Good character development and solid interactions between characters. Excellent script and good moments that will pay dividends later.
We enjoyed the development for Lincoln, but how did he get to be a doctor with such a past and did Coulson really have to give up Lincoln if the ATCU didn’t know where he was?
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. fooled us into thinking it’s about super heroes and larger than life events. It’s really about deeply human struggles like love, desperation and revenge. Sneaky show, this one.
CAUTION: SPOILERS AHEAD IN OUR DETAILED REVIEW
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. — Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) is home, but despite being behind the safe walls of S.H.I.E.L.D. the ill effects of her time away appear as if they will linger a while longer. In the mean time, S.H.I.E.L.D. has more urgent worries with the ATCU and Rosalind Price (Constance Zimmer) putting on a full-court press to find Lincoln (Luke Mitchell). Hunted and alone, Lincoln refuses Daisy’s (Chloe Bennet) help and instead turns to a close friend. Apparently not all friends are created equal. When this one tips authorities, events unravel quickly leaving Lincoln responsible for his friend’s accidental death and a guns-drawn showdown between the ATCU and S.H.I.E.L.D. over who gets to take Lincoln home.
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Meanwhile, May (Ming-Na Wen) and Hunter (Nick Blood) burrow their way deeper into the Hydra underworld, but in order to win a potential arms deal that could get them in the door, they have to fight their way in—literally. As it turns out, one must get their hands, and face, bloodied as a right of passage. The real question may be how much of one’s soul must be bled as well. Elsewhere, a hopeful Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) takes a giant leap of faith to ease Simmons back to herself, but far more is haunting her than she is letting on. And finally, as things heat up between the ATCU and S.H.I.E.L.D., Coulson (Clark Gregg) and the Anti-Coulson, Rosalind Price, meet face to face with the fate of Lincoln, and perhaps much more, on the line this week on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.!
Mess with the Inhuman and you get the lightning.
Lincoln is a desperate man. The usually calm doctor and healer is on the run and the ATCU is giving him no where to hide. With a very public manhunt pressing him further toward his personal fringe, old habits become a deep temptation. It would seem that Lincoln is alcoholic and though he’s built a life, having that life stripped away by his face plastered on every news outlet with the label of murderer might be enough for just about anyone to fall off the wagon.
Despite pleas from Daisy to help, Lincoln digs into his past instead. Enter John Donnelly (Daniel Roebuck), who takes Lincoln in and hits him first thing with questions about old habits.
“Have you been drinking?” ~ John
“I wanted to. Instead, I called you. You’re the only one I trust.” ~ Lincoln
It would seem that a very strung out Lincoln, portrayed desperately well by Luke Mitchell, is on edge and from the wild look in Mitchell’s eyes—the bottom of the nearest bottle is tempting Lincoln’s fried nerves. We appreciated a deeper back story. Lincoln’s been a secondary character up to now, but it would appear Mitchell is more than capable of handling a much richer and deeper story. But while no one’s past is perfect, the teetering addict seemed like a dramatic departure from the calm, cool and collected Lincoln we have come to know.
As things from bad to really, really bad, Mitchell’s fight or flight responses sucked us in and we have much more reason to care about Lincoln than we did before. Multiple confrontations with dazzling electric light shows demonstrated just how dangerous Lincoln can be, but it would appear at his heart Lincoln is a good person that’s made bad choices and Daisy is the one person that believes in him.
“You are not cursed. You are not some horrible thing. I know…Because you taught me that I wasn’t. You convinced me that I had a purpose, that maybe my life wasn’t over, but just…getting somewhere. Please let me do the same for you.” ~ Daisy
“You’re wasting your time caring about me.” ~ Lincoln
“I can’t help it.” ~ Daisy
Yes, we saw that kiss. There’s much more brewing there than just a friendship. But even Daisy can’t protect Lincoln if Coulson is willing to give him up to the ATCU. All kinds of questions pop up. What made Lincoln worthy of terrigenesis? He’s overcome obstacles and that shows an inner fortitude. But after the betrayal and accidental death of John through his powers, how far will Lincoln fall and will he be able to get back up this time? One thing is abundantly clear. Coulson does not value Lincoln over Daisy. That’s going to be friction when everyone is back at the office water cooler and we all know that when push comes to shove, Daisy can shove with the best of them.
Phil, meet your female alter ego.
While we didn’t know what to make of Constance Zimmer at all when we first saw her, things are becoming a little clearer. Maybe. With an ambiguous entrance we were left to wonder if she were good or bad at heart, but instead of the Anti-Coulson she seems to simply be yesterday’s Coulson. And right down to the classic car, sunglasses and black suit, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is going a long way to imply the comparison. Before Aliens threats and superhumans emerged, Coulson was a devoted agent sent to do the most trusted jobs by S.H.I.E.L.D. He was the best of the best. But even that skill wasn’t enough once the supernatural became the norm. Once that happened, he was on the front lines and often out of his league. Getting stabbed in the heart by a god, resurrected by alien biology and then having your entire career thrown into a blender will change a few things. Hell, he’s even given up a hand for the cause. All things considered, we think he’s doing really well. But Price hasn’t been through all that and she’s got a lot to learn. That means Coulson may be just the man to shorten her learning curve.
“So all these APBs on alien threats… those are to help people feel safe? Look, the truth is, you don’t understand what you’re dealing with.” ~ Coulson
“And you do?” ~ Price
“Which is why I’m asking you to let my team bring Lincoln in. If we take him, it’ll be easy. If you do it, people could get hurt.” ~ Coulson
But just like Coulson was not too long ago, Price isn’t willing to step aside. She’s good at her job and she wouldn’t have it if she weren’t. That means she won’t give up. But it also means she might be willing to listen. We do know this. Of all the good things that have come from Season Three so far—and there are a lot—the banter between Coulson and Price has been, well, priceless. Pardon the cheap pun, but it’s true. Constance Zimmer and Clark Gregg have a bubbling chemistry on screen that comes right into the living room. In all honesty, the dry sense of humor and extreme focus on the task at hand make them very much like each one bantering with themselves.
“But why are we here, Phil? Are we waiting to watch the sunset together? ‘Cause if you didn’t come here to make a deal, then what do you want?” ~ Price
“You have an ace up your sleeve, and I’m tired of waiting for you to play it.” ~ Coulson
We labeled Rosalind Price the anit-Coulson, but in all honesty she’s not shown any evil or devious traits. She’s doing her job and that means opposing our beloved S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. We get it Rosalind, we just don’t like it. This doesn’t mean we trust her. Especially when she has Daisy in her sights as well. We still don’t really know which way Price leans. Good or bad? Her right hand muscle however, Banks (Andrew Howard), we don’t trust one bit. Andrew Howard is perfectly cast. He just has that soulless look about him that’s perfect for us to loathe. If he ever receives orders from someone higher than Price, we wouldn’t put it past banks to drive a knife right in her back—literally. That’s a compliment Andrew, we love you in the part.
As things came to a close and we realized that Coulson would likely honor his agreement to work with Price in exchange for keeping Daisy safe, we have to admit we were a little giddy. That’s going to make for some fireworks down the ranks for sure, but we will get more gloriously dry-witted banter between Zimmer and Gregg. And that’s a good thing. Yes, we know the fandom is a bit divided on Price. Reaction to her ranges from admiration to bile inducing venom, but spice makes for interesting stories and we just don’t see how the stellar presence that Zimmer has created doesn’t add some zest to this show that was already on a meteoric rise in quality. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is an outstanding show and Constance Zimmer as Rosalind Price has made it even better.
Emotions poured out as Fitz worked to reconnect with Simmons.
Let’s face it. Has there been anything more tender on this show than an über-devoted Fitz watching over a very fragile Simmons? No? We didn’t think so either. Iain De Caestecker just lets his talent blaze through every week it seems. The man is so disarming and Fitz’s unwavering devotion to the woman he loves is just the pinnacle of endearing. He never gave up. And Simmons is picking up on that one touching clue at a time.
Not to be outdone, Elizabeth Henstridge was equally brilliant. Emotionally spent and moving with such care, she created a sense of thin and weary. Simmons is like a beautiful glass ornament that’s cracked and barely holding together. The slightest move or vibration felt like it could shatter her into a million pieces. That’s outstanding physical portrayal, but as good as that was, her emotional delivery was even better. She’s home, but a part of her came back not at all right and every pained look, tear and fearful jump made that very clear.
Since the beginning these two have been almost one. Fans don’t refer to them as FitzSimmons for nothing. But what started as the wide-eyed whiz kid wonder twins has evolved considerably. The deep bond between these two has been bent, suffocated, fried and stretched across the universe. Yet somehow, they’ve never completely separated. They mean too much to each other to reach a final cut of ties.
“You kept the reservation.” ~ Simmons
“Don’t make a fuss. It’s not a big deal. I remember when you took me out after months in the hospital. It made me feel like a human being again.” ~ Fitz
Fitz loves her. That much is completely obvious. What we don’t know is how Simmons feels. Just before she left, we got the hint that she might want that dinner and the more romantic relationship that came with it. As the two sat down for that meal, the emotional gravity of the moment hit hard. If there was a dry eye in the house as Henstridge let the emotions and tears flow, we don’t know what to say. Her time way has left her a shell of who she was. But it’s what she’s not saying that has us the most worried. Not one to let a good story lie, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. isn’t done with the other side of the universe it seems. Simmons can’t let it go.
“You’re safe. That portal won’t open again.” ~ Bobbi
“But it has to. I have to go back.” ~ Simmons
After all Fitz has done, she cannot seem to tell him more about her time away. That’s a mind-numbing sign of bad juju to come. Fitz is 100% devoted to her and she knows it now. And if that’s the case, what, or heaven forbid—who—must she return for? We didn’t think things would be easy when she returned, but that was a twist we weren’t expecting. Well done Elizabeth Henstridge and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. writers’ room. We swung and missed badly on that curve ball. You have us guessing wildly. What pitch is next?
FINAL VERDICT: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. just keeps upping its game. There may be more super powers and more dazzle, but this series keeps impressing us by focusing on the human stories just as it always did.
It’s telling that this review had so much to say and still hasn’t touched on what could ultimately be the darkest element of this episode in the side story of Hunter and May. Everything they encountered was entertaining, either because it was chocked with badass or laced with brilliant humor. Subtitles for a drunk Hunter was one of the most genius strokes of humor we’ve seen in a long time. We literally laughed out loud as the first few splashed on screen.
Despite amazing fight choreography and smiles, the real story of May and Hunter is yet to begin. Just how much of their souls will they have to sacrifice in order to infiltrate this new Hydra? It seems like a very foolhardy plan to go after Ward in such a way, but that will most assuredly make for sticky situations later and that’s why we watch our shows. We want to see things spill into a tragic mess, laugh at the moments that tickle us and sit on pins and needles as our heroes squirm their way out of danger. Something tells us though that this plan to reach Ward is going to go deeper into the heart of darkness than either Hunter or May planned from the start.
But that darkness is just one wrinkle in a much larger picture. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. keeps impressing us with its depth, character development and new relationships. Writer Monica Owusa-Breen strung together another hour of rich dialogue that we’ve come to expect, but she also took every storyline and weaved them together seamlessly. We’ve said it before, but as much as anything else, new character combinations are really paying off for this show this season and we just can’t get enough of the fresh dynamics between them. Whether it’s Coulson and Price, Hunter and May, Mack and Daisy or even Fitz and Bobbi, emerging relationships have made this show feel fresh.
All those dynamics working is also due in part to good directors and Director Garry A. Brown did the same in this episode. Coulson and Price are gold when the get together and regardless of whatever friction might result from S.H.I.E.L.D. and the ATCU working together if we get more banter from these two it will be well worth it. If there’s anyone that can keep up with Gregg quip for quip and keep the business as usual tone about it, it’s Constance Zimmer. Bring it on. We want to see more.
But where this show has really shined is in its character development. We have reasons to care about Lincoln now and quality interactions with May, Hunter, Simmons and especially Fitz have made this show so much more than where it started. The really good thing is that as much as we’ve been impressed with the developing stories, the payoffs for all of them are yet to come. We’re still very much in setup mode and each of these arcs are going to kick into overdrive soon. That means we have much more good to come and we can’t wait. We’re ready for the next episode already. Aren’t you?
Questions, Comments, Concerns and My Reaction on Twitter…
- It’s time for #AgentsofSHIELD. What’s next for #FitzSimmons & what are we going to do about the ATCU?
- Wow. That light show was cool as hell @LukeMitchell__
- Looks like Simmons had a brutal time away from home. o:
- Somehow I’m thinking the phone isn’t how you are being tracked. Annnddd…I was right.
- Subtitles. This is FREAKIN brilliant!
- The ATCU means business. They’ve made Lincoln a desperate man. ATCU spells trouble tweeps. @LukeMitchell__
- And someone came back .. wrong. Shoe is on the other foot Fitz.
- Don’t push the small asian woman with brass knuckles Hunter. She’s itching to use em too.
- Sounds like Lincoln has had a rough life. And Bad to really bad is about to get really, really bad.
- Nice! Mack got her digits! lol
- I think Zephyr-1 just changed it’s call sign. 😉
- I need help. Shit just got real for Lincoln.
- You notice I was able to say antithesis. Welcome back Fitz. Now, find Simmons. She’s quite not back yet.
- Eyes up here. Busted. I LOVE the banter between these two. MORE please!
- Well…there is ONE very important rule Hunter. DON’T turn your back on your opponent!
- Well, Hunter can take a beating exceptionally well. lol
- Tiny, little Asian woman just kicked your ass. That was BADASS.
- Hunter, just how much of your soul are you willing to sell to reach Ward?
- If everything around you crumbles and you are the cause .. There’s a LOT more to Lincoln we don’t know.
- WHAT?? There’s going to be some awkward conversation back at the office break room from THIS Phil!
- So .. was Coulson’s common sense in his missing hand?
- We’ve been holding this reservation for months. We have tears too.
- Nope. Mack did NOT tell all to Coulson. 😉
- I love the brewing dynamic between Mack & Daisy. He used to trust her least, but I think now it’s the opposite.
- This show is SO grown up! I’m astounded at how well they’ve constructed all the character nuances!
- Spectacular episode @monicabreen! You guys are crushing it this season!
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Review: 3×03 “A Wanted (INHU)MAN”