This week’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. tied together all of the story-lines we’ve been following this season, introduced some concepts that could have a huge impact on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and gave us undoubtedly the best version of Hunter we’ve ever seen (#DamnTheYanks). Check out Grant’s review of the episode here, and read on for a breakdown of the biggest moments of the episode.
1) The Real A.T.C.U.
At the end of last week’s episode, we saw that Rosalind Price had a connection to the sinister Gideon Malick (Powers Boothe), causing fans to jump to the conclusion that Price was an agent of Hydra. Others, including myself, considered the possibility that Gideon was playing Ros, and she had no idea about his connection to Hydra. After a tense (and exceedingly well-acted) confrontation between Coulson and Rosalind, we learn that this is in fact the case. Malick (who has finally been confirmed to be the same World Security Council member from The Avengers) was partially responsible for organizing the A.T.C.U., and through Bobbi and Hunter’s infiltration we learn what his true motives are. Rather than researching a cure for Inhumans, the A.T.C.U. is actively trying to spread Terrigen, creating as many Inhumans as they can to serve Hydra’s purpose. More on that last point in a bit, but Malick creating an Inhuman army loyal to him has big implications for the show even without the crazy space angle.
In an admittedly slightly silly looking fight scene between Bobbi and Giyera (Mark Dacascos), we see that the A.T.C.U. has at least one highly trained Inhuman at their disposal. This is great news for the season because, for as heavily as the pre-season marketing relied on the Secret Warriors, we’ve gotten practically no advancements in the creation of that team. With an organized Inhuman threat looming on the horizon, it’s all but certain that we’re barreling towards Daisy’s team’s first official outing.
2) The Kiss
Well, the moment shippers have been patiently (and not so patiently) waiting for since season one has finally arrived: FitzSimmons is a thing…sort of. I’ve mentioned a few times in a breakdown how incredibly mature everyone in this love triangle has been, with no instances of petty jealousy that would be completely out of character for Fitz and Simmons. Sure, as Grant has pointed out in his reviews, the lack of open communication between the two has been exceedingly frustrating, but it all finally pays off in this episode when the tension finally becomes too much to ignore, the characters finally express how crappy their whole situation is and, yes, they kiss. The frustration of the last several episodes may not have been fun to watch, but the resolution of that tension in a way that stayed true to the conflicted feelings of the characters but didn’t devolve into whining and angst made it all worth it.
Unfortunately, the portion of the audience who just wants Leo and Jemma to be happy probably won’t get to enjoy the moment for very long. As Fitz repeats multiple times in this scene, Fitz and Simmons are cursed. For six months, they were literally star-crossed lovers, and anyone who knows the play where that term originated knows that those types of love stories generally don’t end well.
With a main cast of 10, and more certainly on the way as the Secret Warriors team gets built, the show is facing a numbers problem. While it’s been juggling every story-line fairly well so far (and now that those stories are linked will likely be able to do so much more easily in the future), it’s only a matter of time before certain characters start to get neglected. Even now, newer characters like Lincoln don’t yet feel like they’ve gotten the same attention others have. Even if/when Bobbi and Hunter leave for Most Wanted, the addition of the Secret Warriors indicates that there are enough characters to expect someone to kick the bucket eventually.
That fact, combined with the “curse” on FitzSimmons, doesn’t paint a happy picture for Will’s rescue mission. I can’t imagine a future of this show where Will, Jemma, and Leo all just hang out together like best friends. If the team travels to the alien planet to save Will, someone probably isn’t making it off that planet alive. As much as I hate to say it, Fitz seems like the most likely candidate. While the MCU seems gun-shy about permanently killing off characters, I’m bracing myself for Fitz’s heroic, self-sacrificial death just in case.
3) Gideon’s History Lesson
Gideon Malick has quickly become my favorite part of this season. His presence is menacing in a way that no other Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. villain’s has been, and Powers Boothe is exceptional in every scene he’s in. The final scene of the episode belongs to Malick and Ward, as Gideon explains the real history of Hydra. It turns out, Hydra didn’t begin during Red Skull’s reign in World War II. It’s an organization that has always been devoted to the occult, and, specifically, liberating one ancient Inhuman from his alien prison. Sure, spreading their influence and gaining power is an important step in that goal, but their end game goes a step beyond world domination.
The unnamed being on the alien planet where Simmons was stranded is in fact an ancient Inhuman, banished there because of its uncontrollable power. Obviously, this Inhuman’s identity will be one of the major plot points in the later half of the season, and Grant already offered a few possibilities in his review of the episode. However, there’s something that many people might not have noticed.
As Malick explains to Ward, Hydra is in possession of a portion of the monolith cut from the original that S.H.I.E.L.D. destroyed. Looking back, images of the giant monolith clearly showed where a piece was cut out. In fact…
…it clearly shows at least five missing pieces of the monolith. One of those pieces is with Hydra, which leaves four mini-monoliths unaccounted for. Who could possess those fragments? Other factions of Hydra? Governmental organizations? Another enclave of Inhumans? Considering each fragment offers a potential entry point to the alien planet, locating these monoliths is vital to both S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hydra.
Have any theories about where the other monolith fragments might be? Notice any other moments in this episode that could have implications to the future of the MCU? Let us know in the comments, and make sure to follow us on Twitter for more updates!