The episode begins with May anxiously waiting in the S.H.I.E.L.D. lab. Coulson and a team wheel Garner onto the base. Someone tells May that Garner is alive; the relief is obvious on her face. (Have I mentioned that Ming-Na Wen is an incredible actress?) But also, how the heck is Garner alive?
May joins Coulson as they start administering medical treatments to Garner. May asks what happened. Garner says he had a headache and was at the store getting something. He saw Von Strucker and two other men--Hydra. May blames herself, saying that if she wasn’t connected to Garner, no one would have come after him. Garner keeps talking, saying that Coulson had an agent tailing him who saved his life. This all caught Von Strucker off guard because nothing went as planned. (Various internet theorists were correct; Von Strucker’s terrified expression was because something went badly during the operation.) The Hydra men shot the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, and Von Strucker had a lighter, which he used to make the building explodes. Garner made it to the door, and the explosion threw him clear. (This seems slightly fishy.) Next thing Garner knew, Coulson was there. Garner is glad Alex, aka Von Strucker, is gone but worries about the possibility of Ward trying to kill him. Coulson and May promise Garner that he’s safe now.
Coulson and May leave, and May crosses paths with Hunter in the hall. She refuses to let him go see Garner, even though Hunter insists he wants to make sure Garner is okay. May shoves him and says that Hunter is the reason Garner isn’t okay. Hunter insists he made the logical choice; May says he wanted revenge. Things start to get physical until Coulson (resident Dad) breaks them up. Hunter says his mission was to end Ward, so he took the shot. Coulson says Hunter missed, so he’s off the assignment, leaving Hunter looking shocked. May asks to be put on the assignment instead.
Coulson: “Are you back?”
May: “Yeah. I’m back.”
Cue opening credits.
Somewhere else, Ward is upset that S.H.I.E.L.D. tried to assassinate him. He blames Kebo for the incident. Kebo says he followed protocol, remarking that Hunter really wanted Ward dead. Ward says that they all do. Kebo says they shouldn’t have let Von Strucker--a boy--do a man’s job, but Ward says that Kebo wouldn’t have passed as an undercover college student. They don’t know where Von Strucker is, and Kebo goes to find him with Ward’s orders to kill Von Strucker when they find them.
Coulson finds Daisy, who’s upset that Lash interrupted their plans to see the ATCU’s facility. But the good news is that she has a theory. Lash was tracking them, so she believes he had inside information. She believes he’s someone inside the ATCU. Coulson says he’ll be touring the facility later, so he’ll see what he can find there. He tells Daisy to see what she can find remotely, but he says it’s important that Rosalind not find out that they’re investigating the ATCU. Daisy asks Coulson if he’s getting too attached to Rosalind. (I sense a ship is forming!) Coulson says he’s been doing this long enough that he’s learned to distance himself. Daisy asks if May is back with S.H.I.E.L.D. officially. Coulson says he’s not sure… right now May is out for blood.
Elsewhere on base, May finds Bobbi and pins her against the wall. Bobbi’s reaction of “What the hell?” is basically the same as mine. May accuses Bobbi of egging Hunter on in his mission to find Ward, saying that this is her fault. They start fighting, even though Bobbi is reluctant to engage, and it’s really a sight to see these two powerful women pitted against each other. Bobbi throws May to the floor.
May: “So you can fight your own battles.”(Again, Bobbi’s reaction is the same as mine.)
It’s revealed that May was testing her, making sure Bobbi was ready for combat. (This comes as a great relief to me because I thought May was becoming irrational, and her reason for being mad at Bobbi made no sense.) Even though Bobbi’s lung isn’t 100% yet and Coulson hasn’t cleared her for the field, May recruits Bobbi to help her go after Ward. She says the wheels of the plane go up in 20.
They head out to the plane. Hunter approaches, asking for a minute with Bobbi. May leaves the two of them alone. Hunter says he’s going with them, but Bobbi says he’s definitely not. She says she gets why he put Andrew at risk in order to shoot Ward, but she says that other people aren’t as used to his behavior as she is. He asks if she’s really going back in the field, to which Bobbi says she’s ready. He asks if she’s lying, and Bobbi says she’s not.
Hunter: “Do better than I did, yeah?”
Bobbi: “You’re not going to say the thing?”
Hunter: “You already know.”
The plane lifts off. May says Garner didn’t get all the details right and that there was a fourth man on the scene… but only three bodies. She brings up Garner’s student, Alexander Braun, but reveals that he’s actually a Von Strucker, as in, “Hail Hydra.” (Okay, but how did she know his secret lineage?)
Bobbi: “Ward was starting his own little Hydra dynasty. Cute.”
May says that if they find Von Strucker, he’ll lead them to Ward. They see that a bank account with ties to Hydra has become active. It’s located in the Grand Cayman Islands, so they head there. May asks how Bobbi’s Mandarin is, to which Bobbi replies (in Mandarin), “What do you think?”
Von Strucker is in a tall building talking to a man about how Ward is a monster and won’t care why he didn’t complete the mission. The man references how Baron Von Strucker was better at protecting his assets than Ward is. Young Von Strucker tells this man that he was nicer to him than his dad was.
The guy says that they would have never put up with things like what Ward is doing. Von Strucker says that Ward is scary. The guy says he’s aware of Ward, who was once an untested youth too. Von Strucker asks if this man will help him, and he ominously replies that he’ll handle everything.
Rosalind picks up Coulson to take him to ATCU’s facility, and they banter about how Coulson won’t tell Rosalind where he lives.
Coulson: “You know I run a spy organization, right?”
Rosalind: “You know we agreed to share information, right?”
Rosalind gets a call about an emergency and says that she’ll have to reschedule with Coulson. He insists on going along anyway, and Rosalind reluctantly agrees. She tells her driver to take her home.
Back at base, Fitz is making May and Bobbi fake IDs. In the background, he’s running portal simulations. Hunter is sitting there with him and says Fitz shouldn’t help get Will back since Will is his competition.
Hunter: “If your girlfriend’s ex wants to visit from Phoenix you do not buy him a plane ticket.”
Fitz: “That’s oddly specific.”
Fitz says this guy helped keep Simmons alive, so he owes him. Hunter disagrees, saying that Fitz doesn’t owe Will anything. Fitz asks what Hunter is even doing in the lab. Hunter says Coulson benched him, so he’s offering his expertise elsewhere. Hunter corrects Fitz’s spelling of “Katelin” on the fake ID, and Fitz gets so frustrated that he kicks him out.
Daisy finds Garner up and about and asks if he has time for a consult. Garner says, “Yes, please,” since being laid up has been extremely boring. Daisy says it’s about Lash. Garner says he heard that they had a run-in, but he’s glad Daisy is okay. (This seems extremely fishy.) Daisy wonders aloud why Lash did spare her. Garner says he’s not sure since he’s still trying to put together an Inhuman psych profile.
Garner: “You’re all different.”
Daisy says Lash is very different. She tells Garner that Lash turned into a human. Garner asks if she’s tried talking to Lincoln, but he’s off the grid. Mack interrupts, asking for Daisy’s attention, so Daisy thanks Dr. Garner and puts the conversation to an end.
Mack suggests to Daisy that maybe Banks, Rosalind’s lead henchman, is Lash. They get ready to tail Banks in a van, with a desperate Hunter offering to drive.
Location: Grand Cayman Island
May and Bobbi are undercover, speaking in Mandarin about the operation. They’re trying to get into a bank.
Their fake IDs check out (yay Fitz!), and they are taken back to a room full of lockboxes. They blow the locks off of all of them, then check a particular one--Von Strucker’s. They investigate the contents but yield nothing. Fitz announces that they’ve triggered an alarm. They’re locked inside the lockbox room. (See what I did there?) May flashes a smile at a security guard but says to Bobbi in Mandarin, “We’re screwed.”
May tells Bobbi who they should each attack. But instead, Bobbi congratulates the bank manager on their security system, surprising both the manager and May. Fitz feeds her info via her magical glasses, like the fact that the company is struggling. She says they’d like to offer the company a job. However, one of the guards reaches for his gun. May says, “Now we do it my way.” They fight the guys.
Elsewhere, Mack, Daisy, and Hunter are watching for Banks to return to his car, with Hunter giving annoying updates.
Mack: “He wasn’t back 37 seconds ago, either, but thanks for the regular updates.”
Daisy researches Banks’ sordid past. Hunter starts giving suggestions on what they could do with Banks, but Mack says they need to be professional and not hurt anyone. Hunter realizes they’re not talking about the mission at hand anymore. He insists he had no choice, which Mack disagrees with, and the two of them argue until Daisy breaks in to announce that Banks is back at his car. They start to follow him home.
In the meantime, someone has broken into Rosalind’s home. Rosalind leaves to show a police officer around, and Coulson waits, making an offhand comment to another cop about how you can tell a lot about someone from their books.
Coulson: “Okay, I didn’t actually know that there were this many biographies of Margaret Thatcher.”
Coulson notices that her furniture is brand new, and he also notices a signed baseball bat sitting in the corner, which he admires. Rosalind rejoins him, and Coulson asks if anything was taken. Rosalind is surprised he didn’t listen in on the conversation she had with the cop. She says he’s slipping; she was sure he’d be scoping things out. Coulson just smiles.
Daisy, Hunter, and Mack follow Banks to his house. They park and try to figure out what to do since this seems to be a dead end, but Hunter takes matters into his own hands, much to Daisy and Mack’s dismay.
He puts a bandana over his face and ices Banks, ruining their plans for stealth. He says if they get Banks’ DNA, that’ll be a foolproof way to know if he’s Inhuman. Daisy and Mack have to admit that’s kind of a smart idea. They say they don’t have the equipment to take his blood, but Hunter punches him, and they swab the blood from that.
Back at the base, Jemma sits with Garner, saying that he went through something traumatic and there will be after-effects.
Jemma: “Sound familiar?”
They compare notes about how they both feel weak, and Garner says maybe they feel that way because of their PhDs. Jemma is interrupted by her phone ringing; it’s Daisy asking if she has the ability or time to analyze Banks’ blood. Jemma agrees (Yay, she’s back in the field!), and Daisy somehow technologically sends her the blood sample. In the meantime, they go through Banks’ stuff.
Hunter: “There’s not even any selfies. Banks, you are boring. Well, apart from the fact that he might be a giant beast who blows holes in people’s chests, but…”
Suddenly, Banks’ phone chimes.
Hunter: “I didn’t do it. Wasn’t me.”
Mack: “...We know. It’s a phone.”
They pursue the lead from Banks’ phone, going to a location and leaving Banks behind.
Rosalind offers Coulson some burgers for dinner, but Coulson has a different conversation in mind. He notes all the valuable things in the apartment that weren’t stolen. He wonders if Rosalind staged the break-in to gain sympathy, and Rosalind responds that maybe S.H.I.E.L.D. is the one who broke in. Coulson says that a staged break-in would be a good way for Rosalind to humanize herself. He brings up the signed baseball bat, something that not just anyone would know was worth a lot of money. He wonders if she planted it, as well as brought him burgers from his favorite place, in order to make him like her more. Rosalind throws away the burgers and says that they’ll go to the facility.
Bobbi and May use Von Strucker’s IDs to track him to Lisbon, Portugal. May wonders why Bobbi didn’t fight at the bank. She suggests that maybe Bobbi is gun-shy because of her experience with Ward, much like May was after her traumatic experience in Bahrain. May says that she saw Bobbi training at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ back in the day and was impressed, but she says that Bobbi is better today because she has experience. Bobbi isn’t convinced, asking if what happened with Ward was experience. May says that this can make Bobbi stronger and that she should let it since talking their way out might not be an option next time.
Speaking of Ward, his arm is in a sling, but he is still very much alive. He’s also rebuilding his secret Hydra warehouse. As he does this, he receives a phone call from the man that Von Strucker was talking to earlier. The man offers Ward redemption, which Ward insists he doesn’t need. The man tells Ward it was a mistake to use Von Strucker this early in the game. Ward insists that Von Strucker isn’t a pawn, but the man says that now he’s a liability. He offers Ward the location of Von Strucker as a sign of goodwill.
Daisy, Mack, and Hunter have followed a lead from Banks to a secret facility. They’re going to use a new dwarf from Fitz to get inside.
Daisy: “He doesn’t think it’s ready, but that’s stupid because it’s awesome, so… I stole it.”
Hunter gives her a look.
Daisy: “What? I didn’t say you were the only one with issues.”
Daisy gets a call from Jemma, who says that Banks isn’t Lash. Daisy is surprised to hear this, naturally. They end the call, and the focus switches to Jemma, who asks Fitz to look at the portal simulation with her. Fitz sadly tells her that he couldn’t get any simulation to work, so it’s a dead end. He says the portal was only one option, though, so they’ll keep looking. Jemma grabs his hand, acknowledging that this isn’t easy for him and that it’s an odd situation.
Fitz: “Yeah, it’s one of the oddest, even for us.”
Jemma says that if Fitz knew Will, he’d understand.
Fitz: “Jemma, that’s the thing. I am going to know him. It’s not even a question.”
The unspoken here is almost as important as the spoken. Yes, Fitz is determined to find Will. But what will happen when he does?
Jemma leaves, and Fitz Googles Will, finding an article about him as a “hometown hero.” (This scene has also produced an interesting fan theory.)
Back at the mysterious location, Hunter insists that Banks still seems shifty to him. They watch the inside of the facility with Fitz’s new dwarf, which has the ability to cloak itself (How awesome is this?). As they watch, a truck pulls in with a shipment. Inside is a crate with something inside it… a person. Daisy realizes that this is where the ATCU is taking and hiding the Inhumans. Daisy tries to zoom in to get a better shot, but she lands accidentally on two familiar faces: Coulson and Rosalind.
Daisy is shocked by this, wondering why Coulson isn’t horrified by this and why he’s not burning the place to the ground. Mack tells her to bring down the dwarf before they’re discovered.
We then shift the focus to Coulson and Rosalind. Coulson tells her that the way they’re keeping the Inhumans is efficient and asks if it’s some kind of suspension gel. Rosalind says it’s a way to keep them in stasis--alive but asleep. Rosalind says she didn’t want to show Coulson their facility because she knows how this looks. Coulson says it looks like a horror movie. (There we go, Daisy. Crisis averted.) Rosalind says they’re keeping the Inhumans asleep while they try to find a cure. (I don’t doubt this, but remember how they were operating on people in the first episode? I’m still concerned by that.) While they find a cure, they keep the Inhumans in stasis. She likes to think of it like a medically-induced coma. She says finding a cure is vital to helping these Inhumans and the people who lost them.
Coulson suddenly realizes something: Rosalind lost someone too. She nods, saying she lost her husband to cancer. She says she would have loved to help him somehow, to put him in stasis while they found a cure. This is why she’s doing this.
Coulson: “I gotta be honest, I didn’t expect--”
Rosalind: “What, that I’m human?”
Coulson, holding up his bionic arm: “Not all of us are. Not fully.”
Rosalind: “I am, and I think you are too. But if you tell anyone I said that, I’ll find your base and blow it up.” [...] “I find it hard to keep my humanity in all of this.”
Coulson: “Usually you have to cut yourself off from it.”
Rosalind: “I’m trying not to.”
Rosalind references how Coulson suspects that she wants him to like her, and she says that is actually true. Coulson smiles and says, “Good.”
Bobbi and May go to Lisbon, Portugal, where they find Kebo and a bloodied, tortured Von Strucker. A fight breaks out. Kebo stabs Von Strucker before fleeing. Bobbi and May battle some random henchmen.
Bobbi’s battle takes her outside, where she fights an unidentified Hydra recruit and then Kebo himself. Inside, May fights the entire room full of men, then takes Von Strucker down from the ceiling. He’s dying. (I presume he’s dying. You never can tell on this show.) She asks him where to find Ward, but Von Strucker just says “Ward… please…”
Outside, Kebo and Bobbi are still duking it out. Their fight has led them to a pool, where Kebo holds Bobbi underwater. She barely manages to retrieve her baton, which she whacks him with. She climbs out of the water and stands on the edge of the pool. Kebo asks her what makes her think she can beat him. Bobbi replies, “Experience.” She electrifies her batons and sticks them in the pool, presumably killing him.
May continues to talk to Von Strucker, who says that he tried to kill Garner. But he didn’t know that he turned into… “that thing.”
We see the explosion scene, but this time Garner changes into Lash.
He kills all the men and then looks down at the lighter with a possibly-haunted expression before dropping it in the gasoline.
Garner is Lash. I repeat, Dr. Andrew Garner is Lash, and he used the explosion to cover his tracks. (Fan theories were correct!)
Von Strucker says he saw all this. May insists this isn’t true, but Von Strucker asks what he (Lash) is. May says she doesn’t know.
Von Strucker (presumably) dies as May looks absolutely, positively horrified.
In the last scene, Daisy calls Lincoln, asking if he’s safe. He responds that he’s “safe as houses.” He insists it’s a real thing that people say.
Daisy: “Sure, and someday you can tell me how you survived the Dust Bowl and the Hoover Administration, Grandpa.”
She says she’ll stop making fun of him when he tells her where he is, but Lincoln needs to lay low in general since Lash could find him. Lincoln asks how long before the call is traceable--15 seconds--and says he’ll reach out to her again soon.
Daisy hangs up, and Garner appears behind her.
He tells her they’ll figure out who Lash is soon enough (Oh, yes, they will). He asks if she was talking to Lincoln and comments about how it’s weird that Lincoln won’t tell them where he is, since he’d be so much safer at S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters. (Yeah, no, he wouldn’t, really.) Daisy agrees and says she’ll tell him as soon as she knows where Lincoln is. Cue menacing look from Garner... and the whole audience trembles.
I have a confession. Last week, I saw a fan theory that Garner was Lash, which I was completely behind. In one of my recent recaps, I said that I wouldn’t be surprised if this happened. And... yep. I wasn’t surprised. (I’m kind of sad that I wasn't surprised, because the shock value would have been amazing.)
As for the theory itself, I’m still behind it. It makes total sense, but it also makes me so sad because I loved how good his character seemed. (We can’t have it all, I guess.) It was one thing I’m pretty sure no one saw coming, May included. I’m currently wondering if Garner's plot line will be a Hulk-like arc, or if he'll embrace his truly evil calling.
Past episodes have foreshadowed Garner being Lash. The biggest piece of foreshadowing is that he’s said multiple times that he thinks the Inhumans are dangerous. While this isn’t an unpopular opinion (Mack and Jemma think so too), it’s still a really big clue, and I’m surprised I didn’t pick up on it sooner.
The serious moments of this episode were very well done. That being said, I loved the lighthearted moments of this episode, too. A lot of moments made me laugh out loud. You can definitely tell that this is a Whedon show, from the dialogue to the plot twists, and this episode definitely reminded me of that even more.
Coulson’s relationship with Rosalind was on point as always, but I think Daisy’s right in being concerned that he’s becoming too attached to her. I have a feeling this will end badly.
The fight scenes were on point, and I feel that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. being nominated for “Best Fight Scene” in The Fangirl Awards is well-deserved. Bobbi fighting Kebo in the pool was particularly cool. It was good to see Agent Morse back on the field.
I loved that we got moments from everyone: Daisy, Mack, Coulson, Jemma, Fitz, Bobbi, and May. This episode had it all. The team is back in business, baby!
Tune in next week to see Garner lie to May the entire time on their romantic vacation, as well as more witty one-liners and action-packed fight scenes. Also, raise your hand if you think we haven't seen the last of Junior Von Strucker.
Have you seen the aptly-titled episode “Among Us Hide”? What did you think of it?