Source: Agents of Shield Twitter

No time to mourn Agent Carter, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is jumping right back in the saddle!

Space: the final frontier.

The episode opens with a shot of outer space, as we get the ominous caption “three months from now”. We slowly enter a quinjet “dead in the water”, so to speak. Inside the derelict jet, there is no sign of life. A cross necklace floats by. As we see the S.H.I.E.L.D. logo on the shoulder of someone’s jacket get engulfed in sudden flames, we cut to present day.

What? Who was that? Who died!?

In present day Colombia, the police answer to reports of what appears to be a burning barricade of old cars and oil drums. As they approach, they realize it was a trap – someone is after their (ridiculous stockpile of) guns. They are attacked and disarmed by a seemingly invisible force, before the guns are eventually stolen. In a secret location, a hooded figure examines their spoils. As she takes off her hood, we see a young Colombian woman (who we will soon learn to be Elena Rodriguez) – but most importantly, she is wearing a cross necklace.

Back in the United States, Coulson and May are in Rosalind’s house, waiting to meet someone. Coulson strategically planned the meeting here for three reasons: so ‘he’ could see where it happened, so they didn’t divulge the location of their secret base, and because ‘he’ wouldn’t invite them to his house. As he says this, President Matthew Ellis walks in.

That makes sense. Remember President Ellis? He was on Iron Man 3? …Just me?

President Ellis and Coulson have a chat. While Ellis is not willing to quite legitimize S.H.I.E.L.D. as an official government agency again (remember Project Insight?), he would like Coulson to continue working from the shadows, with the A.T.C.U. operating as a front. He will appoint a new head shortly, whom will report into Coulson; the Inhuman threat is now worldwide and too large to ignore. When Coulson asks for help fighting Gideon Malick, Ellis tells him that in that situation his hands are tied. Malick has significant economic ties to every country, and while the president isn’t opposed to having him brought to justice, he personally does not have the worldwide reach or connections required. That’s a bear you don’t want to poke.

In Colombia, WHO representatives Jacqueline Nippon and Angel Perrenoud are investigating the spread of Terrigen – except, of course, it is Daisy and Joey in disguise. Joey talks to the guard in Spanish, and he quickly gets his (English) superior. He explains that a powered individual stole the guns from their convoy; guns intended to be used against Inhumans. Daisy lets him know that there are good ones and bad ones, and they are here to help.

As Hunter and Mack look for leads in Bogotá, Simmons and Lincoln are analyzing their evidence in the lab. Well, that’s an odd couple pairing. Simmons asks for Fitz help in identifying any missing information she isn’t seeing, but an awkward and very professional Fitz tells her that no, there’s nothing. As Bobbi approaches Hunter and Mack and updates them with the police testimonial, Hunter reveals that Bobbi and he had tried fish oil pills to roll the evolutionary dice – with no luck. They’re perfect for each other. As Mack follows the trail, he runs into our Inhuman from earlier – Elena. She uses her power – superspeed, not invisibility – to swipe Mack’s gun, knock him out and load him up in the van. He wakes up in a predicament he had Hunter in before – tied up to a sink in a bathroom.

Now, a quick break to discuss this new character if you are unfamiliar. Elena Rodriguez is not the name of any character from the comics; however, Mack’s later nickname for her, “Yo-Yo” Rodriguez, is the name of a member of the comic incarnation of the Secret Warriors: Slingshot. Yo-Yo has the power of, as the episode title suggests, “bouncing back” – she has superhuman speed, but will always snap back to the point of origin once she stops running. Sounds useless? Watch her prove you wrong.

As the gang ponders how they lost someone as gigantic as Mack, they watch the security footage of a nearby shop. In it, you can’t see much, but for a short second you see a blur of Yo-Yo (yes, I’ll probably call her this from now on). They send the footage to Fitz, Simmons and Lincoln to analyze, and Simmons tells them that she moved 6 meters in a 30th of a second , judging by the one frame of video. Simmons remotely “upgrades” their containment unit to hold her, as Inhuman powers are random – when Lincoln points out this isn’t true. According to Jiaying, their specific powers were created to fill a biological gap – an evolutionary need; at least, this is what he was taught. (Don’t worry Lincoln, us comic readers were taught the same thing).

As Fitz tinkers with his toys by himself, Coulson has him drop everything immediately and come with him. As they walk, he asks Fitz what his opinion is on Lincoln. Fitz says that he is smart and has been great in both helping Jemma understand Inhuman biology and keeping her mind occupied from that time he totally lit her boyfriend on fire (kind of). Coulson tells him that he did what he had to do; they both did.

Okay, lets hit the brakes here, Phil.

Will was already dead and his body was taken over by an evil alien slug creature who was trying to escape to Earth and destroy it. By killing him, Fitz absolutely did “what he had to do”. On the other hand, you revenge-killed a defenseless Ward who was stranded on an alien planet by slowly crushing in his ribcage. Not only did this eventually allow the evil alien slug creature a new host to inhabit, one hardly needs to “Stand With Ward” to consider your decision an ultimately unnecessary call.

At any rate, Coulson is asking Fitz to repair the painful Theta Brain-Wave Frequency Machine. Not to be confused with the entirely unrelated Theta Protocol from season 2, this machine from season 1 allows people to bring back repressed memories by force. It’s not a magical place.

In Colombia, Yo-Yo urges her partner in crime (later revealed to be her cousin) to go and complete their mission, while she takes care of the “complication in the bathroom”. Mack breaks free and during the ensuing fight, he realizes the extent of Elena’s powers and coins her iconic nickname.

In a HYDRA facility, Malick and Giyera talk about the Ward/It/alien slug creature, whom the showrunners have confirmed is Hive (as I theorized) yet the fanbase has lovingly dubbed SquidWard. They mention how he is weak, can hardly stand and has not spoken, but Malick ensures Giyera to remain faithful. As they exit the elevator, the guard tells Malick that Hive was asking for him, to Malick’s surprise. As Malick approaches the emaciated corpse of Ward and asks what he needs, he replies that he is hungry.

In Colombia, Yo-Yo and a retied Mack attempt to have a conversation, despite the fact that Elena does not speak English and Mack does not speak Spanish. They understand the basics of what each other is saying: Mack is accusing Yo-Yo of being a criminal, she claims she would never commit a sin and that her powers are from God, Mack tells her they’re from fish, she describes terrigenesis and then Daisy, Hunter and Bobbi come to the rescue.

At the Playground, they wheel a braindead Werner von Strucker to the Theta Machine. Lincoln expresses extremes concern with S.H.I.E.L.D.’s methods of getting information, and Coulson confides that he isn’t happy about either; getting his arm cut off was pleasant in comparison to going in this machine. But Coulson needs something on Malick. As they turn on the machine and they asks Werner to focus on Gideon, he just starts begging for death.

On the Zephyr One, they run a background check on Elena and find that she has no criminal record – she works at a museum and takes art classes, with no previous history of kidnapping or gun-running. Mack points out that it just doesn’t add up, and Hunter throws in his theory that the powers did this to her. Daisy and Joey start to get defensive, until he points out Lash as an example. Fair enough. They pull up her (also criminally clean) cousin, and Bobbi and Hunter leave to track him down. Meanwhile, a very angry Yo-Yo is awake and doing her best to break out of the containment unit. They send Joey in to talk to her.

In the weird underground HYDRA bunker, HiveWard is watching even more TVs of horrible events, while eating raw meat. The creepy, calm zombified Ward discusses humanity with Giyera and promises that he will make him believe that he is capable of “what they say”.

As Werner begs to be killed and they make no progress with the Theta Machine, Coulson asks Lincoln to stimulate his brain with electricity. While this is dangerous as all hell and Lincoln, as a doctor, is not terribly willing to do it – he does it anyway. And what do you know, it works. Strucker remembers walking into a shop and saying the bizarre passcode “Perizaad sent me. We went to Princeton together.” to reach Malick as a last resort.

Joey and Yo-Yo communicate, while Daisy and Mack get live translations on their tablet nearby. She reveals that she believes her gifts were from God, to finally do something – they stole the weapons so they could dispose of them. The police are violent and headstrong, and she did this to stop her friends from being killed in the streets. Bobbi and Hunter arrest her cousin as he is throwing the guns in the river, and call Daisy – who tells Mack that she is telling the truth.

The local police show up on the bridge, and refuse to let Bobbi and Hunter drive away. Bobbi pulls out her battle staves and Hunter grabs a rifle, but then one of the cops lifts up his sunglasses and paralyzes them all with his eyes.

Now, who the hell is this guy? In the comics, a villain named The Gorgon has similar powers – except he turns them to stone. However, the Inhuman named Gorgon has a completely different set of powers. There is also a similar villain named Basilisk. This guy seems like a discount version of both.

As the police load up the petrified Bobbi and Hunter, they kill Elena’s poor cousin to send a message.

On the Zephyr, Mack, Joey and Daisy load the body and take it away. Daisy leaves to tell Coulson, while Mack and Joey decide an Inhuman must have done this. Mack delivers the unfortunate news to Elena.

As Hunter and Bobbi start to recover on the floor of the police station, Medudesa paralyzes Hunter again. They tell Bobbi that they are going to ask her some questions, and Hunter’s life depends on her answers. Pssh, right when they have a spin-off on the way?

As Mack consoles Yo-Yo (I ship it) and Joey translates, they decide to fight back, and Elena is in. She reveals that her power is connected to her pulse; she can go as fast and far as one heartbeat will take her before snapping back. Looks like Slingshot is on the team, folks! We have a new Secret Warrior!

At the station/military base/whatever it is, Elena uses her powers to steal a keycard in an awesome slow-mo shot. As Bobbi is being interrogated by the chief of police guy and Paral-Eyes, she mentions they are part of an alien invasion task force – which isn’t totally untrue. Yo-Yo and Daisy work together to take out some guards.

Take this in, folks. Never in a million years did even the most optimistic Marvel fan imagine seeing Quake and Slingshot from the Secret Warriors in the MCU. And it’s glorious.

Daisy blasts some guards, Joey melts some guns, but Elena is really the star of the show, gathering weapons and handcuffing guards before the others have time to blink. Mack frees Bobbi, and Bobbi warns him of the Inhuman on the way to the others. Yo-Yo handcuffs him, but he paralyzes her – instead of snapping back to her origin point, her paralyzed body hits a wall. Joey melts his glasses into his eyes, and Daisy hits him with a concussive blast.

In the shopfront from Werner’s flashback, Coulson approaches the counter and delivers the code message. The silent shopkeep makes him unload all his weapons and robo-hand, and he enters a room with a single telephone, which he taps. He calls Malick, who is surprised to hear from Werner – but Coulson points out he is in no condition to make phone calls. When Coulson strangely tells him that they are tracing the call, Gideon simply responds that it will cost him billions and he’ll have to close a few offices, but his influence reaches further than that.

In Columbia, a jet flies up, saws a hole in the roof with a fancy gadget, and kidnaps the gorgon-like Inhuman immediately. Mack recognizes it as HYDRA.

On the Zephyr One, Joey tries to convince Elena to join them. She refuses, wishing to stay in Colombia. Mack wants her to join because it’s “safer”, but Daisy points out that if the four of them are in one spot, they are vulnerable to attacks from people like Lash. Mack points out it’s difficult to build a team if everyone is spread out over the world, but Daisy points out her Rising Tide hacktivist origins. Mack gives Yo-Yo a special S.H.I.E.L.D. communicator watch, if either of them need backup.

Elena apologizes in English for kidnapping Mack, and they share a cute moment. Daisy also gives Joey leave of S.H.I.E.L.D. for the first time, allowing him to resume his life.

As Fitz works in the lab, Simmons comes in and reveals she misses him. He has been distant because he feels guilty over Will’s death, and he apologizes to her. Jemma points out that he killed the monster that killed him. They don’t know what to do or where to go from here, so they decide to start fresh and reintroduce themselves.

It’s a start.

In the locker rooms, Lincoln mentions he saw Joey packing up. Daisy offers him the same deal; his APB is lifted and he is no longer a wanted (Inhu)man. He decides his old life was boring and S.H.I.E.L.D. is more interesting. They kiss. Again. And yet there is still no chemistry.

As Coulson and May share a drink and talk about his new realistic prosthetic hand (no black glove budget?). Whether May knows what Coulson did or not, she knows something is bugging him and she points out that some things just scar you permanently. She welcomes him to “The Cavalry”. As they watch the news, Gideon Malick’s company Gothite Industries closes many offices, and stock prices plummet. They prepare for war with whatever Malick has “on his side”.

Speak of the devil, Hive is watching even more TVs of world events simultaneously. As Malick expresses his doubts that he was what they were looking for all these years, he promises again to make a believer out of them. He then begins to turn to sand.

Ew, were those sandstorms on Maveth really made out of flesh?

In the post-credits scene, the President appoints the new head of the A.T.C.U. to report under Coulson, against Coulson’s wishes: the goofy, antagonistic General Talbot.

This episode was absolutely better upon a second viewing. While it isn’t one of the highlights of the season, it definitely sets up for a lot and raises some interesting questions. Who was in the quinjet? What is the full extent of Hive’s powers?

I give this episode a 7.5/10.

Bonus theories and speculation

It’s back! My theories are back!

  • I think the dead S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in the quinjet will be Mack. Him and Yo-Yo will start dating, and she will give him her necklace as a good luck charm when he goes on a suicide mission to save the world. Either that or May, considering her arc seems to be coming to a close.
  • Given the nature of his appearance this season, I think this will be Brett Dalton’s last season as any incarnation of Grant Ward.
  •  Hive vs Lash fight! Hive vs Lash fight!
  • Fitzsimmons will date for real. Eventually.
  • Lincoln is going to regret his decision to join S.H.I.E.L.D.

Join me next week as we laugh at the hijinks of Coulson and Talbot!