14 February 2016
Agents of SHIELD S3E6 "Among Us Hide..." review
As great as last weeks "4,722 Hours" was, I imagine that some people were a little disappointed that we had another full week to wait until the cliffhanger ending of "Devils We Know" was resolved - I know that I was, despite the change in pace and overall quality of "4,722 Hours" offered viewers. Fortunately, "Among Us Hide..." simply isn't messing around when it comes to story progression, continuing the strong sense of direction that has defined season three of Agents of SHIELD so far.
Dealing with the aftermath of "Devils We Know", "Among Us Hide..." follows May and Bobbi as they are officially assigned to the "Kill Grant Ward" mission, with Hunter benched after choosing his revenge on Ward over an innocent persons life. Frustrated by this, Hunter instead joins Mack and Daisy as they try to figure out who Lash really is, while Coulson finally manages to organise a date with Rosalind a tour around the ATCU facility.
What "Among Us Hide..." does better than any other episode of Agents of SHIELD to date is make the three quite separate plots feel as if they matter to one another. Usually, when Agents of SHIELD is dealing with a 'multi-plot' episode (which is basically every episode since halfway through season one, last weeks "4,722 Hours" being the only exception) it tends to simply cut between them as the episode progresses, with little actually linking them - but here we see that May and Bobbi have to phone back to base in order to get help from Fitz, something that Daisy, Mack and Hunter do later on before ending up interacting with the Coulson/Rosalind story. It makes SHIELD feel like much more of an actual organisation with resources for the various teams to use - a small thing, but one that helps make "Among Us Hide..." one of the most coherent and focused episodes of Agents of SHIELD so far.
Other than that small but important change in the structure of the episode, it seems to be business as usual. In some ways, "Among Us Hide..." is Hunters episode through and through - the extent of his desire for vengeance was hinted at earlier in the season, but now he has been taken off Team "Kill Ward" thanks to his decision to pursue revenge over the life of an innocent person, he has nowhere productive to place his anger with the situation he and Bobbi are in - which causes him to lash out (no pun intended) both verbally at team-mates and physically at others. He makes a series of bad decisions in "Among Us Hide...", and as funny as they are to the audience (Daisy and Mack's exasperation with his actions at one point is genuinely hilarious), I can't help but think Hunter might be going down a path that will push him away from his team-mates - a lead-in for the still rumoured Most Wanted spin-off? Potentially, but I still think that Hunter and Bobbi should remain with Agents of SHIELD - in part because Bobbi has only just gotten her groove back.
Yes, after five episodes Bobbi finally has something to do, and surprisingly her lengthy time off from field work is actually used to good effect by Agents of SHIELD. May seems to think that Bobbi is avoiding combat on purpose, and that Ward's torture of her in the season two final "S.O.S" has had a great psychological impact than people may have realised, which makes sense really - one of the recurring motifs of Agents of SHIELD seems to be how being a part of SHIELD can negatively affect you, so it makes sense that we would see Bobbi altered somewhat after her experiences. It doesn't take long to get her back into ass kicking mode of course, but I still like the fact that they used her time off for something, rather than simply as a reason to avoid having to write her into storylines that she didn't need to be a part of.
Interestingly, it is Team "Kill Ward" that end up finding out who Lash really is, rather than Team "Find Lash", who really don't do much useful this episode thinking on it. Many fans of the show had already guessed the answer (which I won't spoil here), but it still came as something as a shock and I'm looking forward to seeing how Team "Kill Ward" deal with this information - unsurprisingly Lash does turn out to be a character we have met before (hence the episode title) and I can't see it not effecting at least some characters in a meaningful way, as well as pushing the show in yet another direction. I would also just like to register my doubts about who the show claims Lash really is though - I'm half expecting the reveal at the end of "Among Us Hide..." to be a really smart bit of misdirection in order to throw people off the scent thanks to the way the reveal is framed, but we'll see.
As for Coulson and Rosalind, their part of the episode does a lot right, as well as setting up further conflict within SHIELD for later on. I still don't trust Rosalind despite her best efforts to get Coulson 'on her side', efforts that I can't tell are sincere or not - but the fact that I genuinely cannot tell if Rosalind is a 'good guy' or a 'bad guy' is a testament to both the shows writing and the performance of Constance Zimmer, and I'm glad that this character seems to have such an important role to play. Furthermore, I like the relationship that they seem to building between Coulson and Rosalind too - neither trusts the other but they are quite clearly attracted to one another, something that will quite clearly end up creating a divide between Daisy and Coulson at some point soon thanks to the way that the ATCU handles what they see as the Inhuman threat.
"Among Us Hide..."may be a return to the now somewhat familiar structure after last weeks change of pace, but it keeps up the sense of focus displayed by "4,722 Hours" in spite of that, managing to makes good use of the characters it contains as well as continuing the rapid pace that season three brought to Agents of SHIELD. I've got just one small question really - are we ever going to see Joey again?
This article was originally published on OutLoudCulture.