A Recap of “The Inside Man”
This week’s episode of Agents of SHIELD, “The Inside Man,” introduced a couple of new elements to the show as it nears the end of its third season. One of these was the show’s re-introduction of a character who originally appeared in Marvel Comics, Carl Creel the Absorbing Man. Shrewd viewers may have also noticed the brief appearance of the name of another character who originally appeared in the comics, Eden Fesi also known as Manifold. And, we saw Zombie-Ward regain his full bodily strength by somehow absorbing the life force of five random folks. Interesting plot developments, let’s review how we got there.
Under the guise of an international meeting of minds over the Inhuman issue, Coulson and Talbot along with Agents May, Morse, and Hunter gather information on the delegates in order to determine if any of them are the “inside man” working with Gideon Malick, and by extension Hydra. Determining the double-crosser is especially important to Director Coulson who wants Malick to face charges for the assassination of Rosalind Price.
Unfortunately for Coulson, the inside man turns out to be General Talbot who sells Coulson out to protect his Inhuman son, trapped in a stasis pod that could have its life support system cut at any moment should Malick give the word.
While all this is going on, Simmons, Fitz, Daisy, and Lincoln determine that Creel’s blood can be used as a vaccine against terrigenesis, the process by which people become Inhumans. Anyone with even a passing interest in the X-Men is familiar with this kind of plot line: if there’s a cure, it’s going to be controversial. And it is! Lincoln and Daisy, who almost got coital in the workout room earlier in the episode, get in an overblown philosophical debate over the implications of a cure.
Back at the conference, Talbot’s double-cross isn’t going to plan. Malick has taken Coulson and Talbot captive and refuses to release Talbot’s son. Luckily for Talbot, May, Hunter, and Morse are able to rescue Talbot’s son. Malick escapes but as we find out later, Morse and Hunter are tailing him on a private jet to Russia. He shares the jet with Ivan Petrov, who previously in the episode suggested that an Inhuman sanctuary be built in Russia.
My Critique of “The Inside Man”
As far as Agents of SHIELD goes, this wasn’t a bad episode. I still can’t wrap my brain around why the show is taking so long to get going with its new incarnation of Grant Ward but at least the relatively boring period of his regaining strength is coming to an end. Although Malick is a good behind-the-scenes baddie, at the end of the day he’s an unpowered older dude. So, although Powers Boothe has great presence onscreen, there’s only so far his jowly bluster can go before one inevitably starts to wonder why Daisy doesn’t just vibrate him to death. Hopefully Zombie-Ward will fill the void and provide the audience with a powered villain now that Agents of SHIELD has started its superhuman arms race, both Hydra and SHIELD amassing Inhuman armies to fight for their interests. I’m hoping that having a few more powered characters around on the show will increase the likelihood of there being of powered altercations. And, although powered altercations increase the effects budget of a show, they also help to make a show like this more fun to watch.