“Many Heads, One Tale” is an eventful episode for the Agents of SHIELD, current and former. Ward, continuing his revamp Hydra/destroy SHIELD crusade, has a meeting with Gideon Malick. Malick was on the World Security Council, as seen in Winter Soldier. He managed to avoid being exposed as a Hydra member, and moved on to being an advisor to the President, perverting the ATCU in the same way Hydra did to SHIELD. Malick and Ward are cordial at first, but Malick tells Ward that, while he’s a smart predator, he’s not on top of the food chain, and leaves several agents to kill Ward. This works about as well as anytime the villain leaves the hero (no, not calling Ward a hero, it just fits) to be killed after he exits the room. Ward seems very interested in a vault the von Struckers are rumored to have.
The good guys are trying to figure out what to do with Andrew/Lash. Roz says that her suspended animation program is his best shot while her group searches for a cure. Daisy, understandably, isn’t happy about the term “cure.” May is upset, actually looking fairly lost, which is different for her.
While this debate goes on, Fitz is working obsessively on trying to save Simmons’ Will. He really is a great guy determined to do the right thing. He’s snapping at people around him, which isn’t a great sign for his progress. He does make an interesting discovery regarding Will’s mission patch. Simmons, I’d argue, should be on the Andrew issue. She’s their best biologist/bio-chemist.
Lincoln is still with SHIELD, but has some reservations. Specifically, he’s worried that May has problems with him. May is a very dangerous individual who I certainly wouldn’t want upset at me. I don’t blame Lincoln for being concerned. Mac also has some concerns, specifically about the Coulson/Roz Price relationship.
Coulson pretty much settles those with Operation Spotlight. This is SHIELD on a multi-prong mission to find out what’s actually going on at the ATCU. It’s a clever plan. They did a great job both planning ahead and assigning roles. The two best parts are Hunter as tech-geek, parroting whatever Daisy says to him via earbud, and Lincoln looking like he’s going to his execution when May picks him to work with her on the extraction.
As Spotlight goes on, with some really clever twists, Ward finishes torturing the agents that were after him and makes some unique travel arrangements. Fitz and Simmons keep doing their research, realizing that some of what they’re looking into goes back thousands of years. Simmons finally pushes Fitz a bit too far, and he snaps, showing he’s not perfect. It actually makes me admire him a bit more.
Roz and Coulson exchange background stories. Coulson, it turns out, was a history major, which explains his interest in all the bits of SHIELD’s past. Things take a turn for the much more serious when he confronts her about what his team has found. ATCU isn’t working on a cure– they’re infecting people, or at least testing them to see if they are Inhumans. Roz doesn’t appear to know any of this. Eventually, between them, Roz and Coulson work out that Malick is behind the darker aspects of the ATCU.
The Hunter/Bobbi part of the mission goes bad, as you pretty much knew it would going in. Their fight scene is nicely done, and I’d say Bobbi is back to fighting form. She also does a cool trick with her batons that reminds me of some of the stuff they did with Cap’s shield in Age of Ultron. There’s a good scene with May and Lincoln, too.
Ward and Malick come to an understanding as Malick shares more of Hydra’s history with him. Just what we need, two smart bad guys pooling resources. I think SHIELD, possibly with help from the ATCU, is going to have a rough time in the immediate future. That looks even worse when Ward ends up with a special prisoner.
What I liked: Coulson shows he’s still very much on top of his game and is a formidable agent. The Lincoln/May scenes were great, as was the Bobbi/Hunter fight. Fitz continues to really impress me. I also liked the tie to Winter Soldier.
What I didn’t: Ward is an interesting character, but I’m not wild about him getting so much screen time. I just don’t care that much about what he’s up to.
I’ll give this one a 3.5 out of 5. I think there’s a major Hydra/SHIELD confrontation coming soon.