The last episode of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” was a rough one with a traitor in their midst as Dr. Andrew Garner was revealed to be the Inhuman killer Lash, and his ex-wife May had to take him down. It doesn’t look like things are getting any better with Rosalind Price and the A.C.T.U. possibly working with Hydra. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on “Many Heads, One Tale.”
Two Heads of the Hydra
As we open on a symbolic dinner between ex-Agent Grant Ward and Gideon Malick, it seems apparent that the same growing pains S.H.I.E.L.D. experienced rising from the ashes last season, Hydra has as well. Many factions are scrambling to be in control, to be the real Hydra. Malick is old guard, sitting within the former S.H.I.E.L.D. power structure, staying clean, and waiting to strike. Ward on the other hand is new school, very hands on, and quite willing to get those hands dirty – or bloody.
We know Ward, we know he has a plan, and now we know a bit more about it. When he went after the younger Von Strucker, he was looking for the Von Strucker vault, said to hold Hydra’s greatest power. What could that be? The Zodiac Key? The Overkill Horn? Maybe the Red Skull himself?? Whatever it is, it’s dangerous enough for Malick to deny its existence and have Ward killed. But another thing we know – Ward doesn’t go down that easy.
There’s that nice feeling of colliding storylines again. After the A.C.T.U. taking custody of Garner/Lash, May walking around seething, and Mack questioning Coulson about his relationship with Rosalind Price, the S.H.I.E.L.D. director launches Operation Spotlight. This is an all-out investigation and surveillance of all things A.C.T.U.
As I mentioned last time, no matter that neither is on the level, I absolutely love the subtle and clever, whipsmart espionage doublespeak, Goldfinger golf game flirtation between Coulson and Price. I love the face off between the two, with some excellent performances by Constance Zimmer. And completely off-topic, is anyone else weirded out that Coulson keeps the axe that Mack used to cut off his hand on the wall of his office like a trophy?
The Genre Game
I know as a comics geek and a fanboy, I should be looking for something different in “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” but the superheroics and the superpowers run a slow second to where this show really shines. It works best as an espionage series. They should be thinking more in line with the old “Man from U.N.C.L.E.” or more recently “Scorpion” set in a superhero universe rather than the angle they usually use.
More James Bond and less Avengers, and with Spectre doing considerably better at the box office than Age of Ultron did, maybe it’s a good idea. For instance I loved the espionage aspects of this episode, with the infiltration of the A.C.T.U. And who didn’t love Hunter as hacker Dane? Priceless. The only thing that could have made it better would have been more “Scorpion” or “Mr. Robot” references.
The kiss we’ve been waiting three seasons for finally happened, and wow, it was certainly no Ollicity. As some women and men are wont to do, they wait until the last minute – or perhaps when it’s too late – to say or do what’s really on their mind. This hesitant relationship between Jemma Simmons and Leo Fitz is exactly that paradigm. They have gone from awww-isn’t-that-cute to Romeo and Juliet tragic.
Fitz is working his butt off to get Will, the astronaut Simmons slept with in outer space, home, and he’s doing it only because he loves her, and wants her happy. Simmons on the other hand knows it’s killing him to do this. Yeah, I think Fitz is right, this relationship is cursed. They find that Will may have been the blood sacrifice of an ancient order, and one other thing…
Mockingbird Vs. The Iron Chef
Operation Spotlight falls apart once it’s revealed Malick is in charge of the A.C.T.U., and Price is only following orders on a need to know basis. The A.C.T.U. is making Inhumans, not holding them or studying them. When the crap hits the fan and Morse and Hunter are trapped inside the A.C.T.U., the big guns come out. For the A.C.T.U., it’s telekinetic R. Giyera played by “Iron Chef” chairman Mark Dacascos.
On our side, Mockingbird has gotten an upgrade. Remember waaay back in the Silver Age when Iron Man made magnetic gauntlets for his friend Captain America so his shield would automatically return to him? Yeah, that’s the tech that Mockingbird now has in her battle staves, ahem, I mean batons. The fight is awesome. It’s been two seasons already, perhaps it’s time for Bobbi Morse to finally embrace the name and costume of Mockingbird.
With Rosalind and her right hand man Banks in tow, because apparently they are the only A.C.T.U. who didn’t know they were Hydra, Coulson and the rest of the S.H.I.E.L.D. team learn a dangerous truth from Fitz and Simmons. This fact and Hydra’s grim origins are simultaneously revealed to Ward when he’s confronted by Malick in Von Strucker’s vault. Taking a page from both the illuminati and Jonathan Hickman’s S.H.I.E.L.D. comic series, it turns out that Hydra has been around for quite some time longer than the Red Skull and World War II.
Hydra is the ancient order that sent Will to that far off planet. Not only that, but Malick outlines a history where a dangerous Inhuman was sent to that other planet long ago, and one day he will return to Earth and rule. Malick and Hydra are building an Inhuman army for that return. Also ominous is the fact that Hydra sent Will to the other planet, and is possibly planning to send Lash there as well. Malick confronts Ward with the news, while showing off the chunk of Monolith from the vault, that S.H.I.E.L.D. found a way to bring someone back – a secret Hydra must now have.
Next: Coulson Vs. Ward!
And we also got our first official look at the second season of “Marvel’s Agent Carter,” check it out…