'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' S3E7: Chaos Theory

★ ★ ★ ½

Everything that can go wrong, can go wrong, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and "Chaos Theory" is a not so friendly reminder of that. Lash’s treatment throughout this whole episode was sloppy at best, but led to some satisfying May moments. Despite that, the entire Andrew/Lash situation didn’t work for either characters’ favor.

While Lash seemed to be a complex villain with deep motivations, it’s sad to find out that the only reason why Andrew killed was because of some uncontrollable urge to do so. The series nodded towards the possibility that it was due to him deeming others "worthy" of the transformation, but, in the end, it wound up just being Andrew’s ongoing transformation into the predatory Lash that fueled all of the attacks. Not some complex motive. Andrew’s character seemed to drastically change after the reveal and an hour didn’t give him enough time to develop into a dangerous villain.

A Whedon show dealing with someone transforming into a monster is definitely not a new one. You have Buffy and Angel, Angel and Cordelia, Spike and Drusilla, and several relationships in Dollhouse. The way it was handled was also wholly unoriginal: a couple torn apart in a sudden manner trying to hold on to what’s left of their love for each other. While the material didn’t offer much for Andrew, it did for May. Well placed flashbacks of their time in Hawaii offered an ironic series of statements to coincide with May’s worsening situation. Her having to put down Andrew (still not new. *cough* Buffy season two finale *cough*) was a strong moment for character.

SHIELD S3

"Chaos Theory" managed to wrap up the current A.T.C.U./Inhuman conflict in a nice little bow before it predictably falls apart later on. That being said, it was nice seeing the complexity of both sides’ viewpoints on the handling of Inhumans coincide. On one end, you have Rosalind seeing Daisy as potential for the training (and possibly weaponization) of Inhumans, while Daisy got to see that some Inhumans are better off left in stasis. Civil War will present a (very) similar premise. While Agents, at first, leeched off of the movies, it became it’s own entity while still being able to preserve the much broader picture and incorporate it into its world.

As usual, while the Inhuman plot suffered a little, Fitz/Simmons’ scenes are as strong as ever. With Fitz dealing with the aftermath of Simmons’ story and her new boyfriend, it was a great opportunity for Iain De Caestecker to show how much disdain he has for Will. The face he’s put on for the time being is a strong one, one reflecting his love for Jemma and willingness to do anything for her — even that means losing her to someone else. His scenes watching all of her records on the planet and their moment watching the sun rise are touching testaments to their long-standing relationship.

Unlike everyone else this episode, Lincoln has yet to incorporate himself into Agents in a noteworthy way. His role as a mentor had a huge impact during his introductory season, but since Daisy took over that he’s been flopping from scenario to scenario — unable to find his corner of the sky. I’ve had a long standing theory that Lincoln is actually Black Bolt (would make for a great tv/movie crossover) and, if that’s the case, then incorporating Lincoln in an interesting and entertaining way is pivotal. Not only to the Inhuman legacy, but to Agents’ ability to produce standalone content.

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