There’s a new James Bond movie playing in theaters right now. But I’ll be damned if Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn’t provide a more satisfying dose of twenty-first-century super-espionage in “Many Heads, One Tale.”
Picking up right where last week’s “Chaos Theory” left off, Andrew is being carted off to the ATCU for safekeeping until a “cure” can be found for his condition (a.k.a. Lash), leaving May with some very mixed feelings about the way things are going down at her job. Some of those feelings are shared by her colleagues, including Mack, who calls Coulson on the way he’s been behaving around Rosalind, going so far as to ask his boss what we’ve all been wondering — if he has feelings for “Roz” or if he’s been playing her for intel. Coulson answers the question by calling a team meeting in which he announces he’s won the trust of the ATCU head, and that he’s going to use Andrew’s containment module as a means of finding out exactly what her organization has been hiding. To our delight, that requires Bobbi and Hunter to go undercover and do what they do best: in her case, take care of business like a boss and in his, screw up like Han Solo circa 1977.
Every such mission Bobbi has gone on this season has been a lot of fun, and this one’s no exception. Any questions we might have along the lines of, “Now why does she keep her batons locked in a briefcase instead of on her person?” are quickly silenced by the realization that it gives the show an excuse to indulge in some welcome comedy. Reminiscent of the best (and only good) part of Iron Man 2, Hunter must get said briefcase containing her now magnetically enhanced batons to her before she’s clobbered by a team of goons. The fact that those goons are led by the always awesome Mark Dacascos is just icing on the cake. It’s a little disappointing that his character’s Inhuman powers prevent the martial arts expert from engaging Bobbi in hand-to-hand combat, but since he’ll be back I’m hoping the show’s writers figure out an excuse to dampen his telekinetic abilities. If there’s any Inhuman on this show I want to see cured, it’s him.
Elsewhere, Coulson finally corners Rosalind and reveals that he’s known she was connected to Hydra since she referenced “Tahiti” at their first meeting. To his surprise, she’s genuinely ignorant that Gideon Malick—whom she’s entrusted to oversee her science division—has not been working to cure Inhumans, but rather to create them. As Malick reveals to Ward, whom he meets while the former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent is searching in vain for the Strucker family vault, he’s looking to build an army of Inhumans for Hydra’s leader to command when he returns (once the fabled figure returns to Earth via the portal through which he was once banished). Yup, turns out that Hydra’s been around as long as the Monolith itself, and its one surviving head is now keen on learning how S.H.I.E.L.D. pulled off the impossible, by returning someone home from the alien world to which the portal leads.
Elsewhere, that someone (Jemma) and her soulmate (Fitz) finally confront one another about their feelings. Unfortunately, it’s not quite the “this changes everything” moment it was hyped to be. Yes, they kiss, but it’s sad and brief—and there’s plenty of pain in her eyes when she tells Fitz she doesn’t know how to not hurt someone as they try to pull her astronaut lover back through the portal, and plenty of agony in his eyes when she admits she might love Will. In any case, the questions the scene raises are, for the moment, ignored as the team learns that the logo of Will’s space agency not only resembles the ram’s head symbol in the Monolith chamber, but, when it’s inverted, Hydra’s as well. This leads Jemma to conclude that Will wasn’t sent on a mission, but sacrificed. No matter Will’s fate, there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell that Fitz and Simmons are going to live happily ever after. “We’re cursed!” cries Fitz repeatedly. Of course you are, Fitz—you’re in love and on a series created by Joss Whedon.
While it may be foolish to compare one half season a TV show to a film series (sorry, I’ve got James Bond on the brain right now), if you’ve seen SPECTRE, then you know of its rather ham-handed attempt to tie the last three James Bond adventures to this most recent one. S.H.I.E.L.D. fuses the Fitz-Simmons-portal storyline to the ATCU narrative of recent episodes far more elegantly. Of course with Malick and Ward now recruiting Lash for Hydra’s schemes, season 3’s ride is really just getting started.
- “The Octopus is one of the great symbols of Hydra.” It cannot be mere coincidence that this episode airs a mere eleven days after SPECTRE hits theaters. I refuse to accept it.
- Thank you, Malick, for seeing that your goons wear matching uniforms. It’s a responsibility all too many supervillains in the MCU shirk.
- As if we needed further proof that Coulson is the coolest man in the world, he keeps the axe that Mack used to chop off his hand mounted on his office wall.
- “There’s no better time to be a hacker really…”
- Again with the fish oil pills.
- “Okay, that’s a lot to take in.”
What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter (@JMaCabre).