season One?), Coulson reveals just the same that he’s disturbed by imprisoning Inhumans in sleeping gel to Rosalind. So, basically, the show is trying to stir the pot in a contrived way, because it knows it’s not doing enough with the lead cast this week.
Even Ward kind of just bumbled around and didn’t really accomplish anything of note. He talked a bit about Werner von Strucker being a liability that his henchman needs to track down and deal with, and that was pretty much it. HYDRA seemed to be just as much going through filler as S.H.I.E.L.D. was this week.
Like I said though, the big final reveal by a dying Werner von Strucker made the entire episode worth the handful of filler plots that sustained a bunch of it. Werner reveals that none other than Dr. Garner is Lash! Yes, seriously! Damn, this was an awesome reveal, and it should have fans buzzing with excitement, especially when the show demonstrates how Garner turned into Lash to take out the HYDRA agents himself, scaring off Werner in the process, then turned back into human form as he tossed the lighter onto the gasoline and blew up the market himself. Wow… I must say too that the look of absolute horror on May’s face as she heard this fact was very emotional and chilling, and the same is true for viewers when Dr. Garner appears to innocently ask Daisy if she’s heard from Lincoln, which she denies, obviously not knowing that Garner was probably inquiring so that he can go and kill Lincoln in secret. Good thing Daisy didn’t trace those calls!
This reveal alone helps to salvage what’s otherwise a bit of an aimless, over-stuffed filler episode for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. this week. The Bobbi/May plot was pretty good, but everything else just felt like it wasted time, and didn’t go anywhere, despite some decent dialogue shared between Coulson and Rosalind. The show is bound to pick up with a lot more excitement and drama next week though, since I can’t see May sitting on the vital and heartbreaking Lash intel for long!
- Bobbi joining May in the field at last
- Coulson seeing Rosalind's more vulnerable side
- The big twist of Lash's identity is excellent
- Most of the character plots didn't go anywhere this week
- Killing Werner von Strucker this early is a waste