ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Many Heads, One Tale TV Show Review. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., season 3, episode 08, ‘Many Heads, One Tale,’ set the stage with an interesting tact, effectively burning its bridge with the previous episode. Throw in the last minute reveal, also from last episode, and the stage was set for quite the twister.
The bridge burning, in this case, was Malick (Powers Boothe) not taking Ward’s (Brett Dalton) posturing (over access to the Strucker family vault) all that well – resorting to that thing administrative villains do, where they leave the scene, trusting interchangeable underling to do the dirty work. Interchangeable underlings is how someone like Ward works out; so we were left with a scene reminiscent of the Dark Knight’s Joker holding ‘tryouts.’ The check-list of demonic inspiration didn’t stop there, as Ward would later repeat the still controversial opening action to the 24 series (reiterating how dangerous getting into the Mile-High Club can be). Add that to your redemption list, Ward fans.
All was not settled, back at Agency HQ, either. Lincoln (Luke Mitchell) – despite being on May’s (Ming-Na Wen) crap list – had to redefine his relationship with Daisy (Chloe Bennet), now that he was actually available. Oh, yeah – he & May had to work together, too, I guess. Mack (Henry Simmons) was still filling the role of keeping Coulson (Clark Gregg) honest – calling him out on getting too cozy with Rosalind (Constance Zimmer), even after they had just handed people-sicle Andrew (Blair Underwood) over to the ATCU. Well, Coulson has a plan for everything; so I hope no one felt too bad for Mack, when Coulson demonstrated he had nothing to worry about. If anything, last ep’s Rosalind reveal likely left fans eagerly awaiting Coulson’s Sword of Damocles coming down. Hold that thought.
Elsewhere, Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) had been busy – keeping his mind off Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) – by working on getting Will-Simmons happening, and found something to show for it. He may have apparently gotten over his season 2 handicap, but continues to prove that he can still get results, so long as there’s a windmill to tilt at. The results, in this case, provided a who & why, to Will’s predicament, even as Malick rewarded Ward’s persistence with further detail on the very subject. That put Ward & Malick back on the same page; but somehow, Simmons just can’t have her cake without eating Fitz’s heart, too. I’m not saying she was being greedy – she’d be lying to herself if she figured she could quit Fitz for Will. Okay – maybe she was being greedy; but it was a polyamorous kind of greed – the good kind. Right?
Coulson’s plan, to prove that no two-timing reveal can go completely over his head, involved a number of Trojan Horses; with the point of the spear going to Hunter & Bobbi (Nick Blood, Adrianne Palicki). While Team Hobbi went to work, Coulson took his flirt fatale game, with Rosalind, to the mat (fighting term, not pillow talk). What followed was a nice attempt to fake viewers out, as the contents of ATCU’s compound, the now conscious Andrew’s predicament, and Malick’s connection to the ATCU were simultaneously rolled out. From there, it was all about Rosalind making her exchange with Coulson actually productive, while Hobbi dealt with the fallout to both agencies being punk’d.
While it was no stretch for Hunter to be disarmingly annoying, his disguise (more points for Hacktivist Skye’s skill-set still being in play) did make a convincing case for the IT as a closed-knit community type – not because of esprit-de-corps, but because the rest of the world can’t stand them. God complex: it’s not just for lawyers, doctors, and politicians, kids. In any case, what the compound lacked, in terms of CCTV coverage, was made up for by blind luck. An unexpected arrival lit a fire under the incursion; and while it allowed Hobbi to show off its chemistry under pressure, it also served to show off both the fruits of Malick’s labors & what that fruit could do. Maybe that came out wrong.
Despite being a silent background presence, anyone who recognized Mark Dacascos, as Malick’s enforcer, Giyera, knew to expect some kind of show. Personally, I was expecting more of an X2 styled intro, for the heavy’s bodyguard; but stand-off powers were nice.
The timely mathletics of Rosalind, and Coulson’s reflexively flexible mind, allowed for the original mission problem, Banks (Andrew Howard), to become the unlikely solution. More of that shifting alliances thing – albeit in a date-marry-kill sort of way – that puts this series on the good foot.
Where I’m left consistently worried, however, is when the show starts messing with source material. There were encouraging signs that Andrew/ Lash may not have been momentarily sidelined, after all; but Malick’s recount of HYDRA’s history – as it relates to Maveth’s Sand Walker – gave me some pause. Somehow, taking what was a fanatically ultra-Darwinist movement, and turning it into an Inhuman worshipping cult just sort of cheapens both HYDRA & the still evolving Inhuman mythology. I can see where the show might want to tie its first two seasons together; but I’m going to have to see if the execution justifies the premise.
Speaking of execution, Malick had Ward at a promise to decapitate S.H.I.E.L.D.; but since Ward has taken efforts at Ward removal a bit personally, since last season, his closing remarks to Andrew carried a certain resonance to them. Hey, Ward fans, I think he’s about to add something big to your redemption list.
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