One of the biggest problems with Agents of SHIELD‘s second season was that, throughout much of the latter half of it, the series felt like two different shows. You had the spy antics and everything going on with Ward, but you also had the history Skye’s family and the introduction of the Inhumans. Thankfully, throughout its first seven episodes, Agents of SHIELD Season 3 has interlinked many of the various stories it’s telling, and in last night’s all-new episode, “Many Heads, One Tale,” the show fully connected everything that has happened so far this season, even including Simmons’ time on another planet, with quite the unexpected and exciting twist.
This week’s Agents of SHIELD primarily focuses on Coulson’s efforts to figure out whether or not he can trust Rosalind. While he gives her a tour of the SHIELD base, Daisy, Mack, and the rest of the team (aside from Fitz and Simmons, but more on them later) infiltrate the ATCU facility to discover what exactly the organization is doing with the Inhumans they’ve captured, and whether or not they’re actually making a cure.
Ultimately, the team finds out that the ATCU is not curing Inhumans: it’s creating them, unleashing Terrigen in hopes that those that are being exposed will turn, or else they’ll die. However, when Coulson confronts Rosalind about it, she truly has no idea what he’s talking about. This project, it turns out, comes from Gideon Malick (Powers Boothe), a colleague that Rosalind trusted, but as we know, is actually quite evil. Rosalind had no idea what Malick’s true nature was, and her shock at SHIELD’s discovery fits what we’ve learned about her character so far (she’s tough and a little cold but not cruel and evil). Plus, it’s a nice, interesting pivot than the typical “traitor story” that Agents of SHIELD has told in the past.
And as for what Malick is doing by turning Inhumans, it’s all a part of a Hydra plan that was put into motion a thousands years ago, as the organization is revealed to have gone back even further than the Red Skull in WWII. Malick’s mission, which Ward joins at the end of the hour, is to create an army for an ancient and evil Inhuman’s return. And where does that Inhuman come from? The same planet that Simmons was trapped on for months.
Although this story could quickly become convoluted if Agents of SHIELD isn’t careful, the twist the show delivers at the end of “Many Heads, One Tale” is one of its most thrilling ones yet. In just one sequence, everything about this season, from SHIELD’s pursuit of Inhumans to Fitz and Simmons’ efforts to rescue Will, clicks into place and is given a new sense of urgency. It’s no longer about the unknown dangers or threats that our favorite SHIELD members have to face anymore; the whole season so far has been slowly building to this reveal and what should be one heck of a battle that Simmons, whether she wants to or not, is probably going to find herself at the center of.
The ATCU isn’t this season’s main villain, nor is it Lash; instead, it’s Hyrda. The most evil organization in the world is coming back, and with this ancient Inhuman (who is most definitely the dark creature that Simmons and Will encountered during their time on the planet) on their side, they could be more powerful than ever. Agents of SHIELD Season 3 had already gotten off to a strong start through its first several episodes, but the events of “Many Heads, One Tale” kick things into high gear and make for an entertaining and impressive hour of television.
- I didn’t touch upon it above, but there’s some pretty great emotional moments throughout this episode as well, particularly Fitz and Simmons’ first kiss. In fact, all of their conversations throughout “Many Heads, One Tale” are pretty terrific, as the two of them are finally honest about how they feel about one another. Here’s hoping Fitz realizes very soon that they’re not cursed, so that the two of them can actually get together by the end of this season.
- Another strong emotional moment: May’s apology to Lincoln. I’m not a big fan of Lincoln, but I love seeing the more vulnerable side of May in the few opportunities that Agents of SHIELD gives us.
- How great was it seeing Daisy as a hacker again? Sometimes, it seems like the show forgets that’s what Skye was back in its first season. Her scenes this week served as a nice callback to who the character was originally.
- A couple of cool facts that we learned about Coulson this week: SHIELD recruited him back when he was in college, and he was a History major.
- Am I the only one growing tired of Ward? While the rest of “Many Heads, One Tale” was pretty fantastic, his scenes in the episode, aside from the final one with Malick, just left me rolling my eyes. We get it: he’s an evil guy. Now can we please do something more interesting with him, or just kill him off?
Episode Rating: 8/10
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[Photo credit: John Fleenor/ABC]