Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD – Season 3 Episode 11
Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD returns after a long break and starts an arc that looks like it’ll run until the end of the season.
After putting the development of the Secret Warriors story on the backburner for much of the first half of the season this episode picks it up with the introduction of Elena Rodriguez (Natalie Cordova-Buckley) aka Yo-Yo –though comic fans will know her as Slingshot). Her introduction is supposed to make her look like a villain but it’s pretty clear from the beginning that this wouldn’t be the case. Her intentions are entirely altruistic as she uses her abilities to steal guns so that the people in her community would be safe from having them used against them.
Her central relationship is with Mack which develops after she kidnaps him. Her capture of him is really amateur and easy to escape from with only her powers giving her an edge against Mack. His judge of character becomes the important thing here as he realises that she’s not a bad person and recognises that she is scared of what is happening to her with no idea what to do about it. They bond over their shared faith that Mack uses as a way to start gaining her trust. The way that their conversation is restricted by the language barrier works really well with Mack only able to convey a few words to get his point across. It’s a refreshing interaction that shows a misunderstanding differently to the norm.
Elena’s introduction to S.H.I.E.L.D. and the other three Inhumans that make up the sorely lacking Secret Warriors team is a fairly tense one as it begins with her being kidnapped and put in a box. Joey is tasked with speaking to her because he knows Spanish and went through exactly the same thing. He tries to assure her that there’s nothing to be afraid of as Daisy has her best interests at heart but considering the start of that relationship is a kidnapping the whole thing is a pretty tough sell. Elena is portrayed as a strong personality with a strong commitment to protecting her people which means that she has absolutely no interest in joining the Secret Warriors to fight a larger War. Her loyalty to her people is a relatable trait and impossible to disagree with considering the limited information she has about S.H.I.E.L.D.
I really liked how Elena’s powers were used in the episode. It was a cool visual and it seemed like they were used consistently. The mechanics of her powers helped create some cool action sequences such as disarming people as Daisy took them out. I look forward to more displays like this when the Secret Warriors are finally up and running.
The Secret Warriors as a concept are building a bit too slowly for my liking. I think it’s a great idea that has a lot of potential but it’s simply not building quickly enough. At this point we have Daisy, Lincoln, Joey and Elena –sort of- and Daisy is already suggesting essentially benching most of them to call in when they are needed. Letting Joey and Elena return to their normal lives is a nice thing for her to suggest and even better that Coulson agrees to it but it doesn’t tie into the urgency of the Inhumans being hunted. This is especially confusing as Lash is still out there and there’s no way that S.H.I.E.L.D. could mobilise quickly enough if either of them were attacked by him. I’m also still not buying Lincoln and Daisy as a couple as it has come out of nowhere and there is limited chemistry between them.
A question that has been hanging over the show for a while is how S.H.I.E.L.D. as an organisation fits into the world it inhabits. Not so much within the context of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as that’s fairly clear at this point; it’s more around the Government perception of them. This episode tackles this head on with William Sadler reprising his role as President Ellis to sort out where S.H.I.E.L.D. fits in. He tells Coulson that legitimising them is out of the question because the memory of the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. is still very raw so it’s not a decision that will be trusted or looked upon favourably. The compromise is for the ATCU to be the legitimate organisation with Coulson in charge of that and S.H.I.E.L.D. operating secretly. Talbot will be the figurehead for the ATCU but he will answer to Coulson. Where S.H.I.E.L.D. was getting funding from isn’t answered but I’m fairly content with the fact that Nick Fury gave Coulson access to some secret bank accounts when handing over his toolbox.
It’s an interesting if overly complicated solution that gives Coulson more resources to play with and much more authority to do things. It also removes them fighting against H.Y.D.R.A. and the government at the same time. I look forward to seeing Talbot’s reaction to taking orders from Coulson as these characters have always had a fun dynamic.
Having President Ellis appear again helps to legitimise this show in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They frequently directly interact with characters from the films so it makes everything feel connected. The characters interacted with are minor ones but it definitely counts.
President Ellis as a character is an interesting one as he seems completely out of his depth with the insanity that is coming his way. He is doing his best to react to the Inhuman situation as well as whatever else is on the horizon. I wonder what the tie in for the upcoming Civil War will be as I presume there will be one.
Fitz and Simmons spend most of the episode dancing around one another awkwardly. Fitz feels guilty for killing Will so doesn’t want to face her and she has no idea how to deal with the recent change in their relationship. The end result is that they start again as friends but I can’t see that lasting long. Simmons completely forgives Fitz because he attacked the thing possessing Will which isn’t the same as killing him as far as she is concerned. These characters are being used well at the moment and I’m actually interested to see where their relationship goes.
I’m not sure what to make of Hive so far mostly because he does almost nothing in this episode. He is weak after travelling from Maveth as well as possessing a dead body. It seems like Brett Dalton’s time on the show will be over when Hive is dealt with based on what was said in this episode and maybe that’s for the best. All the talk of making a believer out of Gideon Malick and the veiled threat he makes to Giyera (Mark Dacascos) makes him seem sinister but there will need to be a show of strength in the near future. One promising thing is that Brett Dalton does a good job of showing that Hive is not Ward so hopefully he will become a viable threat. Malick also seems like he’s getting more than he can handle out of this as he seems visibly concerned about what this could mean. H.Y.D.R.A. have accomplished what they existed to do so could this be their downfall? Whatever happens it looks like Malick will be a problem for Coulson as he has more than enough contacts that need to be dealt with before getting to him. His influence is his greatest strength and tearing that down will be difficult since even the President of the United States can’t touch him.
Coulson and May’s reflection on Coulson’s actions on Maveth was a really interesting scene that shows the level of understanding between these two characters. She suggests that he isn’t over what happened to Rosalind and has now transferred his vendetta to Malick. According to May there are some things that leave a scar so by that logic Coulson has been permanently changed by this loss and will never be the same. She says that he has “joined the Cavalry” which is of course a reference to the event that permanently changed her. Coulson has shown that he is willing to do what is necessary by killing Ward but now he has gone to a place that he can’t come back from. He also shows off his new hand that should make things easier for Clark Gregg since it looks and feels real.
Hunter and Bobbi were mostly used to do legwork this week but there was some amusing dialogue involving them. Hunter’s admission that he took a fish oil pill to see if he would become an Inhuman was hilarious even if it was a bit reckless even for him. Bobbi admitting that she was tempted was a nice touch as well.
I’m not sure what to make of the tease showing the near future with the cockpit of a spaceship with floating blood followed by an explosion consuming someone wearing a S.H.I.E.L.D. uniform. The episode suggests that Mack or Elena are likely contenders given the appearance of the crucifix and the discussion about their faith in the episode but I doubt it’ll be that easy. It is interesting to think about but whether the answer will be satisfying remains to be seen. The problem with scenes like this is that they are starting to feel overused in shows like this and it feels fairly redundant at this point as there aren’t enough hints to come to any conclusions.
A solid return for the show that positions things nicely for the rest of the season. The Secret Warriors plot is growing a little too slowly but at least the ranks are increasing and Elena’s ability is a visually interesting one to throw into the mix. Coulson being in charge of the ATCU is an interesting development that better defines the role of S.H.I.E.L.D. within the system of Government. Hive in Ward’s body is a story that isn’t offering anything particularly interesting yet but hopefully that will change.
- the visual of Elena’s ability
- Mack and Elena’s discussions through the language barrier
- President Ellis better defining the role of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the government
- Coulson and May reflecting on the events of “Maveth”
- The future tease feeling a bit redundant
- Hive not doing anything especially interesting