Okay so things are starting to heat up in the SHIELD headquarters. There’s a new big bad Inhuman on the loose (who we’ve recently discovered has close ties with Agent May), SHIELD is getting professional competition in the form of the ATCU, Hydra is rising again, and tensions are really beginning to rise between humankind and the “enhanced.” Spoilers ahead.
Ward is back to his old Hydra tricks when he pays a visit to Malick–who we now know is in league with Rosalind and the ATCU. There’s the typical Hydra small talk between the two men; death threats, secret bases, and powerful weapons all make an appearance. Ward is keen to locate the von Strucker vault, which was apparently the only real interest he had in Werner von Strucker from the beginning.
Now that Werner is in a coma, Malick is the only head of Hydra-as-it-was that knows the location to the von Strucker vault–and whatever power it contains. Malick leaves Ward to be slaughtered by his men, but instead of dying (because Hydra can’t die) he learns that the vault is in Zepkow.
Meanwhile SHIELD is investigating the ATCU. Although Coulson has gotten rather chummy with Rosaline, the head of ATCU, he and the rest of his team are determined to discover whether or not the ATCU is working on the cure for Inhumans that they claim to be researching. Bobbi and Hunter are sent in undercover, and while Hunter distracts the ATCU’s security team, Bobbi infiltrates their labs.
Or, rather, where the ATCU lab’s are supposed to be.
Instead of a cure for Inhumans, Bobbi discovers a large supply of fish oil pills. Turns out Malick is in charge of that particular research division, and he hasn’t been entirely truthful about his purpose for the Inhuman race. By turning Inhumans, the Hydra forces that have infiltrated the ATCU are raising an army of the Enhanced, but for what purpose?
Coulson has Rosalind at the SHIELD base under the pretext of giving her an all-access tour. When he is notified by his team that the ATCU is producing fish oil pills rather than a cure, he locks down Rosalind. He confronts her with what he knows about the ATCU, and she confesses to having been played by Malick. By Rosalind’s confession, she knew nothing about the fish oil pills or Malick’s intentions because the research division was under strict quarantine.
While Rosalind’s expression was earnest, can Coulson really trust her?
It’s difficult to suss out exactly who knew what about Hydra and why. Malick enters the ATCU to visit Andrew, intent on turning the Inhuman to his side. He offers Andrew a purpose, a mission, if you will, and if juxtapositioned with Fitz and Simmons’ accidental discovery this episode, we know that Malick intends to send Andrew through the portal. Fitz and Simmons discovered, after a rather passionate debate, that Hydra was influential in sending Will’s team through the portal all those years ago.
But what interest does Hydra have in the portal? Well, Malick tells Ward a story, and we finally learn the reason Hydra was founded. They’ve been sending teams through the portal for centuries, but before Jemma, no one had ever returned. There’s a big, evil Inhuman lurking in the other world, one that Hydra is keen on bringing to Earth and worshipping as the One True Leader. Or something like that.
Where We’re Headed
With the midseason finale close at hand, we can expect a few of the following things to happen:
- Hydra will kidnap Jemma, or Fitz, or both. They want to know how to bring someone back through the portal, and they’re the only people to do it so far. I’m kind of looking forward to seeing Ward with some of his former SHIELD teammates. Should be a sweet reunion, right?
- I hate to say it, but I think we’ll be saying goodbye to Andrew very soon. There’s no cure at hand, and if he becomes involved with Malick, I think that pretty much signing the metaphorical death certificate for May’s love of her life. If it goes down the way I suspect it will, it will be one big sucker punch to the feels for fans of Melinda May.
- Hydra is on the rise. Since Ward came to power, I’ve been waffling over whether or not Hydra is still scary. Premise: scary. Ward: not so much. However, this new alliance with Malick (who was confirmed to be on the World Security Council, tying together that part of the MCU nicely) presents new terrifying possibilities, because Powers Boothe’s Malick has the diabolical cunning that, when combined with Ward’s sociopathic ruthlessness, has the possibility of returning Hydra to its Enemy #1 status with SHIELD.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns Tuesday, December 1.
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