Coulson’s (Clark Gregg) new job working with the ATCU isn’t going so well. The S.H.I.E.L.D. director was recently paired up with longtime adversary Glenn Talbot (Adrian Pasdar), and in “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Season 3, episode 12, they had to deal with a major problem: They weren't working for the same side.
The episode starts with Talbot sending his wife off on a plane, and Coulson asks if everything is OK. The director has had to sneak up on Talbot since he won’t respond to Coulson’s calls. They need to go to a symposium on Inhumans in Taiwan, and they have intel that Malick (Powers Boothe) has a man on the inside that they need to seek out.
Lincoln (Luke Mitchell) is in training with May (Ming-Na Wen). He trails behind Talbot and Coulson, looking for suspicious figures. He sees someone following them. May tells him that he can’t rush in and use his powers right away. But once she realizes the stalker is Carl “Crusher” Creel (Brian Patrick Wade), a.k.a. the Absorbing Man, she tells him to forget her instructions.
Lincoln attacks, and he almost can’t stop himself. Coulson eventually gets him to back down, which is good because Creel isn’t a bad guy anymore. Creel is actually Talbot’s bodyguard.
Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) and Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) interrogate him. He is the only non-Inhuman to touch the obelisk, and they want to study him. They can’t keep him locked up for long, though. Talbot says they’ve reversed his Hydra brainwashing, and he won’t go to the symposium without Creel. Coulson has to let Creel leave.
Daisy (Chloe Bennet) disagrees with the choice, but Coulson tells her she isn’t going on the mission anyway. The symposium doesn’t allow Inhumans, aliens or weapons. Hunter (Nick Blood) isn’t thrilled with the deal either. Creel helped kill his mercenary friends last year, but he is still going on the mission along with Bobbi (Adrianne Palicki) and May.
While Coulson and Talbot shake hands with diplomats, the S.H.I.E.L.D. team goes undercover as hotel staff to get into the rooms of the powerful people. They need to figure out which one is working with Malick.
While searching a room, Hunter notices Creel leaving his post outside. He goes after the Absorbing Man while Bobbi takes over his mission. Mockingbird finds a document that says one of the diplomats, Ellen King (Melissa Bickerton), has an Inhuman locked up for military experiments. Meanwhile, Hunter follows men with guns and finds someone in a box of stasis gel. That’s when Creel sneaks up on him and knocks him out.
Inside the meeting room, the delegates approve a "sanctuary state" that will put every Inhuman in one place. Talbot suddenly claims Coulson is a traitor and tells the group that he is a spying on them. Coulson realizes that it’s Talbot who is Malick’s inside man. That makes it easy for Malick to make his grand arrival and accuse Coulson of being the director of Hydra. They lock him up downstairs.
After Coulson is in handcuffs, Talbot demands his son’s safety. Malick took Talbot’s son as soon as he was appointed to the ATCU. That’s why the general sent his wife away earlier in the episode. In typical Hydra fashion, Malick proves he can’t be trusted and backs out of the deal. He is thrown in with Coulson. Luckily, Creel really is working for Talbot and breaks them out.
— Agents of SHIELD (@AgentsofSHIELD) March 16, 2016
Hunter didn’t follow the rules. He has weapons for the team, so May can save Talbot’s son while he and Bobbi are assigned to go after Malick. Once Talbot’s boy is safe and sound, the general seems like he is willing to work with Coulson amicably on future assignments.
While the team was in Taiwan, the rest of the agents still found ways to keep themselves busy at headquarters. Daisy tries to do some fight training with Lincoln. The sparring session almost turns into a make out session, but Simmons interrupts before they can kiss. She needs Lincoln’s knowledge of Inhumans.
Simmons shows them that Creel’s blood is essentially a cure for Teregenesis. Daisy hates the idea, but Lincoln doesn’t. He wants people to have a choice in their powers. Daisy thinks it’s a birthright and it quickly becomes a fight that she has to walk away from.
She apologizes to him later. Lincoln says she is so much calmer about her powers than he is. Controlling her abilities gives Daisy a sense of peace, but it feels like a fight for Lincoln. “Sometimes it’s good to lose control,” Daisy says, smiling. The two finally get some much needed alone time.
They should enjoy it while it lasts because they won’t get much time in bed after they discover Hydra’s plan. Malick is still keeping Hive a secret. He wants the powerful Inhuman to get a new body, but Hive insists that Ward’s decaying carcass is just fine. Hive can still access Ward’s memories and even likes the dead Hydra agent. “He was strong, resilient, a perfect host,” he tells Malick.
Malick introduces him to Lucio (Gabriel Salvador). When the new Inhuman realizes that his abilities to knock people out don’t work on Hive, he is suddenly interested. Hive quickly turns him into an obedient follower.
What are we? Allow Hive to show you. https://t.co/XPa344I1dT
— Agents of SHIELD (@AgentsofSHIELD) March 14, 2016
While Malick is off trying to get Coulson and Talbot killed, Hive tells Lucio and Giyera (Mark Dacascos) that he needs five living humans. He says the group will “serve the greater good.” Once they’re delivered, screams can be heard outside of the room. Hive is next seen naked and covered in fluids while surrounded by five bloody skeletons. His body doesn’t seem to be decaying anymore.
While Hive is murdering humans, Malick is still working with delegates to get them to make a “sanctuary state” where Inhumans can all live. He doesn’t realize that Bobbi and Hunter are in the cargo of his private plane.
“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Season 3 airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EST on ABC.