TV Review: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Season 3 Episode 7 "Chaos Theory"
EPISODE 7: "Chaos Theory"
SYNOPSIS: 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.
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 suprising twist, this hour of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. wraps up the Andrew Garner/Lash storyline with an effective and dramatic hour of programming. With the drama building towards the mid-season finale, questions continue to be raised as to what the true motivations of the ATCU are and just why the hell this show is still giving so much screen time to Grant Ward and his fledgling HYDRA reboot. But, first, we need to learn the origin of Lash and just how Andrew Garner came to have such destructive powers.
Six months prior to the current events, Andrew and Melinda May took a much needed vacation in Hawaii which allowed them to reconnect with each other and help calm themselves after the events of the last season. But, upon his return and studying of the Inhuman artifacts left over from Afterlife, Andrew is accidentally exposed to Terrigen Mist hidden in a ledger of Inhuman names and transforms into Lash. Feeling a need to be near Inhumans, Andrew used his power to determine which powered people should live and who should die. Despite professing he would never hurt Daisy, Andrew is drawn to Joey Guttierez, the Inhuman rescues in the season premiere, but May soon confronts him after learning the truth from Werner Von Strucker.
Andrew tranquilizes May and takes her to an abandoned building as he tries to explain that his powers serve a purpose, but Lincoln has put two and two together and informed S.H.I.E.L.D. who Lash's alter ego may be. Lincoln also reveals that the transformation Andrew has been going through is temporary as he adjusts to his new powers and will eventually cease to be his human self. Teaming with Rosalind and some ATCU soldiers, Coulson and the team descend on Andrew's location and try to talk him down from what he is doing. Lincoln attacks out of revenge for his fallen Inhuman friends. The team scuffles and Daisy discovers a new power as she saves Rosalind as she is thrown from the second floor by Lash. As they struggle to try and get Lash to the isolation cell on the S.H.I.E.L.D. jet, May steps in and pleads with her ex-husband whose emotions transform him back to human. May quickly shoots him, knocking him back into the cell where he turns back into Lash. Coulson asks how she knew that wouldn't kill him and she said she didn't.
May makes the decision to have Andrew put into stasis at the ATCU facility, with Daisy's blessing, until a cure could be found. Lincoln also decides to stay with S.H.I.E.L.D. and the brewing Secret Warriors team and things seem to be coming back to normal. But, with the Lash subplot wrapped up, what else is going on? Back at HQ, Fitz manages to fix Simmons' cell phone from her time on the alien planet as they try to find a way back to rescue Will. Fitz does discover that the supposed NASA logo on Will's suit matches a faded symbol from the castle where they pulled Simmons back, indicating there may be a secret organization at work since the 18th century to try and travel through the portal and obelisk to the other planet.
With all of these elements going on, you would wonder how they could possibly throw any more plot into this hour, but the final couple of minutes of the show manages to throw a big curveball at the audience. After their stressful collaboration, Coulson and Rosalind are shown having just spent the night together. Clearly there has been a romantic relationship brewing despite not truly understanding the motives of the ATCU, but that hint came from the phone call Rosalind took moments before: from Grant Ward's HYDRA contact, Gideon Malick. From the sounds of it, the aborted meeting with the President that Rosalind and Coulson were heading to before Lash returned was actually going to end in the capture of Coulson. Is Rosalind HYDRA or is something else going on? Ward has said his endgame is to kill Coulson to finally put an end to S.H.I.E.L.D., but is that the master plan for this season?
I enjoyed this episode because it managed to tell a streamlined story with some great acting from Blair Underwood and a nice showcase for Ming-Na. Melinda May has remained one of the more intriguing characters on this show and forcing her to find love again only to have it torn from her was pretty rough. I am still not convinced that the Ward/HYDRA storyline is worth the time they have devoted to it this season, but those closing minutes definitely perked my attention and made me want to find out what comes next. Coulson is going to feel like an ass when he learns who Rosalind works for, but I hope he can then get back to being the badass he was for the first two seasons of the show.
MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE REFERENCES: No overt references this week aside from the return of Powers Boothe.
NEXT ON MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.: Episode 8 "Many Heads, One Tale" airs November 17th - The S.H.I.E.L.D. team discovers dangerous truths about the ATCU, and Grant Ward’s (Brett Dalton) plans to destroy S.H.I.E.L.D. take a surprising twist.