Agents of SHIELD: The Inside Man

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Coulson, May, and Talbot compare notes

Things get complicated for the Agents of SHIELD in “The Inside Man.” Quite a bit of the show involves the creature that was exiled to Maveth, which is now inhabiting Ward. Malik isn’t sure what to make of what he got, and the creature doesn’t really seem to care what Malik thinks.

Leading the ATCU isn’t an easy job. Talbot is finding that out now, as his wife storms off onto a plane at the airport. She’s clearly not happy about his new assignment. Talbot himself isn’t happy when Coulson turns up at the airport. The two of them aren’t getting along well, to put it mildly.

Back at SHIELD’s base, Fitz has designed a new toy for Coulson that “makes gloves.” The team is getting ready to attend symposium about the emerging Inhumans all over the planet. Daisy isn’t happy about how they’re being referred to, and she debates this with Bobbi during the preparations.

Lincoln is in the field under May’s supervision. She’s riding him hard, but she does that with everyone she trains. Aside from training, the two of them are there to protect Coulson. As Coulson escorts Talbot to his car, they get a surprise. Crusher Creel, known as the Absorbing Man in the comics, makes a return appearance. Talbot surprises them by telling SHIELD that Creel works for him now.

They all end up back at SHIELD HQ. Fitz and Simmons interview Creel. He has no idea why he survived touching the Obelisk, or how it gave him powers. He’s the only human to survive touching one of those, unless you count Coulson, and the Director paid a heavy price for that. Fitz and Simmons are determined to work out what’s different about Creel.

Hunter’s first appearance on the show was the episode “Shadows,”  when Creel killed off the merc unit he was part of. Hunter hasn’t forgotten, and is far from happy that Creel’s working with them now. And we all know Hunter can hold a grudge.

“Ward” which is the name I’m going to keep using until they give us another one, has certainly been reading a lot. The room they’re keeping him in is littered with books that appear to have been not-so-gently used. Ward also requests five humans be sent to him. Whatever he is now, he evidently can’t “feed” on Inhumans.

Talbot and Coulson go to the international symposium about the Inhumans. Many of the countries represented there clearly fear the Inhumans, tossing around unpleasant names for them. As Coulson and Talbot keep the representatives busy, Bobbi, Hunter, and May search their rooms, undercover as hotel staff. This scene also explains the “glove” comment Fitz made earlier, and it’s pretty clever. The most disturbing thing to come of the initial meeting is that Petrov, the Russian representative, supports the idea of setting up a “sanctuary” for Inhumans in Russia. Putting them all in one place is a bad idea for many reasons. None of them make the comparison that first came to my mind– the German concentration camps.

Daisy and Lincoln have a sparring match which was impressive. They are both getting really good at hand to hand combat. I guess May is a very effective teacher. The two of them debate the Inhuman issue, and it gets a bit heated. Daisy is very sensitive about her people, it seems. This gets worse later, when Fitz and Simmons make a discovery about Creel’s blood and DNA that could have a global effect on Inhumans.

The meeting goes badly, to say the lest. Coulson suspected Hydra had an inside man there (hence the title) and who it was surprised him a lot. There are betrayals, double crosses, and a lot of fighting. At least the traitor had a decent reason. Hunter proves to be really resourceful. Later, he and Bobbi are split off from the team. I wonder if this is just a set up for next episode or something more, since those two are the main characters of the allegedly approved “Marvel’s Most Wanted,” a spin-off from Agents of SHIELD.

Hopefully, the events of this episode will make the working relationship between SHIELD and the ATCU smoother. It looks as if it might. Ward also fixes up the host body in what is possibly the most grotesque scene of the series so far. Malik makes a deal that might be news for the emerging Inhumans that leaves us with a lot to think about.

What I liked: The sparring scene really impressed me. The actors and fight choreographers (and probably stunt crew) did a great job on that. It makes perfect sense that Hunter has an issue with Creel. The Russian sanctuary could mean all kinds of problems, and it’s an interesting plot thread to dangle and tease the viewers with. Talbot using Creel the way he is shows some good planning on Talbot’s part.

What I didn’t: Daisy continues to not be allowed to make any progress on her team. Since the second half of the season was titled “Secret Warriors,” you’d think the writers would attend to that. In a world with Iron Man’s armor, you’d think Coulson’s hand would be able to do more.

I’ll give this one a high 3.5 out of 5. It was an enjoyable episode that leaves the door open for a lot of interesting new developments down the road.

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