“Chaos Theory” – aired 11/10/2015 – *****stars
Written by Lauren Lefranc
Directed by David Solomon
*spoilers contained within*
By Joe Grodensky
In this week’s episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the team finally gets to the bottom of whether Werner Von Strucker was telling that truth that Dr. Andrew Garner (Blair Underwood) is the monstrous mutant Lash (Matthew Willig). As previously mentioned, the writers, creative team, etc. have done a great job of giving fans and viewers a clear storyline and set of villains without losing the suspense and espionage-style feel to the show. The episode opens with a flashback to Agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) and Andrew having an intimate sunset moment on a beach in Oahu during her hiatus from S.H.I.E.L.D. They are discussing giving their relationship another try. However, in the next scene, we see where it all goes wrong with Andrew, which starts the chain of events that thrusts the Inhumans into the spotlight.
There are a lot of call backs and references from last season in this episode, especially ones that involve Daisy (Chloe Bennet). After having his moment with Melinda in Hawaii, Andrew is back in his office reading books when he picks one up and it starts smoking. It turns out to be the journal of Jiaying (Dichen Lachman), who not only tried to help the Inhumans by giving them sanctuary, but is also Daisy’ mother. The journal contained a terragin crystal which covered Andrew in black goo which solidified into rock. This is the same terragin that gave Daisy her powers and killed Raina (Ruth Negga) last season. Andrew, like Daisy, survives the terragin, but instead of causing earthquakes, he becomes the bloodthirsty Lash. Andrew keeps this a secret for a long time from a lot of people, but thanks to Werner, the secret is out.
Melinda can’t get Wener’s revelation out of her head so she starts digging through S.H.I.E.L.D.’s computers and finds disturbing coincidences. The first is that Andrew was always in the same location as Lash around the same time of an attack and the second is Andrew never got his blood tested for Inhuman DNA like everyone else did. While May is investigating, the team sends Andrew to a facility called “The Cocoon” is New York City to assess and evaluate Joey Gutierrez (Juan Pablo Raba), who as fans may recall is an Inhuman saved by Daisy early in the season from a government roundup after his powers went haywire. Melinda forces her way into the facility and requests to speak to Andrew in private. The more she pushes Andrew for the truth, the more agitated he gets and he winds up shooting her with a tranquilizer. On the way to meeting the President, Rosalind Price (Constance Zimmer) and Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) are interrupted by Mack (Henry Simmons) and Lincoln Campbell (Luke Mitchell), an Inhuman befriended by Daisy at the sanctuary. Lincoln tells Mack and the team he knows about the journal and Andrew. Coulson orders the flight diverted to The Cocoon to rescue Melinda and apprehend Andrew/Lash.
Melinda wakes up handcuffed to a boiler in an office. When she asks Andrew what happened while she was blacked out, all he can tell her was he panicked after he realized what he did. Coulson arrives backed by S.H.I.E.L.D. and the A.T.C.U. Lincoln wants revenge but Daisy and Mack warn him not to do anything rash. It doesn’t work as Lincoln’s emotions get the best of him. As Coulson tries to talk to Andrew diplomatically, Lincoln storms in and hits Andrew with an energy blast. Andrew turns into Lash, forcing Phil to call in both teams earlier than expected. There is no shortage of action when everyone finds out Lash is invincible as he takes out the A.T.C.U. and S.H.I.E.L.D. He goes after Rosalind and throws her over a ledge where she is saved by Daisy despite an earlier argument over how to contain Inhumans. The only person who can stop Lash at this point is Melinda and she knows it. Coulson frees her and she steps in front of Lash as he is ready to strike. She pleads with him to stop and as he turns into Andrew, she shoots him until he falls into a containment bunker where he is trapped behind bulletproof glass and thick walls. When it’s all over, both teams go their separate ways but Rosalind is harboring a secret as revealed in a cutscene showing Ward (Brett Dalton) and Gideon Malick (Powers Booth) discussing Werner when Rosalind calls Malick saying she has Coulson and will deliver him.
While this week’s episode focused on Dr. Andrew Garner/Lash, there was no shortage of love in the air. The two main lovebirds in the show are Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Gemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) but Bobbi Morse (Adrianne Palicki) and Lance Hunter (Nick Blood) have a history too. Morse and Hunter were introduced in last season during the second S.H.I.E.L.D. storyline. They were married, got divorced but still love each other. In this episode they show much they are still in love when they argue over Hunter’s extreme methods of trying to find Ward. When Bobbi calls him stupid and wreckless, then tells him to stop searching for Ward, he answers back by saying he agrees but does it to make sure she is safe. Bobbi then says she still loves him and doesn’t want to lose him again or lose themselves to the mission. They embrace and kiss each other, rekindling their spark. Fitz is still researching the portal that Gemma went through to try to open it again. He comes across pictures and recordings she took while on the planet and is hit hardest by a video she made professing her feelings to him. He then tells Gemma about a clue he found to reopening the portal and about the videos and pictures. Gemma says she meant everything she said but is willing to wait to reopen the portal for now.
This is the best season of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The characters are forming their own identities yet still work so well with each other and the action is getting more intense. The Inhumans storyline throws variety into the show, giving us different characters and situations that we have never seen before. The first two seasons were always S.H.I.E.L.D. vs. Hydra or S.H.I.E.L.D. vs. the U.S. Government, which were good stories, but they became predictable in the sense that we knew where the story was going based on what direction the characters were going in on a week-by-week basis. This season we don’t have that predictability anymore. “Chaos Theory” proved it through Lincoln reappearing to take out Lash and Rosalind revealing she’s part of Hydra the whole time. This is what I love about comic book television and I hope S.H.I.E.L.D. stays this course.
Remember, check your local listings and catch Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Tuesdays at 8pm Eastern on ABC.