The world of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” is a brave new one in the aftermath of the S.H.I.E.L.D./Inhuman war. There are terrigen crystals in off the counter bottles of fish oil that are killing, as well as transforming humans into Inhumans, and there’s someone else other than S.H.I.E.L.D. playing clean-up. And what happened to poor Simmons? Some answers might await on the other side of the jump, along with my thoughts on the season three premiere, “Laws of Nature.”
In our cold open, we see a man who’s obviously had a bad day. A dose of fish oil, a roommate petrified and blowed up real good, and a rush to the hospital while inexplicably melting things – it’s not looking up for new Inhuman Joey, who seemingly has the powers of Silver Age Iron Man villain, the Melter. If that’s not bad enough, armed soldiers stop him in the street, members of the Alien Threat Containment Unit, a government force run by Constance Zimmer’s Rosalind Price. These are bad dudes who quickly introduce themselves as bad dudes, especially when S.H.I.E.L.D. shows up to save Joey, as the assumedly good guys.
Led by Skye, now calling herself by her comics name, Daisy Johnson AKA Quake, this is the S.H.I.E.L.D. I always wanted on television. Heck, they even have high tech jet elevators (I like the name helivator myself) and their helicarrier back! Daisy is in charge and on point, leading Hunter, Mack and crew in saving Joey. This is how S.H.I.E.L.D. is supposed to work. The first two seasons of wannabe is melting away finally to what should be. Let’s hope we get more after the opening credits.
As I said, there are lots of new toys on the side of the angels this season, partially thanks to Nick Fury’s secret stash revealed during Avengers: Age of Ultron. We have the new helicarrier, which is more or less a giant quinjet and/or Bus, but it’s still pretty cool. The team members all have new looks, not the least of which is Daisy Johnson’s Quake outfit. I can’t say I like the Mockingbird lab coat though. And then there’s Agent Coulson’s hand, interchangeable to different models. If this was the 1970s, and this show had action figures – the season three Coulson one would absolutely rock.
All these new toys, and yet, S.H.I.E.L.D. is having trouble collecting new Inhumans. Their success rate is not nearly as good as our new baddies in the A.T.C.U. The difference between the two groups is that we’re trying to save them, and they’re dissecting and experimenting on them. Why is the government always on the wrong side, to paraphrase the anti-apartheid song “Sun City“? The real question though is with all of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s new tech, why aren’t they doing better at this?
After Joey’s bio-morphic event, to use the correct terminology, Daisy and Mack visit him in his special melt-proof helivator and let him into what will become his permanent dorm. Daisy explains what the deal is with his transformation, and his Inhumanity and powers, and how S.H.I.E.L.D. will train him to control those powers and give him a new life. Maybe. Yeah, it’s a grim future, and Joey, who’s just come out, started a new life, and liking said life, doesn’t want to start over. I sympathize, we all sympathize, but man, it sure beats dissection for the moment. I’m sure we’ll come back to this theme in future episodes.
Daisy and Mack (who make a good team in this episode by the way, I like it) decide that maybe they should call in someone who could help Joey acclimate himself to his new situation better. At first I thought they would be calling Agent May’s (and where is May anyway? Vacation? She’s in trouble, cuz there’s no way she’d stay away this long) ex-husband Dr. Andrew Garner. Nah, let’s call Lincoln Campbell he’ll be far less cooperative…
Coulson and Hunter track Rosalind price to her train commute, but it’s a trap with her A.T.C.U. goons in tow. Coulson and Rosalind talk like criminals in a “Sopranos” episode where the gangsters know they’re being wiretapped, all threats and whispers, innuendo and implication. This “cagey banter” gets monotonous quickly. Later, during a montage set to a Presidential speech, the parameters of the A.T.C.U., as well as the Inhuman threat, are made clear, at least the way the public sees it.
Importantly, the President – played by William Sadler, rarely a good guy – points out how the public sees S.H.I.E.L.D., as the folks who drops helicarriers on the nation’s capital in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Alas, things are never easy on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Things get a little worse when it becomes apparent between Coulson and Rosalind that there’s a third party hunting Inhumans. Oh, and helivators rock.
At the hospital where Daisy and Mack are trying to recruit the reluctant Lincoln (soon to be known as Sparkplug, a less than impressive codename in my opinion), a new threat, our third party, shows up looking to rip and destroy. Though unnamed in this episode, this oversized Sonic the Hedgehog, similar in shape to our old friend Raina‘s final form, is called Lash in the comics. Created by Charles Soule, this Inhuman is bad business.
Created in the aftermath of the terrigen bomb detonation during the Infinity miniseries, Lash is neither good nor evil, but follows his own monstrous agenda. He is neither friend to the Inhuman Royal Family nor the new Inhumans. His powers include the rather vague concept of absorbing and manipulating energy, even kinetic energy. Here on “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” he seems to do a lot of indiscriminate blasting, and is able to easily hold his own against the combined power of both Quake and the as-yet-unnamed Sparkplug.
Melodrama, Movies, and The Monolith
Fitz really needs to get over Simmons, either way he’s losing his shit. As if that’s not enough melodrama on the side in this opening episode, Hunter and Mockingbird are still playing cat and mouse with their relationship. I’m still wondering what do the showrunners have against fish oil, other than the terrible taste of course, because this plotline may seriously put a dent in sales. And I wonder what lurks at the bottom of the ocean… We got some nice name drops and references in this episode to both Avengers movies, Thor: The Dark World and Ant-Man. More please, everything is connected, after all.
There’s quite a long bit of lazy exposition to get us there, but Fitz is in Morocco after a scroll that may hold the secrets to the monolith and free or return Simmons from wherever she went inside that thing. He’s damned lucky, but gets it. Our last minute stinger is of Simmons appearing to run for her life on a blue world with at least two moons. Is the monolith a portal? Is she on Hala, the Kree home world? The scenes from next week narrative indicates she’s on the other side of the universe, so maybe.
Next: The return of Ward and Hydra, and of the Asgardian Berserker!