Editor’s note: This week’s review contains a big honking spoiler for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., so turn back now if you don’t want anything ruined. You have been warned!
Oh, well played, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Well played indeed. Seriously, I’m slow clapping right now. For we are all Agent Melinda May after this week’s episode. After convincing us that her ever-patient ex Andrew had been killed by Baby von Strucker two weeks ago, S.H.I.E.L.D. pulls the rug out from under us once more and shows us that the good doctor is still very much alive in the opening moments of “Among Us Hide…”. Part of me felt grateful, because I couldn’t bear to see May suffer any more heartache than that which she’d already endured. But another part of me was dreading the potential resulting conflict within the ranks of S.H.I.E.L.D. — with May on one side and Hunter and Bobbi on the other. No, that would be just a tad too reminiscent of last season’s central story arc. And deep down inside, Andrew’s survival felt like a plot contrivance and a cheat. Fortunately, the closing moments of “Among Us Hide…” eradicated all my concerns while prompting a whole set of delicious new ones. Classic Mutant Enemy.
Still, poor May… She finally reunites with Andrew at the end of last season, loses him over the summer, almost reconciles with him, finds out he’s been sentenced to death by Ward, gets him back, and now learns that he’s the Inhuman-killing Lash, the most frightening opponent S.H.I.E.L.D. has faced yet! It’s enough to make us question how much longer the woman’s sanity can hold out. But if anyone on this show is a survivor, it’s our beloved Cavalry.
Sadly, that other story thread that’s had me holding heart in hand — Fitz and Simmons reteaming to open the portal to save her astronaut lover Will — doesn’t progress much this week. Fitz obviously has second thoughts about agreeing to help, but to his credit he’s hiding them from his best friend and soulmate. He’ll go through with it. Yet it’s a little creepy to see him doing research on Will, and it makes me wonder to what end he’ll use it. Could he find out that there’s more to the interstellar castaway than he’d told Simmons? If Will is less than the saint he made himself out to be, it could clear the field once more for the love-struck scientist. But that might be a bit too convenient.
As for Coulson and ATCU chief Rosalind, their relationship continues to be the most welcome one that the director has had with man or woman, friend or foe. Especially since it’s damn near impossible to determine exactly how much of what they say to each other is true, and how much of it they themselves believe upon saying it. We learn here that she suffered a loss — she lost her husband to cancer — and that she views Inhumans as disease victims; that capturing and trapping them in stasis until a “cure” for their condition can be found is, for her, an altruistic cause. At least she says those are her views. She also admits that she wants Coulson to like her a little. And he appears to believe her, smiling to himself as he says, “Good.” Of course, as he tells Daisy, he’s damn good at severing emotional ties at a moment’s notice… Argh. Is it wrong of me to want the two of them to enjoy one night together before they resume their roles as natural enemies?
“Among Us Hide…” leaves me in the best state possible — one in which I have no idea where this show’s story will take us next.
- This week’s title comes from Fantastic Four #45 (“Among Us Hide…The Inhumans”), which featured the first appearance of the Inhuman royal family, from the House of Agon.
- Great to see Bobbi back in action, and pulling a 007 this week as she fries Ward’s right-hand man with her electrified batons in a swimming pool.
- “You’re not gonna say the thing?” “You already know.”
- Also great to see May and Bobbi going undercover, with hilarious results as their different approaches to “diplomacy” clash. Any opportunity for the show’s agents to do actual secret-agent stuff is welcome.
- “You can tell a lot about a woman from her books… Okay, I didn’t actually know that there were this many biographies of Margaret Thatcher.”
What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter (@JMaCabre).