Review: ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Deepens Lash Mystery, Kills Off the ‘Devils You Know’
Warning – FULL SPOILERS for Tonight’s “Devils You Know”
Let’s get one thing out of the way – there’s no way that tonight’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. really killed off Andrew. I don’t mean to suggest that anything about those final sequences lacked for tension and well-constructed action, but rather the fact we only saw nondescript boots and blood of the floor of the convenience store, along with the general chaos of the scene, says a lot. Not to mention, Werner von Strucker did not appear to be in control of that scene when he frantically took cover from the explosion.
My guess? Andrew will turn out to have undergone terrigenesis and become an Inhuman, not just for the seemingly staged death, but also the various pieces “Devils You Know” seemed to lay down along the way. Not only would it afford Andrew the best perspective to counsel other Inhumans going through a similar change, but tonight’s installment went out of its way to remind us of the “cocoons” at multiple points, sandwiching the fact that Andrew supposedly disappeared on May for a matter of weeks. Hint-hint.
In fact, if you wanted to ride that crazy train even further, we could even predict Andrew as the human alter-ego we learned Lash to have, assuming Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. wants us to start speculating on characters we’ve already met. The dialogue rhythm of Mack’s hospital aftermath certainly implied Rosalind as a suspect (don’t ask us how the gender logistics would work), and we could even observe Ward’s friend Kebo to have an appropriate build, but again, it’s early yet. In any case, giving Lash a human identity smacks of TV logic, void of any similar history from the comics, likely to stretch out the character’s relevance with a dramatic scene partner to complement the hulking brute.
Elsewhere, hi! That was a long preamble of crazy with which to begin tonight’s review, which itself already feels overstuffed by the continued breakneck pace of Season 3. We’ve been to alien worlds and back, fought giant monsters, cockney fight clubs and more, in only four episodes! It’s an embarrassment of riches at this point, though all the forward momentum carries an unfortunate side effect of highlighting those in a holding pattern.
As I mentioned last week, Hunter and May’s pursuit of Ward and his murky agenda has felt somewhat inert* from the jump, compounded by the predictably thin premise of Hunter’s attempt to get close, which, as predicted, lets the cat out of the bag approximately thirty seconds into his new position. The resulting fight itself proved reasonably tense and cathartic, particularly when May entered the fray and Ward showed some genuine desperation to save his own skin, but now that everyone’s immediate plans seem to have gone down the drain, we’re essentially back at square one.
*Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has never has much luck with cultivating specificity to its various factions. Near of every Inhuman we’ve met so far seems to come off a generic Hollywood assembly line of boring wardrobes, and you could throw all of Ward’s Nu-Hydra recruits in the same pile without being able to distinguish the two.
Back at base, the Fitz-Simmons dynamic felt a bit frustratingly shackled as well, concentrating on the secret-keeping between the pair, Bobbi acting as a go-between, but without any ability to advance the storyline. It’s one thing to flesh out the different relationships - Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will always benefit from strengthening its core dynamics – but it’s especially telling when two episodes in a row end with Simmons preparing to dramatically reveal something, only for the scene to cut out just before we learn what it might be.
On the flip side, the Rosalind-Coulson interplay remains notably fun, even as it elicits some stepmother tension from Skye, and occasionally calls Coulson’s true leadership into question. Season 3 has done solid work diversifying the team dynamic between S.H.I.E.L.D. and the ATCU each week, keeping Skye and Mack grounded at the center with a strong chemistry. Between scary monsters, gun-battles and flirty banter all around, this was another surprisingly busy outing for Marvel’s TV branch, though unwillingness to advance on Simmons’ secrecy, and insistence on a lifeless Ward angle aren’t doing any favors right now.
AND ANOTHER THING …
- I really think I liked Lash more as a “great white shark” than a Hulk-type.
- Given how little we know of Simmons’ whereabouts, why in the world would Bobbi keep any of that behavior to herself, friends or otherwise?
- Whatever happened to Joey?
- So … was Coulson flirting with May, or were they just happy to see one another?
- All I know is, we better see Coulson’s laser finger before the season’s out.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will return next week with Tuesday’s “4,722 Hours.”
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