“But if you wanted to, you could kill me. Mankind’s scary enough as it is. Some psycho gets a gun and watch out, but now people are their own weapon,” explains Rosalind Price (Constance Zimmer) to Daisy Johnson (Chloe Bennet). This is a pivotal exchange between ACTU and SHIELD about Inhuman containment methods; alluding to the moral dilemmas at play in this season of Agents of SHIELD. How do we protect ourselves from weaponized humans? The government could pass some an Inhuman registration act (cough, Civil War setup). Episode seven, Chaos Theory, illustrates that our natural instinct in midst of chaos is to exert control over the situation, “Because for every Daisy Johnson there’s a Lash and it’s ignorant for you to think otherwise.” For every Inhuman soldier there’s a radical superhuman. Great walk and talk scene in the beginning, as Coulson and Daisy discuss Inhuman containment methods, with Dr. Andrew Garner (Blair Underwood) following closely behind. Their exchange illuminates Dr. Garner’s instinctual battle that he’s dealing with internally. “I know, but everyone deserves a chance to be who they are,” says Daisy. So is Dr. Garner really the same as the monster he is able to turn into? The writers did relay a bit too much on the dialogue to raise these philosophical questions about power and control. Enter Ming-Na Wen’s superb performance as Agent Melinda May, whom slowly watches her happiness disappear through a love lost.
“He won’t always be able to shift between monster and man. He’s still in transition… The man you think you know is disappearing, if he’s not already gone.” –Lincoln Campbell
After Werner Von Strucker delivers startling information to Agent May about the convenience store incident, she’s determine to learn the truth about her husband Dr. Andrew Garner. The episode begins with a flashback to the reunited lover’s Maui vacation six months earlier. They are about to return and start a new beginning together. Too bad, Dr. Garner receives Jiaying’s Terrigen-mist trapped Inhuman ledger and becomes someone else… something else (sorry, I digress). “I felt different, like a part of me was unlocked,” describes Dr. Garner to Agent May; whom he’s holding captive in this episode. The betrayal takes a subtle dark turn as Dr. Garner attempts to compare his actions to those of Agent May’s in Bahrain (Refer to season two, episode 17 for the tragic details). She made the call to kill a young girl with an immeasurable power. This action radically changed Agent May from being “the calvary” and Dr. Garner’s wife to the closed-off SHIELD desk agent we met at the beginning of the series. “You and me we’re the same… I don’t want to do what I’m doing either… but I have to,” says Dr. Garner. His self justification in this moment further proves Lincoln’s belief that he’s still in transition. As Dr. Garner attempts to explain to Agent May that he’s doing the right thing, we can see how the Terrigen-mist is slowly corrupting his morality; even in his human form. “I know we can’t pretend it all away, but I’m still the same man you fell in love with. I never gave up on you, so don’t give up on me,” then he kisses Agent May; only for Coulson to interrupt their reconciliation. The writer’s do a nice job juxtaposing SHIELD learning about Dr. Garner’s transformation, with Agent May seeing it happen before her very eyes.
“We’ve got an outbreak on our hands. I’m simply trying to sort the good from the bad… you gave me this job,” explains Dr. Garner to Coulson. Oh the irony! This past season Dr. Garner has been designated SHIELD’s Inhuman assessor for Daisy’s task force. In addition, Coulson is the one who sent Dr. Garner Jiaying’s ledger that caused him to be exposed to the Terrigen mist. The episode concludes with Coulson leading both SHIELD and ACTU teams to contain Lash once and for all. Too bad Lincoln has a chip on his shoulder about Lash killing his friends, not to mention outing him as an Inhuman to the entire world, “You tore my friends apart. You have no right,” says Lincoln as he confronts Lash. Both Coulson and Agent May try to resolve the tension between these two combative Inhumans, assuring Dr. Garner that he needs to stay in control, because there’s a cure, “I am the cure,” he lashes out. In this dispute Agent May is “the cavalry” once again, as she shoots her ex-husband into a SHIELD Inhuman containment cell; acknowledging to Coulson that she didn’t know if he’d survive being shot at in human form.
This truly is a case of love loss, as the episodes flashes back to Agent May’s Maui vacation with Dr. Garner, “I never thought that I deserved this… happiness,” she says. Now her chance at happiness is going to be put on hold, as Agent May agrees to have the ACTU unit put Dr. Garner into a gel matrix chamber. The writers intentionally have Daisy support Agent May’s decision to acknowledge the truce formed between her and Rosalind Price this episode. Then Coulson seals the cease-fire between his two favorite ladies with a kiss (among other things). Too bad SHIELD dropped its shields to another double agent, as the final scene reveals that Rosalind is in cahoots with Gideon Malick (Powers Boothe). Funny, like daughter, like father as Daisy fell for double agent Grant Ward (Brett Dalton) back in season one. Lash is under control, for the time being; Fitz believes that an ancient society is connected to the foreign planet Jemma was stuck on; Bobbi convinces Hunter to stop going after Ward; just as Ward plots to go after Coulson; Who is unknowingly now sleeping with the enemy. Oh, the many story threads weaving their way into next week’s episode eight, Many Heads, One Tale. Stay tuned!