Play It Safe
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. relied on its classic structure yet again, proving that the show does have a formula to fall back on when things can get dicey. While some of the major players sat this one out, we saw a lot familiar faces reappear, which reminds us just how far this show has come since its first season.
The primary focus this time around was regarding a meeting between the heads of state. The Inhumans were debated at length, being seen as both a security threat and a military opportunity. General Talbot (remember him?) was a leading force in this meeting, seemingly advocating for the Inhumans. More happens at this meeting, but I’ll get to that in a bit.
Talbot also has Carl Creel on payroll as “Bodyguard.” He’s another character that’s fun to watch, since his powers usually result in innovative action scenes, but he plays an siginificant role for the story at large…his blood is important. Simmons is able to use his blood (and Science!) to make a vaccine for Terrigenesis. No, it won’t undo Inhumanity, but it could stop more people from becoming Inhumans. Lincoln is happy with this development, but Daisy finds her powers…um…empowering, and she is not on board.
The notion of “Inhumans as threats/allies” coupled with the “Inhumanity can be treated like a disease” essentially makes this an episode of X-Men. The whole “superpowered minority is feared for being different” thing is something we’ve seen several times across many different franchises, so I’d be lying if I said that this was a breath of fresh air to any extent. It’s a retread, but it hasn’t been done in the MCU yet, which apparently justifies its inclusion.
This episode committed another annoying sin later on, which was the reveal of General Talbot as a traitor. Coulson is outed as spying on the other members of the council by Talbot, and Malick shows up crying “Hydra!” to the representatives of the other countries. It surprised no one, but at least it was set up earlier in the episode. Talbot discussess his love for his son and, during the espionage leading up to the betrayal, Lance finds Talbot’s son being held prisoner.
Naturally, Talbot himself is double-crossed by Malick, and he must work with Coulson to escape and rescue his son. The two succeed in a somewhat sterile action climax, and all is right with the world. That’s how this show works, after all. Intro action, mission, hitch in the plan, cliffhanger, unnecessary romance, win the day. It was a safe episode that checked all the little boxes, giving us an episode of television that was an episode of television. It wasn’t great, it wasn’t terrible, it just…was.
Odds and Ends
- Hive melted a bunch of people and came to full power, because I guess they didn’t want to put all that make-up on Brett Dalton.
- Lance and Bobbi are the best elements of this show, and with Agent May as a strong runner-up, the three elevated an otherwise mediocre set piece.
- I. Do. Not. Care. About. Lincoln.
- I do however care about Daisy, which is impressive considering her character was obnoxious in the first season. Maybe it’s just because Lincoln has no personality that their relationship falls flat.
Alex Russo likes to talk about television. You can read more of his insane ramblings on Twitter.