Everything is connected. That’s a notion brought up constantly within a shared universe like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it remains apt even within this single series. This week saw every main subplot on “Agents of SHIELD” coalesce to form a single narrative backbone for the season and I have to say that I am impressed with how it all smoothly came together. Even in the middle of a season that is already leaps and bounds better than its previous two, this is a nice achievement for the creative team and they should be proud.
They didn’t wheelspin for episodes on end. They didn’t draw story arcs out way past their stretching point. They didn’t drop subplots when they became too unwieldly. Hell, none of the subplots have become unwieldly. Best of all, they didn’t wait until May and the release of Captain America: Civil War to start showing their hand. The deck is laid out already now. Perhaps not completely, but the majority of the cards are on the table. We don’t know Hydra’s villainous endgame, but we know for sure that they are the major player still standing.
That’s right, folks, Hydra isn’t just Grant Ward’s wild and crazy operation at the moment. It is still a multi-faceted organization with its tendrils dipped into most everything around it. Alexander Pierce and the Struckers might be gone, but it remains as strong as ever. They’ve had their hooks in not only the ATCU, using it to build them an army of Inhumans, but also in NASA! That’s right. Since Day One, Hydra has been using NASA for side missions, particularly in the form of sending off astronauts to be blood sacrifices to some ungodly Inhuman on a distant planet. Watching the team reveal how the NASA logo is secretly a Hydra one was an absolute hoot!
Yep, the unknown world that Simmons was sent to is that very planet, pulling the last string on the series as the puppeteer is revealed. That puppeteer is Gideon Malick (Powers Boothe), former member of the World Security Council and the true current head of Hydra. Grant Ward wasn’t too pleased to find out that his own operations haven’t amounted to much in the long run thus far, but he’s rolling with it. You can keep a quirky psychopath down!
Blood sacrifices though. God, I love how this series keeps getting nuttier. Who is this unknown evil Inhuman that Hydra desperately wants returned to Earth? I don’t know, but I can’t wait to find out! I should also mention that this week treated us to C-movie action stars Daniel Bernhardt (as a Hydra goon) and Marc Dacascos (in an apparently-recurring role now as telekinetic Inhuman Mr. Giyera). Paired with Powers Boothe and we have ourselves a nice little B-action episode going on here. I love it.
The shoes have dropped and we haven’t even hit the mid-season finale yet. Between the classy malevolence of Gideon Malick, the deranged machinations of Grant Ward, and the beastial brutality of Lash, our SHIELD team has its work cut out for the rest of this season. I honestly hope it only gets crazier from here.