Less than 5 – Skip it, 6 – OK, 7 – Good, 8 – Great, 9 – Phenomenal, 10 – You owe it to yourself to watch this episode!
A Wanted (Inhu)Man covers a lot of ground in a short amount of time. With 4 storylines running simultaneously (HYDRA, Simmons, Hunter/May, Secret Warriors) every once in a while you will come across an episode that attempts to juggle one too many things at the same time. While still entertaining, this is that episode.
The focus this week in the MCU was placed on the hunt for Lincoln. Named a public danger, the government has publicized Lincoln’s alien nature and has asked anybody with any information to call him in. Right off the bat we get to see the ATCU in action again and how differently they operate from SHIELD. With little in the way of discretion, the ATCU is willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish their mission.
Lincoln has largely been a supporting character with very few qualities that make him stand out amongst the core cast SHIELD has managed to accrue over the years (aside from the whole shoots lightning thing). Which makes the effort the writer are putting into him here a good thing. I fully expected him to join the team at the end of the first episode and for them to move on to bigger and better things, but making each new member a challenge and layered can only be a positive.
Having Lincoln accidentally kill someone (does being in the same room when someone dies of fear count?) was a solid character moment for him and a nice anchor for the tone AoS is planning to maintain throughout the season. There are real stakes and people will pay the price. This combined with Hunter’s actions later on in the episode (which will be addressed in a few paragraphs) make for an episode that treads slightly darker territory than normal, something fans have always asked for.
Daisy’s head-butting with Coulson is also a nice touch. Last episode was all about her stepping into a leadership role with the Secret Warriors. The more we learn about what Coulson is doing with SHIELD and his new partnership with the ATCU the more it seems like she will eventually lead something much larger (she was director of SHIELD at one point in the comics).
Coulson and Rosalind’s back and forth continues to be one of the highlights of the show. The writers have nailed these two characters and I am officially shipping them as a potential MCU power couple (#Rosalson/#Coullind).
The secondary plot this week follows up on May and Hunter’s HYDRA infiltration mission. Acting as minor arms dealers, Hunter plans a meeting with an old spy buddy that has connections to HYDRA. Instead of being granted access without a fuss (presumably how the old HYDRA operated), the only way into Ward’s HYDRA is through the fight club (normally I wouldn’t talk about it but I’ll make an exception).
May and Hunter have an interesting dynamic but with so much else going on in the episode they ended up with the short end of the stick. Hunter having to brawl his supposed friend to gain entry into HYDRA and then accidentally killing him was an unexpected twist that worked really well within the context of everything else. This world may be full of vibrant characters but there are still very real consequences to be dished out. May kicking ass was also pretty cool.
The third and most intriguing storyline covered this week involved the rehabilitation of Simmons after her lengthy trip to god knows where. Elizabeth Henstridge did a phenomenal job conveying how broken she’s been left by the alien wilds. Jumping at the smallest of sounds and breaking down at the slightest hint of human emotion, we still have no idea exactly what Simmons was subjected to inside of the Monolith but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t good. Plus her revelation at the end leaves us with a whole new mystery to solve on top of the one we already had (where exactly was that planet and now, why does she need to return?)
Agents of SHIELD is headed in a number of intriguing directions. This episode may not have handled them in the best possible manner but the show continues to add value to the wider MCU and is fantastic television in its own right.
Overall A Wanted (Inhu)Man gets a 7/10.