Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD – Season 3 Episode 7
After revealing the true identity of Lash, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD explores the effect such a revelation has on the various characters.
Closest to this is May who is clearly having trouble dealing with finding this out. She is usually a very guarded person who keeps her emotions in check but it’s visibly apparent that she is struggling to do so under the circumstances. She still mostly manages but her feelings do slip through. Ming Na Wen does a great job of playing May in this turmoil and showing how tough this is on her.
Being a good agent she has to confirm things for herself so she looks into Andrew’s activities over the past while and finds a lot of circumstantial evidence to back up that he has managed to be on flights that landed near the scenes of the murders that they know about. It quickly becomes obvious that Werner Von Strucker was telling the truth and that she has to do something about it. Also, Von Strucker is in a coma? What’s that about?
I like that she doesn’t waste any time and puts her duty as well as the safety of her team above her personal feelings so goes after Andrew immediately. Their confrontation reveals a lot about how Lash works and how difficult it is for Andrew to control the transformation.
Apparently it happens around Inhumans and is something of an instinctual response that stops when the Inhuman is killed. I found this to be really disappointing as it is far too simple considering what had been previously established. Before this point I got the impression that Lash was killing other Inhumans for a much darker purpose that we are yet to be privy to. There were references to going after those he deemed unworthy of Terrigenesis but if it turns out to simply be an instinctual drive to kill not unlike the zombie need for brains then this is a wasted opportunity.
I am hopeful that it is a simple case of Andrew not understanding the beast that lives inside him and is simply trying to rationalise it the way he would for any of his patients. It seems like he remembers what happens when he transforms and has an understanding of what it all means. It is also mentioned that he considers the Inhumans to be an epidemic which suggests that he wants them to be killed to solve the problem but it is all so poorly developed that it’s hard to feel that any of it is compelling.
Sadly Andrew is robbed of any of the depth that he has had up until this point. Blair Underwood does a good enough job of juggling the suave and sophisticated Andrew that we have all known before this point and the terrified desperation that comes with his pending transformations but the writing just isn’t strong enough to support that in a way that works for the character. I like the idea posed by Lincoln that Andrew is still in the transition stage which means that at some point he will become Lash and never turn back. How long that will take is anyone’s guess but it’s an interesting idea. For all we know Lincoln is wrong and Lash is unlike any Inhuman that he has encountered.
Having Lash be Andrew is supposed to be a development that gives it extra meaning because it’s someone we know and that most of the characters trust. It should shock and upset everyone who has had contact with him but everyone other than May seem to react to it as if it’s another villain of the week that needs to be stopped. There is the odd platitude about it being difficult for May to deal with it but beyond that it’s all about hunting a generic bad guy. I would expect the reaction to the news to be a lot stronger than it was.
The action involving Lash was really boring as well. It mostly resulted in him being shot at while running towards people with the odd light show from Daisy and Lincoln. There is so much potential to make an action sequence involving Lash a visual feast but none of that is really taken here. I am also very disappointed in how quickly he is captured especially with the reveal of his identity being only a week ago. There hasn’t been nearly enough time to play with this idea properly. It’s doubtful that it’s the end of the Lash story but it is severely lacking in anything meaningful going on.
One thing that works better is Coulson and Daisy being at odds over Rosalind’s methods of dealing with the Inhumans. Coulson tries to explain that she is a special case who was able to control her abilities and use them productively but the same isn’t true for everyone. Daisy believes in giving everyone an equal chance but Coulson sees it as too much of a risk so sides with Rosalind on it.
Rosalind becomes much more a part of the S.H.I.E.L.D. team when she manages to have a frank discussion with Daisy where each of them try to make the other understand their point of view. Neither of them are massively convinced but that’s fine because it makes the whole thing feel a lot more real. Of course there is the hammy discussion about Daisy not realising the extent of her powers and how dangerous they are followed by a later resolution of Daisy using her powers to save Rosalind. As moments go it’s fine but it feels a little too neat.
I like that Rosalind is trusting Coulson a lot more shown by her ordering her troops to follow his commands because she recognises it as his operation. I wonder if this will end up with S.H.I.E.L.D. becoming a legitimate government organisation again through cooperation with Rosalind’s group.
Her flirtation with Coulson finally reaches a point where both of them give into the attraction and spend the night together. It has been coming for weeks now and makes sense that it happens at this point. With each episode they have opened up to one another a little more and there was a similar moment of shared vulnerability here when she tied his tie for him while discussing the phantom pain associated with his lost limb. It wasn’t good dialogue at all but the sentiment definitely comes across.
Her phone conversation with Gideon Malick (Powers Boothe) hopefully doesn’t mean that she has been with H.Y.D.R.A. all along as that reveal is entirely played out on this show. I think that she has no idea of his involvement with Ward but time will tell on that one.
Having Lincoln back with S.H.I.E.L.D. for his own protection and the fact that he manages to trust Mack is a good move for the show. The writers don’t know what to do with the character as yet as any appearance of him has been really dull prior to this point but hopefully they can find something for him to do now that he’s back in the fold. Having Joey return with more of a handle on his ability fills me with some hope that the Secret Warriors will happen but I doubt that will be until the second half of the season if at all.
As seems normal at the moment Fitz and Simmons provide the best emotional moments in the episode. Simmons is rarely featured prominently but she tasks Fitz with getting the recordings off her broken phone that she had with her in the Negative Zone/on Ego or wherever it might be. Fitz is really tested emotionally when he finds a picture of her and Will looking very cosy. It’s tough for him to see and he reacts angrily but is quickly brought around when he listens to the many recordings of Simmons keeping herself sane by talking to him as if he was there. Seeing Simmons at her most vulnerable and desperate as she feared death was played perfectly by Iain De Caestecker. He watches helplessly as his best friend struggles with her ordeal. I find myself less interested in the main story and want the episode to return to these characters. I feel compelled to mention how great it is that Hunter has Fitz’ back by saying that Will has a “hog face” to make his friend feel better. I love the bond that these characters have forged.
Fitz and Simmons share a really sweet moment as they basically admit their feelings for one another but choose to not think beyond watching the sunrise together. It’s a really understated moment but it’s beautiful in its simplicity and allows the actors to really shine.
An underwhelming episode that really wastes the opportunity afforded by having Lash be someone that the S.H.I.E.L.D. team know well in his civilian identity.
Closest to the reveal is May who has to deal with the fact that her ex husband is a creature who kills Inhumans. Ming Na Wen does a great job of playing a character who is usually so guarded being close to breaking point and having her emotions just on the surface.
I like that she doesn’t waste any time in confronting him but the confrontation itself was a little boring. Andrew saying that he only becomes Lash as an instinctual response to the presence of Inhumans that subsides once he kills them is a wasted opportunity. It had been previously established that Lash had some sort of higher purpose and it had been mentioned that he killed those he felt unworthy of Terrigenesis but having it be akin to a zombie’s lust for brains is a waste of the opportunity. It could be a simple case of Andrew not understanding the full scope of his transformation and what that means.
Unfortunately Andrew is robbed of any depth in this episode. Blair Underwood plays the suave sophistication as well as the desperate fear really well but doesn’t have an awful lot to work with. Similarly the S.H.I.E.L.D. team don’t seem to have as strong reactions to the information as they should.
I found the action involving Lash really underwhelming as well. It basically amounted to people shooting at him while he charged. He was dispatched far too easily which ruins the potential to explore the recent reveal. I dare say he will be back but there was room to breathe on this one.
Daisy and Coulson’s conflict over Rosalind’s treatment of the Inhumans was well done. Both of them did a good job of putting across their points of view and it’s good to have both of them on different sides. Rosalind manages to make herself more of a part of things as she tries to understand where Daisy is coming from while making her understand her thinking. The sentimental moment where Daisy used her powers to save Rosalind was a bit obvious but it worked well enough.
Rosalind and Coulson’s relationship developed to the point that they gave into their attraction and spent the night together. It makes sense as it had been coming for weeks and they have been more vulnerable with one another with each episode. Her phone conversation with Gideon Malick hopefully doesn’t mean that she has been with H.Y.D.R.A. all along as that reveal is entirely played out on this show.
Lincoln being back with the team is a good move. The writers have no idea what to do with him but having him trust Mack might prove interesting and he’s certainly more use to the show being nearby rather than being on the run.
Fitz and Simmons provided the strongest material for this episode. As Fitz mined Simmons’ phone for the recordings she made when she was missing he goes through lots of emotions. He is initially angry when he sees a picture of her with Will looking cosy but then sees Simmons at her most vulnerable and terrified. He looks on helplessly and it’s played perfectly by Iain De Caestecker.
Fitz and Simmons share a really nice scene as the sort of admit their feelings while watching the sun rise. They agree to not take it any further than watching the sun rise for now. It’s an understated moment but works so well.