10:00 pm EDT, October 13, 2015

‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ 3×03 recap: Fight or flight

Daisy fought against surprising forces to save Lincoln, while Simmons made some surprising developments on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3×03, “A Wanted Inhu(man).”

Terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day

In “A Wanted (Inhu)man,” Lincoln Campbell has probably the worst day of his entire life (so far). He’s alone, friendless, and on the run from both the ATCU and S.H.I.E.L.D. — who have miraculously placed a tracker in his arm, which we won’t question as Lincoln has to remove his shirt to disable it.

Finding himself branded a criminal on national news, Lincoln is forced to call on an old friend, who has rescued him from previous bad choices. Finally, some of Lincoln’s past is elucidated, albeit clumsily — the young man who was so confident when Daisy met him was apparently once on a perpetual date with disaster. Lincoln has flirted seriously with both alcoholism and suicide in his past, and for all of John’s (unexplained) support, it seems like Jaiying was the one who really pulled him out of his self-destructive tendencies.

Agents of SHEILD 3x03

This new information isn’t anything earth-shattering, but it’s interesting to reexamine Lincoln’s devotion to the Inhumans, and his subsequent unmooring in this context. Lincoln apparently doesn’t believe he deserves a life where he is useful and loved — an idea compounded when he accidentally kills John with his powers.

But as they did before with Ward, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. avoids the idea that Lincoln can be saved by the love of a good woman. Daisy confesses her concern for Lincoln and the two kiss (without, it must be said, very much chemistry), but the arrival of the ATCU — on Coulson’s orders — sends Lincoln on the run again, leaving Daisy on the hook for her friend’s bad behavior.

Let’s make a deal

Luckily for Daisy, Coulson is willing to do pretty much anything to protect his young protege. The Director essentially trades himself for Daisy, offering S.H.I.E.L.D.’s knowledge and aid in the hunt for Inhumans.

Agents of SHEILD 3x03

Price accepts, though it seems inevitable that she will want something else down the line. The head of the ATCU remains enigmatic, insisting that Lincoln will not be harmed in her custody, but willing to approve ruthless action to ensure results. In spite of her inevitable secrets, however, it’s hard not to hope that Price will turn out more or less as she seems — it’s refreshing to watch her and Coulson interact like responsible adults, for once.

Daisy, however, is less than moved by Coulson’s bargain. It’s hard to fault her for being moved by her feelings, since that’s exactly what Coulson is doing, but the Director seems more aware of this than Daisy does, and a lack of self-awareness is exactly the type of thing that could cause a dangerous rift down the road.

Fight Club, literally

Meanwhile, Hunter and May make headway in their side quest hunt for Hydra. An old mate of Hunter’s leads him into a fighting club where the winner earns a place in the evil organization; it’s all a bit convoluted, especially when Hunter’s friend turns on him, and Hunter is forced to kill him to advance toward the big boss Ward.

Call us crazy, but this all seems like a fairly obvious trap Ward has set. Hunter isn’t the brightest, but we’d expect May to be a little more savvy on the subject of walking into carefully-set snares… especially when this one is probably primed for her.

Agents of SHEILD 3x03

Speaking of May, she does three things in this episode. She glowers, admits she did not leave Andrew (our guess: they’re actually back together), and beats up a bunch of guys in a cliche display that, while cool, is a strangely blunt story object. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. usually treats May’s badassery with more finesse than the novelty of “a tiny little Asian woman” kicking the crap out of huge bad guys, and it’s a little disappointing.

Hear that breaking sound

Back at the Playground, Simmons is slowly reacclimating to life on Earth. Fitz, of course, is attentive to her every need, but it’s equally heartwarming to see Bobbi’s concern for the young scientist. In a scene that made us go all weepy-smiley, Daisy also offers her friendship and support — though Simmons isn’t all that talkative about her time in a galaxy far, far away.

This is partly because Simmons is trying to conceal one of the side-effects of her return — a painful sensitivity to loud noises, particularly electronic ones. Surprise, surprise, it’s unclear whether or not Simmons knows the cause of this or not. She insists she is doing all right, but just how much of a lie this is remains a major question.

Agents of SHEILD 3x03

In an attempt to make Simmons feel “human” again (oh dear, there’s some potent wording), Fitz takes Simmons out on their agreed-upon dinner date. In fact, he never let the reservation go — and he had the restaurant cleared for her to reduce Simmons’ anxiety.

Sadly, the experience is actually too normal for Simmons right now; the sight of the opulent menu overwhelms her, and she breaks down in sobs that fracture our hearts into a thousand pieces and sends the shards rushing down the drain of despair.

Oh, and that’s not all. After working diligently on her rehab, Bobbi finds Simmons experimenting urgently on the “inert” crumbs of the Monolith. Bobbi promises her that the portal cannot reopen — but that’s not what the scientist wants to hear.

“It has to,” Simmons says, leaving us flabbergasted and battling LOST flashbacks. “I have to go back.”

What was your reaction to the ups and downs of ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ 3×03?

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