Snark Tank; Recap
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3, Episode 8: “Many Heads, One Tale” Recap
This week on Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. that thing you all know I don’t like happened, and so I decided to go about this another way so I don’t complain a lot.
SHIELD Recap: Twitter Edition!
The episode opens with an explanation of what Hydra is from Malick as he tries to convince Ward that the Von Strucker family vault doesn’t exist. Having failed he leaves Ward to his goons and they too quickly fail. At least I buy Ward beating up nameless Hydra goons, unlike half our SHIELD team.
A little fire torture later and he has the location of the vault that apparently holds Hydra’s most powerful weapon.
Meanwhile, SHIELD is handing Andrew over to the ATCU to take care of, and Fitz continues to be an asshole to the rest of the staff because of his pouty manpain. Lincoln and Daisy have a talk about keeping it casual after their kiss and I have already seen way too many couples I don’t care about in the first six minutes of this episode.
Coulson gathers everyone for a briefing and pairs everyone up for a plan to infiltrate the ATCU and discover their secrets. While he himself keeps Rosalind busy at the SHIELD base Hunter and Bobbi will enter the building posing as FBI, Mack and Daisy will provide backup and Hacker lingo, and May will handle extraction with Lincoln (her choice, certainly not his).
The arrival of Rosalind brings more cute flirting between her and Coulson, but now it’s hard to know what’s real. Not only could Rosalind possibly be Hydra but we know for sure that Coulson is playing her, which only brings up the question of if his feelings are genuine at all, or if this has all been a mission from the start. Cold, Coulson, I’m not sure if I like this side of you if that’s true, but the double crossing spy flirting is at least cute while it lasts.
While at the base Rosalind gets a call from work to let her know the FBI is currently at the ATCU. An energy pulse from Andrew’s containment cell has breached their network, or at least that’s the story to get Bobbi and Hunter into the building. Fake a breach to create a bigger breach, nice idea guys.
With Hunter posing as an annoying British hacker and Bobbi as his completely done FBI handler, Daisy provides the hacker talk to make Hunter seem convincing and get them into the building.
When we check back in with Jemma and Fitz the two are busy still working on the Will problem, investigating the symbols Fitz discovered last episode.
Jemma doesn’t want to acknowledge the fact Will wasn’t exactly sent on a mission so much as sacrificed to the planet, and Fitz’s positive outlook that they can still open a new portal finally makes her snap. It’s too much to see him doing the right thing despite the fact he’s in love with her, and the show continues to pile on the fact that Fitz is a poor puppy and praises him for doing things like almost killing Daisy by diving through the portal she could hardly keep open.
They kiss, I roll my eyes, I really am trying not to complain to you all about this storyline so much but it’s really ruined a lot of the stuff I loved about their relationship. It’s not often we get to see platonic opposite-sex friendships on tv and though Fitz admitted his love for Jemma at the end of season one I honestly thought the show was going to have them get over that instead of going for the standard boo hoo friendzoned hero-boy storyline.
Our last shot from this scene shows a pan down to a book on the floor with a much older version of the symbol they have been studying, upside down and with what looks a lot like tentacles. Surprise, this is all probably Hydra yet again! We’ll get back to this later.
Daisy continues to help Hunter pass as a hacker and gets the team remote access to the ATCU system as well as providing the comedy for the episode. Hunter is hopeless at typing and I have to admit I loved the choice of username for him, GodsavetheQueen. While Lincoln reluctantly goes off to provide extraction with May, Mack gives Bobbi a call as an excuse to get her away from Hunter and let her explore off limits parts of the base.
What Bobbi expects to find isn’t what she gets, and instead of Inhumans being experimented on what she actually discovers is fish oil, mandatory supplement for their employees and any witnesses of an Inhuman event to try make as many inhumans as possible.
With this confirmation Coulson finally confronts Rosalind, locking the two of them in a containment cell and asking her about what they’ve found and the fact that Andrew clearly isn’t at the ATCU. Surprise, he’s actually with her friend Malick, Rosalind willingly handed him over to Hydra! Don’t worry though, I was right, Rosalind has no idea what Malick really is and she doesn’t even know what’s really happening on those restricted floors of the ATCU facility.
My heart really breaks for Rosalind here, because it’s clear she had genuine feelings for Coulson and he’s far too paranoid to really trust anyone new, even if he has a real attraction to them. It’s understandable really, after SHIELD being infiltrated by Hydra for so long, but he really needs to get himself some counselling and just maybe he’ll be able to recover his relationship with Rosalind.
Back at the ATCU Bobbi has been discovered and fightings off the ATCU’s henchmen, including a Inhuman with telekinesis powers, with her new trusty flying batons that return to mama.
Coulson manages to trust Rosalind enough to let her make a call to her man inside the facility, who helps Bobbi and Hunter get to May’s jet. While on the way we’re also treated to May’s quiet talk with Lincoln, where it’s revealed she doesn’t actually want to murder him for attacking Andrew, she wants to apologize.
I don’t understand why May has to apologize to a guy that can’t control his temper for something she didn’t even do, but she’s at least the bigger person and sorry he lost his friends, even if she has no reason to be blaming herself for what happened.
Back on the Hydra side of things Ward has boarded a plane and in true villainous fashion blows open a door to parachute down to the Von Strucker vault. There he finds Malick has already beaten him to the location, and the two share drinks as Malick finally explains what Hydra is hiding.
Hydra is much older than Ward knows, and Malick explains that they existed since long before World War II, they’re in fact as old as the monolith which the vault holds part of. This certainly explains the cuts missing from full sized monolith that took Jemma and how Shield came to possess the monolith in the first place, because Hydra always had it and for generations they have been sending men through the portal to serve their leader on the other side.
While Malick explains things to Ward, at the base Fitz and Simmons lay out a progression of the mysterious organization’s symbol through the ages, finally turning the oldest upside down to reveal something that looks suspiciously like Hydra’s current symbol.
I’m not sure how I like the introduction of this extended origin for Hydra, especially when it rewrites the core of their objective. It would be fine if this was just the show, but it will no doubt never be something mentioned in the Marvel movies to avoid confusing viewers that don’t also watch SHIELD, and that’s what could possibly cause the problem. But this has always been the problem with Marvel TV, how much they can do without contradicting the movies.
We’re left with Ward back in the states, speaking with Andrew from outside his containment cell. They know how to stop him being Lash, now Hydra wants to know how to wake Lash up. Ward meanwhile, still seems more obsessed with his petty mission to hurt May. May thinks he’s a monster but “I guess we know her type” since Andrew actually turns into one.
This was a surprisingly enjoyable episode, despite The Kiss, and I don’t have any doubt now that what comes through the portal won’t be Will but the being from the planet, ready to lead Hydra as the season’s official Big Bad. I’m a little disappointed this means not getting to see more of Will and Jemma, and makes things oh so easy for Fitzsimmons, but at least it means not really having to deal with a love triangle.
If I’m right, that is! For all I know the show will completely pull the rug out from under us here. Maybe we’ll have to deal with Ward being possessed, but at least that might make him more frightening if he has to stick around.
Badass of the Week: Rosalind Price, emotional badass is still a badass.
Scumbag of the Week: Grant Ward, the fact it’s taken him so long to earn this title is simply because he was hardly present the last two episodes.
Slow clapping at: Rosalind laying into Coulson for being so manipulative.
I just don’t care any more: Fitz’s attitude and manpain.