Agents of SHIELD: 307 “Chaos Theory” Review
Reviewed by Ollie Gregory.
This week’s episode, titled Chaos Theory, comes fresh off the heels of the big reveal that Andrew was Lash. We explore Lash’s beginnings, learning that Andrew received his “abilities” after he opened a book and magic dust fell on him (It’s not as stupid as it sounds), and we also delve deeper into the relationship of Melinda May and Andrew Garner, learning that, in true superhero fashion, the reason he left her was to keep her safe. The two plots involving Fitzsimmons and Hydra are largely ignored, with a few scenes here and there to make sure we don’t forget what’s going on each of them, while the vast majority of this episode is focused on the big blue beast of a bad guy himself, for better, or for worse.
Most of the time I praise S.H.I.E.L.D for how quickly its stories develop, but this week the show probably should have taken a moment to catch its breath. Five of the previous six episodes this season have had a hand in building a sense of mystery and intrigue surrounding Lash, and to see all that gone so quickly was a bit of a shame. As much as I didn’t want an episode of May wandering around asking herself whether Von Strucker was telling the truth, I felt there should have been at least one episode between Andrew’s reveal and Andrew’s detainment.
And it’s not as if they don’t have any other problems to deal with. Despite being two of the strongest actors on the show, Iain De Caestecker (This dude seriously needs to change his name to something I can spell) and Elizabeth Henstridge were reduced to minor characters this episode, only appearing in short scenes to break up the main story. It’s been two weeks since Simmons’ fantastic space show, yet little to no progress has been made since.
That’s not to say this episode was all bad as, despite being rushed, the Lash story was a compelling one. Sure, his character was a blue version of the Hulk with a couple of bonus powers (“I love you, but sometimes my instinct takes over and I kill people.”) but Blair Underwood does a decent job of giving the killing machine a human side. You get the impression that the chemistry between Ming-Na Wen and Underwood is the foundation of this episode, and without it everything would cave in on itself.
The episode also continues to explore the growing bond between former enemies Phil Coulson and Rosalind Price. The two finally seem to be fully comfortable with each other, forgetting the mind games and opting for open discussion instead. Two characters who still don’t really see eye to eye are Daisy and Rosalind. Again, it is hard to decide who you agree with. On one hand, yes, people should be themselves and powers are as much a gift as they are a curse, but on the other hand, Inhumans are extremely dangerous and people need to be protected from them. As much as Daisy saving Price’s life was a little on the nose, the fact it perfectly paralleled the actions of one, Andrew Garner, means the question is still open for debate.
One aspect of the show, I realised whilst watching his episode, I have no interest in seeing further explored is that of Bobbi and Hunter. I enjoy both characters separately, but when they’re together talking about how they can’t bare the idea of the other one getting hurt I have a desperate urge to go and make myself a cup of tea so that by the time it is ready, the next scene is on (I don’t, because I’m obliged to write these reviews). At the end of the day, they’re both highly trained secret agents who fight some of the most dangerous people on the planet. Neither of them are going to be able to keep the other one completely safe. The only thing that could possibly make the interaction between the two characters enjoyable to watch would be Bobbi asking Hunter why on Earth he did “that” to his hair.
From one end of the spectrum to the other, the best part of Chaos Theory was the chase scene that was the climax of the episode. Bringing everyone together in an attempt to stop the massive midnight-blue monster was a really enjoyable way to end the episode. The way Lash was just about stopped every time he was about to kill someone grew tedious, but other than that, everything worked well. The surprisingly enjoyable ending to the chase made sure Lash didn’t look weak and also demonstrated the cold heartedness that made May such a fan favourite.
Other highlights this week include Mack’s throwback to episode one, when he talks about how he wished he’d followed through and got himself a loadout which combined both a shotgun and an axe, and the return of Inhuman Lincoln Campbell, which was a vaguely interesting development, although I don’t understand why he’s been putting himself through hell for so long. Why didn’t he arrange to meet up with Mack earlier? Joey, the inhuman from the very beginning of the season also makes a reappearance, hopefully suggesting we will see some form of the Secret Warriors this season.
The short tease at the end of this episode showed that Rosalind has been talking to HYDRA associate, Gideon Malick, as played by the eternal Powers Boothe. Is she actually evil and has her plan been to play a part in the murder of Mr S.H.I.E.L.D Director the whole time? Who knows? After hearing of how she is motivated by her husband’s death at the hands of cancer, I’d be surprised if the writers turned her into a complete villain. Then again, this show has surprised me before…
Another solid episode proves Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D has got the consistency down pat. It’s fun, it’s exciting, and every so often someone does something amazing. This week was a little lacking in the amazing part, but was still an engaging forty or so minutes of television.