Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Walking Dead Season 6, Episode 7: Heads Up

This week's Walking Dead was yet another "pause before the storm" episode. That makes four in a row now. Thank Christ next week is the fall finale so we can finally get the main plot (you remember, the horde of zombies heading toward unprepared Alexandria?) back on track.

Of course the big news this week is the fact that Glenn's still alive. Told you so! His fate came as no surprise to most viewers, who figured out the twist several weeks ago in the episode Thank You. The way he survived played out exactly as we all predicted, and was frankly a bit anticlimactic. I'm glad Glenn's not dead, but the whole thing seems like a huge cheat. This series already has more than enough real deaths— teasing us with fake ones feels cheap and unnecessary.

Plus one of these days Glenn's going to die for real, and the event will be lessened by this little stunt.

This episode set up all the various pieces for next week's bloodbath. I have a feeling the cast is going to be significantly smaller as we go into the winter hiatus. I predict most of the Alexandrians won't survive the hour, including Deanna and Spencer. And I have a feeling the Ron/Carl showdown will end badly, with Carl marked for life, just as he was in the comic.


The Plot:
This week we rewind yet again to the early hours of the terrible, horrible, no good very bad day. We pick up with Glenn and Nicholas trapped on top of the dumpster, as seen in Thank You. Nicholas shoots himself, and his dead body knocks Glenn off the dumpster into a sea of hungry walkers.

But wait! It seems Glenn's not quite dead yet! As the walkers snack on Nicholas' entrails, Glenn slides underneath the dumpster (good thing he's skinny!). He kills a few walkers that grab for him, which forms an undead shield around him. After a few hours the walkers get bored and wander off. He cautiously crawls out from under the dumpster and encounters Enid, who tosses him some water. Enid wants to go off on her own, but Glenn convinces her to come back with him.

Back at Alexandria, Rick criticizes Morgan for letting the Wolves go during their attack (mostly because after they escaped they almost killed Rick). Morgan defends his actions, saying he's convinced not killing is the right thing to do. The writers finally remember Rosita's on the show, and have her teach the Alexandrians how to use machetes.

Rick teaches Ron how to shoot a gun (bad), but refuses to give him any bullets (good). Ron breaks into the armory and steals some (bad again). Deanna gives Rick and Michonne her fanciful and unrealistic expansion plans for Alexandria. Morgan talks Dr. Cloyd into treating the Wolf leader he's secretly holding in the jail. Carol sees this and confronts Morgan. Spencer tries to sneak out of Alexandria to draw the walkers away, but is almost eaten.

Meanwhile, Glenn and Enid find the signal balloons Rick was using for the walker parade. They reach Alexandria and see its surrounded by zombies. Glenn releases the balloons to signal he's still alive. Ron begins stalking Carl with his newly-loaded gun.

Just then the church tower, which was damaged in the Wolf attack a few weeks back, collapses and tears a hole in Alexandria's wall. Uh-oh!

• I was sure this week's episode would be another flashback, showing us how Rick escaped the RV and how Michonne managed to get Scott and Heath back home. Apparently not, and those events are being left to our imaginations.

• Now that we know Glenn's alive, Steven Yeun's name has reappeared in its rightful place in the opening credits. I told you they were trolling us the past few weeks by showing the watch but leaving his name off.

• Once the walkers got bored with trying to eat Glenn, they wandered away and cleared out. Boy did they! In Thank You there were several hundred of them crammed into Glenn's dead end alley, but in this episode the entire town is mysteriously void of even a single walker. Where the hell did they all go?

• Glenn happens upon the zombified David, the guy who couldn't wait to get back to his wife in Thank You. If you'll remember, he was with Michonne's group and couldn't make it over the fence before being swarmed by walkers.

The way that scene played out, one would think David would have been torn limb from limb. And yet here he was sitting in front of the fence, pretty much intact. How the heck did that happen? Did the walkers just take a few polite bites from him and then move on? His horrific screams in Thank You would indicate not.

• I assumed Enid was a Wolf spy, who fed intel about Alexandria to her group. Apparently not! This episode implies she's just a sullen loner who left the town to be on her own.

It's possible she was a Wolf, but fears reprisal if she goes back after telling them the Alexandrians would be easy pickings. Or maybe the Wolves were all wiped out in their attack, and there's no group to go back to.

Another possibility— maybe she's not with the Wolves, but the even more dangerous Saviors?

• Speaking of Enid, Glenn forces her to come back to Alexandria with him. If she doesn't want to go, I honestly don't see how it's any of Glenn's business. And his reason for forcing her— because Maggie would want him to save her— is pretty weak. It felt like these two characters were paired up just because the writers needed to eat up twenty minutes of runtime.

• Hey, we finally see Carol this week! I was beginning to wonder if she'd barricaded herself in her house, furiously baking casseroles.

• Rick holds an impromptu little tribunal to judge Morgan for letting the group of Wolves go free instead of killing them.

Um... Rick does know that there were five Wolves surrounding Morgan, right? And at least one of them was armed? Did he really expect Morgan to kill all five with a damned stick?

• Father Gabriel made a rare appearance in this episode, putting up ads for a prayer service. Rick then appears, tearing down the signs as he walks by.

What the heck was up with that? I get that Rick has no love for Gabriel after all he's done, but tearing down a preacher's signs just made him look like an asshole.

• What happened to Heath? He's a major character in the comics, so I was glad to see him finally show up on the series. Then after appearing in what, two episodes, he's suddenly become MIA. Surely they didn't kill him already, and offscreen yet?

• As I suspected, Rick teaching Ron how to shoot is a very bad idea. After just one shooting lesson he's already got a bullet with Carl's name on it.

As for Carl, he was quite the smug little douche this week. During Ron's shooting lesson, every word out of Carl's self-satisfied, priggish little mouth seemed designed to irritate. Was that on purpose? Do the writers want us to side with Ron?

Also, Carl still needs a haircut. He looks ridiculous with his Mary Tyler Moore flip. Don't worry, if things happen like I think they will, he'll get a haircut next week, and more.

• Ron distracts Olivia (in the oldest and most obvious way possible) so he can sneak into the armory and steal a handful of bullets. Um... why the hell isn't this room locked? Other than to give Ron easy access to it, of course.

I can see the dimwitted and ill-prepared Alexandrians not thinking to lock up their guns, but there's no way in hell Rick would allow such an idiotic system to stand.

• Deanna presents Rick and Michonne with her wildly fanciful expansion plans, that look like they were drawn by a ten year old. 

This scene had the feel of character development about it, so you know what that means on this show. Yep, Deanna's a goner.

• I'm still flabbergasted by Dr. Cloyd's lack of basic medical knowledge. Does she really need a mnemonic device to recognize signs of infection?

I realize she's a psychiatrist and only had a year of medical training, but infections seem pretty basic.

• Sometimes cold hard reality intrudes into the world of TV production. Like when an actress becomes pregnant, but her character isn't supposed to be. When this happens, producers have to scramble to hide the actress' rapidly expanding belly. They usually do this by shooting them from the chest up, dressing them in layers of bulky clothing, or filming them standing behind couches and such.

Or it you're The Walking Dead, you have your actress straddle a bar stool and hold the backrest in front of her gut. Yep, that's Tara, played by Alana Masterson, who was pregnant during the filming of this season.

You can also place a hastily erected and ridiculously obvious plank of wood in front of your "expecting" actress.

I have to admit Tara's "salute" to Rick was one of the few times I've ever laughed while watching The Walking Dead.

• Spencer tries to crawl above a mosh pit of walkers with what appears to be a Batarang. It goes about as well as you'd expect. This seemed like an idiotic stunt even for Spencer, and seemed like it was wedged into the episode just to give it a few much-needed seconds of walker action.

• Last week actor Norman Reedus (who plays Daryl) said that the mysterious cry for help we heard on the radio was not Glenn. I assumed he was lying in order to prevent spoilers, but it looks like he was telling the truth!

So just who was it that we heard? I have no idea. There've been so many flashbacks and episodes airing seemingly out of order that it's impossible to sort out the timeline. For all we know, Daryl might have been hearing the last survivor of Alexandria after next week's attack!

Hover, Schmover!

An Open Letter To The Manufacturers Of So-Called "Hoverboards:"

Dear Manufacturers:

Please stop calling the above devices "hoverboards."

Besides looking goofy and traveling only slightly faster than walking, at no time do they perform any action even remotely close to hovering. 

Look at that thing! It's got wheels, for corn's sake! A hoverboard would have no need for wheels. It would hover.

How is this not false advertising? Please refrain from marketing your devices this way and change the name immediately.

Everyone Who Ever Watched Back To The Future Part II

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Doctor Who Season 9, Episode 10: Face The Raven

Last week's episode of Doctor Who was seemingly written by the proverbial room full of monkeys with typewriters. Untalented monkeys, with defective typewriters, mind you. Fortunately this week's episode was much better. It wasn't perfect by any means though, as it was marred by some odd narrative choices, sloppy writing and some of the most blatant plagiarism I've ever seen outside of The Asylum film studio.

It was also the swan song of actress Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald, Clara's the longest-serving companion of the modern era, appearing in thirty five episodes. She managed to just squeak by Rose Tyler, who clocked in with thirty four (I'm aware that some characters weren't actually considered companions in certain episodes. For the sake of simplicity, I'm listing the number of episodes in which they appeared, companion or not).

As character deaths go, this has to be one of the most bizarre and convoluted to date. Clara gets a magical tattoo on her neck that counts down, and when it reaches zero she'll be killed by the Smoke Monster from LOST, which takes the form of a raven. Oh, and nothing can be done to save her due to ill-conceived and vaguely-explained rules. Oy.

Clara's final episode was originally going to be last year's Christmas Special, but she changed her mind at the eleventh hour and decided to stay on. Supposedly this necessitated hurried rewrites of the ending of the Special, and I have a sneaking suspicion that's also why she hasn't had much to do this year. 


The Plot:
Inside the TARDIS, the Doctor and Clara discuss their most recent (unseen) adventure. Why do their offscreen adventures always sound so much better (and with a bigger budget) than the ones we actually get to see? Anyway, suddenly the TARDIS phone rings. Clara answers it, and it's Rigsy, the graffiti "artist" from Flatline (one of the few bright spots of Season 8), who absolutely wasn't named after Banksy. He tells Clara he woke up with no memory of the previous day, and a strange tattoo on the back of his neck that seems to be... counting down.

The Doctor and Clara rush to Rigsy's apartment. The Doctor scans him and discovers evidence of Retcon, an alien mind-erasing drug in Rigsy's system. They begin looking for a "trap street" in London, an area where aliens are concealed by a perception-altering field.

They manage to find Diagon Alley, er, I mean the trap street, and enter. Inside they find a secret area of London populated by a variety of aliens, all coexisting peacefully. To the Doctor's surprise, Ashildr/Me ( the Viking girl made immortal back in The Girl Who Died).appears. She's now the Mayor of this city within a city, and is determined to keep the peace. 

She tells the Doctor that Rigsy murdered a female Janus (a race of two faced aliens-- literally) and was sentenced to death. She placed a chronolock tattoo on Rigsy, as one does. At the appropriate time will summon a Quantum Shade, in the form of a raven, that will kill him. The Doctor believes Rigsy was set up, and Mayor Me (oy) allows him to investigate, but warms him he'll have to convince the populace of the city, not her.

While the Doctor's off investigating, Clara talks Rigsy, who's now a husband and father, into transferring the chronolock to her. Clara's confident she'll be safe because she has Mayor Me's personal guarantee of protection. Rigsy reluctantly agrees and transfers the chronolock. 

Meanwhile the Doctor questions Anahson, the daughter of the Janus who was murdered. She says her mother is alive but trapped in a stasis unit, and the whole thing was an elaborate setup to bring the Doctor to Mayor Me. The Doctor unlocks the stasis unit with his TARDIS key, but in the process an unremovable teleportation band is placed on his arm.

Mayor Me appears and says the teleporter is meant to send the Doctor away to keep the peace. She asks him for his Confession Dial (first seen in The Magician's Apprentice) before she teleports him. He gives it to her. Mayor Me says she'll now deactivate Rigsy's chronolock, but is horrified when she discovers it's been passed on to Clara. 

Me says she arranged the chronolock with the Quantum Shade, offering it a soul while assuring no one would die. Clara's transfer broke the terms of that contract, and now she's doomed to die. This makes absolutely no sense, but the episode's almost over, so we're stuck with it. 

The Doctor begins threatening Me, but Clara calms him down. She says her own recklessness got her into this mess, and to let her die on her own terms. She makes him promise to not seek revenge against Me or anyone else involved. She then steps out into Diagon Alley, where the Quantum Shade raven flies through her chest, killing her.

The Doctor tells Me that the universe isn't big enough for the two of them, and she activates his teleportation band, sending him... somewhere.

 A lot's happened to Rigsy in the past year. Not only did he get married and father a child, but he also apparently moved from Bristol to London. Last season's Flatline took place in Bristol. Didn't think we'd catch that one, did you Moffat?

 Funny line: Clara (to Rigsy): Look, no matter how bad it is, we can NOT take you back down your timeline just to fix a tattoo."

 When the Doctor and Clara arrive at Rigsy's flat, he's apparently there alone with his baby. The Doctor says to come along with him, and the three leave. Um,.. did Rigsy just leave his newborn daughter alone in his apartment? At no time do we ever see or hear any sign of his wife.

 I liked the Doctor's fascination with Rigsy's infant daughter. And it was hilarious when Clara and Rigsy both sternly shushed the Doctor when he started cluelessly yelling, afraid he'd make the baby cry. 

Wonder why the Doctor didn't try and speak "baby" to her?

 Finally, at long last, the Doctor ditched the idiotic hoodie he's been wearing all season, replacing it with a purple jacket much like the one worn by the Third Doctor. He's still got the sonic sunglasses though. I'm going to complain about them every week until they finally disappear.

 When the Doctor scans Rigsy, he says his body's full of Retcon, an amnesia drug. Retcon was first mentioned several years ago in the Doctor Who spinoff series Torchwood.

I'm very surprised to hear a Torchwood reference on the show. Ever since Steven Moffat took over the series, he's seemingly done his best to ignore or erase everything previous showrunner Russell T Davies created.

 We see the return of the Doctor's "empathy cards" as he tries to figure out the best way to tell Rigsy he's doomed. The cards made their first appearance in Under The Lake.

We catch a brief glimpse of one of the cards in this episode, which reads, "I could be wrong. Let's try it your way."

 Rigsy and the Doctor discuss the fact that Clara seems to enjoy risking her life way too much. I'm assuming the point of this episode was to show that her recklessness finally caught up with her, but... when has all this prior risk-taking supposedly taken place? Clara spent the majority of this season separated from the Doctor, chilling inside a Zygon pod, or absent from episodes altogether. 

You can't just tell us stuff like this, guys. It's a TV series. You've got to show us.

 The Doctor says they'll find answers inside a secret alien "city within a city" in London. They find the entrance to this city in a narrow alley between two buildings.

Apparently the entrance to this alley wasn't a set, but an actual location in Cardiff, where Doctor Who is filmed. You can see a glimpse of the alley in the image above (sorry about the stupid light pole in the way-- this is the best image Google Maps had).

 Once they pass through the alley, the Doctor, Clara and Rigsy find themselves in a secret city, complete with twisting, angled streets and Dickensian-looking buildings. Holy plagiarism! I defy anyone to watch this and not think of Diagon Alley from the Harry Potter films.

One of the aliens even taps on a particular brick to activate a forcefield that traps the Doctor & Co.! And then there are the Janus aliens, beings with a second face on the back of their heads. This is of course nothing like when Voldemort's face was sticking out of the back of Professor Quirrell's noggin.

All these elements go way past "homage" and firmly into "outright theft" territory. About the only thing missing from this episode was a hairy giant growling, "You're a wizard, Doctor!"

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is known for being overly litigious. She's definitely got a case here, and would easily win if she decided to sue.

 Mayor Me sentenced Rigsy to death, but to show she's not heartless, she gave him the countdown tattoo so he could go home and say goodbye to his wife and child. But before he could do so, she erased his memory, because no human can ever leave Diagon Alley with knowledge of its existence.

Um... what the hell? So he's dying, but his mind was wiped so he doesn't know he's doomed. Got it.

Also, if you gave someone a tattoo that counts down to their death, don't you think you might want to put it someplace where they could actually see it, so they'd know how much time they had left? Like maybe on their forearm or hand, instead of the back of their neck? But no, out of sight is good too.

Lucky break that Rigsy apparently likes using two mirrors to gaze at the back of his own neck, or he'd have been really surprised when a raven flew through his chest a few hours later.

Did anyone proofread this script before they filmed it?

 Diagon Alley is populated by dozens of alien refugees, secretly living in London. I get that there's a fragile truce between all the various extraterrestrials there and they'll be punished if they violate the treaty. That said, I find it very hard to believe that a Cyberman would be able to peacefully coexist with all these other species. You know, the Cybermen, whose sole purpose is to "upgrade" all other life forms into Cyberkind?

 Once again the BBC cleans out its storage unit when it needs a crowd of aliens Diagon Alley was populated with many familiar faces. 

There was the aforementioned Cyberman, along with an Ood.

An uncharacteristically tall Sontaran.

A Silurian.

A helmet-less Ice Warrior (don't they need to stay inside their armor to survive?).

And of course a couple of ever popular Judoon security guards.

There were a couple of new alien designs, but for the most part they were all recycled.

 I didn't understand why there was a chameleon circuit (or whatever they called it) in DIagon Alley that disguised all the aliens as humans. It's supposed to be a refugee camp, right? A refuge for displaced aliens? So wouldn't it follow they'd all be in their normal forms? Why the disguises? Was it so they weren't reminded they're all from enemy races? Or do the disguises only kick in when intruders are present?

 I really, really don't understand why the chronolock curse couldn't be stopped after being transferred to Clara. It seemed like a totally arbitrary rule, and no one ever explained it satisfactorily. Every time there was an opportunity to adequately spell it out, Mayor Me would just say, "I'm sorry, there's nothing I can do."

According to the vague explanation we got, Me arranged a contract with the Quantum Shade, promising it a soul but reserving the right to break the agreement (I think). When Clara took the chronolock from RIgsy, that violated the contract, and Me couldn't stop the Shade from claiming her soul.

I've gone over it twenty times and it still doesn't make any sense. If there's any logic to that explanation, it's very subtle or I'm just too dense to understand it. How hard would it have been to write some clear, logical rules and spell them out precisely for the audience?

 Clara's death might have been more shocking and had more emotional weight if it hadn't been telegraphed all over ever corner of the bloody internet for the past three or four months. 

I remember way back in Season 2, how gobsmacked I was when Rose was sucked into a vortex and into another, unreachable dimension, forever (heh). Back then everyone and their dog wasn't reporting every tiny morsel of Doctor Who news, so Rose's fate came as a complete and total surprise to me. Sometimes I miss those days.

And before someone says, "Well, if you don't like spoilers, why do you read spoiler sites," I don't. But it's hard to avoid them when a headline screaming "JENNA COLEMAN LEAVING DOCTOR WHO!" pops up on Yahoo or Google News, before I have a chance to avert my eyes.

 After Clara's death, the Doctor is teleported to an unknown destination. This is another one of those times when it would come in really handy for the Doctor to have a way to remotely summon the TARDIS.

 In the after credits scene, we see Rigsy painting flowers and a portrait of Clara on the now-abandoned TARDIS. He stands back to admire his work, a can of spray paint in his hand. It's strongly implied that he spray painted all this, which is patently ridiculous. I don't care how good an artist he is, there's no way in hell he painted all those fiddly little details with a can of spray paint.

His memorial also implies that his mind wasn't wiped after leaving Diagon Alley this time. A parting gift from Mayor Me?

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3, Episode 8: Many Heads, One Tale

This week's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. was one of the best yet, as we learn what's really going on inside the ATCU, Evil Ward gets even more evil and we learn some shocking new info about HYDRA.

Oh, and FitzSimmons finally kiss!

Let's get to it!


The Plot:
Evil Ward has a nice dinner with Gideon Malick. Ward is trying to find the Von Strucker family vault, which is rumored to hold HYDRA's greatest power. Malick says there's nothing in the vault, and that Ward no longer fits into his plans. Malick leaves and his goons move in to eliminate Ward. He easily beats Malick's men, then starts torturing them, eventually finding out that the vault is in Germany. Nice guy, that Evil Ward.

Meanwhile, S.H.I.E.L.D. hands Andrew over to the ATCU. Rosalind tells Coulson and May that they'll do everything they can to find a cure for Andrew's Inhumanism.

Back at S.H.I.E.L.D., Mack asks Coulson point blank if he's getting too close to Rosalind. Coulson responds by launching Operation Spotlight, in which S.H.I.E.L.D. will secretly infiltrate the ATCU to find out what's going on inside. That answer your question, Mack?

FitzSimmons are still trying to find a way to get back to Planet Blue and rescue Will. Simmons discovers Will's NASA symbol is also tied to an ancient organization that practiced blood sacrifices. This leads her to believe Will was sent to the planet to die. She's also upset that Fitz keeps trying to help her, which makes her feel guilty. Fitz tells her he's angry because it seems like the universe is trying to keep them apart. Simmons says she still has feelings for Will, but that Fitz "dove through a hole in the universe for her." They embrace and kiss. Fitz says they're cursed.

Coulson brings Rosalind to inspect S.H.I.E.L.D., so the rest of the team can infiltrate the ATCU in her absence. Daisy (who's also a hacker, remember) gains access to the ACTU computers and causes a security breach. Mockingbird and Hunter then pose as a couple of computer experts who show up to solve the problem.

While Hunter distracts the IT Department with his sweet hacker skills, Mockingbird sneaks away and tries to find out where the ATCU's keeping its frozen Inhumans. She finds no trace of them, but does find a lab full of Terrigen-laced fish oil pills. Apparently the ATCU isn't trying to cure Inhumans, it's trying to create even more! Whaaa???

The Team reports this to Coulson, who confronts Rosalind. He demands to know if she's working for HYDRA. Rosalind denies this, but realizes she's been giving weekly reports to Gideon Malick for years, and that he's been playing her. Rosalind then demonstrates she's telling the truth by helping Coulson rescue his Team from the ATCU.

Evil Ward makes his way to the Stucker Vault in Germany. He's surprised to find Malick's already there. Malick shows Ward the secret of the vault—  a small chunk of the Monolith encased in plastic box. He tells Ward that HYDRA is as old as the Monolith. Thousands of years ago a powerful Inhuman was born on Earth, and destined to rule it. Because humanity was terrified of the Inhuman, they banished it through the portal to another planet. Hydra was founded with the intention of engineering the Inhuman's return. Every generation has sent men through the portal to "save or serve" the Leader on the other side.

Malick says HYDRA is building an army for the Leader's eventual return. He wants Evil Ward to be the "second head" of HYDRA, and will help him destroy S.H.I.E.L.D. if he finds out how they successfully brought someone back through the portal.

In the tag scene, Evil Ward confronts Andrew, who's still in his containment unit. Andrew's been taken to Malick's headquarters and not the ATCU after all. Ward tells Andrew he wants him on his side, as he floods his containment unit with mustard gas to force him to turn into Lash.

• So HYDRA's been around for thousands of years, long before the Red Skull was even born. And they were founded in order to bring their "Leader" back from Planet Blue.

This retcon is news to me, and probably to most Marvel comic fans as well. I was under the impression that HYDRA was an offshoot of the Nazis. I guess this new HYDRA m.o. could still fit in with the Nazis and not overwrite anything we saw in the Captain America movies, but I kind of wish they'd just have created a new evil organization for this plotline.

Is this HYDRA/Inhuman connection something the show came up with on its  own, or is this the way it is in the comics now? It's been a while since I've bought any, so I honestly don't know what's going on over at Marvel comics these days.

• I guess this new info about the Inhuman Leader means Simmons wasn't stuck on Ego, The Living Planet after all.

I wonder who this Inhuman Leader might be? Obviously it's the hooded "Death" figure that Will warned Simmons about, that she saw for herself shortly before being rescued.

I'm still not totally convinced that Will's just a plain old, everyday astronaut like he claimed to be. I'm betting he has something to do with the Inhuman Leader. He's either the Leader himself, or some kind of projection made by him, in order to test Simmons or lure him to its lair.

• When Ward's torturing Malick's men for info, he menaces them with a blowtorch and ominously says, I was a bit of a pyro when I was a kid." That was a callback to Season 1, when we found out that Ward was sent to juvie for torching his parents' home.

• Coulson briefs the entire S.H.I.E.L.D. staff on Operation Spotlight. What a coincidence that all the main cast members just happen to be standing in the front row during the meeting!

• Last week I said I didn't think Rosalind was working for HYDRA, and it looks like I was right. She's being played by Malick, and seems to have genuinely believed everything she told Coulson about the ATCU.

Of course there's always the possibility that this is all yet another elaborate ruse on her part, and she's just pretending to be Malick's patsy while secretly working for HYDRA after all. But I don't think so. That would be a little too convoluted.

So what happens to Rosalind now? It's unlikely she'd want to continue being Malick's patsy. Will Coulson offer her a job at S.H.I.E.L.D.?

• Rosalind's claim that she didn't know what was really going on inside the ATCU is some awfully sloppy writing. A couple weeks ago in Among Us Hide..., she gives Coulson a tour of the facility and shows him an elaborate Inhuman storage system, saying they're keeping them in stasis while searching for a cure.

So we're really supposed to believe that in the entire time she's been in charge of the ATCU, she never once took a stroll through the place to see how things were going and noticed something was wrong? Never noticed there weren't actually any Inhuman storage units on the premises? Never noticed the large supply of Terrigen-tainted fish oil pills, or the bins full of calcified humans who didn't pass the test? That seems unlikely.

On the other hand, maybe not. Back when I worked at the newspaper I had several managers and supervisors who never once visited my department. In fact I don't think they knew where it was. And I know for a fact they had no idea how the newspaper got made every day!

• I loved Hunter's "hacker" disguise. He and Mockingbird make a fun team. There were rumors a few months back that the two were going to get their own spinoff series. I'd hate for Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. to lose them, but it looks like it would be an awesome show.

Kudos to Hunter for being able to spout all that computer technobabble while Daisy dictated it into his earpiece.

• Mockingbird's upgraded her battle staves! They're now apparently magnetic, and she can call them back to her with a pair of electronic wristbands. This is similar to Captain America's magnetically returning shield in Avengers: Age Of Ultron.

When Mockingbird's Inhuman foe used his power to levitate the guns and point them at her, it reminded me more than a little of Magneto in the X-Men films.

• Leave it to Hunter to incapacitate a superpowered Inhuman simply by clocking him in the back of the head!

• During Rosalind's tour of S.H.I.E.L.D., Coulson mentions his people developed his bionic hand. Hmm. I kind of figured he probably went to his pal Tony Stark and had him develop his prosthesis. But then I remembered that couldn't be, because Coulson STILL hasn't let any of the Avengers know he's alive.

• Look, another top secret government organization that plasters its logo in the lobby!

• During his argument with Simmons, Fitz declares “We’re cursed! The bloody cosmos want us to be apart!” Fitz skirts dangerously close to breaking the fourth wall with his little meta comment here. After all, the "universe," aka the show's writers, ARE keeping them apart. And for no other reason that our entertainment!

I was very impressed with Simmons in this scene. Fitz has been going above and beyond to help her get Will back, even though he has feelings for her. This makes Simmons feel incredibly guilty and angry at herself for putting Fitz in such an impossible position. It was a very subtle and mature plot point for a comic book show.

• As Simmons screams at Fitz, she angrily rakes all the books off a nearby table. Cue the "Book thrown in anger that jusssst happens to land on a relevant page that sparks an epiphany" trope.

• Simmons gives the Team a little presentation demonstrating how the HYDRA logo has evolved over the centuries, from a vague "V" shape to a stylized ram's head to the all-encompassing octopus of today.

As a graphic designer, I'm having trouble following the progression here. Especially since she had to turn the final logo upside down to get it to somewhat resemble a rudimentary octopus and fit her theory.

• Back when S.H.I.E.L.D. was studying the Monolith in their basement, I wondered why it had several rectangular holes in its surface. Now we know. HYDRA apparently carved out several chunks of the Monolith for further study. Pity the poor technician who was forced to cut out pieces of an object that could transport him to another planet at any second! 

This was an awesome touch, and proof that this show rewards the audience for paying attention. 

On the other hand, I'm not sure why an object that periodically liquefies and re-forms itself would be riddled with permanent holes. If some of it was missing, wouldn't it just be a couple of inches shorter when it re-formed?

• Malick seems to know an awful lot about S.H.I.E.L.D.'s success in bringing Simmons back through the Monolith. Does his position on the World Council grant him regular updates from Couslon? Or is there a mole inside S.H.I.E.L.D. sending him weekly reports?
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