There was no way this week’s Agents of SHIELD episode could live up to last week’s emotional, surprising, and intense level. Rather than try to top it, the writers this week wisely gave us one of those “Everyone take one step forward” episodes, in which almost every storyline established thus far this season saw some advancement. In addition to dealing with the fallout from last week’s dramatic events, we saw more of Hunter and May’s quest to hunt down Ward, we caught up with Lincoln, now on the run, Coulson and his team had another run-in with the ATCU, all with a few twists, surprises, and revelations along the way. So let’s dive in to “A Wanted (Inhu)man”, written by Monica Owusu-Breen and directed by Garry A. Brown.
This week’s episode revolved around new main cast member Lincoln, who is on the run from the ATCU following his narrow escape from Lash in the season premiere. In this case he’s literally on the run, through fields with ATCU agents chasing him with guns, until he uses his power to send sparks raining down from some high voltage power lines and get away. (Why some sparks would stop the ATCU, I don’t know, but it was a seriously cool-looking shot, so I’m not going to complain.) Daisy and Coulson want to bring him in before the ATCU can get their hands on him, but Daisy knows he won’t cooperate with anyone but her, and she doesn’t know how to find him. Coulson confesses that he has a way to contact him, and we watch as Daisy calls Lincolns phone, a phone he just purchased an hour ago from a liquor store. Lincoln realizes that Mack implanted a tracker in him when the two had a brief confrontation in the hospital, and he smashes the phone and fries the tracker with his powers, putting Daisy and Coulson back at square one.
The ATCU, meanwhile, decides to rope the public into helping, putting out the word that Lincoln is an alien threat and plastering his face all over the news. This works almost immediately, as a soldier on a bus with Lincoln sees a news broadcast with his face, causing Lincoln to stop the bus and electrify it in order to escape. With nowhere else to turn, Lincoln calls an old friend, John, who picks him up with no questions asked. Back at the John’s house, Lincoln refuses to discuss his problems, though he insists he hasn’t done anything wrong. (I got the sense that John was Lincoln’s AA sponsor.) When asked what he needs, Lincoln says he needs to buy his John’s car with cash, which is agreed to without hesitation. But when the John sees Lincoln’s face on the news, things take a darker turn. He confronts Lincoln with a (metal) baseball bat, claiming not to know Lincoln as well as he thought, wondering if he’s an alien. Lincoln, apologizing, zaps the bat out of John’s hand, much to John’s surprise, but things take a dark turn from there. John starts to have a heart attack, and despite Lincoln’s powers and nurse training he’s unable to bring his friend back to life.
Favorite Quote: Daisy: “Permission to speak freely?” Coulson: “Do I have a choice?”
While waiting for the public to give them a tip on Lincoln, Rosalind of the ATCU gets a call in her SUV from the President of the United States, and is a little miffed when it turns out to be Coulson. He’s pirated the President’s signal and wants to arrange a meeting, wondering why Rosalind hasn’t tried using SHIELD to help, considering they know more than anyone about the Inhumans. They meet up at the beach, where Coulson can’t help but stare at Rosalind’s gorgeous classic convertible. Coulson argues that they should be the ones to bring in Lincoln, as they have the most experience dealing with this kind of thing, and when Rosalind insists that the ATCU take him Coulson correctly guesses that she’s getting pressure from those above her, including the president, to provide results. Things take a more serious turn when Coulson acknowledges that she must have footage of Daisy using her powers in the Lash confrontation, and asks what can be done to keep Daisy’s existence as an Inhuman quiet.
While they talk, Daisy and Mack head off to pick up Lincoln, Daisy having received a frightened phone call from Lincoln after the death of his friend. Mack waits outside while Daisy makes contact. Lincoln is understandably distraught, but Daisy tries to lift him up, telling him that he’s meant to help people and isn’t cursed despite the way things may seem. As she talks she moves closer and eventually leans in for a kiss. That’s all it takes to convince Lincoln to go with her, though he says he’s only working with her, not SHIELD. Unfortunately at that moment Mack appears with ATCU soldiers behind him, saying Coulson’s given new orders to let them take Lincoln. He’s having none of that, and sends out a large blast that knocks the soldiers aside and escapes. The ATCU then turns its guns on Daisy, who promises they have no idea what she can do. Before things can escalate any more they’re called off, with Rosalind telling them that she’s gotten something better in exchange.
Back at the Playground, Daisy’s furious with Coulson for making deals with Rosalind and asks what he gave her. He agreed to work with her on the Inhuman situation in exchange for Daisy’s freedom. She’s angry as the deal seemingly puts an end to her Secret Warriors team before it even gets off the ground, but Coulson tells her he’s tired of fighting over who gets to fight the actual bad guys. Between the “real SHIELD” last year, Talbot’s group, and others, he’s ready to deal and work together for good. Daisy asks what Mack told him about her meeting with Lincoln, but he seems in the dark, a fact Mack later confirms as the two play a videogame together as a sign of having each other’s back.
Favorite Quote: Rosalind: “Last time we met, you disarmed me with your evasive tactics”. Coulson: “I see what you did there”. Rosalind: “I gotta hand it to you; makes me wonder what else you got up your sleeve”.
It wasn’t all Inhumans this week, however, as Hunter and May worked on their plan to get Hunter into Ward’s new HYDRA at the bottom, hoping to work his way up to a face-to-face meeting. But first they need a way in, and one of Hunter’s old friends who sells guns might be their ticket. They meet Spud for drinks, leading to a hilarious scene with Hunter and Spud’s drunken rambling subtitled for our amusement while May rolls her eyes. Spud tells them that Hunter will have to fight his way into HYDRA, literally. May insists that she should do the fighting, but Hunter knows that once she shows off her immeasurable skills word will make its way up the ladder and Ward will know they’re after him. As they make small talk he tells her there’s a pool among the team over what happened between her and Andrew, with Hunter having bet that she left him. After some pushing, she tells him that he lost that bet, but not making it clear exactly what did happen.
So it’s off to fight club, where guys beat each other to death in order to get in good with HYDRA. After watching one man lose his life, Hunter is up, only to discover that he’ll be fighting his buddy Spud. As they fight, and as Hunter starts losing, three guys offer to buy May a drink, something in which she has zero interest. When they insist she goes with them into a back room, but before they can explicitly explain what they want with her (though it’s obvious) she ask who’s first and proceeds to kick their asses, complete with the sound of broken bones thrown in for good measure. Back surrounded by the crowd, Hunter is on the ground, close to utter defeat. As a last resort he pulls a pair of brass knuckles out of his pocket and lays into his buddy until Spud ends up on the ground, not only no longer moving but not breathing either. I guess this was enough to impress HYDRA, as the last we see of Hunter he has been lead, still bloody, into a room with the HYDRA logo on the wall where Ward’s assistant, Kebo, tells him that Ward likes people who can prove themselves. Hunter tells Kebo that he looks forward to meeting Ward someday.
Favorite Quote: May: “How about I do you a favor and not tell anyone that a tiny little Asian woman kicked your ass?”
And then there’s Simmons. Poor Simmons, who absolutely broke my heart this week. Ian De Caestecker has been doing the bulk of the heavy dramatic lifting this season, but Elizabeth Henstridge took over those duties this week. Simmons is dealing with a bevy of physical and emotional consequences of her alien exile, though thankfully she avoided quarantine and has Fitz by her side every step of the way. Throughout the episode we see her struggling with all sorts of aspects of being home. The lights are too bright, the noises are too loud, there are too many people, gravity is different, and everything sudden that happens startles her. Fitz, trying to help her fell at home, shows her how her desk was kept just the way she left it, but she doesn’t show any interest. When Fitz tries to talk science with her, wondering about what she learned of the alien world, she tells him that her curiosity faded when the fear set in. Fitz doesn’t know how to help her, and talks to Bobbi while she works on rehabbing her knee. She reminds him what he told her when she first started rehab: be patient. She also suggests that Fitz stop trying to fit her back into her old way of life, because it reminds her of the time she’s lost, and instead he should give her something to look forward to.
In a really touching scene, Daisy visits Simmons in her room with a vase of daisies, as a reminder to both her and the audience that she’s no longer Skye. However, she tells Simmons that she can call her whatever she wants (music to the ears all of those who ship Daisy with Simmons, I’m sure). She tells Simmons that they all need her, and though she knows Simmons doesn’t want to talk she offers to listen whenever that changes. Simmons would rather listen right now, and wants to hear what’s been going on, but Daisy is called away to deal with Lincoln. Sometime later, Fitz takes Simmons out to dinner, but as they’re lead to their table Simmons realizes that the restaurant is empty. Fitz confesses he bought out the restaurant so things would be nice and quiet for her (aww…) and then the maitre d’ lets slip that he’s been holding the reservation he made on the night Simmons disappeared for all of the months she was gone (AWWW…). It’s too much for Simmons, though, who thanks Fitz for rescuing her before breaking down in tears. Fitz, completely understanding, moves his chair over beside her and lets her cry on his shoulder.
Favorite Quote: Daisy (to Simmons): “You can call me whatever you want.”
But that’s not all for Simmons. Bobbi walks into the lab a bit later and finds Simmons examining the fragments and dust from the shattered monolith/portal. She reassures Simmons that it’s completely inert and doesn’t work any more, meaning that Simmons doesn’t have to worry about going back to that horrible place. But Simmons insists that it has to still work, because, “I have to go back!”
We’ll have to wait to find out exactly why, but I feel like there has to be more to it than a simple inability to adjust back to normal life. My money right now is on there being some alien she befriended on that planet who is now stranded and must fight whatever was chasing them alone. But there are plenty of other theories, from unfinished business to unanswered questions to something she left behind that she needs. Regardless, this puts a new spin on Simmons’ PTSD, and I’m excited to learn more about what happened to her while she was away.
What do you think? Why does Simmons need to go back? What happened to her out there? Will she and Fitz ever get together and have that date? Will Coulson’s teamup with Rosalind and the ATCU end badly? Where will Lincoln run now? Does Elizabeth Henstridge win the acting award this week? Am I the only one not really invested in the Hunter/May quest to find Ward? I like the pairing, but I want more from the plotline. Though the subtitled drunkenness was hilarious. (Also, sorry this recap is late and a bit shorter than normal. It’s been a busy week!) Let me know in the comments!