TV Review: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Season 3 Episode 6 "Among Us Hide..."
EPISODE 6: "Among Us Hide..."
SYNOPSIS: 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.
BREAKDOWN: (The following column contains MAJOR SPOILERS, so I don't recommend reading this if you haven't watched this episode).
After last week's stellar departure episode, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. settles back in for an hour of more of the same we have come to expect from the series. With the search continuing for Inhuman killer Lash, S.H.I.E.L.D. and the ATCU continue to mire this series in subplots that really don't need exploring. Still, after the cliffhanger two weeks ago left many thinking that Melinda May's ex-husband Andrew was dead, I was expecting more out of this hour. While we do learn Andrew's fate, a major twist is delivered in the closing minutes that is unexpected and yet also a bit cheap.
To start things off, no, Andrew Garner is not dead. Saved at the last minute before the convenience store he was in burst into flames, Garner is brought safely back to S.H.I.E.L.D. for surgery while the rest of the team splits up. May recruits the still rehabiliating Bobbi Morse to replace Hunter on the trail of Grant Ward. May is reinvigorated after her ex-husband's brush with death and takes Bobbi to the Cayman Islands as they trail the on the run Werner Von Strucker. Meanwhile, Hunter teams with Mack and Daisy as they continue the search for Lash, starting with the theory that he may be working within the ATCU. Their prime suspect is Rosalind's second in command, Banks, but that serves as a dead end. They are directed towards an ATCU facility where they witness Rosalind and Coulson watching an Inhuman in statis. Daisy is clearly upset at the imprisonment of her fellow Inhuman and is outraged that Coulson does not appear to be upset.
While Coulson does speak out to Rosalind about the methods of the ATCU, he feels for her as she relates her desire to "cure" the Inhumans as she was unable to do for her husband when he succumbed to cancer. This moment hits home for Coulson but also comes as the next step in his budding relationship with Rosalind. The entire romantic plot for Coulson feels forced as Rosalind's character is incredibly stark and unlikeable. Plus, the fact that the two work for competing agencies just makes their entire story arc forced and boring. So far, Clark Gregg's role this season feels reduced to mandatory screen time rather than something worth his abilities. I care even less for the ATCU than I did for S.H.I.E.L.D. last season.
But, the only thing I feel less interested in than the ATCU is Ward's HYDRA 2.0. With everyone on his trailer, Ward decides that Von Strucker needs to be eliminated as he knows too much. Ward receives a helpful phone call from Gideon Malick (Powers Boothe), the HYDRA member everyone else feared. Malick provides the location of Von Strucker in exchange for Ward remembering his allegiance when the time comes. Ward sends his men after Von Strucker where they run into May and Bobbi. Again, Ward in any sort of significant role feels pointless since his twist way back in season one. Brett Dalton's character feels unnecessary to this series and every time he appears on screen it just drags the story down. Even this week, his appearance serves only to put May and Bobbi in the right place to find Von Strucker.
With Von Strucker dying after being tortuted by Ward's men, Bobbi dispatches with Ward's second in command, Kebo, and showcasing that she is back and ready for full field duty. May tries to get intel on Ward's location from Von Strucker who mumbles about what happened at the store with Andrew. Von Strucker also reveals that Andrew transformed before their eyes and through flashback we realize that May's ex-husband is actually the Inhuman killer Lash. May is clearly shocked by the reveal. We then see Daisy speak to Lincoln on the phone and urges him to be safe just as Andrew runs into her. Daisy doesn't reveal Lincoln's location, but it will only be a matter of time before the team realizes that the Inhuman they are hunting is right under their nose.
While the twist that Andrew Garner is Lash definitely comes out of left field, I cannot tell if the cliffhanger a couple of weeks ago feels cheap or if this is actually a well-executed development. It will all depend on how Lash's origin is handled and whether it works with the plot this season has been developing, but it doesn't seem to make that much sense yet. After Simmons' great story last week, her search for Will gets about five minutes of screen time. There are a lot of stories to tell on this show, but I definitely feel like three of them could be eliminated completely to help make this show a lot more tense and exciting to watch. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been working with two halves to each season, so here is hoping that this uneven first half wraps up satisfactorily over the next five episodes so we can get to the inevitably better second half.
MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE REFERENCES: Powers Boothe reprises his role as Gideon Malick who was last seen as a member of the World Security Council in THE AVENGERS.
NEXT ON MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.: Episode 7 "Chaos Theory" airs November 10th - As Daisy and the team fight to protect Inhumans, S.H.I.E.L.D. discovers the shocking truth about one of their foes; Fitz helps Simmons recover information that could lead them back through the portal.