Recap: Agents of SHIELD – “Chaos Theory”

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Agents of SHIELD has really ratcheted up the excitement lately. Last week gave us a big “surprise” twist, and this week we saw the fallout from that revelation. And while I may have seen the previous twist coming, I was not at all prepared for the final scene of this week’s episode, which changed everything. Combine that with some superpowered action, more emotional developments for FitzSimmons, and finally some answers on Lash and his motivations, and I think it’s safe to say that SHIELD is really hitting its stride this season. So let’s find out all about what happened to Andrew in “Chaos Theory” written by Lauren LeFranc and directed by David Solomon.

We learned at the end of last week’s episode that Andrew is Lash, and this week started out by showing us how he got there. Following his vacation with May to Hawaii, where they debated starting their relationship over again, Andrew returned to his home to work for Coulson. He’d been sent all of Jiaying’s belongings from Afterlife to look over, but when he opened one book in particular a booby trap went off, exposing him to Terrigen particles and beginning his transformation. Back at the Playground, Coulson and Daisy are debating the ethics of Rosalind’s method of holding Inhumans until they can be cured, whether they want to or not. Coulson offers her the chance of debating it in person with Rosalind, as the three of them will be going aboard Zephyr One to a meeting with the President. Meanwhile, Andrew is finally given permission to evaluate Joey Gutierrez at the Cocoon, a secret base in New York.

Favorite Quote: Daisy: “Everyone deserves a chance to be who they are.”

May returns to the Playground, determined to learn the truth about Andrew, and starts digging into his recent travels and his blood test. She heads after him to the Cocoon, where he’s watching Joey’s newfound control over his powers. Joey’s excited about what he’ll be able to build now that he’s starting to master his abilities, but when he mentions that he can also use them to destroy it almost sets off the Lash inside Andrew. May breaks things up before Andrew can kill Joey, but once they’re alone he ICEs her and takes her hostage, chaining her up in an abandoned building back at his school. Once she wakes up he confesses everything, about how after his transformation he could feel the power inside him, and had a need to be near other Inhumans. Once he found one and killed him, he felt relief, and set out on his mission to kill Inhumans whom he feels deserve death, aided by Jiaying’s ledger of the Inhumans she encountered in Afterlife. He promises that he would never hurt Daisy or Joey, but people like Lincoln have a dark side and that he has to kill them even if he doesn’t want to.

On Zephyr One, Coulson charges Daisy with showing Rosalind around, hoping she can win over the head of the ATCU to their way of thinking. It doesn’t go exactly as planned. Daisy thinks Rosalind is only focusing on the bad, but Rosalind points out that for every Daisy there’s a Lash and that possibility scares her, in addition to the simple fear over the extent of Daisy’s power. Things are interrupted by Mack, who was contacted by Lincoln with intel that someone inside SHIELD is Lash and has been using the ledger to track down and kill his friends. They put two and two together and realize that it’s Andrew and that he has May, but Lincoln gives them the alarming news that Andrew is still transforming into Lash. Eventually it will become permanent and Andrew will cease to exist.

Favorite Quote: Hunter: “Lay it on me.” Bobbi: “I think you’ve been reckless and stupid.” Hunter: “Can I take back what I just said?”

Coulson and Rosalind decide to bail on the President and head off on a rescue mission to save May. Coulson walks in on Andrew and May while Andrew pleads for May to trust him and work with him. Andrew insists to Coulson that he’s just been doing what he was asked, sorting out the good from the bad, but Coulson thinks that’s a pretty poor interpretation of what a therapist is supposed to do. Coulson wants to talk their way out of this, but Lincoln wants revenge for all his friends who were murdered, and attacks Andrew, causing him to turn into Lash and run for it. Lash tears his way through some of Rosalind’s team before taking her by the throat and tossing her off a balcony. She’s saved on the way down by Daisy in a really awesome moment where she uses her powers to slow Rosalind’s fall, earning a sincere thanks. Lincoln confronts Lash again right outside of Zephyr One’s containment module, ready to blast him with electricity again, but May steps between them. She tries to connect to the man she loves still inside the monster, telling him she never thought he’d be the one to kill her, bringing up his kindness and his empathy, and then out of nowhere she shoots him, knocking him into the module and slamming the door. Once inside it gasses him and knocks him out while Coulson asks how she knew it wouldn’t kill him. “I didn’t,” she confesses.

Back at the base, Mack convinces Lincoln to stick around, while Rosalind offers to store Andrew with the other Inhumans in the hopes that it will slow his transformation into Lash until they can find a cure. May doesn’t like the idea, but a semi-endorsement from Daisy convinces her and he’s shipped off to the ATCU. Rosalind asks Coulson out for a drink…

The final scene of the episode shows Ward meeting with Powers Boothe’s character, Gideon, discussing Strucker’s coma and Ward’s plan. He tells Ward that revenge brings only a temporary pleasure, and that Ward should be after something more. But Ward says he’s out to cut off the head of SHIELD: Coulson. Gideon takes a phone call, and it’s ROSALIND PRICE! She apologizes for not delivering Coulson to him like she planned, but things came up. He tells her that time is of the essence and they hang up. Rosalind is then greeted by Coulson! Who is still getting dressed and talking about breakfast! I guess the drink went pretty well. So not only is Rosalind working at least tangentially with HYDRA, but she’s sleeping with Coulson! I may have seen the Andrew/Lash twist coming, but I wasn’t ready for this at all!

Favorite Quote: Coulson: “I didn’t know you could do that.” Daisy: “That makes two of us.”

The other major development this week came from FitzSimmons. Fitz hasn’t had any progress finding a way back to that alien world, but Simmons brings him her phone to analyze. It died long ago and has been through the ringer, but Fitz manages to download her recordings and photos from her time on another planet. He tearfully watches as she talks to him through video about imagining what their dinner might have been like and the life they could have shared together, and I tearfully watch him watch them. He also finds pictures of Simmons smiling and hugging Will, which is less sweet for Fitz. Later while discussing the situation with Bobbi and Hunter, Fitz decides that Will’s mission patch resembles markings they found in the room where they created the portal, meaning whatever secret society has been sending people through might still be around and might have some answers. He goes to tell all of this to Simmons, who is silently standing by a window waiting for the sun to rise. He tells her that he watched her videos and she confesses that she meant every word and still feels that way towards him, asking what they should do about it. Ever the gentleman, and not wanting to cause Simmons any more pain, he suggests that they simply watch the sun rise together. For now, anyway.

Bobbi and Hunter shared a quick scene together after she returned from her mission with May, where she basically knocked him down a peg for being reckless and dangerous all in the name of love. What was more interesting was the way she talked about not wanting to lose themselves in pursuit of the mission. Clearly returning to the field and fighting Kebo took a greater toll on her than she’s letting on. I wonder if she’s considering leaving SHIELD (and leaving SHIELD and starting her own show). Maybe she’s not as comfortable with her life of action as she used to be.

Favorite Quote: Hunter: (about Will) “I’m just going to say what we’re all thinking… he has a hog face.” Fitz: “He does have a hog face.”

Clark Gregg hasn’t had as much to do this season as he did last year, what with being possessed by Kree writing and such, but he had a really great moment tonight with Rosalind. She was watching him struggle to put on a tie on Zephyr One, and she asked whether he really lost his hand due to a shark attack. He finally confessed that his friend cut it off to save his life. She asked him whether it still hurts, and he said, “Every day.” It was such a simple, and expected, response, but Clark delivered it with such contained emotion that it was heartbreaking. You could almost feel the need he had for someone to ask him that, just so he could share for a moment the pain he’s in. It’s easy to see why he connects so well to Rosalind, because she’s in such a similar position to his own, with the same weights to carry and the same forced isolation. So I hope their connection isn’t all a lie and she’s just playing him. It’s possible she and Gideon are actually good guys playing HYDRA, but at this point we really don’t know what to believe. But if she breaks Coulson’s heart I hope May kicks her ass.

And then there’s May. Poor May, who can’t seem to catch a break. Between Bahrain, Ward turning out to be HYDRA, and now Andrew, May has to be the most unlucky character on the show. She’s the strongest as well, but everyone has a breaking point and she might eventually reach hers. The look on her face when Andrew transformed into Lash was just completely broken, like she was completely crushed. I don’t think she’ll be able to work through her issues this time by nailing Andrew’s foot to the floor, though. At this point I hesitate to guess how she’ll handle what happened to Andrew in the coming weeks, but it’ll be interesting to watch.

What do you think? Did you enjoy “Chaos Theory”? Did the Andrew/Lash story feel like it was wrapped up (temporarily at least) a little too quickly? Would you have liked to have seen more of his gradual progression from reluctant Inhuman to killer monster? How will May deal with the fallout from this latest emotional blow? Where do you think Fitz and Simmons’ relationship stands at the moment? Will Fitz’s theory about a secret organization lead to a way to rescue Will? Do you think Bobbi wants out? How cool was Daisy catching Rosalind? Did you see the final twist coming of Rosalind and Gideon working together? What about Rosalind and Coulson hooking up? Where to Rosalind’s loyalties really lie? Let me know in the comments!

4 thoughts on “Recap: Agents of SHIELD – “Chaos Theory”

  1. I just knew that something was up with the ATCU. It’s kind of like the weird feeling with the Inhumans in season 2, that there was something you couldn’t trust about them. That’s not to say that they’re evil, I personally don’t think they’re evil, but you definitely think twice about trusting them. Rosalind’s feelings for Coulson are probably genuine (that was the only part I didn’t see coming), since I feel that it would be a much more complex story this way, but it does lead me to wonder what Gideon’s plan is. I can’t think they are really good guys because of that weird feeling, but I also wonder what their plan is for the Inhumans. Keeping them in stasis sounded creepy enough.

    Andrew will definitely show up again considering that ending for him. The question is whether or not he’d be Andrew when we see him. This episode has helped me understand this transition for him and also adds a neat little crease in their conflict. He does need help with his transition like Daisy said but he’s still dangerous. I think how they deal with him will ultimately show where they will go with dealing with Inhumans. BTW, I was a big fan of her saving Rosalind like that. What I love more about superheroes are not just their superpowers but how they use them creatively, and Daisy’s power over vibrations has a lot of possibilities, like her restarting Lincoln’s heart in 2.19. I hope they can get more instances of that.

    FitzSimmons is still a thing! I know that seems obvious, but I feel that this is the first episode in a while that has emphasized that their feelings for each other are strong and mutual. Fitz loves Simmons, and Simmons truly loves Fitz. Even now she doesn’t choose to deny what she said and even emphasizes that she still feels the same. It’s pretty unusual that this season feels that there should be the biggest justification for them to be apart yet they are probably closer than they’ve been in a long time. As for Will, I think it’s a bit too conspiracy theorist to think that he’s with the crazy cult that had the Monolith. NASA, however, I don’t trust.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Recap: Agents of SHIELD – “Many Heads, One Tale” | The Love Pirate

  3. Once more, great insights!

    I finally just went over to Amazon and paid $1.99 top watch SHIELD without sputtery freezing commercials (because of the commercial stupidity I’d spend an hour and a half trying to watch a 45 minute episode), whoot! Much less aggravating.

    Well, I just watched the next episode, so… glad how that Roz thing worked out, I knew it!

    Very nice to see some complex sides of May, she’s often played, till now, very close to the stereotype of the Cool Warrior and the Inscrutable Asian. Great to see more sides of a very cool character.

    Rooting for FitzSimmons.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Recap: Agents of SHIELD – “Chaos Theory” | swordwhale

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