Review: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “The Inside Man”

Let's just say, we're looking forward to next week...

In which Damian and Hanna chat about the latest episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. with all the spoilers.

First, a brief recap: The team sponsors and infiltrates a poorly thought out international conference on Inhumans. Daisy and Lincoln are a thing. Evil Ward reads books, watches tv, talks and murders — all in a menacing manner.

Hanna: Okay. So that was awful.

Damian: Yup. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. at its cliched worst.

Hanna: This was hard to watch because I enjoyed the episode last week. This week sort of sidestepped everything that I like about the show.

Damian: I think they took all their core characters and highlighted the worst parts of them. I’m going to recommend we keep this short, because it’s not an episode that bears talking about too much.

Hanna: Right. So, the main plot is an international conference that’s supposed to talk about the Inhumans. But really, it’s about having General Talbot back for an episode.

Damian: They’re supposed to come together to talk about how to handle the Inhumans. Coulson is there in disguise and Talbot is there as the head of the ATCU. Basically Talbot is horrible the whole time. He’s a standard ‘ugly’ American. At the meeting he refers to everyone’s unpronounceable names among other things.

Hanna: It’s supposed to a diplomatic situation.

Damian: And he is supposed to be competent. A well-decorated general. He should know how to interact at a meeting between nations. He was appointed by the president to do this sort of thing.

Hanna: He was played for laughs in a way that did not work.

Damian: The only interesting part of his plot was Creel. I do think the show is at its best when adding powered people.

Hanna: Sigh… We did get Lincoln and Daisy. If you were hoping for them to be together, then yay for you. Neither of us liked that route. But we knew it was coming. We also got the potential for a “cure” for Inhumans. And our last plot line is Ward.

Damian: Being himself in the basement of the Hydra facility.

Hanna: His video feeds seem rather unhelpful? Like it always looks like the same footage all the time?

Damian: I like Evil Ward still. But he didn’t get much to do this time.

Hanna: I still feel like he is overplayed.

Damian: I feel like Malick is overplayed. Malick is really becoming superfluous. He needs to be gone soon. I like Powers Booth, but he doesn’t have anything to do. He’s underused. He’s under complicated.

Hanna: Right. So. Would you like to pick a character to start with here?

Damian: Let’s get Daisy and Lincoln out of the way. They have a little fight about the ethics of a cure for the Inhumans. It’s predictable. Daisy thinks their powers are a gift. Lincoln thinks there’s a moderate use for a cure. Daisy loses her mind. Then they have make-up sex and everything’s okay. We don’t learn anything about them and it’s full of cliches. I think the worst is when he says he’s “afraid to lose control” and she says “sometimes it’s okay to lose control” and then takes her shirt off. It’s the worst Daisy line of the season. So that’s them. Then we have Coulson and Talbot…

Hanna: Yup. We get Talbot back. I wasn’t particularly interested in him to start with…

Damian: He can be a fun foil for Coulson.

Hanna: And they sort of took that away.

Damian: Yeah, they’re buddies by the end. For saving his son.

Hanna: This plot was Coulson having a terrible plan. S.H.I.E.L.D is supposed to be doing this delicate diplomatic mission while figuring out which delegate is a Hydra operative. He has everyone break into the diplomats rooms in really obvious ways. Bobbi blows a safe! They’re not sneaky! But they don’t bring weapons? Because that’s not a rule they are willing to break? And Talbot is working for Malick because his son was kidnapped. I liked that Creel was the backup plan, but by that time I was so annoyed with Talbot it couldn’t save the plotline for me. Then we have Hunter. Why don’t you talk about him?

Damian: What they’ve done with Hunter a few times now is make him the one that is willing to walk away from the op to pursue his own goals. He really should be fired by now. But the plot always justifies his bad choices. In this case, he left the mission to follow Creel and he found out about Talbot’s son. And he brought weapons when he wasn’t supposed to, but guess what? Then they needed the weapons. So it’s okay.

Hanna: And I like Hunter, but that was–

Damian: I’m starting not to like him. He’s making the same choices over and over again. He holds grudges and expresses them in unreasonable ways. He shouldn’t be an agent. He shouldn’t be in this elite group of people if he is entirely uncontrollable. And it’s also making Bobbi less interesting.

Hanna: Bobbi and May had nothing to do this episode.

Damian: They’ve brought May back in as the wise counselor to train Lincoln.

Hanna: Sigh…  We both like where Bobbi and Hunter ended the episode, but that was the very last scene. We hardly got any Fitz/Simmons this episode.

Damian: We had very brief scenes with them.

Hanna: And where was Mack?

Damian: Maybe he’s off doing something with Joey and Yo-Yo and we’ll get an explanation later?

Hanna: Maybe. I missed him this episode. Do we want to talk about Ward?

Damian: We can sum it up. He watches tv, reads some books. Looks intimidating. He’s bringing Inhumans under his influence somehow. And he has them bring him humans and he consumes them? The interesting design of Ward and his broken chest is gone and he’s standard again. This episode was definitely a step back. I want to see what they do with Ward next week.

Hanna: I really missed Yo-yo and Joey.

Damian: Yeah. It’s not that they’re particularly deep characters. They’re just fun to watch. This wasn’t a whole lot of fun to watch. The highlight of the show for me was Creel.

Hanna: I was sort of annoyed that in the talk about vaccines and cures they didn’t seem to bring up immunizing humans to terrigen crystals? They were talking about keeping Inhumans from going through terrigenesis, but they didn’t touch on the potential of making a vaccine that could keep the crystals from killing humans.

Damian: I thought it was implied that that was part of what the vaccine could be used for.

Hanna: I didn’t think it came up.

Damian: Well, it was potentially a legitimately interesting debate. But it was boiled it down to be very simple.

Hanna: While escalating too quickly before being dropped entirely.

Damian: But it gave Lincoln something interesting to say for once. He had an opinion with merit.

Hanna: Maybe we’ll see a more nuanced version down the line… Anyway. Umm… I’m having trouble coming up with a highlight. I guess Bobbi and Hunter in the plane at the end?

Damian: Yeah. Creel was my favorite part. He was implemented in an interesting way. The good/bad guy thing wasn’t particularly interesting. But he was doing something without rattling off cliches and he was dynamic in a fairly flat episode.

Hanna: Well. I think that’s all. Better luck next week everyone.

Hanna and Damian will return next week to discuss the next episode of Marvel’s Agent’s of S.H.I.E.L.D.