Warning: Spoiler Alert
Agents of SHIELD season 3 begins as ominously as season 1 did. A strange apartment with what looks like the remains of a human person reduced to standing ash. Down on the street there are what appear to be random explosions, melting metal and the sound of chaos. One man seems to be the source of the carnage, even though he’s not doing in on purpose. The “authorities” show up to grab the man. After hearing “lethal force” he decides to flee.
From the alley he can see the bodies of whoever tried to take him flung like weightless tumble weeds. Enter Daisy (formerly Skye), she’s here to help. Pardon my fanboy take, but it doesn’t hurt that she grows more and more into this role with each passing episode and season. Mack and Hunter accompany her and clear a small area while she tries to convince “Joey” that they are here to help. Hunter puts something down in the alley and a small white Tardis looking thing lands in its place. Difference being, this box looks exactly the same size from the outside as it does from the inside. The strange almost Tardis makes its way onto a very large jet. Almost looks like the mother ship version of the quinjet.
The “authorities” convene at the scene of the extraction. A woman with a scar above her lip rolls down the window. She is clearly in charge of this team at the very least.
Daisy meets with Joey (with him still inside his mini Tardis) separated by window glass as she tries to explain what’s happening to a frantic man completely in the dark. She eventually talks him down and convinces him to get some rest. As someone who has been through this, the empathy shows through and Joey begins to relax. And with a nod to last season’s finale, she asks him if he takes fish oil. The fish oil thing is going to be a problem for a while.
The woman in the truck walks through a hospital corridor giving orders to her #2. She seems to be in charge of rounding up Inhumans. She is clearly not pleased that one slipped through their grasp.
Coulson’s new toy, the mother ship quinjet lands at an undisclosed location. Joey’s Tardis is lowered into a white honeycomb room. Like the bus’ interrogation room, but less threatening. Bobbi begins to brief Joey on what comes next, mostly medical and sleeping arrangements. Joey lashes out mildly claiming that Bobbi doesn’t know anything about him. Then she schools him on just how much she could deduce just by reading his Facebook page. Joey appears to be a good guy who is concerned with the notion that he may have harmed innocent people. Reports on that end are optimistic. No fatalities as of yet.
Coulson, Mack and Hunter discuss the problem at large and find out that our mystery woman has at least four aliases each working at the highest level of various governmental agencies (CIA, MI-6, CDC). Coulson asks Hunter to take a gun they retrieved from the scene down to Bobbi to have it analyzed. It is absolutely clear that Hunter is sticking to his guns about having nothing to do with Bobbi going forward.
Daisy and Mack pay Joey a visit. No hostility. Joey jumps to the wrong conclusion out of the gate. Assuming that Mack is there as muscle. Mack quickly clarifies that Daisy is the muscle. Joey asks for them to take off the kid gloves and Daisy lays it on him, so she does. Joey’s reaction is muted but hysterical laughter. The laughing stops when Mack and Daisy explain that he cannot return to his old life. Joey rejects this new reality and demands they let him go. Mack uploads news footage covering the damage Joey has caused. Still, he persists and Daisy has to put him down.
Bobbi is on Monolith detail (the boulder that liquefied and swallowed Simmons in last season’s finale). With no Simmons, Bobbi is left to tend to the lab. That is in part because Fitz won’t rest while Simmons is missing, taking time off to research everything he can. Fitz is checking on another ‘last lead’ in Tangiers Morocco. He tries to ‘cool’ his way past the guards to get to a man who apparently has something Fitz needs. He is bagged and roughed up. The case that looks like it has money in it cannot be opened by the man’s goons. They offer Fitz his life in exchange for opening the case. Fitz rejects the offer. Then Fitz in a way only Fitz can turn the tables, explains how this is going down, consequences be damned.
Fitz: I tracked it, not easy…through history. To Mosul’s museum in Iraq. But it was taken by your extremist buddies when they ransacked the place this year. Now I’m 90% sure it’s in this room. So…you can either hand it over in exchange for what’s in that case, or you can spill my guts all over the sand and use the briefcase as a booster seat. It’s totally your call.
The leader of this group eventually retrieves the item Fitz requires. Fitz opens the case to reveal the mini bombs that Simmons tried to use to kill Ward. But did if fact end up killing Bakshi. The radicals thought they would use one of these mini bombs to kill Fitz and leave no remains. When they tried to activate one to use on Fitz, it only created blindingly strong light-giving Fitz just enough time to grab the artifact and flee.
Joey is not taking to his adjustment period very well. Daisy has an idea. It’s not a new one, but perhaps one worth trying. She’d like to bring Lincoln in.
Our mystery lady is from DARPA. Bobbi has found an opening in the woman’s daily routine for Coulson to exploit. He and Hunter get on the subway during the only alone time she has. Or so they thought. Coulson makes his opening statement about her being hard to pin down and she calmly replies that he wasn’t. Then each and every person (except one old lady) on the train reveals themselves as part of her detail. It’s not clear who has the upper hand between Coulson and this “Rosalind”, but they have a very calm and revealing back and forth. As of now, Rosalind plans to detain Coulson and wants to know the location of the Inhumans he has secured. By the end of their back and forth, Coulson and Rosalind both deny responsibility for the dead Inhumans.
Lincoln is anything but cooperative to Daisy’s request to have him join SHIELD in an attempt to help these new Inhumans transition. As tempers rise, the electricity in the building flickers but this is not Lincoln’s doing. All three run out of the room in time to witness a very large deep voiced creature that looks like a long-lost cousin of Raina’s assault a man demanding to know where the Inhumans are.
Both Coulson and Rosalind get a phone call at the same time. Coulson suggests that if they are both getting the same phone call, chances are both are innocent of the other’s accusations. Rosalind takes her call in the next subway car over. Coulson convinces one of her goons to answer his phone or it will just keep ringing. This gives Coulson just enough of an opportunity to gain the upper hand so that he and Hunter can escape.
Whatever this porcupine creature is, it is very strong. Able to open holes in walls. Even when Daisy and Lincoln focus their powers on him simultaneously, it only slows him down. He creates a hole in the floor to elude their attack. Instead of joining them Lincoln flees.
The President addresses the nation on the subject of “Alien Threats”. He speaks of an agency to take SHIELD’s place. He’s speaking of Rosalind’s team. “The laws of Nature have changed”. With the address in the background Coulson views a computer simulation of the Terrigen (the element that precipitates the Inhuman mutation) outbreak until the computer reveals 100% contamination.
Fitz returns at a frantic pace to begin work on the artifact he so recklessly tried to acquire. He doesn’t notice Coulson in the shadows of the lab. Fitz is compelled to find the answer. Coulson is trying to redirect his attention by recanting a Thomas Edison like track record of failure. Even references Ant-man, or at least the shrinking procedure. Coulson even listens to this newest theory. Then Fitz is able to find the parchment he was looking for. In it was one word spelled in Hebrew. “Death”. Coulson then transitions to the thing we all (including Fitz) knew he was going to take this. Its time to let Jemma go.
Iain De Caestecker’s acting in the 90 or so seconds that followed, on its own merits an Emmy award. He is able to hold the almost cry face for longer than most people can hold their breath. Coulson invites him to join Coulson as they travel to Simmons’ parent’s home to inform them that she is M.I.A. Fitz makes a b-line for the Monolith. Using a shotgun he blows off Mack’s locks, tosses the gun aside and steps into the Monolith’s chamber. What follows might just be the best frantically, emotionally, angry display of acting I’ve seen in a very long time. Fitz screaming at this large black rock, demanding that it do something. Something like swallow him up as it did Simmons.
After the break but before the “see what happens on our next episode” tease, a woman runs for her life on terrain that most closely resembles the planet seen in Thor 2: The Dark World. Dark, cold, jagged and with dual moons in the distance. That woman is of course Jemma Simmons.