Review: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 Ep. 14

(Marvel Studios 2016)

Summary: Inhumans have begun popping up all over the globe now that the Terrigen strain has been released into the ozone. Phil Coulson, Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., is leading a task force to detain these Inhumans before they unleash unknown catastrophe on the world. However he meets opposition from all sides including the U.S. Military. Things are not the same and this is a tale of a changed people.

“Watchdogs”

Directed by Jesse Bochco; Written by Drew Z. Greenberg

[SPOILERS!!]

Review: One step forward. Two teensy steps back.

Last week’s stellar episode Parting Shot was always going to be hard to beat. This episode isn’t as good as that episode, but it it is a good episode nonetheless. Although both Coulson and Fitz get a bit out of character this time around which we’ll discuss in just a bit.

For Mack fans this was a great episode, and for the big man – despite getting shot a few times – it was a long time coming that we get some time more primarily focused on him. I like Mack, he’s an easy likeable guy, but with both Bobbi and Hunter leaving last episode it was the perfect time to shine some light on the man behind the spy.

D. ELLIOT WOODS, JUSTIN MORCK

MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. – “Watchdogs” – When a radical group called The Watchdogs emerges with plans to eliminate the Inhumans, Agent Mack and his brother become caught in the crossfire. Meanwhile, Simmons discovers a powerful chemical compound that could alter the future for Inhumans, on “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” TUESDAY, MARCH 29 (9:00-10:00 p.m. EDT) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Kelsey McNeal) D. ELLIOT WOODS, JUSTIN MORCK

With most of the episode taking place in his home city, Mack is visiting with his little brother having them some much needed bonding time while Mack is on vacation. Obviously trying to get over losing his two best friends last week. As these things go though the Watchdogs, an online movement against Inhumans now taking up arms against them in the real world, get in the way of that vacation which leads to much animosity between Mack and his brother.

As far as his brother is concerned, Mack works in insurance. When he finds out the truth it’s definitely not all roses and getting to hear about all the responsibility his bro has to take on for the family while Mack is away on missions lends a lot more heart and soul to their relationship.

You feel bad for them but it’s always nice when struggles like these humanize people in ways we never did before. Mack and his brother’s situation is quite relevant to many people around the world. Whether one of the siblings works for a secret agency or not is another matter.

This episode also saw the return of an old SHIELD agent now turned villain leading the Watchdogs: Felix Blake. A once ally to Coulson before Deathlok broke his spine and SHIELD fell to HYDRA, now the man harbors nothing more than animosity and hatred towards super-powered individuals and especially the Inhumans whom are popping up everywhere nowadays.

This actually feels very right for the character. And there are plenty of people who would harbor animosity towards a super-powered individual if they were the reason that person was now paralyzed. Blake has the training and resources to go after Inhumans – although he is getting some help from Malick but that’s another story not yet told.

Blake brings with him an old weapon not seen in the MCU since way back in the beginning of season 1 of Agent Carter: Nitramene. An explosive created by Howard Stark, stolen from him in the beginning of that series and we quickly found out that enough of it has the power to implode anything that it is attached to. It’s really great to see this relic from AC making a return and that they’ve updated the specs since then. I mean it’s scary that the Watchdogs have it but it’s great to see it being used at all on the show and not letting the idea go to waste.

Now if we can just get the return of and some answers to Zero Matter. That would be swell.

Poor Fitz gets hit with Nitromene in the neck and has to figure out a way to remove. Thankfully he has main character status because earlier in the episode they show a Watchdog enforcer shooting a bunch of the stuff onto an ATCU building and it suspending itself onto the building for a few seconds before imploding the place. However for Fitz it takes at least 30 minutes, right? Not in real time but in jump scene time before finally figuring out how to stop it when the Watchdog him and Daisy catch uses the term “suspended.”

Which Fitz is immediately able to figure out how to stop it because this guy said “suspended” and, in Fitz own words, used a science term that this guy shouldn’t know. Fitz. Suspended is not a mumbo jumbo science term that only scientists know and can pronounce. It is a common enough word that this man probably knows it and you’re basically invincible because the show demands you be.

I would’ve hate to have lost Fitz, but with writing like that to save his life I would’ve been far more impressed and awed if they killed him off this episode.

And finally we had Coulson’s subplot of teaming up with Lincoln to track down Blake. Coulson is understandably upset about losing Bobbi and Hunter and now having to deal with an ex-SHIELD agent with old SHIELD tech. So he’s all yell-y for most of the episode. Coulson reads Lincoln’s evaluation report and learns that he’s just on the team to be near Daisy. This also understandably upsets him so he takes Lincoln on a mission to prove his muster.

Coulson, why did you ever let Lincoln go on missions before without an evaluation? Why is this time different? And at the end of the episode when you tell him to kill Blake and he does what you say while firing a non-lethal shot he is by all intents and purposes disobeying you. You told him to shoot to kill and he did not. But because he fired at all you’re not buddy-buddy with the guy?

Again, for the most part this episode was pretty solid. Especially for Mack and the Watchdogs. Everyone else of importance this episode got the shaft in the character department. Sooo close.

Final Score: 3 Nitromene Implosions out of 5

DERRICK-imageDerrick is a born and raised otaku with a love for comics, anime, manga and movies. The full list is pretty long, but that’s just the basics. Stories set in space are his bread and butter.

You can find more of his writing at IndieComix.net

@KazekunForever

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