TV Show Review

TV Review: AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.: Season 3, Episode 07: Chaos Theory [ABC]

Matthew Willig Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Chaos Theory

ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Chaos Theory TV Show ReviewAgents of S.H.I.E.L.D., season 3, episode 07, ‘Chaos Theory,’ kept the ball rolling, after the Andrew/ Lash (Blair Underwood, Matthew Willig) reveal of last episode. That was the good news. The bad news was the series of gut reactions that followed – not all them being terribly constructive. More worrying was the confirmation of Lash’s nature, relative to the source character; but there may be a self-rectifying app for that.

That nature was revealed in flashback form. Besides being a farewell middle finger, from Jaiying, it cleared up the question of how Andrew could have kept his alter ego from May (Ming-Na Wen) this whole time. There was no ‘this whole time.’ No, Lash had been a relatively new development, which flies in the face of the source material; but, again, this could still be salvaged.

If Andrew-May domestic issues weren’t enough, Fitz-Simmons (Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge) was having a hard time at… well, being Fitz-Simmons anymore – Fitz going above-and-beyond, on behalf of Simmons’ ultimate long distance relationship with Will, and Simmons having a hard time being the reason for him doing so. Fitz becoming privy to Simmons’ messages to him, relative to her couple’s photo with Will, likely didn’t help. Simmons reaffirming her feelings for Fitz likely made it worse. Adversity breeds innovation, however, as Fitz would figure on how to retrieve Will. Time to sit back & watch this plan painfully fail, or horribly succeed (cynical, yes; but it’s Fitz-Simmons – fan service is hardwired in there, somewhere).

The covert op courtship, between Coulson & Rosalind (Clark Gregg,Constance Zimmer), has left Daisy (Chloe Bennet) with ‘professional’ step-mom issues; so naturally, Coulson arranged some quality time between the two, ostensibly as a good will gesture to the ATCU – but really to let Rosalind deal with Daisy’s world-view gripes directly, instead of having to do it for her. That was just my take – Coulson being a wise (ass) father figure, after all – but I’ve been wondering if he may be taking this courtship thing faster & farther than someone in his position should. Meh – Coulson has a plan for everything….

The dynamic between Daisy & Rosalind not only played up the blended family blues angle, but served to keep rabble rouser Skye around. As arguably the show’s most improved character, there are likely quite a few viewers who welcomed her evolution into Daisy; but it would be unreasonable to think the character we were introduced to just went away. Skye’s still in there, still playing rebellious daughter, to Coulson’s surrogate dad, and now challenging everything new mommy. That said, Rosalind deserves some credit for dressing her down, some. Whatever the merits of Daisy’s argument, reducing it to an emotional tide left it easily broken against the rock of simple, even minded pragmatism, that was Rosalind’s response. It was enough to get Daisy to take her ball home; but it was an episode tailored for the emotional compromising of operations.

May not telling anyone about Andrew seemed like a Lifetime movie decision. She likes to handle her business solo – I get that; but even the Cavalry should appreciate the need for backup, in this scenario. When May did finally confront Andrew, it was purely personal – so the outcome seemed pretty obvious. I suppose I should give Andrew points for perhaps recognizing & capitalizing on her blindspot; but the exchange underscored the notion that Andrew/ Lash has been running on instinct. What seemed like a deliberation process, in his exchange with Joey Gutierrez (Juan Pablo Raba), might as well have been for his own benefit – his way of piecing together a pattern of purpose, to his new compulsion. That’s fine, in the context of the show, and what it may have in mind for Andrew & May; but I really wanted Lash to be a more decisive force on the show – more in line with the source character.

Lash, and the nature of his secret identity, was reason enough for Lincoln (Luke Mitchell) to come out from the cold. Well, he should have kept some of that cold with him, seeing as he ran pretty hot, once the shooting started. More to the point, his running hot was the reason the shooting started. Is it just me, or was Andrew the only one showing any effort (besides Coulson & Rosalind) at impulse control? At first, Lincoln going rogue seemed like a total abandonment of his introductory role as ‘camp counselor;’ but if his losses & set-backs, since, weren’t enough to inform this turn, then Andrew gets more credit for pointing out a sense for a darker side to Lincoln.

When season 3 kicked off, I noted an expansion to Andrew’s role as a tell. Well now it seems that his head shrinking powers weren’t just amped up to set up the real expansion to his role. He has remained the observant fellow, and I suspect it might play a role in how he deals with Lash (and May, for that matter). The resolution to ‘Chaos Theory,’ however, left me somewhat concerned that Andrew/ Lash may have been a victim of Agents’ break-neck pacing. If Lash remains sidelined for the season, what else is there?

I suppose there is still Malick & Ward (Powers Boothe, Brett Dalton) to deal with; Rosalind & the ATCU could still pull a major surprise, or two; the Fitz-Simmons Will rescue could turn into a serious case of inadvertent invasive species import. Any of these could serve as a mid/full season ender; but I’m still holding out for more Lash. He has a watered down characterization to redeem.

‘Chaos Theory’ came close (in some places) to having characters conforming to convenience the plot; but served its title well enough to keep from really crossing that line. When the action services that plot as well as this did, it also makes it easier to overlook the method to the madness, I guess. To that end, we got a convincing resolution to Daisy-Rosalind, Lincoln being added to May’s crap list, and a preview to how that now open position, for Big Bad, may be filled.

Frankly, that final reveal was easily the most convenient twist to the whole episode….

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About the author

Sam Joseph

Sam is an Avid consumer/observer of Geek culture, and collector of Fanboy media from earliest memory. Armchair sociologist and futurist. Honest critic with satirical if not absurdist­­ wit with some experience in comics/ animation production.

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