This week’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was packed with character development, set-up for future plots, and even a potential romantic interest for Lola.
You can check out our review of the episode here, or read on for our breakdown of the show’s biggest moments below, as well as what they could mean later in the season.
1) Lincoln Straight-Up Kills A Guy
This was the most Lincoln-heavy episode of the season so far, and there are already big changes in store for him. The episode begins with A.T.C.U. agents chasing Lincoln through a forest, before he escapes by igniting nearby power lines and creating a shower of sparks. The rest of the episode follows Lincoln’s flight, near-capture by S.H.I.E.L.D., near-capture by the A.T.C.U., and ultimate escape.
Oh yeah, and Lincoln totally killed a guy.
Okay, he accidentally killed a guy. But still, it represents the first step down a dangerous path. The major philosophical question of this season so far has been how to deal with the skyrocketing number of Inhumans: should they be embraced, or contained? S.H.I.E.L.D., made up of people who always see the good in others, is obviously in favor of taking the former approach. The A.T.C.U. on the other hand, is perhaps being more realistic. Yeah, Lincoln is a “nice guy” but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s extremely dangerous. Lincoln tells Daisy in this episode how dangerous he is, and he doesn’t seem to believe that there’s a way for him to exist without hurting people. If he turns out to be right, and accidents continue to follow him wherever he goes, S.H.I.E.L.D. may have to face the hard truth that some Inhumans, no matter how good their intentions, might be too dangerous not to turn over to the government. It’s only a tiny, logical leap from there to assuming that all Inhumans need to be contained. If some people start thinking like that, S.H.I.E.L.D. may have a Civil War of its own on its hands.
2) Hunter Straight-Up Kills A Guy
Speaking of good guys making dangerous decisions, Hunter proved exactly how far he’ll go to infiltrate Hydra in this episode. At New York Comic Con last weekend, head of Marvel TV Jeph Loeb was asked a question about a possible redemption arc for Ward. While he didn’t necessarily rule out the possibility, he did mention that, as far as Hunter is concerned, Ward lost all chances at redemption when he shot Bobbi. As we saw in this episode, Hunter will stop at nothing to make sure Ward is dead — even if that means beating a friend to death with his bare hands. While many shows might have offered Hunter an out at the last second, or offered some hope that Spud might have survived the fight, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. wasn’t shy about showing a beaten, bloodied Hunter recognize the weight of the decision he’d made to kill.
Hunter seems to have reached the point of no return, and May’s concerned look might indicate that she noticed. If Hunter continues down his dark path into the depths of Hydra, I won’t be surprised if May is the one who has to bring him back out into the light — or even take him down.
3) Simmons Has To Go Back
For the third week in a row, the last and arguably most shocking moment of the episode comes from Jemma’s extraterrestrial plot-line. After what was undoubtedly the best showcase of acting ability in the show’s history (seriously, enough props cannot be given to Iain De Casetecker and Elizabeth Henstridge for their performances in the restaurant scene), Simmons takes the alien plot in a direction that I don’t think anyone saw coming. As traumatic as her off-world vacation was, I assumed any further glimpses of the alien planet would be through descriptions and flashbacks. Now, it looks like we may actually get to see the team investigate the planet for themselves.
The biggest question, of course, is why Simmons would possibly want to return to the place that scarred her so badly? Maybe there are others on the planet–people, or even Inhumans, who helped Simmons survive — and now she feels guilty for leaving them behind. Or, perhaps there’s a threat brewing on the planet that could be heading for Earth. If it’s dangerous enough that Simmons is willing to set aside her fears and return to the alien planet, it must be bad.
Of course, that’s assuming there’s a rational reason Simmons needs to go back at all. As we saw last season, humans with the GH-325 serum in their blood were driven to insanity mapping an ancient Kree city. Simmons could be experiencing similar homing-pigeon tendencies, forcing her to try to return to the alien planet despite her fear.
If you have any theories about Simmons and the alien planet, or any other predictions about what might happen in the coming weeks, make sure to share them in the comments, and follow us on Twitter for all Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. updates.