‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Recap- Season 3, Episode 12: “The Inside Man”

What does it mean to be an Inhuman?  Is it a blessing?  Is it a curse?  Is it both?  And what should be done about it?  This week’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. focused on Coulson leading the team on an espionage mission in Taiwan to see which world leaders at the “Inhumans Symposium” might be secretly working on behalf of HYDRA leader Malick.

Coulson is the leader of the Advanced Threat Containment Unit (ATCU).  But since S.H.I.E.L.D. still isn’t trusted by the populace, the public face of the ACTU has to be General Talbot.  Now Talbot and S.H.I.E.L.D. have troubled history due to the fact that last season Talbot hunted S.H.I.E.L.D. thanks to the events of The Winter Soldier.  Now the two have to work together as a team and although Coulson is the leader, he prefers it be a “partnership.”  To make matters worse Talbot’s personal bodyguard is none other than Crusher Creel, the Absorbing Man.

This causes some issues for Hunter, who lost fellow S.H.I.E.L.D. agents last season when they faced off against Creel.  Although Creel is reformed and working for General Talbot, now working for Coulson, Hunter doesn’t trust him and thinks he’s still the same criminal he previously fought.  During the mission Hunter goes rouge to follow Creel and try to stop him when he detects suspicion.  It seems that the show may be foreshadowing Hunter and Bobbi’s potential spin-off show Most Wanted (whose pilot just might get picked up).  Towards the end of the episode, he and Bobbi do have to go on their own separate mission, and there might be a lot of danger along with that.

On the science end: Fitz and Simmons are puzzled as to why Creel was able to survive touching the Inhuman-creating object: the Obelisk when all other humans died after touching it.  They proceeded to study his blood for further analysis.  It turns out that Creel is impervious to Terrigenesis (the process where an Inhuman gets their powers but kills normal humans) and his blood holds the cure for the Inhuman crisis.  His blood could be made to synthesize a “cure.”  This leads Skye and Lincoln to their first argument as a couple.  Lincoln believes that some Inhumans should not be able to get their powers, as they cannot handle it.  Sky is proud of her heritage and thinks that being an Inhuman is not something that should be “cured” because it’s as natural for her as breathing.  She believes that because she gained powers, it has helped her grow into the person that she now is.  This adds another problem with the Inhuman issue.  Should the Inhuman situation be studied?  Should humans work with them?  Or should the humans literally exterminate their powers with this potential cure?  Such an ethical dilemma.  

The alien in Ward’s body (Hive) continues to recuperate.  Last week’s Inhuman who joined HYDRA is unable to use his power on Hive.  It’s quite clear that Malick is no longer the leader of HYDRA as now Hive’s calling the shots.  Knowing that Ward’s body is not strong enough, Hive demands five human volunteers (since he cannot take possession of an Inhuman’s body), where he then sacrifices the humans to gain his full strength.  No longer is Hive looking emaciated but in prime condition, a fact that scares even the Inhuman HYDRA agents.

At the symposium, world leaders are meeting with Talbot and Coulson to discuss what to do about the Inhuman issue.  Coulson knows that one of the leaders is secretly working with Malick, but who?  It’s assumed that it’s the Russian leader because he proposes all the Inhumans of the world be given a dedicated piece land in Russia where they can live on their own.  It could be interpreted that Malick and Russia want the Inhumans in one place so that they can control them and their powers.  It turns out that the real inside man is Talbot, whose son Malick kidnapped.  Although Talbot does betray Coulson, Malick betrays him as well.  Talbot’s no fool, so he had Creel save both of them as they all fought HYDRA agents and then saved Talbot’s son.  When it’s all over, Coulson still believes in the partnership between the two of them.  It will be hard for them to still trust each other at this point, but it looks like they will still be stuck together and continue to help each other out.

Overall, this was another great episode.  Skye’s defense of her race seems like it may start to become a wedge issue with her fellow S.H.I.E.L.D. teammates.  Hunter’s anger toward Creel also seems like that’s going to be something to pay attention to.  May reveals to him that they aren’t “friends.”  Besides Bobbi, he really doesn’t have any allegiance to S.H.I.E.L.D.  After all, he joined them last season as a mercenary, and might start feeling underappreciated.  What really is keeping him there?  If Bobbi’s view of the agency changes, he just might convince her to leave S.H.I.E.L.D and the two of them go out on their own.  Skye and Lincoln hooking up felt a little forced, but it shows that there’s someone for everyone on this show.  The Inhuman cure will probably play a much larger role as the season progresses.  It can have the same type team infighting drama we’ll see in Captain America Civil War, so we’ll keep an eye on that in the next few episodes.