Last week’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was the obligatory farewell episode for Bobbi and Hunter as they shipped off to make their own spin-off series. Other than that little bit of plot development… well, not much of anything else happen, to be honest. So we pick up this week’s installment, ‘Watchdogs’, about where we left off two weeks ago. This time it’s the team vs. a group of anti-Inhuman terrorists. The big question is how will Daisy and the other Inhuman members of the team react to such a threat? Scroll on to find out.
We begin with Mack taking a much-needed vacation away from all the chaos that is life in S.H.I.E.L.D. He’s hanging out with his brother, Ruben, doing everyday normal life things when a news report shuts all that down. Some anti-Inhuman group calling themselves The Watchdogs is attacking an ATCU facility with some sort of crazy-ass implosion weapons. Naturally, he’s the closest to the target so Coulson cuts Mack’s vacation short.
Back at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, Coulson is organizing the team. Daisy and Fitz get sent to help Mack while Lincoln, having apparently failed his psychological evaluation, gets to accompany the leader himself to investigate one of the safe houses of their enemy – a former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent by the name of Blake. He thinks that Lincoln has neither the heart nor the control to be a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent but he’s taking him along on one more mission to make sure.
Meanwhile, Daisy goes hunting for leads, though she takes a rather heavy-handed approach. She tracks down one of The Watchdogs’ members and, through a combination of threats and a show of power, convinces him that he wants to cooperate. From there, Daisy’s team follows their new lead to an old barn. A group of the anti-Inhuman terrorists are gathering together there and seem to be planning some sort of mission.
They get orders to hang back and observe, but shit goes bad when Mack’s brother shows up. So then the bullets begin to fly. When ordered to flee, however, Daisy breaks ranks. By now she’s pretty much convinced that her abilities make her the hottest shit on the planet. The end result is that Fitz gets a bullet to the neck, though this particular bullet happens to be an implosion bomb instead of the traditional kind. A little roughing up of a Watchdog captive gives them the info they need to deactivate it, so everything turns out fine in the end.
Over on Coulson’s side of things, he and Lincoln are searching through one of Blake’s safe houses. They seemingly run into the main baddie himself, but when Lincoln attempts to lay waste to the guy, it turns out that they’re being chatted at by a hologram. One good things comes out of it, however. Lincoln passes Coulson’s loyalty test and is officially cool to remain with team S.H.I.E.L.D.
In the process of carrying out their respective duties, both teams discover that Blake’s real target was Mack. The Watchdogs think he’s an Inhuman of some sort, so they send a squad of killers to his house. Then it turns into Mack and Ruben vs. a half-dozen Watchdogs. Naturally, the good guys win. And in the end, the real truth comes out. Malick has been manipulating Blake and The Watchdogs to both distract and strike at Coulson and S.H.I.E.L.D.
In the background, we also see some of Simmons and May. Simmons is feeling like she’s a liability with her inability to fight, so she’s stepping up her game and learning how to shoot. She and May are both concerned about the still at-large Andrew/Lash. May has the info, but Simmons has the brains and together they start trying to figure out where he went. But while May wants to kill him once and for all, Simmons thinks that testing out their new vaccine on the big, blue lunatic would be the best plan of action.
This week’s episode was pretty solid all-around. We had a lot of background character development going on without the exposition so common to these types of shifts. We see Simmons getting a bit darker and adopting the persona of a true soldier of S.H.I.E.L.D. Daisy is slowly but surely slipping off the deep end and toeing the line of becoming a bad guy. She’s gone a bit power mad and is feeling like she’s enough of a bad-ass that she can do anything and get away with it. Where that goes in future episodes should be one of the more interesting plot developments if it’s done right.
Also, I enjoyed the arrival of Mack’s brother, Ruben – AKA Mini-Mack. The actor that played him did a great job and his character was handled well by the writers. The action choreographers did a particularly bang-up job, making poor Ruben fumble about when it came time for combat. He was believable in every respect and personally I hope they give him more screen time. What sort of asset he could possibly be to S.H.I.E.L.D. remains to be seen, but someone’s going to have to fill the Bobbi/Hunter hole in the team, right?
All-in-all, it’s mostly dark days for team S.H.I.E.L.D. The stress from having to fight Inhumans, save Inhumans, protect regular folks, deal with HYDRA and, now, fight a human terrorist threat is building up. Everyone looks like they’re teetering on the edge. I’m hoping that S.H.I.E.L.D. keeps this kind of tone and doesn’t let it fade out without any development coming of it.
Next week, ‘Spacetime’ has the team running into some sort of future-seeing Inhuman which will fill them all with foreboding. We’ll also see Grant coming back and S.H.I.E.L.D. getting their first look at the enemy they must fight again and again. Check out the trailer for that one below.