“It’s a means to an end”
How quickly is this season of ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ploughing through some of its storylines? It seems the writers are racing to a finish that (obviously) we can’t see yet, but for what reason? I can easily see the season running out of steam before even hitting its mid-season break. That being said, ‘Devils You Know’ gave us probably the most shocking ending to an ‘AoS’ episode yet. We were presented with a typical scenario of ‘do something or we’ll kill someone you love,’ but the outcome was anything but typical.
Let’s get my first gripe out of the way: Lash. Yes, the human Sonic the Hedgehog appeared again, continuing his quest to kill Inhumans. We found out a little more about him: he can transform into a human! But who is he/she? After Daisy questioned who could be the human form of Lash, the camera quickly cut to Rosalind Price. But is that too obvious? I think so…My problem is not about the character, as such. I think he looks a little ridiculous. ‘AoS’ is a comic book show, within the Marvel Universe that is full of weird and wonderful creatures. But his appearance jars with the whole tone of the show. It looks like a guy covered in blue paint, with silly dreadlocks. He’s reminiscent of the Lou Ferrigno ‘Incredible Hulk,’ and that’s not a compliment.
“No, he’s no angel. He’s just a guy trying to do the right thing”
My other concern with the episode was the rushed conclusion to Hunter’s attempt to infiltrate HYDRA. I expected him to slowly climb up through the ranks of Ward’s new HYDRA before coming face to face with him in a climactic scenario. Of course, the entire reasoning behind Hunter’s plan is flawed. What if Ward looked at pictures of each candidate? Surely Ward would be on the lookout for anyone related to S.H.I.E.L.D? Regardless, Hunter’s journey was cut short as he was introduced to Ward in a scene reminiscent (that word again!) of Gladiator. Hunter refused to turn around, just like Maximus when Commodus asked for his name. I expected Hunter to shout out his full name, and vow vengeance against Ward, in this life or the next. Instead, he evaded everyone and tried to shoot Ward.
It felt like the writers couldn’t be bothered with a slow build, and just went ahead with Hunter bumping into Ward. It was pure luck, and almost cut short Hunter’s path of vengeance. I say almost, because Of course, he didn’t get his vengeance in the end, so we still have that to look forward to! However, it did lead to May aiding Hunter, and Ward’s ultimate plan. That Von Strucker kid who Ward recruited a few episodes ago? He and a few other HYDRA agents had Andrew, May’s estranged hubby, surrounded. It was the old deal: let Ward go, and Andrew lives. However, Hunter cried (not literally) ‘no deal,’ and attempted to kill Ward. Ward escaped, but the shop Andrew as trapped in was blown up by Von Strucker Jr…
“I’m not merciful. I’m necessary”
The episode ended there and then (apart from the post-credit teaser, where Simmons asked Fitz to help her find a way back to the alien planet), so there is always the possibility that Andrew escaped. Most shows are reluctant to kill off people, but I suppose Andrew wasn’t a major character. But the impact of his death will be monumental on May. There was a chance of their reconciliation, but now Hunter has put a stop to the possibility. Will it drive May to find and kill Ward, or push her away from S.H.I.E.L.D. and blame Hunter for Andrew’s death? Or will she blame Coulson? His liberal attitude to his agents’ actions has caused problems for S.H.I.E.L.D. in the past. May knows this all too well.
The ending made this a pivotal episode for ‘AoS.’ It seemed to be treading water for the first half an hour or so, but from Hunter’s impromptu meeting with Ward things went full steam ahead. Even though Ward’s deal was all too familiar, it still created a gripping scene. Like I said, Andrew wasn’t a major character, but his relationship with May had been elaborated upon during the episode. Their chance of reconciliation is now gone. It was a brave and unexpected ending, which brought this episode out of the mire. However, are things happening too quickly? Will events stutter and stall come the mid-season break? Will it all degenerate into a mess? I still hope for the best!
VERDICT: 7/10. A plain episode that passed the time steadily until the gripping end! But are things being rushed too much in Season 3 of ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’?
(Click here for my review of Agents of SHIELD: Season 2: Episode 22: S.O.S Part 2)