Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Just Started Setting Up Captain America: Civil War

Wednesday, 30 March 2016 - 10:24AM
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Wednesday, 30 March 2016 - 10:24AM
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Just Started Setting Up Captain America: Civil War
Agent's of S.H.I.E.L.D. took a bit of a different turn this week as we saw the characters dealing with the hardships and sacrifices that come with working for S.H.I.E.L.D. in light of the departure of Agents Morse and Hunter. But it also seems as though the show's creative team have been given a brief to start setting up themes for a certain Captain America movie, with debates about the processes behind powered crime fighting starting to abound within the agency.

Daisy continues to remind me far too much of Magneto, acting brashly and using somewhat hostile tactics to go after the anti-Inhumans hate group, the Watchdogs.
 
 
Her conflicted story arc and aggressive approach leads her to clash with Mack, and this ultimately results in his getting shot (sound familiar?). Still, Daisy didn't actually fire the offending bullet and isn't anywhere near ready to turn her back on her partner. On the upside, we finally get to learn more about Agent "Mack" Mackenzie as he puts his life on the line attempting to balance his job as an agent with his personal life and role as a brother. 
 
It's easy to accept that Mack and Ruben are brothers, and the simmering resentment and frustration underlying their relationship is well-played by Gaius Charles and Henry Simmons. Despite having a rough relationship of late, it's clear that the two are close even if they've drifted apart due to the secretive and demanding nature of Mack's job. Their dynamic is something I look forward to seeing develop further in future episodes, and now that Ruben is no longer under the impression that his brother is an "Insurance company drone", it should be easier for him to become more involved in Mack's life. There might even be the potential for Ruben to join the team in the future since Daisy mentioned that there may be work for him to do with S.H.I.E.L.D.  
 
Initially, Ruben shows support for the Watchdogs, a hate group of internet trolls who decided to start taking violent action against the perceived threat of Inhumans. It's difficult to sympathize with this viewpoint, but at the same time this sort of blind support of a hate group with extermination goals is not unheard of in the real world. Ruben is overwhelmed by the state of the economy and blames it on the government and a highly publicized minority group of the moment (in this case, the Inhumans). This is an oversimplified explanation of a more complex subject, but the basics still stem from fear and ignorance, and it all feels like a worrying parody of certain themes happening across the world right now. By the end of the episode Ruben learns firsthand that the hate group he looked to as a symbol of security and defense is actually a group of murderous extremists.
 
The Watchdogs are headed by former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Felix Blake, who apparently wasn't killed by Deathlok and is now back and confined to a wheelchair. Blake wants to right the wrongs committed by S.H.I.E.L.D., which seems to include "protecting" the world from aliens rather than working with the Inhumans. He mentions some of the more disastrous recent events including the development of Ultron, citing these as evidence that the system needs to change tracks and refocus.
 
This week's episode continues the trend of relating issues in the show to the real world as extremists on both sides go head to head, taking the law into their own hands in a way that's uncomfortably reminiscent of certain social issues today. Exploring relevant real-world issues in this way is arguably the best purpose for genres like science fiction, and Marvel tends to be fairly good at achieving a good balance in what can be a tricky area.

But such an approach should come as no surprise, especially given the issues that are about to arise in Captain America: Civil War. It's been established that the events of the film will have a massive impact on the show, but it now appears that the show will be exploring the same issues of Marvel's Civil War before the movie even comes out. Just as the heroes of Marvel's big screen universe have a difference of opinion on how powers should be used to fight crime, it appears the stars of Marvel's TV universe are about to engage in a similar debate. Daisy's approach appears to be one of 'anything goes, so long as we catch the good guys', but Mack (and Fitz to a lesser extent) seem wary of the potential repercussions such boldness could have.

Elsewhere, it wasn't just Mack who was given some much needed character development this episode. Coulson brings Lincoln along on a mission to stop Blake, using this as a chance to evaluate Lincoln's commitment to the team and his ability to follow orders. Luckily, he passes the test. When ordered to kill Blake, Lincoln shocks him with just enough electricity to stun rather than kill, even though the "Blake" he was firing at turns out to be a hologram.
 
 
With Lance and Bobbi gone, all members of the team need to be seriously on point in order to make the show work. This means that Lincoln is going to have to develop beyond his current base level of brooding poutiness and actually start bringing something to the team. Thankfully, it looks like the show is starting to figure out where Luke Mitchell's character fits into the grand scheme.
 
Back at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, Simmons is finally getting to confront her guilt over Lash's escape, which resulted in the brutal murder of a group of Inhumans. Her guilt stems from feeling dependent on others for protection although we know that Simmons is far from helpless, especially after her experience surviving a desert wasteland on an alien planet. Hopefully she'll regain some confidence by spending time with Agent May who's enlisted her help in tracking Lash down. After all he's done, May plans to kill Lash when she finds him rather than holding out for hope of a cure. With the end of the season approaching fast I have to wonder if Lash will make an appearance in the next couple of episodes or if this plot arc will be saved for season four.
 
This week we saw neither hide nor hair of Hive, so it seems the brunt of this story arc will be saved for the last episodes of the season, and perhaps even continue on into season four. Regardless, Hive makes his return next week and it looks like the team will finally find out (once again) that nobody stays dead for long on this show.
 


Best Lines:
"Have you been working out? Be
ause it weighs like 100,000 tons. It's a building."
 
"What does he think you do?" "Insurance." "Well, not anymore, I'd wager."
 
"You used to call him, Alfie? Wow. I can't wait for him to come out of recovery now."
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