I think Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers put it best a few decades back, “The waiting is the hardest part.” In the last episode of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” we saw the Secret Warriors briefly assemble and disassemble, And Hive begin to get his bearings on Earth. Now it’s just a waiting game to see what heavy boot drops next. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on “The Inside Man.”
After sucking down hours and hours of news and other such television, and reading books, Hive has learned to speak, and he’s also getting acquainted with his new body. He appears to possess Grant Ward’s memories as well as his body. And then there’s that power he appears to possess, the conveying of essence. Is it a, pardon the pun, a hive-mind or some sort of mind control?
Hive seems to already have a pretty secure hold over Malick, Giyera, and Lucio (medusa eyes from last episode). His control over Malick might be less so because he’s only human. The most chilling part of this episode is when he devours five people to regenerate Ward’s body. Brrrr…
Everyone else, including Malick seems to be concerned with a top secret international gathering in Taiwan, the ‘Symposium on the Alien Contagion,’ they call it, a conference about the Inhumans and how to handle them. Coulson and Glenn Talbot are attending, with most of the team as back-up. But apparently Coulson isn’t the only one with back-up.
May and Lincoln spot a hostile in the airport garage and engage an old adversary – Carl ‘Crusher’ Creel, the Absorbing Man. After a fun throwdown between Creel and Lincoln, the truth comes out. The Absorbing Man is with Talbot. This is an ironic alliance, especially considering both men in the comics have a serious hate on for the Hulk.
Despite all the bad stuff racked up in Creel’s corner – career criminal, crooked boxer, Hydra agent, murderer of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, and worst of all, super powers – Talbot trusts him and believes he’s reformed. Of course, having read the comics, I don’t trust either of them, but the comics are not the Marvel Cinematic Universe. New world, new rules.
However, Coulson is willing to trust, and believes Creel will make an excellent secret weapon. The symposium has two rules – no aliens and no guns – making most of S.H.I.E.L.D. useless or excluded. Under those circumstances, the Absorbing Man may come in rather handy in case anyone starts any crap.
Back to Basics
“The Inside Man” is a refreshing change of pace for “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” as it focuses on one plot for most of the cast, and very little in the way of subplot. It’s all about the conference, good or evil, all are engaged. At the same time we get lots of room for characterization and interaction. It’s not a filler episode by any means, but we get all the rewards of that type of show.
This episode is also a return to good old fashioned espionage. I’ve said it before and will say it again, it’s been a long time we’ve had this kind of stuff on TV. We need it. More James Bond and Mission: Impossible, and less “Homeland” and “Quantico,” and most importantly, we should never forget we are in a superhero universe.
Shocker at the Symposium
Like all espionage thrillers, the ability to surprise the viewer is most important, and in that area, this episode wins. This symposium was supposed to have a traitor, someone reporting to Malick, and our heroes’ mission was to scout them out. We watch as the team sorts out each of the suspects, only to find, too late, that it’s Talbot. Granted, Hydra has his son and is forcing his hand, but I still wouldn’t trust Glenn Talbot as far as I could throw him.
When Malick walks in to the meeting room and announces Coulson as the director of Hydra, there’s a chill in the air. Malick also double crosses Talbot once the conference votes to start a refuge for the Inhumans, yeah, all in one place… there’s Hive’s army. Luckily Hunter didn’t follow orders, and brought guns and battle staves to the conference. And Talbot, well, he brought the Absorbing Man. Let the ass kicking commence.
The very little subplot I mentioned earlier revolves around a blood sample taken from Creel. The question still stands from his earlier appearances of how he was able to touch The Obelisk and not be affected. Apparently Creel’s blood blocks the Terrigenesis process. It can’t reverse it, but given before exposure it will prevent Terrigenesis. Yes, it’s a vaccine.
Whether or not such a vaccine should be used, even though it doesn’t exist yet, causes a rift between Daisy and Lincoln, each on a different side of the fence. What’s most interesting about it is Daisy’s mention of an anti-Inhuman radical group called the Watchdogs. That’s a name from the comics, terrorists funded by the Red Skull who killed USAgent’s parents when he served as Captain America. I have a feeling this isn’t just a wink-wink name drop…
Next: an Inhuman assassin, and Hunter and Mockingbird on the run!