Agents of SHIELD: 304 “Devils You Know” Review
Reviewed by Ollie Gregory.
With the fourth episode of its third season, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D makes it clear it is well and truly underway. We get the reappearance of Lash, and learn a little bit about his motivations, while Hunter finally gets a shot at killing Ward. This week’s episode is probably the most action packed so far, but is the episode all the better for it?
When thinking about this episode it’s best to split it into two parts, the first twenty five minutes and the last fifteen minutes. The first part of this episode is… just not interesting. It’s disappointing because up until now they’ve been able to consistently produce very watchable television, but this episode began to feel like a return to the old days (You remember right?). I began to worry that I’d convinced people to watch something that wasn’t worth watching. Had the show showed its hand too early? Was it destined to fall short of the high expectations we all had after its strong opening?
Fortunately the last fifteen minutes were a thing that happened, and they were great. But before we get to that, let’s touch on the performances.
This episode relied fairly heavily on the relationships between the characters. I’m really starting to enjoy the chemistry Chloe Bennet and Henry Simmons have with each other, as Daisy and Mack respectively. They’re not quite a Fitzsimmons level of chemistry, but they’re fun to watch when they’re paired together. Coulson was quite dull this episode, not making as many quips as I would like, and Rosalind was just irritating.
Matthew Willig’s performance as Lash was unmemorable, but that doesn’t mean my inner child wasn’t excited to see the big blue monster throwing people around like ragdolls. The other guest appearance by Chad Lindberg was even more forgettable, playing an Inhuman with the ability to get a rash whenever an Inhuman is near him. Lindberg’s character receives a hole in his chest courtesy of Lash, so I doubt we’ll be seeing him again.
May and Hunter also seem to be building a budding relationship, as in Hunter makes jokes and May gives him her trademark scowl and then he moans and then she scowls some more. It’s almost definitely going to get incredibly tiresome over the course of the next few episodes, but as of yet it is still rather amusing.
Brett Dalton’s performance was an awful lot better this episode. Ward’s back and forth with Hunter during the action sequence was a lot of fun, although it felt a lot like one of those boss battles in the Arkham games. You know what I mean, right? The big bad is hiding somewhere while you fight of his goons and you’re bombarded with insults, criticisms and witty comments from the big bad. Yes, it was like that.
The surprising stand out performance came from Blair Underwood as Dr Andrew Garner. Somehow, despite being a fairly generic psychologist and teacher, he was able to make his character one who I genuinely cared for, and was worried about come the end of the episode.
My biggest complaint is the fact the writers decided to turn both Fitz and Simmons into dislikeable characters. They decided to make them pushy, irritating, selfish characters for no apparent reason. I get that he’s upset by the fact she’s not quite who she was before she was stranded on an alien planet, but up until now he’s been really understanding. Being annoyed at people for having a mental condition isn’t a particularly desirable characteristic. Another undesirable characteristic is not telling your best friend, who is visibly worried about you, why you’re feeling weird, especially when the reason you’re not telling them is, erm, just ‘cause I guess.
Anyways, I’m sure you’re fed up of me moaning so let’s talk about part two.
The last fifteen minutes are actually fantastic. A phenomenal action sequence involving Hunter, Ward and May which was tense and full of cool moments. It’s not often I’m able to praise Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D for its action but this week it was honestly the best part. How can you not get excited by Melinda May shooting people while back flipping off a shipping crater?
And then there was the dilemma at the end. Ward telling May and Hunter that if they come after him he’ll kill Andrew. At the time I was certain he was bluffing, begging Hunter to just ignore the phone and kill Ward and it was only when he listened to me (Well, he didn’t literally listen to me but you know what I mean) that I understood the gravitas of the decision he just made. Ward wasn’t bluffing and Werner Von-my-teenage-angst-phase-involves-me-brutally-murdering-people-Strucker was with Andrew at the time and was there in case Hunter did what Ward told him to.
Whether Andrew is actually dead or not is another matter. We see an awful lot of blood but not his body, and Werner looked afraid as he ran from the shop. Is Andrew an inhuman? Is Andrew Lash? Is Andrew Kylo Ren? Who knows?
The post credits scene wasn’t very good, in that it was identical to last weeks, but other than that everything that happened near the end was great. Despite this, more than half the episode was boring. It’s hard to give this episode a score because on one hand it is more bad than good so it is impossible to recommend, but it would be an injustice to not watch the last fifteen minutes.
Verdict: 7/10 (First half = 5/10 Second half = 9/10)