Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Parodies The X-Men with 'Inside Man'

Wednesday, 16 March 2016 - 10:47AM
Marvel
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Wednesday, 16 March 2016 - 10:47AM
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Parodies The X-Men with 'Inside Man'
This week, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 'The Inside Man' sees half of the team on a secret undercover spy mission in Taiwan while the rest are left to make groundbreaking scientific discoveries back at base. Tensions run high when the team learns they are to be working with Talbot and his new body guard/ former Agent of Hydra, Creel (the Absorbing Man). After getting off to a rocky start with Lincoln attacking Creel, Talbot vouches for him explaining that he trusts the Absorbing Man with his life, and that despite his grievous acts in the past, he should be given a second chance. Luckily for him, Coulson is all about second chances and it likely we'll see more of the "Michelin Man" in the future, especially since Simmons discovered that his blood may contain a preventative cure for terrigenesis.
 
While it's not for lack of trying, the extent of Lincoln's character depth continues to fall short of the other characters around him, consisting mainly of angsty brooding, anger management issues and lack of respect for authority. Still, I like Lincoln, and I love Daisy so I'd love to see the two become a more complex and engaging team. I'm keeping my hopes up that "Shake and Bake" will show some development as a couple soon, especially after their heated disagreement about terrigenesis in this week's episode.

This terrigenesis issue definitely carries some weight and has the potential to shape the future of their relationship, for better or worse. While Lincoln feels that terrigenesis should be a choice, Daisy can't help but feel that it was a gift that she can use to "stop bad people from doing bad things". Daisy has every right to be worried about a "cure" for Inhumans ending up in the wrong hands, since it could be used to take away all choice of activating Inhuman abilities in the first place. Lincoln's view is also justified though, and after the disastrous effects terrigen had on Lash I'm surprised Daisy took as long as she did to see his side of the argument.

If such an argument feels familiar it's because it has been done many times before, but with characters Marvel don't own the rights to. The discovery and discussion over the relative merits of a cure to terrigenesis is remarkably similar to themes explored throughout the X-Men franchise. The notion of a cure for mutants has been explored multiple times in X-Men properties, and in almost every case the same themes explored are remarkably similar to those seen in this week's episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Daisy and Lincoln's argument represents a tried and tested formula with the Inhumans (just like the X-Men) beginning to feel like an unwanted minority among the people they are trying to save. During this debate, Daisy moves incredibly close to sounding more like a Magneto than a Charles Xavier, and though she eventually apologizes for her hot-headedness, it's clear that the show plans to parody this familiar X-Men story arc in much more detail in the future.

 
Meanwhile, the rest of the team travels to Taiwan for a good old fashioned spy mission at an international diplomatic meeting set up to allow world leaders to discuss the Inhuman problem. There's a sense of unease in the build up to the mission, and things go south when Talbot turns on Coulson to aid Malick's quest of world domination. Though he may be a bit of A-hole sometimes, Talbot is not truly a bad guy, and we soon find out that his betrayal was because Malick has been holding his son hostage in an effort to force the General to comply with his plan. Coulson and the crew manage to save Talbot's son, but that doesn't stop Malick from gaining the trust of the international leaders, convincing them to round up the Inhumans and place them into a settlement in Russia.  

While Talbot and Coulson don't always see eye to eye, this episode's espionage antics showed the potential that exists in developing more Coulson/Talbot buddy plotlines. From Fitz and Simmons to Bobbi and Lance, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. excels at creating double acts, and at least this time we'd get a double act that didn't end up getting romantically involved – not that we'd be angry if they did.
 
Aside from the espionage and X-Men parodies, this episode reinforced that Hive is now the one pulling the strings behind the scenes at Hydra. After Malick points out that his host body is not healing (as evidenced by its gaunt gray zombie-like appearance), Hive requests that five innocents are brought to him in what we can only assume is the Inhuman equivalent of a Seamless order. As if to remind us that Hive is a truly evil entity, we next see him covered in the remnants of the five innocent humans, and beneath the thick layers of slime Hive's host body is back to the possessing those smooth Grant Ward good looks.  

 
If it's difficult to imagine the show without Brett Dalton, but that's nothing compared to imagining the team without Adrianne Palicki and Nick Blood as Bobbi and Lance. As excited as we are for them to get their own spin-off, I hope they'll continue to appear on Agent's of S.H.I.E.L.D. This episode once again proves that not only are they vital to the team on missions, but they also continue to deliver the best one-liners in the show. Regardless of how we feel though, it looks like next week's episode will be setting us up for Marvel's Most Wanted, with this particular episode ending with them stowing away on Malick's jet which is bound for Russia.
 
With two episodes down, the second half of the season is feeling little bit slow, but that's no surprise considering we're comparing it to the breakneck speeds of the first half. It's clear that these episodes have been used to build a platform for more impactful storytelling later on in the season. It looks likely that the show's writers are continuing on their ambitious tactic of exploring multiple complex story arcs, from the X-Men style vaccine issue, to the growing powers of Hydra, there looks to be a lot to look forward to as this season progresses. 

Next week's "Parting Shot" promises a distinctly different tone than the last two episodes, as well as the introduction of a new Inhuman.  
 
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