Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3.08: "Many Heads, One Tale"

“And you dove through a hole in the universe for me.”

Who would have thought, way back in early season one when it was cool in the blogosphere to write think pieces hating on “S.H.I.E.L.D.” that the show would be so strong well into its third season? While I don’t think the first half of the third season is the very strongest “S.H.I.E.L.D.” has ever been, it is certainly still very strong, and I enjoy watching it very much. I am still very invested in these characters. And sad FitzSimmons (a bit of which we got in this episode) still makes me sad. We learned quite a bit about what the ATCU is up to in this episdode, and we also learned Hydra’s true motivations. And, of course, there seems to be a connection between the ATCU and Hydra. The jury is still out on Rosalind’s role in all this mess, but for the moment, she seems like the only trustworthy person connected to the ATCU. I’m betting she’s regretting that life choice right about now.

We open this episode with a conversation between Ward and Gideon. There is something very important to Hydra in the Von Strucker vault, and Ward wants it. Gideon, however, has other plan. He sends his goons in to shoot ward, but Ward manages to injure them all. He asks for their help in finding the vault, and when they refuse, he breaks out some knife. Seems like some more torture is on the docket. Through said torture, Ward finds out that while the Von Struckers have multiple vaults, the particular one he needs is in Germany. This, of course, leads to Ward commandeering a plane that happens to be flying over the German town where the vault is located.

Meanwhile, at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, Andrew’s body is taken away by the ATCU. May is devastated, and she refuses to talk to anyone. Inside, Fitz is still working on the portal problem, and he shows Simmons the symbol that was found near the portal room the team used to get her back. Skye and Lincoln also have a rather flirtatious conversation where they talk about Lincoln potentially sticking around S.H.I.E.L.D. for a while. Also sort of sticking with the romance theme, Mack confronts Coulson about whether or not he’s sleeping with Rosalind. Coulson responds to the accusation of poor judgment by calling a meeting where he reveals to the team that he’s got a plan to spy on the ATCU using Andrew’s stasis pod.

The middle of the episode is a lot of fun caper stuff, which I really enjoyed. One of my all time favorite movies is “Sneakers,” after all. Rosalind is brought to S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ for a tour while Coulson’s team works the caper. Daisy sets off a homing signal in Andrew’s pod that immediately alarms the ATCU’s IT guys. They call the FBI, but the person who answers the phone is actually Mack. He sends in a “task force” that is actually Bobbi and Hunter. Hunter trying to pretend to be an rebel, emo hacker is pretty darn hilarious. The IT guys end up calling Rosalind about the situation, who tells Coulson that his folks need to turn off the homing tech on the pod. Clearly this is exactly what Coulson wants to have happen.

Meanwhile, the FitzSimmons relationship takes a turn for the better and the worse all at once in this episode. Fitz has a theory that an ancient blood sacrifice cult tied to the portal was using Will and the other astronauts for their own nefarious ends. Simmons gets very frustrated that Fitz is continuing to do all the right things instead of being angry over the Will situation. When they pick up the argument later, Fitz says he’s sick over it all, but not directed at Simmons. More at the universe. They kiss passionately, each taking a turn initiating a kiss, but Fits looks said, says they are cursed, and leaves the room. Simmons finally realizes the connection between Wil’s astronaut patch and the cult symbol when she looks down at some of Fitz’s research materials.

At first, the ATCU caper seems to be working. Bobbi sneaks off and finds the super-secret containment area while Hunter keeps the ATCU occupied. He asks them to make his computer system username “God save the Queen,” which again, was just hilarious. Meanwhile, Andrew is in containment, but not where Coulson and his team thinks. Gideon actually comes to pay him a visit, although Andrew doesn’t really want to have anything to do with him. Gideon really just wants to permanently turn Andrew into Lash. Anyway, Bobbi sees no Inhumans in the official containment area, and nothing to indicate that the ATCU is actually working on a cure. Instead, she finds massive quantities of fish oil pills, and Mack and Daisy are able to figure out that the ATCU is trying to give terragen to as many people as possible. Things get hot quickly at the ATCU, and Bobbi and Hunter both have to fight their way out of precarious situations.

As soon as Coulson hears about all this, he puts Rosalind in containment and says she needs to convince him that she’s not Hydra. Each end up accusing the other of being a heartless spy in a very big confrontation. When Coulson brings up the “enhanced specimen unit” Bobbi has been investigating, though, Rosalind swears she knows nothing. She throught they really were working on a cure, not trying to create more Inhumans. So she says, at least. The wheels start turning for Rosalind, and she realizes that Gideon is likely the problem. He was heading up that particular unit. Meanwhile, at the ATCU facility, Bobbi and Hunter continue to have to fight off attackers, including one particularly nasty Inhuman who can shoot guns with telekinesis. Rosalind, however, as soon as she fully understands what is going on, sends in one of her own trusted operatives to help them escape. She also tells Coulson and his team everything she knows.

After his plane hijacking hijinks, Ward shows up at the correct Von Strucker vault to find Gideon already there. Gideon is impressed that Ward found the place and extends an offer to be Hydra’s “second hand.” AS part of the deal, he gives Ward a Hydra history lesson. Hydra didn’t start in World War II with Red Skull. Hydra and its predecessors have been around for much longer than that. They believe that a particular Inhuman was meant to rule Earth, and that Inhuman was banished to the world on the other side of the portal. Hydra was founded to bring that Inhuman back. These days, they call the effort “Project Distant Star Return.” Andrew and several other Inhumans are being stored by Hyrda to be used in the project. Gideon is extremely optimistic about the project considering S.H.I.E.L.D. just brought someone (Simmons) back from the other world for the first time ever. In his containment unit, Andrew demands to talk to someone. To his chagrin, Ward appears. Ward says Hydra wants to know how to turn the “monster” back on, and he’s very happy that he’ll be causing May pain by doing his experimenting on Andrew. Gas floods the containment chamber, and Andrew starts to Lash out.

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