Warning: This recap for the “Inside Man” episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. contains spoilers.
It’s always great to see Major Talbot (Adrian Pasdar) and Carl “Crusher” Creel (Brian Patrick Wade), aka the Absorbing Man, back on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Gideon Malick adds a disturbing new twist to the Inhuman situation by proposing a “homeland” for the Inhumans, creating not only an international power imbalance, but also a feeding ground for the Hydra entity currently building power.
Coulson and Talbot (Adrian Pasdar) must work together at an international symposium on Inhumans. Coulson, Bobbi, Hunter, and May try to ferret out which delegate is the Hydra turncoat, but it turns out to be Talbot himself. Malick has kidnapped Talbot’s son, convinces the delegates that Coulson is the director of Hydra, then tries to kill both Coulson and Talbot. They escape, but that wasn’t Malick’s prime objective. He convinces Russia to build an Inhuman homeland where, presumably, Zombie Ward will be able to feed.
Back at HQ
Fitz and Simmons have discovered a possible Inhuman vaccine based on Carl Creel’s blood. That’s not good news for Daisy, who views Inhumanity as a birthright; Lincoln, who has trouble controlling his powers, feels differently. This will likely be a divisive issue for the team, but how divisive? At the beginning of the season, both Mack and Simmons were very anti-Inhuman and they had good reason to be. Now both seem to be very sympathetic to them, which is a shame because there ought to be at least one person on the team to remind them that not all Inhumans are friendly.
Major Talbot: Live Action, But Still Cartoonish
How do you feel about the over-the-top, J. Jonah Jameson-like antics of everybody’s favorite Hulkbuster? On the one hand, it’s a fun and goofy throwback to a very kid-friendly version of the Marvel Universe. On the other, “in cahoots with that Sushiyaki” — a phrase you don’t expect to hear from anyone who’s not a racist 90-year-old granny and is so offensive, it actually turns the corner and becomes adorable instead – doesn’t really fit with the current darkness of the show. Probably verdict: As great as Pasdar is, a little bit of this character goes a long way.
“Crusher” Creel: A Roller Coaster of Emotions
Absorbing Man bad! No, wait- Absorbing Man good! No- he’s bad agai- whoops, he’s good. Surprisingly, this may have been the best part of the episode. After all, this is a spy show, right? Shifting allegiances — or rather, the audience’s perception of shifting allegiances (Creel was loyal to Talbot the entire time) — is classic spy stuff. The show’s default mode — when it runs out of money for superpower effects — should be telling stories about covert surveillance missions interspersed with scenes of the team punching the hell out of some Hydra operatives.
Zombie Ward: Ew.
Still in a holding pattern. He still hasn’t eaten any Inhumans yet, though he’s turned Giyera and Lucio (the Colombian cop with the Medusa eyes, played by Gabriel Salvador) into his henchmen by blowing something like dust on them. He did consume a few humans, though. You can tell the show is shot in Los Angeles, because it looks like he took them to a juice bar and chucked them into a blender first.
Inside Comics Moment
The Watchdogs may be an anti-Inhuman group now, but when they were originally introduced in the '80s, they were more like a militant right-wing religious organization, attacking pornography, homosexuality, sex education. Basically, anything your garden variety televangelist would preach against. It turned out to be secretly run by the Red Skull, so don’t be surprised if they pop up again as a front for Hydra in the future (as in, two episodes from now).
* The other great thing about the Creel story line is how nervous it made Hunter. The best version of Hunter is when he’s terrified, making snarky remarks to cover his fear, and doing brave/stupid things as a result.
* Loved the handprint analyzer addition to Coulson’s hand. Wouldn’t mind if he started calling Fitz his App Store. Note to writers: More gadgets please.
* Line of the Night: “Call me Glenn. Occasionally.” Irritated, but grudging respect is the perfect relationship for Coulson and Talbot to have.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on ABC.