If season one was about being destroyed, and season two was about survival, this episode makes it clear that season three is all about recovery: Coulson’s recovery from running a secret organization to one that’s more in the open; Daisy’s recovery and acceptance of her being an Inhuman; Simmons’ recovery from her ordeal on the alien planet; and Fitz’s recovery from his grief at losing Simmons temporarily.
And, as showcased last night. Bobbi’s recovery from the torture she suffered at Ward’s hand last season. This arc has been subtle, with only nods here and there about Bobbie needing physical therapy and being stuck in the lab, but it comes to a conclusion this week as May challenges Bobbi to fight all the way back to the agent she used to be.
It’s a great glimpse into Bobbi’s vulnerable side, something we haven’t seen much from her, and it pays off at the end of a terrific episode where all the various plotlines are in play.
NOTE: SPOILERS AHEAD.
As May and Bobbi go out after Ward with a literal vengeance, the other teams mix it up a bit, and Coulson and Rosalind continue their totally-not-flirting-yes-they-are dance.
The first big reveal in the episode is that Andrew survived that attack in the convenience story. Good. This show needed another dead character like it needed another fight over who gets to run S.H.I.E.L.D.
But Andrew’s survival may not be what it seems. “The blast must have thrown me clear,” he says, and millions of internet speculators say, in unison, “He’s totally Lash.” Yes, yes, he is. More on that later.
May, however, is still steaming from how Hunter put Andrew in jeopardy. Hunter has a point that Ward would have killed Andrew anyway, but May also has a point that Hunter wasn’t motivated by that logic but by wanting revenge on Ward for his torture of Bobbi. Coulson agrees with the latter assessment and takes Hunter off the case. This leads to a humorous sequence of Hunter wandering around headquarters looking for something, anything to do. Hey, Fitz, you know not to take romantic advice from this dude, right? At least, I hope you do.
Ward’s feeling the heat after the botched attempt on Andrew and he sends his top flunkie out to find young von Strucker, who’s in the wind. The kid knows too much and it’s time to cut him loose. Naturally, May and Bobbi are also after the kid.
Daisy needs a plan of her own to uncover Lash’s secret identity, now that she knows he can change into a human. Reasoning that Lash must be a member of the ATCU, she, Mack, and a restless Hunter head out after Rosalind’s top guy, who has a past that fits in nicely with his being Lash.
This is bound to be a futile effort, especially as Andrew also hints to Simmons during a talk that he’s totally Lash. However, it does lead to a funny sequence of Hunter deciding to simply “ice” their suspect, then punch him to get blood to run his DNA. Hunter allows Coulson might have a point about his impulse control issues. While they’re waiting for the DNA results, the trio head to the address on their suspect’s phone, deduce it’s ATCU headquarters, and send in a totally illegal drone to spy on the facility.
Aside: I know the plan seems to be spinning off Bobbi and Hunter eventually into their own series. But after watching May and Bobbi run a con on a bank, then fight their way out, I kinda want a May/Bobbi show. Of course, that means May wouldn’t be on this show and that would be bad.
In any case, though Bobbi holds back on the violence during their escape, they have a good lead on von Strucker.
Von Strucker knows he’s blown it, so he heads to Powers Boothe for help. Boothe was last seen in The Avengers movie as one of the talking heads who made the “stupid-ass” decisions that Fury ignored. Looks like Boothe’s character was Hydra or something like it. (His character’s name isn’t used in the episode but he’s listed as Gideon Malick in the cast list.) Malick agrees to help the desperate kid but then he turns around and gives him to Ward instead.
Hmm….I’m hoping this whole situation eventually leads to Ward’s inevitable demise and Gideon in place as the Big Bad of the season. Brett Dalton is great but Ward has been out there and making our heroes look incompetent too long.
Coulson appears to be one team member having a good day, as he’s on a date/not-date with Rosalind. However, he’s aware that she’s trying to make nice with him to win his trust. It’s not clear if Rosalind staged a robbery of her own home to humanize herself to Coulson or if that’s a plot thread to be examined later, but Coulson calls her out on it. In response, she takes him to the main ATCU facility.
Where, of course, Daisy, Mack, and Hunter have sent in their drone. They see Coulson and Rosalind making nice. They also see an Inhuman floating in stasis fluid brought in for storage. This looks bad to Daisy, though Mack cautions that Coulson’s lack of reaction might be just because, hey, he’s a spy and used to playing it close to the vest.
The show then does something interesting. It asks viewers to sympathize with Rosalind’s point of view. She believes the new Inhumans are sick people who need to be cured of a disease. In the meantime, she can keep them safely in the equivalent of a coma while ATCU searches for that cure. She likens the Inhuman transformations to her late husband’s cancer and wishes she could have kept him alive long enough to save him.
“I was the spy and he was a cardiologist. Cancer sucks. I would have done anything to do this for him. I can do that for these people. For their families.” It’s a great moment, and while Coulson might not like what she’s doing, she does gain his sympathy. This is not going to go over well with Daisy.
My question: is Rosalind obtaining her “patients'” consent before putting them in their stasis containers? Because even doctors can’t treat fatally ill patients without their consent.
But Daisy is about to have an even bigger problem than Rosalind.
Because May and Bobbi catch up to von Strucker and Ward’s biggest flunkie and the truth is bound to come out.
Ward’s minion delivers a fatal blow to von Strucker and flees. Bobbi runs after him and, in a terrific fight sequence that takes place partly in a pool, Bobbi gets the upper hand, climbs out of the pool first, and electrocutes her enemy.
Bobbi’s recovery is complete.
May holds von Strucker while he’s dying. The kid apologizes to May. “I didn’t know he’d change into that thing!” he says.
In a flashback sequence with killer silent menace from Blair Underwood, we see Andrew change to Lash, save himself, and blow up the convenience store. I’m so used to stupid decisions about romantic plots on television that I totally missed the clue that Andrew left May because of his transformation. Good job, show!
Back at headquarters, Daisy talks to Lincoln on a burner phone. Andrew overhears. Right idea of a secret identity for Lash, Daisy, wrong organization.
Andrew quizzes her about Lincoln’s whereabouts. End of episode.
Dun dun dun!