Tuesday, November 3, 2015

REVIEW: 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' - Lash's True Identity Is Revealed When May Goes After Ward in 'Among Us Hide...'

ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Episode 3.06 "Among Us Hide..."

The stakes get even higher as Hunter and May continue to go after Ward and Hydra, and Daisy and Coulson begin to suspect that the ATCU may be keeping a big secret from S.H.I.E.L.D.

It felt inevitable following last week's series best episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. that focused solely on Simmons' journey to another planet that this week would return things to the normal operating pattern. That episode was incredible because it took the time to explore the character as this life-altering thing happened to her. This episode is light on Simmons to make way for the various other plots to take center stage. It's also less engaging as a result. Two exciting fights featuring May and Bobbi - plus a major reveal about Lash - isn't able to maintain the strong momentum the show had going for it in the previous episode. That's such a shame too.

Everyone is working on their anger issues in this episode. It's actually quite exhaustive because everyone is letting their emotions dictate their actions. The episode is pointing that out in the bluntest way possible too. The only one who seems to have a level head right now is Coulson. There is even a line where he says he's been on this job for too long to allow emotions to get in and control his thoughts. This team is comprised of a number of young agents. So it's understandable why they still emotionally react to the various situations - despite the number of terrifying things they've already experienced on the job. And yet, veterans like May and Bobbi should know better. But that quality still dominates their story as well. The show believes that's the best way to establish meaningful stakes for its characters. However, it drifts more to melodrama territory more than anything else.

Fitz was very selfless last week in wanting to help Simmons find a way to get back to the alien planet in order to save Will. He chose to help her because it was the honorable thing to do. He listened to her story and the amount of trauma she experienced on the planet. He wanted to do right by her. In the moment, he was able to put his personal feelings aside in order to help Simmons with the one thing she wanted more than anything else right now. This episode allows doubt to creep into his mind thanks to Hunter. He points out all the reasons why Fitz should be jealous and how this research could jeopardize his relationship with Simmons. It works too because the final shot of Fitz is of him reading every file he can find about Will. That's taking this story in a direction that could possibly ruin it in the future. That would be such a waste after all the hard work it did in making it so important last week.

The rest of the characters are slowly learning more about the ATCU. Daisy fears that Rosalind's second-in-command, Banks, is Lash. That would explain all the terrible luck they've had as of late. And yet, that is quickly ruled out as a possibility. Instead they follow a lead that unveils the secret base of the ATCU and what they are doing with the Inhumans they capture. It's a mission Coulson is also on at the moment. He's doing it through the official capacity with Rosalind. He learns the truth about this facility instead of just seeing it on a stealth drone like the rest of the team who start jumping to some horrible conclusions based on what they see. Daisy is upset that Coulson isn't outraged by what he's seeing at this place. She doesn't know the full story though. Hopefully, this won't create much conflict in the future. But it probably will. Daisy doesn't see being Inhuman as a disease that can be treated. That's what Rosalind wants to offer the world. A cure for this disease that can allow these people to go back to living their normal lives. It's a reveal not as shocking as it is to the regular characters.

Meanwhile, it's revealed that Andrew survived his attack from Hydra. It's treated as such a manipulative surprise too. The show clearly left it very ambiguous in the previous episode. A body was shown on the ground before the store exploded. But it was never clear that it was Andrew's body even though the show clearly wanted the audience to think that. His death motivated May into action. But the threat of him dying is just as effective as well. She's now the one leading the team against Ward and Hydra. She brings Bobbi along for the ride in order to track down the man responsible for almost killing Andrew. It's a trip that shows just how quick she is to act while Bobbi has some slight reservations. That creates some meaningless tension between the pair. It's incredibly pointless too because they are both allowed to be badasses during the final battle.

That battle also drops the reveal that Andrew is Lash. The show propped up this whole mystery over who the Inhuman really was after Daisy learned that he was also a shapeshifter. It was easy to assume that it was someone on Rosalind's team. Someone who knew where to look in order to foil the team's various missions. But it's a much more devastating idea to have Lash actually be someone from the S.H.I.E.L.D. side of things. It certainly gives Andrew a more engaging and interesting direction to go in for the future. But much like his death fake out, it doesn't carry much of an emotional punch. It's simply a plot reveal meant to tantalize the audience because the threat that Daisy is hunting comes from inside her circle of friends. That realization will be painful for Daisy to accept in the future. But Andrew still isn't much of a character. It's suppose to be mysterious regarding why he's attacking Inhumans right now. And yet, it's not at all gripping. It's simply the story the show has set out to tell this season. It has just made one of its bland characters the supposed bad guy. His motivations will likely be explored soon. But right now, it's hard to muster up any excitement regarding this reveal - or what it will mean for May. 

Some more thoughts:
  • "Among Us Hide..." was written by Drew Z. Greenberg and directed by Dwight Little.
  • Powers Boothe drops by as a new ally to Hydra. He's the man the kid who failed to kill Andrew goes to after screwing things up for Ward. But this new guy quickly betrays that trust in order to form some kind of relationship with Ward. Again, it's mostly just story in order to keep these characters active throughout the hour.
  • Daisy and Lincoln are still talking but she has no idea where he is. All of their conversations last shorter than it takes to track him down. And then, it's ominous when Andrew is right around the corner asking lots of question about where to find Lincoln. 
  • Before the Lash reveal, it's amusing to watch as Simmons and Andrew talk about what it's like to be on the opposite end of the couch when it comes to dealing with and understanding trauma. They agree that the rules are different for them because they have Ph.D's.
  • Did no one think it was a tad suspicious that Andrew survived this attack with only very minor injuries? He was brought in by doctors and needed surgery. But he was up walking pretty soon after that.
  • Rosalind has a personal stake in the Inhuman crisis because her husband was affected by it. That sympathizes her to Coulson much more than any detour to her house could have. In fact, that detour felt like nothing but a waste of time. It was suppose to distract the audience as it prepared for the major reveals that only happened at episode's end.