Devils You Know Plot Summary:
Now that Coulson (Clark Gregg) has teamed up with Rosalind Price (Constance Zimmer), they can turn their attention to whoever is killing Inhumans. Hunter (Nick Blood) meanwhile is making great strides in his hunt for Ward (Brett Dalton), but May (Ming-Na Wen) is concerned he’s in over his head.
Introducing the Inhumans was one of the best moves Marvel ever made with this show. It completely validated Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s existence by introducing an upcoming major film instead of reacting to one, and it gave viewers the superpowered individuals they wanted to see. However, like all risky storylines, this one needs to be handled with care. “A Wanted (Inhu)man” is a great example of where the show missed its mark. The stuff with Lincoln and Daisy (Chloe Bennet) was really uninteresting and didn’t show us the promise this focus can have. In contrast, “Devils You Know” provided a main story that was actually interesting and gave us one of this season’s biggest mysteries. It was also assisted by excellent b-stories, which appears to be a trend so far this season.
As a villain, Lash (Matthew Willig) was already a cool addition to this show. He was an exciting contrast to the other main baddies we’ve dealt with, which have largely been normal people. Lash is the type of monster that we might have seen as a villain-of-the-week, but now he’s clearly this season’s primary antagonist (so far). However, the revelation mid-episode that he can turn into a normal person makes him even better. Now we have no precise idea who he is when he’s not all blue and covered in crazy hair. Of course, this is the whole reason why he killed Dwight (Chad Lindberg). Lash wants to keep his normal self secret and Dwight breaks out if Inhumans are nearby, so it was a “necessary” killing. The fact that Lash chose to do this while Dwight was in custody gives credence to a theory that we’ve already met the villain’s human form.
Based on what we’ve seen so far, a great candidate for Lash’s true identity is Banks (Andrew Howard). For a character who’s essentially just a man with a gun, he’s received plenty of screentime and coverage. Why else would he be even remotely notable if he wasn’t hiding a huge secret like this? It also proves why Lash left Daisy alone, as she’s too important to the ATCU/S.H.I.E.L.D. partnership to just kill off. Admittedly, this theory can be easily disproven if Banks was actually in the truck when Lash attacked (I don’t remember if he was. That’s how uninteresting his character has been). If it’s not Banks, the show could always throw in a massive curveball like Rosalind. Surely, since the transformation is hugely physical, tossing a gender change in there isn’t entirely impossible. Lash could also be someone totally new…which would be boring as all hell.
Coulson’s morality was put into focus pretty frequently throughout the hour, and now I’m seeing what people were talking about online with him being another antagonist this season. The team as a whole is skeptical of their team up with the ATCU, but Coulson refuses to back down on it. Tellingly, Daisy doesn’t get an answer when she asks Coulson if his “means to an end” could mean the Inhuman end. He’s also still keeping a ton of secrets under intense security. Bobbi (Adrianne Paliciki) isn’t briefed at all on Coulson’s rescue mission, and it clearly does not still well with her. Lastly, there’s a ton of willingness on his side to provide info to the ATCU without expecting much in return. I’m sure there’s a reason why Coulson is doing all of this, but it’s undeniable how sketchy he’s being.
Everything going on with Ward escalated much quicker than I expected. One episode after Hunter is ushered into the new Hydra, he comes face to face with Ward and the entire plan falls apart. The ensuing firefight was really exciting and Brett Dalton definitely has a knack for scenery chewing. He was so incredibly evil in his talks with Hunter and May, which continues the trend of making him one of this show’s best villains. There’s also nothing more nefarious than threatening May with Andrew’s (Blair Underwood) life. It’s crazy how Ward prepared for this exact situation, and it plays right into May’s fear that her loved ones will die based on her actions. Ward is seriously one mustache twirl away from being the definition of a classic bad guy.
Is Andrew really dead though? The episode tellingly left it vague, which is pretty frustrating. We never saw Andrew actually get taken down, nor did we see his face before the explosion. All we saw were shoes too, which any Hydra member there could have worn, and Werner (Spencer Treat Clark) was a the only one to get out. His death would be a huge narrative twist as it is the first time a personal loved one has died from the immediate actions of a main character. Irreparable damage would ruin the relationship between Hunter and May as well. However, if he’s actually alive, this is a cliched use of misdirection shows use all too often for a character “death.” I’ll save my verdict on whether this is good or bad when we learn more next week.
Drizzled in throughout this is Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) continuing her recovery while also trying to find a way back. She intentionally left Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) out of her process, something Bobbi was okay to follow with a few reservations. This story is still really compelling despite the reduced coverage this week as it’s telling Simmons refused to tell Andrew anything. She’s no longer filled with PTSD for whatever reason and is now a woman with a mission. Why that is will be revealed next episode as the big cliffhanger here was her pledge to reveal everything to Fitz. Wise move for the writers because I absolutely cannot wait for next week.
“Devils You Know” was definitely a step up from last week. As of right now, the show has done an incredible job with every one of its stories except for its focus on the Inhumans. That definitely needed some improvement. Putting Lash front and center was a step in the right direction and the episode seriously improved because of it. Now there’s the big mystery on who Lash really is too. Considering how quickly this show is giving us answers, I fully expect us to know soon. I’m okay with that taking a backseat to what happened to Simmons though. Give me some more of that!
Luke Kalamar is Pop-Break.com’s television editor. Every Saturday afternoon you can read his video game column, Remembering the Classics. He covers Game of Thrones, Saturday Night Live and The Walking Dead (amongst others) every week. As for as his career and literary standing goes — take the best parts of Spider-man, Captain America and Luke Skywalker and you will fully understand his origin story.