Missed one here – many apologies … read this one before you read 4722 although considering the context of that episode, it won’t really matter in the grand scheme of things! Anyways if you recall at the end of the previous episode, Hunter had made a failed attempt on Wards life & Coulson has removed him from the task. With May now all hot and bothered due to the death of Andrew, she’s more than eager to pick up the slack and sets out to see how Bobbi is doing. Bobbi sidelined all season due to Wards torture still feels somewhat tentative but when May comes at her all guns blazing she’s forced to step up her game and defend herself. Now while this fight isn’t at the same quality or intensity as the May vs. May fight from Season 2, it’s still quite cool.
Once May “persuades” Bobbi to join her, they quickly figure out that transfer student “Alex” is actually von Strucker’s son. He’s alive and on the run, having cleaned out a recent Hydra bank account, and May correctly thinks that if they find him, they can find a link to Ward. Turns out Werner is actually hiding out in a penthouse in Portugal with Gideon Malick (Powers Boothe), a powerful Hydra menace who once worked with his father. The poor kid doesn’t know where to turn, but don’t worry — Malick will handle everything. True to his word, Malick calls up Ward, who isn’t at all intimidated by Malick’s Hydra past. Malick offers him a chance at redemption, a chance to fix the mistakes he’s made in the game by involving unprepared people like von Strucker’s son. A confident Ward rejects Malick’s proposal, even when Malick says he knows where he can find the kid, who S.H.I.E.L.D. is also conveniently looking for. “Sometimes,” he tells the budding Hydra leader, “you sacrifice a player to play the game.”
Meanwhile, Daisy and Mack are working on Daisy’s pet theory that Lash can transform into a human and their first suspect is Rosalind’s right-hand man, Luther Banks. With Hunter’s help (who lets be honest is beside himself worrying about Bobbi and frustrated with nothing to do) they decide to stake him out. Daisy and Mack soon realize that they have no idea how to really track this guy, other than waiting to see if he randomly shapeshifts. While Mack and Daisy want to be stealthy (especially with Coulson currently embedded in the ATCU), stealth has never been Hunter’s way of doing things. He takes matters into his own hands and runs out of the van and ices the guy. (“Come on!” Daisy yells, and I laugh because I would have yelled the exact same thing.) No one thinks shooting Rosalind’s No. 2 is a particularly good idea, but Hunter’s actually being smart for once: Inhumans have markers in their DNA, so if they test Banks’ blood, they’ll know whether or not he’s Lash. Even Daisy admits that’s kind of smart though she almost takes the compliment back after Hunter punches Banks in order to get the blood sample.
After snooping through Banks’ things, the three learn about a secret lab called Endotech. Using a new (invisible) spy drone that Fitz has created they break into the lab and realize that it’s chock full of boxed up iHumans that the ATCU has been capturing. They also see Coulson seemingly having a normal conversation with Rosalind and not throwing a hissy fit which is what Daisy expects him to do. Daisy is definitely not happy – there’s no way she’s working with the ATCU after this, so good luck, Coulson. Unfortunately while they might have made this grand discovery, their hunch about Banks is incorrect as Simmons contacts them to give them the results of the blood test and Banks’ doesn’t have any iHuman markers.
But all is not what it seems, and this is part of why Rosalind didn’t want to tell Coulson about what they were doing. Rosalind and the ATCU are treating the Inhuman gene like an illness, one that they’re trying to find a cure for, so people can live their lives in peace. Plot twist! Turns out this all comes from a personal place: Rosalind’s own husband died of cancer a few years ago, and this a way to try to help others when she couldn’t help him. Coulson is unexpectedly touched by this show of humanity, and I think it’s interesting to see the two leaders displaying different sides of the coin when it comes to how to survive in this industry. Rosalind is doing anything she can not to cut herself off because she believes it’s important to have feelings while Coulson thinks the only way to get the job done is to stop feeling entirely.
May and Bobbi show up at the bank under the guise of wanting to open Ms. Wong (May’s) safe deposit box. (The two most important things about this scene: Bobbi’s undercover glasses, and May and Bobbi trading conversations in Mandarin.) But when Bobbi uses one of Fitz’s devices to find the actual safe deposit box belonging to Hydra, they trigger an alarm that has the bank manager and the guards cornering them in the vault. May’s first instinct is to fight, but Bobbi takes the opposite route: Using information Fitz is feeding her through her glasses, she sweet talks them long enough to almost get out of trouble. When May sees a guard going for his gun, though, the channel gets changed to the Melinda May Badass Hour. Later on, May corners Bobbi about why she chose the safe route rather than the attack route back at the bank. She assesses that Bobbi is hiding behind her medical tests and holding back because she doesn’t think she’s strong enough to fight anymore. May rallies her confidence by telling her about how she scouted her at the Academy before she became an agent (and I really need THAT backstory now) and shares her own Bahrain experiences. She knows what it feels like to regress due to a personal loss. And she’s not going to let Bobbi go there.
Thanks to Malick, Ward has gotten to Werner first, but May and Bobbi easily interrupt the love fest that is Hydra beating the crap out of the kid and gloriously disarm all the agents in a sequence that reminds me why I love these ladies so much. Bobbi finally gets her due, and for all her fighting skills, it’s experience and smarts that help Bobbi succeed — she uses her batons to electrocute Kebo in the pool. May, meanwhile, is trying desperately to get Werner to tell her about Ward before he either passes out or dies.
Werner tries to apologize for what happened, telling May, “I didn’t know he changed into that thing.” And as we watch May’s horrified face, we get the actual story of what happened the day that Garner was attacked and the reason behind why he ultimately survived a little too well.
Garner. Is. Lash.
I’d like to say that I saw that coming, but just like Ward and HYDRA, I have to admit this reveal did surprise me. I will admit that I was surprised with Andrew’s character as he did seem so incidental considering the quality of the actor & when he was killed off, I really was a bit confused as it seemed such a waste. Obviously, now everything makes sense: the fact that he hasn’t yet killed Daisy (something Daisy asks him about point blank, along with asking about his shapeshifting skills) and also the fact that he’s so interested in finding Lincoln. (That last scene, where we see Daisy willing to offer up Lincoln’s whereabouts because, as Garner notes, “he’d be safer here,” made me cringe. Don’t do it, Daisy!) Much like when we learned Ward was Hydra, looking back at all the interactions and choices Garner has made in light of this new knowledge suddenly adds a different perspective to our stories. How will this affect his relationship with May? What about the fact that he and Simmons have been bonding over therapy and PhDs? Is Garner really, truly evil inside, or is just Lash that’s the problem? (We’ve already done the Jekyll and Hyde thing, so I’m guessing we’re not going to go there twice.) Moreover, if Garner has been vetting Inhumans since the beginning, how many has he actually killed or put on a list when he realizes they’re not “worthy” enough? Do we even want to know?