Even though this episode wasn’t as electric (heh) as the last two, it was still a great foundational episode that will have big implications for the season to come.
This episode was about adapting to change. Coulson is learning what it means to be the director of a secret organization, and realizes that he can’t fight against everyone. Andrew was right last week: He’s desperate for a win. Coulson is learning that you have to pick your battles, and have to work with others to get what you want. He understood Rosalind’s predicament, and realized that she had an ace: Daisy’s picture. Coulson was going to have to compromise (selling Lincoln up the river) to protect his team. Once that fell through, his only option was to help the ATCU (Motto: “Deadly Force!”)
Fitz had a heart to heart with Doc Mock about Simmons’ progress, and realized he had to change the angle he was trying, too. Instead of reminding Simmons of the past, he needed to get her mind on the future. Fitz was able to adapt to Simmons’ condition, and help accordingly. Simmons has a long way to go.
Doc Mock has come into her own as a scientist, adapting to her new situation while her body heals. Yes, she is still working to get back out in the field, but she has fully embraced the scientific role she has in the team since Simmons’ disappearance.
Lincoln is adapting to the world chasing him, and is going down a dark path. He had little trust to begin with, and Coulson’s gambit wrecked whatever he may have had left. He won’t call Daisy again until Lash gets close.
Hell, Mack has even adapted. At the end of last season, Mack didn’t trust any Inhumans, let alone Coulson or himself, really (after being a sentry). Now, he’s to the point where he’s comfortable hanging out with Daisy playing some Xbox One (R)(C)(TM)(ALLRIGHTS). He’s adapted to this new SHIELD and his role within it.
Simmons even adapted, to the world she was just rescued from. Her whole body had adjusted to the new environment, and she was learning to re-adapt to Earth. I think she’s farther along than people give her credit, despite her PTSD and insistence to get back there.
1. Was anyone else disappointed that the middle school dance scene that played right before AoS started wasn’t a cold open to the show? I sure was. Those kids and that teacher were gettin’ down. I half expected Hunter to be in there, undercover.
2. When Fitz was recovering, the best way to help get his brain back on track was to treat him as if nothing changed (to an extent, see: Mack’s friendship last season) and get him back into the thick of things, figuring shit out. He tried the same process with Simmons, but she needed the opposite: time to recover. She needed to re acclimate herself to Earth gravity and sounds and sights and smells and everything else. Good on Doc Mock for seeing that.
3. Speaking of Simmons: She has some serious PTSD from her extended trip, and it was interesting seeing the depiction of every little noise or distraction setting her on edge. For months she was running from something, and had to be focused 100% of the time to survive. She’s having trouble turning that off.
Also, what was with the wine? My first instinct was that it reminded her of blood, and that something really bad happened on that planet. I think she got a lot closer to whatever was chasing her (or something else) than we know.
4. Lincoln’s electric effects were pretty cool. That whole spark rain at the beginning was a nice touch. He isn’t like the other new Inhumans - He actually has a pretty good handle on his powers. Question: When Joe picked Lincoln up from that bar, was that Lincoln’s drunkenness causing interference with the ATM, or could that have been a sign that Lash was close? Even though we didn’t see him all episode, I had the impression that he was right around the corner every scene.
5. Hunter’s tracksuit game was on point this episode. It was interesting because even though most shows show people undercover in the same get up: open jacket, popped collar, old t-shirt, jeans, boots, etc. (AHEM MAY), Hunter is European, and European gangsters dress different. It reminded me of the Russian Mob from Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye run.
6. The best scene of the night was right after May told Hunter and his contact “Right, because you guys aren’t hard enough to understand already...” when they ADDED IN SUBTITLES. I was rolling. This whole episode had its funny parts (another Marvel staple: humor). May shutting Hunter down (“You’re right, I don’t like a lot of talking”) to Doc Mock’s phone call (“You’re not doing anything stupid?” “Nooo, not yet”) to Hunter (Geez, he’s funny a lot of the time) and his fight strategy (“I can take a punch, so if all else fails, I’ll just do that until he tires”), to Price worrying about Lincoln (“He can’t just disappear! Can he?”) I was having a sensible chuckle. Well done.
7. Speaking of Hunter’s strategy, GOD DAMN he got beat up. He really could take a punch. That’s more than I could say for the other guy...
But remember that first rule: DON’T TALK ABOUT FIGHT CLUB.
8. Biker/Punk May is almost as awesome as Golfer May. They need to send her undercover more often.
There was something else I noticed this episode: May’s fighting. May fights very well anyway, but when she’s mad, holy moley look out. Those three thugs summoned the Cavalry and didn’t stand a chance. Go back to the first season and watch all of her fights. The best ones are when she’s pissed (May v. Ward in Season 1; May v. 33 AND THAT GLORIOUS TABLE in Season 2; May v. those thugs, etc.)
Line of the night: “How about I do you a favor and not tell anyone that a tiny Asian lady kicked your ass.”
9. I liked Daisy’s gift of daisies to Simmons: They’re both pretty AND a reminder. I didn’t catch it this episode, but next episode better have like 4 vases of daisies in Coulson’s office.
10. Price is a woman after Coulson’s own heart with those terrible puns and that magnificent car. EYES UP HERE! I doubt it has any of the extras that Lola has, but it was fun to look at nonetheless.
11. This episode laid some heavy groundwork for Civil War. I know Feige recently said that eventually the movies would start referencing the show because of the difficulties with production time differences between the two mediums, but Civil War is going to mention these enhanced people one way or the other. Be it Captain America talking about so many people with powers or Black Widow relating about being a “monster” (she isn’t), or even news articles or references from Congress during the debate about the Accords and whatever mess the Avengers get into, someone is going to mention the need to control all these powerful people.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Price’s endgame isn’t so much “harvesting for body parts” but instead more “recruitment” for a government-controlled team. Hey, the Secret Warriors have to fight someone...
12. Coulson was smart to help the ATCU, but knowing him, he does have something up his sleeve. You know the old saying: Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. By helping the ATCU instead of actively opposing them, he can help mitigate the damage they cause while at the same time legitimizing SHIELD in the government’s eyes (to an extent) and learning the ATCU’s secrets. Daisy and Mack don’t see it yet, but Coulson is a man with a plan.
I bet it involves a Koenig.
13. So Simmons wants to go back. She has some serious PTSD it seems, but I don’t think that is her only driving force. I think she left something (or someone) there, and feels the need to go back and retrieve it. I don’t think it’s purely her wanting to go back all Stockholm Syndromey, because if it were, she would have been more cagey with Doc Mock. She feels a specific and compelling need to return beyond going back because she feels she needs it. She freaked out whenever she heard sudden noises or movements (because she was on edge), but her reaction to the wine was different: She started crying. Whatever prompted her to cry at the wine is part of her motivation to go back. She feels the need to save or help something or someone.