TV Review: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Season 3 Episode 4 "Devils You Know"
EPISODE 4: "Devils You Know"
SYNOPSIS: Having reluctantly agreed to share information with Rosalind and the ATCU, Coulson and the team go in search for the Inhuman who is killing off other Inhumans, and May feels that Hunter’s mission to take down Ward is getting too personal, .
BREAKDOWN: (The following column contains MAJOR SPOILERS, so I don't recommend reading this if you haven't watched this episode).
What is scarier than an Inhuman who is on a mission to kill all other Inhumans? Could it be the resurgence of HYDRA under the leadership of double agent Grant Ward? Or, even worse, could it be inter-agency cooperation between S.H.I.E.L.D. and the ATCU? Because, between those three options, you have the bulk of this week's episode. None of the three plots are all that interesting but the one that deserves to be given the most amount of screen time feels the least developed. What exactly the purpose of this season's story arc is remains to be understood but I am not convinced it is heading in the right direction. There are several interesting threads developing on this series but it continues to mine the wrong ones.
First off, the romantic quarrelling between agency leaders Rosalind and Phil Coulson feels like it is getting way too much attention. Yes, the ATCU seems like a shady organization that would be exactly what Coulson fights against, but the S.H.I.E.L.D. director keeps giving them access under the guise of it being a means to an end. Daisy asks Coulson directly whose end they are working toward and the director is unable to answer. The problem here is that both groups, like the split S.H.I.E.L.D. last season, are fighting for the same thing but both in different ways. I am not sure how long that can go one before it undermines the entire arc of the show.
The two groups are on the trail of an Inhuman named Lash who is killing others like him. We learn through the episode that he views himself as a necessary evil but his methods of dealing death are not going to be accepted by anyone. Still, Daisy manages to find something good in the monster as she theorizes that he can transform into a human which, I guess, makes all of his murderous actions acceptable? Daisy's blatant acceptance of Inhumans seems a bit misguided and overly idealistic and is bound to get someone killed. I want to know more about Lash and who he is but that seems to be everyone's focus this season and yet we know barely more now that we did four episodes ago.
We also have a lot of attention to Ward and his new HYDRA. I have said it before and I will continue to say that no one really cares about Ward on this show and his purpose as a character has overstayed his welcome by a full season. The new HYDRA "director" seems to be doing everything right to bring his organization back to prominence and yet somehow they easily let Hunter infiltrate them. May, who returned to S.H.I.E.L.D. to warn Coulson about Hunter being clouded by revenge on Ward for shooting Bobbi last season, somehow managed to return to his side in time for a showdown with the former S.H.I.E.L.D. teammate. May also had a contentious argument with ex-husband Andrew before rejoining Hunter, which should have clued everyone in to what was coming next. Ward revealed he had a live feed of Andrew and that if Hunter and May didn't stand down, he would have Werner Von Strucker kill him. May told Hunter to stand down, but Hunter shot at Ward anyway. The scene finished with the leg of someone who looked like Andrew just before the building he was in explodes in flames. Did Hunter just get May's ex killed?
What comes next for Melinda May will be interesting to say the least, but the most interesting plot this season has been what happened to Simmons when she was on the alien planet. She was rescued two episodes ago but has shown signs of PTSD since coming back. She confided to Bobbi last week that she felt she needed to get back to the alien planet but we still do not know why. Fitz discovers some of Simmons' research this week which sends her off angrily despite Bobbi showing both scientists why they are so perfect for each other. The episode ends with Simmons finally telling Fitz she will reveal what happened to her on the alien world. But, we have to wait until next week to find out.
Ultimately, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has found itself in a lull and we are only four episodes in. After two good episodes to start the season, we have had two weak entries in a row. With twenty hours ahead of us, next week's Simmons-centric episode looks like the most exciting of Season Three and that, unfortunately, is because it won't have anything to do with the plots revealed so far. The pattern for this series over the two previous seasons was that the second half has always been better than the first, so here is hoping they find a way to get there sooner this year.
MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE REFERENCES: No overt references this week.
NEXT ON MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.: Episode 5 "4,722 Hours" airs October 27th - After her dramatic rescue from another planet, Simmons is still reeling from her ordeal and reveals how she had to fight for her life in a harsh new world.