Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s season 3 premiere on Tuesday was chock-full of twists, thrills, and a brand new direction for the show. You can check out our review of the episode here, but we thought we’d break down the biggest moments of the episode and talk about the implications they might have for the rest of the season, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe at large.
1) Lash’s Hospital Smackdown
We’ve been getting teases of the energy-slinging Inhuman for months now, but Tuesday’s episode was the first time we got a clear look at him and what he can do. Apparently, “what he can do” includes making peoples’ hearts explode like they have an Alien chestburster, and he’s able take on Lincoln, Daisy, and Mack in a fight with little to no effort. Now, we don’t know exactly what Lash’s motivations are in the show yet, but based on what he’s like in the comics, it’s safe to say that he’s not a fan of new Inhumans showing up all over the place. That, plus the trail of bodies he’s already left in his wake and the way he was able to brush off Daisy’s quakes, Lincoln’s bolts, and Mack’s bullets as if they were a strong breeze means that Lash could be a pretty formidable foe this season. The previous seasons have teased the big bad out over the first half of the season, so it seems likely that Lash is answering to someone.
Whoever it is, I just hope Mack gets to use his shotgun-axe combo on them.
2) President Ellis Addresses The Nation
Near the end of the episode, there’s a connection to the MCU that’s bigger than the stray mention of Pym Technologies or Sokovia. President Matthew Ellis, played by Wiliam Sadler, who also portrayed the President in Iron Man 3, holds a press conference addressing the alien threats to the citizens of the United States. This is a pretty big moment in the episode, for a couple different reasons. First, Sadler’s reappearance is a nice bit of continuity that the MCU has always done so well. Second, his announcement has some huge implications for the rest of the season. Ellis publicly endorses the A.T.C.U., or Advanced Threat Containment Unit, led by the mysterious Rosalind Price (Constance Zimmer). Price’s team had been set up as a threat to S.H.I.E.L.D. in the first half of the episode, so the reveal that the two teams will be more rivals than bitter enemies is a nice surprise, and hopefully will afford some more scenes of banter between Coulson and Price.
Another interesting implication of the press conference Ellis gives is that it marks the first time we, as an audience, really get to see things from the public’s perspective. Since our point-of-view is usually the same as the heroes’, it’s easy to forget that the general public is still in the dark about much of what’s going on in the super powered world. Yet, even as the President dodges questions and denies rumors about the Inhuman contagion spreading, it’s easy to see that these incidents are getting harder to hide. Perhaps this could mean that, by the time Captain America: Civil War rolls around next May, the general public might be completely aware of the Inhumans that walk among them–and they might want some laws or regulations to control them – which would easily allow for a tie-in of sorts with next year’s Captain America: Civil War.
3) Indiana Fitz & Jemma In Space
Oh, Jemma and Leo. Looking at where these two are now, it’s incredibly easy to forget the days when FitzSimmons was a single entity, finishing each others’ sentences and looking terrified whenever they had to stray from the safety of their lab. Those days are long gone, as both of these characters have grown and changed as they’ve adapted to new and more dangerous situations. Fitz’s journey has seen him go from a naïve scientist, to a tortured head trauma victim, to a clever and brave agent, and finally to a swoon-inducing sex machine that’s 2-parts Bond, 3-parts Indiana Jones, and 50-parts broken heart. Watching Fitz relentlessly chase down leads searching for Simmons was one of the most satisfying parts of the episode for me. He’s a man on a mission who’s been through hell and is willing to go there again. And Iain De Caestecker’s performance in the last scene of the episode was only the latest in a long line of brilliant scenes.
Simmons, meanwhile, was just as shocking in this episode. Not because of the way her character has changed, but because HOLY SHIT JEMMA’S IN SPACE! As predicted by some fan theories at the end of last season, the mysterious alien monolith has indeed teleported Simmons onto some mysterious, and evidently dangerous, planet. What that planet might be is anyone’s guess, but some people have suggested that it may be Hala, home planet of the Kree empire. Others think that it may be the Blue Area of the Moon, where Attilan is located. Or maybe she’s on some sort of game reserve-type planet and being hunted for sport for an alien reality TV program.
Probably not that last one, but that does sound like the kind of thing Yondu might watch. Speaking of the leader of the Ravagers, Simmons’ location does open the show to a possible (but unlikely) Guardians of the Galaxy reference or easter egg. Even if that long-shot doesn’t pan out, Simmons being in space still could mean huge changes for her character. By the end of season 2, Simmons has grown a healthy distrust of all things alien; and for good reason. Her experience with an alien virus from a Chitauri helmet nearly killed her, the alien terrigen crystal did kill Trip, she’s been lied to and attacked by groups of Inhumans, and now an alien rock has dumped her onto an alien world where she’s being chased and stranded for months. If something contains the word “alien,” it probably doesn’t bode well for Simmons. Assuming she’s ever able to make it back to Earth, will her traumatic experiences allow her to feel comfortable working with the Secret Warriors, a team at least partially consisting of Inhumans still learning to gain control over their volatile powers? Or will she join up with the A.T.C.U. to contain alien threats, rather than protect and train them?
Then again, Jemma herself may be a target for the A.T.C.U. After spending months on an alien planet, the government will surely want to quarantine her until they’re sure she hasn’t brought back any alien diseases, and until they’ve thoroughly debriefed her to find out all she learned while on the alien planet.
Either way, with threats looming for Jemma and Leo, and possibly light-years separating them, it looks like it may be an emotional season for FitzSimmons shippers. But judging by some of the implications from the big moments of this episode, it’ll be a wild roller coaster for all of us.
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