Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – Devils You Know Review
Devils You Know is a peculiar episode. It possesses the unenviable task of dealing with the fallout from Coulson’s questionable decision from its predecessor, A Wanted (Inhu)man, as well as developing what I consider to be my least favorite storyline of the season. In the end, it isn’t a stellar episode, but the fact that is even halfway decent is a bit of a miracle unto itself. But even disregarding that element of the narrative, Devils You Know is still a little strange. Rather than dealing with both plots concurrently, the episode largely splits its focus into two distinct pieces with the ATCU largely dominating the first two thirds of the episode, and the second portion being centered on Hunter and May’s attempts to infiltrate Hydra.
The interactions between S.H.I.E.L.D. and the ATCU are actually one of the stronger elements of the episode, which is probably just as much an indictment of the episode as it is praise. Coulson’s decision to work with the group still doesn’t make any sense, but so far the pairing works well enough. The episode kicks off with a failed attempt by S.H.I.E.L.D. to bring in two Inhumans with the aid of Alisha, the replicating inhuman from the end of season 2. It’s nice to see her working with S.H.I.E.L.D. though, given how the mission plays out, it’s hard to say whether or not this will be a common occurrence. Lash shows up and kills the two Inhumans along with Alisha’s clone, leaving her in shock. He ends up getting away, but Daisy is able to find and trace a virus within the victim’s computer to Dwight Frye, an Inhuman whose body reacts negatively to the presence of other Inhumans and who appears to be aiding Lash. Unsurprisingly, the ATCU and S.H.I.E.L.D. don’t fully trust each other yet, so Daisy and Mack decide to ride along with their team to get a sense of where they’ll be holding Frye. Before they can get to the facility, Lash assaults the convoy and kills Frye. When Daisy realizes Lash can revert into a human form, it would appear that Daisy and Mack are starting to suspect that he may be working with or for the ATCU. At the moment, this theory doesn’t really hold water since there are only to members of the organization that have actually been properly introduced as characters, and it doesn’t actually makes sense for either of them to be Lash. Both Rosalind and her second-in-command were on the train with Coulson when Lash made his first appearance, so that would presumably rule them out. All in all, I don’t know where Agents is going with his plotline, but it at least has me mildly interested despite being a bit clunky in its presentation. Still, with most of the ATCU’s members being effectively nameless, the idea of Lash being part of that group is either unfeasible or uninteresting.
The second plotline of the episode is the shakier of the two, as it continues the plotline of May and Hunter pursuing Ward. This is probably the more problematic of the two narratives. When we initially got a look at Ward’s operation, it appeared militant and tightly controlled. As a result, the idea that Hunter can ingratiate himself within the organization within a single episode comes off as more than a little silly. It doesn’t help that May points out the fact that Hunter’s Meet-Ward-and-then-shoot-him is completely ludicrous, because it makes it all the more bizarre that it almost works. To put it simply, this is not the Hydra we saw two episodes ago, and this is not the Ward we saw two episodes ago. Watching both get compromised by two agents is just head-scratching. In order to ensure his escape, Ward ends up using Strucker to threaten Andrew Garner’s life and causes her to freeze up. Hunter still goes after him and succeeds in shooting him in the side before he makes his escape. This is the Ward who killed a guy for succeeding in landing a single punch. Ultimately, it would appear that Strucker kills Garner before blowing up the building, but I’m hardly convinced. The scene has a very deliberate sense of ambiguity, and the only reason for that would be to hide Garner’s survival.
Before I wrap up, a few Notes and Nitpicks:
- During her first appearance, I wasn’t a big fan of Alisha. Admittedly, the only thing we knew about her were her powers, and, at the time, that only served to illustrate how few inhuman powers we had seen. I actually find myself intrigued by her presence here as we do actually get a modicum of personality in this episode though that mostly comes from her being traumatized by her encounter with Lash.
- Seriously, what happened to Deathlok? Still seems like a shoe-in for Daisy’s team.
- Jemma gets paranoid when Fitz realizes that she is trying to reopen the portal, however, she ultimately decides to tell him the truth about her time on the other planet… next episode.
- So despite having been an Inhuman for at least a few weeks, Dwight Frye had his cocoon fragments just lying around on his living room floor. I mean, I get that it’s a conversation piece, but, at a certain point, it seems like the kind of thing that you’d want to move to your closet shelves or something.
- Sorry this is so late. I’m expecting to be caught up on reviews before the next episode airs. I’ve been too busy watching this on repeat.
Devils You Know doesn’t provide any new missteps, but it is still stuck dealing with the fallout from the not particularly minor one that was made in its predecessor. It doesn’t really do an exceptional job smoothing over or justifying Coulson’s decision. In fact, Daisy and Mack spend much of their time pointing out why this is such an obviously bad idea. However, the episode succeeds in being moderately enjoyable and appears to be moving the plot back on track with the focus returning back to Lash’s killings, but where that track is going remains to be seen.
Despite being a bit sloppy in terms of structure and presentation, Devils You Know is a definite upgrade when compared with the preceding A Wanted (Inhu)man. However, it still possesses that critical lack of focus that Agents seems to traditionally have at the beginning of its seasons.