Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3×12: “The Inside Man”

Banner by the Collected Mutineer
Banner by the Collected Mutineer

Okay so things are starting to heat up in the SHIELD headquarters. There’s a new big bad Inhuman on the loose, who’s sporting the corpse of Grant Ward, Hydra is rising again, and tensions are really beginning to rise between humankind and the “enhanced.” Spoilers ahead. 

Synopsis

“The Inside Man” lights up on Inhuman Ward demonstrating more of his creepy sand powers, and though I still don’t know exactly what this Inhuman can do, he is appropriately disconcerting. The Inhuman describes Grant as “the perfect host”, and together he (it?) and Malick are planning on gathering a lot more Inhumans to Team Hydra.

Meanwhile, Team SHIELD is prepping for a symposium in Taiwan amongst other governments to discuss how to “deal” with the Inhuman situation. Daisy is noticeably defensive of her newfound alien bloodline, and even Lincoln expresses some differences of opinion. Speaking of SHIELD’s newest sparkplug, it looks like Mama May has taken him under her wing and is teaching him the ways of field operative.

His first mission? Protect Coulson while he meets with Major Talbot, the new head of the ATCU.

Screenshot 2016-03-18 22.11.42

Talbot is reluctant to team up with Coulson and SHIELD, and even more reluctant to acknowledge Coulson’s superior rank. In the end, he agrees to accompany SHIELD to the Taiwan symposium, since he also has an interest in figuring out Malick’s endgame. Talbot brings along his own superpowered friend, Carl Creel, who SHIELD automatically distrusts (and who could blame them given their tense history?)

At the symposium, Talbot and Coulson head into the meeting to distract the guests while May, Morse, and Hunter infiltrate the guests’ rooms to look for evidence of a connection with Malick or Hydra. The inside man turns out to be Talbot, as is discovered when Hunter find Talbot’s son in a gel cube. Malick is using the son as leverage to control Talbot,

Screenshot 2016-03-18 22.14.03

Malick double crosses Talbot because, of course, Hydra. Creel rescues Talbot and Coulson, and although Team SHIELD attempts a rescue of Talbot’s son, the boy ends up injured. The experience brings the two together, however, and Coulson vows that Talbot’s son will survive, and that Malick will pay.

The episode ends with May and Coulson surmising that Malick might not be the last head of Hydra, that there may be someone or something that Malick reports to.

Where We’re Headed

Screenshot 2016-03-18 21.33.46

So the big threat for the second half of the season seems to, once again, be Grant Ward. However, where human Grant Ward was duplicitous, ruthless, and likely sociopathic, the Inhuman Grant Ward is spooky and weird. After feasting on some humans, the zombie Ward, emerges, covered in goo and likely fully charged and ready to take over the world.

Although we haven’t yet seen what this Inhuman is capable of, I find myself missing human Grant Ward. The show’s darker turn has painted the scene as an “us versus them” scenario, but I always enjoyed the complexities of Ward’s loyalties and the vast amount of grey area in which he lived his life. This latest Inhuman threat seems like a desperate attempt for the series to one-up itself after Lash, and making Ward a new kind of alien threat seemed like the logical next step. I hope that future episodes will make Inhuman Ward just as scary as human Ward, because I’m really missing Brett Dalton’s badass Hydra swagger.

Screenshot 2016-03-18 22.08.49

This week’s AoS episode as an important one because it gave us some view on how the show will continue to tie in with the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. We’re seeing the same human v. enhanced tensions that have appeared in the big Marvel films like Avengers: Age of Ultron and even Ant-Man. The arrival of superheroes, and thereby supervillains, breeds distrust among many, and as we saw in this episode, some governments either view Inhumans as a threat or as a group that can be weaponized.

We will probably see more of the tensions building in Captain America: Civil War, and I don’t know about you, but I plan on building a pillow fort and hoarding enough wine and chocolate to wait out the apocalypse of emotions.

-The Collectress


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