Poor Lincoln Campbell. The guy just can’t seem to catch a break.
Last season found the character’s idyllic Inhuman halfway-house life being turned upside down thanks to Daisy and her mother and S.H.I.E.L.D., and this season finds his new medical-profession life being turned upside down…thanks again to Daisy and S.H.I.E.L.D. We haven’t seen Lincoln since he ran off after helping Daisy fight Lash in the premiere, and when we catch up to him (literally) in this episode, it’s clear that his world is slowly starting to unravel. Daisy’s aware that he’s being hunted, because Lincoln hasn’t exactly slipped under the radar. Everyone is looking for him: the ATCU, the FBI, other law enforcement agencies. Not only that, they’re calling for an arrest. Daisy’s adamant about bringing him in because whatever they’re going to do when they finally catch him, “I’m guessing it won’t be awesome.” There’s one small problem, though: she’s got no idea how to find him because he’s not answering her calls or texts. (Guy problems, right?)
But wait! There’s an app for that! Or a tracker, at least. When Mack grabbed Lincoln’s arm during their confrontation in the hospital, he implanted one. Daisy’s understandably pissed that no one told her about this, and also pissed because she recognizes that by doing so, they betrayed his trust. And all of that is going to make it harder for them to bring him in. Coulson is still the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., but I’m very interested in the obvious power struggle that’s being built up between Coulson and Daisy as the Inhuman comes into her own. Daisy’s idea of leadership is to act out of empathy, while Coulson’s approach seems to be (as always) more tactical. And while neither is technically right or wrong, it’s an interesting clash. (Let’s not forget that Daisy, in the comics, does eventually become Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., so having her assert her leadership this season is not out of the blue.)
She calls Lincoln, who is angry and upset once he realizes he’s being tracked against his will. Daisy tries (and fails) to reason with him, and Lincoln continues to run — unfortunately, his search has now gone public, with the news issuing warnings that he’s a “suspected alien threat,” which makes it harder and harder for him to keep moving. Lincoln boards a bus and shoots out the electricity when he sees his own information appear, using his powers to take down the vehicle in order to get away. Lincoln is scared and lost in a way that Daisy once was, but the difference is that right now, he’s got nowhere to go. Out of options, he calls his friend John (Lost’s Daniel Roebuck), who seems to be a former AA sponsor. From their interactions, I’m leaning towards the fact that this road was a legitimate detour in Lincoln’s early life, which makes me all the more interested and hopeful that, one day, we’ll get to see a full Lincoln Campbell backstory. Seriously, Marvel. I’ll fund it with my nonexistent savings account. I’m sure Luke Mitchell would help.
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John takes Lincoln home, offers him a place to stay, and even allows him to buy his car. But their happy reunion is cut short when John sees the news report stating that Lincoln is a threat: which just goes to show that no matter how much people trust you, there’s no real way to predict how they’ll react in this kind of situation. Meanwhile, after getting Rosalind’s number from Mack, Coulson pirates a satellite connection so he can make a request to meet — just the two of them, leader to leader, no surprises and no bloodshed. He takes off to the beach and after fawning over Rosalind’s car (don’t worry, it’s not as pretty as Lola), the two get down to business. Coulson wants her to let his team bring Lincoln in, and Rosalind refuses, despite the fact that Coulson warns her things could get to get ugly — uglier, at least, than we’ve already seen. Turns out that Rosalind has a trump card to play: She knows about Daisy. Coulson’s never backpedaled so quickly on anything in his life.
NEXT: A S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and “The Cavalry” walk into a bar…
Hunter and May’s first stop in the quest to “stamp out Hydra” is a Red Sox bar in Massachusetts, where Hunter is searching for a friend that was previously tied to Hydra in the U.K. “Spud” (Spartacus‘ Daniel Feuerriegel) thinks that Hunter and May are dating, which is the first best part of this scene. The second best part of this scene is watching Spud pick up May and May’s amazing reaction. (The third best part of this scene is watching May sit through what must be hours of drunken reminiscing between Hunter and Spud. Trust May to break up all the fun.) She tells Spud that they have weapons to offer him, and Spud admits to knowing people who might want them. Unfortunately, these people also have massive trust issues — so massive that he can’t even simply vouch for Hunter and May’s intentions. They have to fight it out, and if they’re the last ones standing, they get a meeting with the group’s mysterious leader.
May wants to take on the fight, but Hunter’s rightfully worried that if a tiny Asian woman takes out a ton of guys without breaking a sweat, it will look more than a little suspicious. He’ll go instead; he can take a few punches. Not that he’s going to tell this to Bobbi. When May calls Hunter out for lying, Hunter turns it around, still trying to figure out what happened between her and Garner. May’s not budging on that but does let slip that if Hunter’s bet is on the fact that she left Andrew, well, he’s lost. And now I’m very intrigued to see what happened in those few months after May left S.H.I.E.L.D., especially since at the time, May seemed intent on trying to rebuild a life and a marriage.
Hunter may be able to take a few punches, but once the fight starts, it’s clear that it’s definitely beyond his level of skill. On one hand, we get to see Nick Blood without a shirt (hey, I am as professional as they come), snark and all. On the other hand, we’re starting to wonder if he’ll actually get out of this alive. He’s in pretty bad shape but manages to rally at the last second thanks to the help of a brass knuckle ring. It earns him a meeting with “the boss,” whoever this guy is, and let’s hope it’s at least a good meeting because it certainly wasn’t easy to get. Even though May chose to stay at the sidelines, she still gets her time to shine, when two guys get suspicious and lure her into a room. They intend to fight her, but they’ve got no idea who they’re dealing with, and May kicks the crap out of them easily — complete with Black Widow-style thigh throw downs, because I am still fully convinced everyone at S.H.I.E.L.D. learns from each other in training. “How about I do you a favor and not tell anyone that a tiny little Asian woman kicked your ass?” May asks after she’s wiped the floor with them. MELINDA MAY: MARRY ME.
While Hunter and May are getting their fight on, Lincoln’s still having the worst day of his life. He’s cornered by his friend, who’s become fully terrified after seeing the news reports, and Lincoln tries to explain that he’s not the danger he seems to be. He’s never killed anyone or hurt anyone intentionally. But when John refuses to move, Lincoln forces him via a blast of energy that stuns John, who drops dead…and not even Lincoln’s powers can revive him. It’s the moment that Lincoln breaks, just as the ATCU bursts into the apartment. Thankfully, Daisy soon makes an appearance, but now Lincoln is even worse shape than he was when he first got to the house. The news is right, after all: He is a monster, and he’s just proven it to himself and everyone else. He’s killed people, even the ones who have helped save his life. He can’t be a good person with his powers. He can only cause damage and pain, and that’s who he really is.
Except, it’s not. “You gave me hope,” Daisy tells him passionately, struggling to reach him underneath all his self-loathing, paying Lincoln back the trust and support he showed her once upon a time. “And a place in the world.” She goes on to tell him that he can people, that he can do good, that he was the one who convinced her she has a purpose, way back when. And then, in the heat of the moment…they kiss. Yes: We have an official Lincoln and Daisy kiss, which means we definitely need a ship name. (Laisy?) And dare I say that I am into it? Who am I kidding; I’ve been into it since last season. It’s worth it to note that Mack hears this entire exchange before he bursts into the room and tells Daisy there’s a change of plans. They’re not bringing Lincoln in after all, but turning him over to the ATCU, per Coulson’s orders. Say what? Apparently, to keep Rosalind quiet about Daisy, he made the choice to let the ATCU take Lincoln. He eventually changes his tune, offering “something better” in exchange for Rosalind calling off the attack: his services and intel as a S.H.I.E.L.D. director. Lincoln is taken in safely.
NEXT: Just a small (planet) girl…living in a lonely world
If Lincoln is having a hard time, poor Simmons isn’t much better. Every system in her body is out of whack thanks to being on another planet for so long, and we see a bit of evidence of that throughout this episode: light sensitivity, amplified sounds. Coulson doesn’t want to push her, but Fitz insists on trying to get Simmons back into the swing of things by reacquainting her with her lab. The distractions are too much, though, and Simmons isn’t exactly interested in being curious anymore: “My curiosity faded once fear set in,” she tells a disappointed Fitz, who takes her back to her room. We do get a sweet reunion between Daisy and Simmons, with Daisy apologizing for not coming to see her sooner. Simmons’ face when she sees her friend walk in the door is both heartbreaking and adorable — it’s easy to forget that Simmons spent so much time clashing with Daisy last season due to her powers, and it just goes to show that when you’re exposed to a traumatic experience, you realize how much you appreciate the people in your life who will unconditionally love and protect you.
While Bobbi is in the middle of rehab, Fitz unloads his frustrations. He understands that Simmons needs help but isn’t sure what to do, and the fact that she doesn’t want to be in a lab that she loved — that was designed specifically for her — isn’t helping. Bobbi suggests starting fresh, that maybe she doesn’t want to be in her lab because it reminds her of too many things. I truly love the way the show is choosing to handle Simmons this season and the very real way in which it’s crafting her PTSD storyline by zeroing in on the things that are specific to her situation. And I’m very, very invested in Jemma Simmons’ recovery arc, but I’m also invested in how her experiences are going to bring the team together. It’s quite possible that Simmons could be the key to re-establishing connections that have become strained and lost over the past two seasons.
For Fitz, starting fresh legitimately means “starting fresh”: he takes her to the restaurant where he originally made the dinner reservation, before Simmons got sucked into the rock. What’s more, he cleared out the entire place so that there are no distractions. Leo Fitz: World’s Greatest Boyfriend, EVER. (I’m about ready to hand out my second proposal of the night, here.) Simmons thanks him for finding her, but it all proves to be too much, and she breaks down. Seeing Simmons cling to Fitz like this truly breaks my heart, but it also drives home something that I don’t think people on this team take enough notice of. Coulson may have likened Simmons to being Fitz’s right hand, the way May was his, but Simmons is more than that — she’s not just Fitz’s partner and the person who keeps him in line and the one he can’t get along without. She’s his equal. They steady each other and trust each other, and their relationship represents a bond that runs deeper than most people would suspect.
When we see Simmons again, she’s back in the lab, trying to study the remains of the portal. Bobbi finds her and gently tries to convince her that she should maybe stay away from the thing that caused her so much trouble. But the thing is, Simmons wants to get back into science. She wants to get back into her curiosity. She wants to figure out a way to open the portal. Why?
I’ll let Jack Shephard say it, to finish things off:
- I can’t say enough about Elizabeth Henstridge and Luke Mitchell’s performances in this episode. It’s always nice to see actors dive into a more vulnerable side of their characters, but both just shone so brightly in an hour that was very much fueled by emotional turmoil.
- Daisy’s not happy that Coulson broke down about handing over Lincoln, even though she understands the circumstances — Coulson, meanwhile, thinks she’s too close to the situation to make a practical decision. As I wrote earlier, I’m very much looking forward to seeing how this divide of power plays out. It seems Coulson is always going against someone who wants to push him down: first S.H.I.E.L.D., then the NEW S.H.I.E.L.D., and now someone who he thinks of as his own daughter.
- Possible coincidence, and I’ll give props to people who are better at catching this type of thing after the fact, but perhaps one of Rosalind’s aliases that we saw in the premiere isn’t so much an alias after all — and maybe there’s a possible past to link between Rosalind and Lincoln. Granted, I could be reaching, but think back to how Rosalind looked at him in the premiere when she saw his face in the hospital. I wouldn’t rule this out in terms of bombshells that could drop later this season, especially given Rosalind’s role in the ATCU.
- Fitz kept Simmons’ desk the same the entire time she was gone. Excuse me, I need a moment.
- How long are Lincoln and Daisy going to remain stealthy about their obvious attraction to each other? Mack’s got enough respect not to say anything, but I can’t imagine that it’ll be easy to hide, with the stakes as high as they are. I personally give it at least two more episodes before it all comes to a head.
- Speaking of Mack, for those of you who don’t follow me on Twitter, I’d like to call your attention to further comparisons that Daisy and Mack are Strike Team Delta. Just saying.