Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – A Wanted (Inhu)man Review
A Wanted (Inhu)man is an okay, but notably problematic episode. The episode ends with the main thrust of the episode being not only unresolved but it essentially ends right where it started. It’s an episode about trying to track down Lincoln and gaining his trust, but it still ends with him on the run and completely unwilling to trust S.H.I.E.L.D. The only significant difference between how it started and how it ended is that Lincoln’s mistrust now feels a bit more reasonable.
My main problem with this episode is that Coulson makes two particularly questionable decisions towards the end of the episode that seem to be particularly out of character for him. The first of these decisions could be viewed as an outright betrayal by Daisy, and the second involved making a deal with an organization that he knows next to nothing about. His attempts to justify his decisions by claiming that he was attempting to protect Daisy and that he’s tired of fighting with factions that S.H.I.E.L.D. should be allied with don’t actually feel like they properly explain his actions. Without going to heavily into spoilers for this episode, he make two deals with Rosalind Price. The first of these deals puts Lincoln into danger and the second places S.H.I.E.L.D. in a shaky alliance with the ATCU. As I stated before, he ostensibly does this to ensure that Daisy doesn’t end up in the crosshairs of the faction, but it isn’t like she has much of a life outside of S.H.I.E.L.D. I can’t help but question how much of a threat they actually pose to her when she already lives in a top-secret bunker. Something about Coulson’s willingness to establish a partnership with the ATCU feels unnatural, and, while it may ultimately work in the long run from a narrative standpoint, it certainly could have used a better sense of build up here. This is only the second time we’ve encountered this group, and for S.H.I.E.L.D. to be getting in bed with them on the second date seems a bit fast.
Meanwhile, May and Hunter continue their… well… hunt for Ward. I don’t dislike this storyline per se, but it has yet to really engage me. It feels like Agents might be trying to push into a more morally grey territory than they did in the first two season, but, if so, then they are doing it with some rather unstable footing. Hunter’s vendetta against Ward is not particularly interesting, and May seems to be a bit checked out at the moment. It doesn’t help that I’m far more interested in what Ward is up to at the moment, and it’s hard not to be concerned that they will actually derail or slow down his plans. Hunter’s goal is to ingratiate himself with Ward’s new Hydra operation by using an old acquaintance to get himself an interview of sorts. The actual interview is an underground fight club, and, as it turns out, he has to fight his contact who was apparently just looking for an opportunity to kill Hunter. This is hardly surprising given the fact that we knew next to nothing about the contact (I actually can’t be bothered to look up the character’s name), and the only scene that he had had prior to the fight was an amusing bit where he and Hunter were having a drunken and heavily accented conversation in a bar that was given subtitles. It was a cute gag, though it did feel slightly tonally dissonant for Agents, and that was before Hunter beat that contact to death with brass knuckles. This plotline is feeling a bit too unfocused. If the series is trying to be pushing parts of the team down a darker path then it needs to distance itself from the more jokey tone of the rest of the show.
A Wanted (Inhu)man is a peculiar mashup of two storylines that largely suffer from the same problems, specifically questionable characterization and uneven tone. There are some decent moments of Jemma trying to become reaccustomed to Earth’s environment, but those elements are largely in the background of the episode.
Before I wrap up, a few Notes and Nitpicks:
- The scene where Lincoln is forced to confront his friend is okay, but much like the scenes between Hunter and his contact, it lacks any emotional impact as we know next to nothing about this character.
- At the end of the episode, Jemma declares that she needs to return through the portal. I’m assuming that she left someone or something behind on the alien moon/planet, but what I don’t really understand is why she is being so mysterious about it.
- So, what? With all that media coverage and all those resources devoted to his capture, Lincoln just slips away? That was a very odd resolution to that plotline. Also, I don’t know why, but, for some reason, I really don’t like that episode title.
- One of the few elements that did really work for me with this episode was the banter between Coulson and Rosalind. They have a nice dynamic.
A Wanted (Inhu)man is not very good. There is relatively little that happens in it that feels significant, and the only major development that serves as an exception to this ends up feeling wildly out of character for one of our leads. It certainly isn’t a terrible episode, but let’s hope that this is just a temporary lapse in narrative quality.
Well, that could have gone better. With a blend of odd character choices and tonal dissonance, A Wanted (Inhu)man fall short of the standard set by the first two episodes. Here is to hoping that it is simply an outlier.