One of the things I have loved about “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” is its ability to present two or more different storylines, seemingly unrelated, and then crash them in a logical collision that we were not expecting. I have always loved the show when it dives into the espionage genre that it was birthed in, and of course, in any media, I love being surprised. In this episode, I get everything I like, love, and want. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on “Among Us Hide…”
The Return of Melinda May
The Cavalry, Agent Melinda May, is back, with a vengeance. After a summer off, and the first few episodes of this season being dragged back in, it took Hydra trying assassinate her ex-husband to finally do it, but she’s back. She’s back mostly to avenge what Hydra, and specifically Ward (and Von Strucker Jr.) did to her ex-husband Andrew Garner. The showrunners made us wait two weeks to find out he wasn’t quite dead. I guess that’s long enough to gauge fan reaction to a possible character death.
Yes, Garner is alive, and I guess I’m not the only one who likes Blair Underwood. I’ll tell you, while I know it’s not the case, this sort of had the vibe of two different endings being filmed, you know, just in case. I will also tell you that even actor Underwood didn’t know how this situation with his character would sort out. It was a surprise for all of us. Regardless, May is back, and she’s going after Ward and Von Strucker. Someone is going to get their butt kicked, the hard way.
Daisy/Quake/Skye, or as Mack calls her lovingly, Tremors has come to the same conclusion I did two episodes ago that Banks, Rosalind Price’s second-in-command, is Lash. It makes sense. Lash somehow has information that only someone within the inner circle of S.H.I.E.L.D. and A.C.T.U. would have. Notably when Daisy and Mack were attacked on their way to the A.C.T.U. facility, Banks had gone on ahead – and then Lash showed up.
Daisy and Mack are the new dynamic duo, and decide to stalk Banks to see if they are right. They work so well together, and off of each other. These two characters together have been the cool find of this season, I like it. Hunter, sidelined by Coulson after nearly getting Garner killed, is just a big case of idle hands. After instilling in Fitz how foolish he is to help Simmons get her boyfriend back, he tags along with Daisy and Mack. He is the proverbial bull in the china shop in both cases. Bottom line, Banks is not Lash – no Inhuman DNA. But it’s the other thing they find that’s upsetting…
Meanwhile, ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Grant Ward is still rebuilding Hydra from the ground up. He had employed the fortune, infamy, and services of the young Werner Von Strucker toward that aim, until Jr. failed to kill Garner. Now Ward wants him dead and has sent his left-hand Kebo after him. Kebo finds him, but also finds that Von Strucker has sought out one of the other remaining heads of the Hydra, Gideon Malick.
The name might not ring a bell, but the face should. It’s actor Powers Boothe, who was one of the anonymous members of the World Security Council, the original heads of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the first Avengers movie, and also in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. One guess as to whose side he finally was loyal to. Strucker is a liability, and used as an asset to possibly unite Ward and Malick’s sides of Hydra.
May and Morse on the Mission
May, as one badass to another, pulls Agent Morse AKA Mockingbird off the sidelines to help her find Strucker and Ward. First we’re treated to a short fight, just to let us know they’re both badasses. It’s just a trick to test her, but any time these two ladies kick ass, it’s a treat. Morse has some hesitation, but we know May is just trying to get her over and through it. They end up globe-hopping following Strucker’s trail, and this is where I get espionage in.
There is so much good spy gadgetry, double-crossing, lying, and action in this episode, and knowing the roots of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the comics, that’s as it should be. I want more of this, and we haven’t seen it in a while. Even Daisy and Mack get into the act with Fitz’ mini-drone, and Coulson and Rosalind Price engage in some wonderful mind games themselves in this episode. Eventually May and Morse’s mission lead to the big reveal as they finally find Von Strucker being tortured by Kebo, obviously led to him by Malick.
The mind games, word games, and set ups between Coulson and Price are the very meat of subtle spy stuff, very Spy vs. Spy. Their interaction reminds me of the verbal parrying between James Bond and Auric Goldfinger while playing golf, except I never wanted Bond and Goldfinger to kiss. It’s a nice first date, that finally ends at A.C.T.U.’s holding facility. Yeah, they were right to hide it, sooo not PC.
This is also where Daisy, Mack, and Hunter are finally led as well. The holding facility keeps Inhumans frozen in clear boxes full of suspension gel. Alive, but non-functional, and incapable of using their powers and harming anyone. Think the opening of Demolition Man, yeah, like that. Daisy’s not happy, and when she sees Coulson there, seemingly unphased by this, she’s even less happy.
Von Strucker’s Secret
Morse gets over her post-traumatic stress pretty easily after a little hesitation, and dispatches Kebo in a manner that quite frankly brought back memories of Mockingbird murdering the Phantom Rider in the old West Coast Avengers comics. This girl is a killer. Meanwhile, May cradles the dying Werner Von Strucker in her lap. His last words are not what was expected.
With his dying breath he confesses what he saw when he attacked May’s ex-husband Dr. Garner. They didn’t kill him, or finish him off, and neither did a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent help him. Andrew Garner transformed into Lash and took out the Hydra thugs, burning the building to the ground as Strucker Jr. ran for his life. Da da dum. It fits. That’s why Lash wouldn’t hurt Daisy, and he is in the intelligence inner circle, just with S.H.I.E.L.D., not A.C.T.U. This is bad… very bad…
Next: Chaos Theory!