Melinda and S.H.I.E.L.D. took Andrew down, but have we seen the last of Lash?
Did Andrew's storyline wrap up too quickly? Were you surprised by the connection to Jiaying and Afterlife? Though it seems unlikely, will Agent May save Andrew from stasis? Is Rosalind Price working for HYDRA? There are just so many questions!
TV Fanatics Kathleen Wiedel, Jim Garner, Robin Harry, Caralynn Lippo, and Hank Otero cover all this and more in our Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 Episode 7 Round Table discussion...
After learning Lash's identity last week, did you expect the team to take him down so quickly? Will he be back?
Kathleen: I figured that the team would move to take Lash down as soon as they revealed his identity. Had they remained in the dark, I'd guess that Lash would have likely remained at large longer. I suspect that they'll get back to the unfortunate Andrew at some point, though not necessarily any time soon, or even this season.
Jim: Honestly, I was expecting Andrew to get away and them to chase him a little longer, but I'm kind of glad that they've resolved the Lash story.... at least for now.
Robin: I actually did figure that he would be caught this week, so I wasn't surprised. I'm pretty sure Andrew will be back, but Lash may be a different story. I feel like the other powers-that-be may have some use for Lash that hasn't been revealed yet.
Caralynn: I don't know if I expected it per se, but I'm really glad that it went down like this. Everything that happened in this episode wouldn't have been nearly as emotionally affecting if the audience had had to sit on the reveal for a while or if, for instance, May had sat on the info. This way, everything was fresh and raw and more dramatic (but not melodramatic). I don't know how much longer I could have dealt with that heavy-handed doomsday dialogue ("Dr. Garner, Daisy said my fate is in your hands!" "Yes... *dramatic pause* It is.")
Hank: Like Jim, I expected the chase to go on at least another episode or two, but I'm glad Lash was taken down. I prefer the creative team not drag out storylines. I have a feeling we haven't seen the last of Andrew/Lash this season. Will Melinda allow him to go into stasis? Hopefully, she doesn't release him back into to the wild accidentally. That would not only be disappointing, but out of character for Agent May.
What did you think Andrew's transformation backstory and the connection to Jiaying?
Kathleen: It figures that someone as psychotic as Jiaying would leave a booby trap like that laying around. The story also went a ways to explain why Lash is so obsessed with deciding if Inhumans are "worthy" of their powers; it's a very twisted way of looking at what he was doing for S.H.I.E.L.D. as a shrink. Too bad that his transformation made him go so totally nuts at the same time.
Jim: I agree with Kathleen, it was a nice tie-in to what Andrew was doing already. Though I lean more towards him killing all Inhumans that weren't Daisy.
Robin: I thought that was really cool, and it really was typical Jiaying. However, it seemed odd to me that Andrew's transformation took months, while it was instantaneous for everyone else we've met so far.
Caralynn: That's a great point, Kathleen, I didn't even think of the connection between Dr. Garner's work and his "alter ego's." His transformation backstory was really well done, I thought. Not overly complicated, straightforward and to the point. Also it was a totally believable scenario. Stupid Jiaying. Like Robin, it really stuck out to me that Andrew's transformation was so different from every other transformation that we've seen before. Maybe it was that "Well, duh, he's still transforming!" way that Lincoln related that intel that caused it to stick out.
Hank: I have such a short attention span that Jiaying was already a distant memory for me. The tie-in was absolutely perfect, allowing all the little pieces to fall neatly into place. In retrospect, we probably should have seen it coming, but it's a credit to the writers that many of us were shocked by the big reveal. I'm with Robin as well, Andrew's transformation taking months was a little too convenient and not explained well. Ah, we need an Inhuman big bad for half the season that's lost control... we'll just say he's still in transition. Yeah that's the ticket!
Do you agree with Rosalind's point of view, "For every Daisy Johnson, there's a Lash"? Is stasis a decent option?
Kathleen: As long as we don't find out that they are secretly conscious and aware while they're in stasis, it seems like a workable, if temporary, answer to cases such as Lash. I can definitely see where Rosalind is coming from, though that statement may or may not be colored from working with HYDRA. In any case, it really does highlight the importance of establishing a group to specifically handle Inhumans. Frankly, Jiaying probably had a good thing going with Afterlife, an isolated place where Inhumans were taught to embrace, rather than fear, their abilities. Emotional volatility seems to be directly linked to a lot of problems the Inhumans have with their powers, after all. Hopefully, Lincoln will be able to provide his experience and help Daisy with the whole mess.
Jim: I actually said to my wife, "she has a point" when Rosalind made that comment to Daisy. And, stasis is a good short-term solution for people like Lash who are two bat-crap crazy to reason with. Like Kathleen, I hope we don't find out that they aren't really in stasis.
Robin: I said the same thing to my brother, Jim. Daisy's point of view was idealistic, which is unfortunate because she's seen enough to be a little bit more realistic. Her own mother was insane, for goodness sake. I think they are in stasis, and that it's a good option for people like Andrew whose Inhuman form is dangerous. That said, I think whatever Gideon's plan is may involve them somehow.
Caralynn: Yes, I actually completely agree with Rosalind. Daisy is being idealistic, and sometimes you just need to think of the good of many as opposed to the good of the few. Also, assuming what Rosalind is saying is accurate, they aren't harming the Inhumans and are actually trying to help them. I feel like having Rosalind explain her mentality and then having the whole Andrew/Lash fiasco in the same episode served to kind of prove her point to everyone in a really sound, logical way.
Hank: While I don't think Rosalind is HYDRA, I'm not sure I trust her with the stasis deal (yet). I suspect we'll learn the Inhumans are conscious throughout the ordeal, rendering the program well... Inhuman. Rosalind's point of view is completely valid, I'm just not sure stasis is the answer. Still, for Inhumans that have lost control, like Andrew/Lash, it's a better option than allowing them to run around killing folks.
How did you feel watching Fitz learn of Simmons's true feelings for him?
Kathleen: There were definitely sniffles (allergies, I tell you!). Poor Fitz! He just can't catch a break. I just loved that scene with him and her agreeing to just watch the sunrise together, setting aside their complicated relationship status and just live in that moment.
Jim: Agreed Kathleen, I nearly cried when he said "for now, lets just watch the sunrise." Jemma can't help that she's in love with two men, and having one of those men working to rescue the other seems like it is just going to make it more complicated.
Robin: What a scene. I thought the way he handled it was perfect, taking it moment by moment, not letting the complexity of the situation become all encompassing. Oh Fitz, my heart.
Caralynn: OH GOD. All the Fitzsimmons moments in this episode destroyed me emotionally. Fitz learning of Simmons's feelings for him was power, and Iain totally killed it (the way he was engrossed watching it! the two tears!) but I think I loved their very last scene even more -- the cautious way that Fitz was trying to bring up what he'd seen from Simmons's videos and audio, a kind of gentle prying to see if she even remembered what she'd said or would acknowledge it. The way Simmons readily admitted to her feelings. That look Fitz had when she asked him what they should do about their (now obviously mutual) feelings. Ugh, all of it. So, so good. Fitzsimmons has successfully gotten me to forget about all of my tumultuous SkyeWard feels, which was no easy feat.
Hank: I confess, there were man tears. Iain De Caestecker is such a great actor, the guy never fails to make me tear up. I honestly thought Simmons' saw him more like a brother, not romantically. Now that we know she loves him, I'm excited to see them take the next step. Obviously the situation with Will is going to be tough, but I have faith it won't come between Fitz and Simmons.
Is Rosalind working with HYDRA, or is she unaware Gideon is a bad guy?
Kathleen: Too soon to tell, but I'm leaning towards Rosalind being unaware of Gideon's HYDRA connection. The fact that no one seems to be aware the Gideon is with HYDRA makes me think that he managed to evade detection when it all went down after Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I would think that if Coulson knew that someone as powerful and connected as Gideon was HYDRA, he would've done something about Gideon long before now. On a more meta level, Rosalind being unaware of Gideon's true nature creates an interesting parallel between Rosalind and May's situation with Andrew Garner, which played out during this episode.
Jim: Given that Gideon has been right under our noses since the Avengers movie, (he was one of the council that Fury reported to). I'm leaning towards her not knowing the truth. I really hope it turns out shes a good guy who's being manipulated and not the other way around.
Robin: I mentioned last week that I think Rosalind is a pawn in a bigger game, and I still think so. Whatever Gideon's got planned is probably a lot bigger than her. He probably wants an army of Inhumans, and she's collecting them for him without knowing that's what she's doing. I'm also inclined to think that Coulson knows that Rosalind is duplicitous.
Caralynn: I am really least interested in HYDRA. Out of everything that's going on, I could really care less about this bit. I'm a little bummed that Rosalind/ATCU had to get lumped in with Ward and those dreary drones. Despite my blah attitude towards this storyline, if I had to guess, I'd say that she probably doesn't know the truth about the Gideon/HYDRA connection and the fall out from this will be a whole lot of dramatic miscommunication where Coulson ends up thinking she knew, and she swears she didn't, they argue and are estranged, etc.
Hank: As I mentioned above, I don't think she's HYDRA since Gideon has everyone fooled. That said, what a bummer she and Coulson just hooked up and they dropped that HYDRA bomb on us. It's doubtful the two trust each other completely, but they had such great chemistry that I found myself rooting for them. With just a handful of episodes left before the midseason finale, I expect the Coulson, Rosalind, Ward/HYDRA arc to take center stage. Caralynn is going to be totally bummed out haha.
NOTE: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 Episode 8 is titled "Many Heads, One Tale" and airs on Tuesday, November 17.