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Recap / Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S3 E12 "The Inside Man"

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As Talbot and Coulson begin their uneasy partnership at a peace summit, Fitz and Simmons make a startling discovery about Inhuman DNA.


  • Absentee Actor: Henry Simmons does not appear as Mack in this episode, despite being listed in the opening credits.
  • Ambiguous Syntax: While several things are made clear about Hive (it can't use Inhumans as hosts, it can only occupy dead bodies) its dietary habits when it comes to absorbing people to physically rejuvenate the host body is vague: it says it doesn't feed on Inhumans, but it isn't made clear if it can't absorb them or it won't.
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  • The Bad Guy Wins: While S.H.I.E.L.D. rescues Talbot's son, Malick succeeds in gaining the favor of the nations working together on the Inhuman issue, and is guiding them towards gathering all the Inhumans in one place. Also, Hive has regenerated Ward's badly injured body and is seemingly at full strength.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Creel twice.
    • He gets the jump on the two HYDRA mooks about to kill Coulson and Talbot before breaking them out. A third HYDRA mook interferes before he can break their cuffs, but Creel makes quick work of him too.
    • When a HYDRA mook has Hunter at gunpoint, Creel swiftly comes up from behind with a Neck Snap.
  • Body Horror: Thanks to Joey melting his glasses in the previous episode, Lucio has some wicked scarring around his eyes.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: When Daisy and Lincoln fight over a potential vaccine to prevent the terrigenesis change, Daisy argues that governments will clearly be tempted to make it mandatory, essentially condemning Inhumans to eventual extinction and treating terrigenesis as a disease. Lincoln rebuts with the fact that since terrigenesis has become random instead of only offered to screened and prepared candidates, people are being changed without having any choice in the matter and brings up Andrew/Lash as an example of someone who would no doubt have been happier staying normal.
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  • Brutal Honesty: May tells Hunter that they're not friends, just teammates.
  • Call-Forward: Daisy mentioned an anti-Inhuman hate group called The Watchdogs, who talk about taking back the planet from aliens. Episode 3x14 will be called "Watchdogs."
  • Darker and Edgier: Hive's blood bath is really pushing FCC regulations.
  • Debt Detester: Hunter is not happy that Creel saved his life.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Daisy and Lincoln's argument about whether being Inhuman is a disease or a mere genetic difference is reminiscent of similar Real Life debates about autism spectrum disorders.
  • Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: Creel, last seen working for HYDRA, is reintroduced as Talbot's bodyguard, which raises the suspicions of Hunter and the rest of S.H.I.E.L.D. It's revealed that HYDRA has Talbot's son and Creel is his minder. It's later revealed that Creel is actually on the side of good now, and is Talbot's contingency plan for getting his son back.
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  • Eagleland: At the conference, Talbot is a negative example of this Played for Laughs, as he ridicules foreign culture and names.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Giyera, while a loyal HYDRA operative and somehow under Hive's control, displays obvious discomfort after hearing what Hive was doing to its five humans who were in the same room with him. Lucio, a corrupt cop, also mentioned that the five humans brought into Hive's room were innocent and has the same disturbed look on his face when he hears what's happening.
  • Fan Disservice: Brett Dalton's fully naked in a Terminator pose as Hive rejuvenates its host body... while being surrounded by five bloody, smoking skeletons and covered by liquefied human flesh.
  • Fantastic Racism: The Russian delegate refers to the Inhumans as "creatures", and the Australian delegate has files on experiments being conducted on them.
  • Fee Fi Faux Pas: Talbot is quite an Ugly American at the summit, calling a traditional Taiwanese robe a dress to his host's face and complaining about everyone's unpronounceable names, much to Coulson's embarrassment. It's likely at least some of it was his trying to clue Coulson in that something was wrong.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: After Hive killed five humans to rejuvenate its body, the camera lingers in such a way that it looks like Hive is staring directly at the audience.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: We don't actually see what Hive did to those poor souls, only the messy results.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Creel has turned over a new leaf and is now Talbot's bodyguard. S.H.I.E.L.D., however, is still very wary of him.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Malick claims that Coulson is the one heading HYDRA, using evidence of his own misdeeds and pinning the blame on Coulson for them.
  • He's Back: Hive restores his body to full health after gorging himself on five ordinary humans.
  • Human Resources: Hive feasts on a group of human prisoners in order to restore Ward's decaying body.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Talbot has this glued to him throughout the episode. A list: he doesn't tell Coulson that Creel is his bodyguard which leads to a fight. He expects Malick to double-cross him yet his only counter-plan is to hope that Creel saves him after it happens. Despite all the times that he spends with Coulson he doesn't hint that anything is wrong. His leadership of the ATCU does not start on a positive note.
    • To a larger extent, Malick and by extension all of HYDRA throughout history have been carrying one; they're so fixated on the idea of "power" and bringing Hive back to Earth that it apparently never occurred to any of them that Hive was exiled to Maveth for a reason.
  • I Have Your Wife: Malick kidnaps Talbot's son so he'll betray Coulson.
  • I Lied: After Talbot has done as ordered, Malick orders both him and Coulson killed despite Talbot's protests. Coulson isn't surprised, and Talbot was prepared for that by having Creel be his backup plan.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Technically averted; while Hive eats humans to regenerate, he himself is not human and so it is not cannibalism.
  • The Immune: Creel is, thanks to his powers, the only non-Inhuman human so far to survive touching a Diviner — aside from Hartley and Coulson, who had limbs cut off to stop the spread of otherwise fatal petrification.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: Daisy and Lincoln's sparring match is rife with this, and would have led to the former if not for Simmons' timely interruption.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • A posthumous example, in that Lincoln points out that Jiaying's screening of Inhuman candidates was a good thing to weed out those who would go crazy with their powers.
    • Hunter insensitively but correctly points out that May's professional, mission-first attitude didn't apply when Andrew was the one in danger.
  • Last Request: Talbot asks the HYDRA agents to please kill Coulson first so he'll have a moment of peace and quiet before dying himself.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Talbot doesn't bother telling Coulson that Creel is his bodyguard until his team attacks him.
  • Moment Killer: Simmons walks in on Lincoln and Daisy in the sparring area just as they're starting to make out.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The Inhuman the Australian government has in its possession referenced in the episode is named Eden Fesi. In the comics, he's a member of the Secret Warriors with teleportation powers, and an Aboriginal Australian, and acts as their teleporter and go-to transport.
    • Doubles as a Call-Forward as they're going to appear in two episodes, but Daisy references The Watchdogs. In the comics, they're a villainous organisation who act as a high-tech Right-Wing Militia Fanatic group who hold homophobic, misogynistic, and generally far-right views and aren't afraid to force them on others.
    • Creel turns red, metallic, and with a glowing laser sight dot on his forehead. Yeah, we've seen that.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: By cutting a deal with Malick to save his son, Talbot unwillingly aides HYDRA's goals and ruins the best opportunity to handle the Inhuman crisis rationally.
  • No-Sell: Lucio tries to use his petrifying stare on Hive, but Hive just walks away, leaving a cloud of spores in his place that infect Lucio.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The last one saw of May, she was heading off on a motorcycle to follow the truck that had Talbot's son in it. When she shows up next, she's calmly driving the completely undamaged truck back to the hotel and kicks the body of the driver out.
  • Poor Communication Kills: A lot of things would've been easier if Talbot had simply told Team Coulson about Creel and that Malick kidnapped his son, as Coulson himself lampshades. Talbot insists that he couldn't take the risk that Malick might find out and kill his son before any possible rescue.
  • Properly Paranoid: Hunter ignores Coulson's orders and smuggles in the team's weapons anyway. It turns out he is right to do so.
  • The Reveal:
    • Hive can't possess Inhumans. However, the spore-like ability he uses on Giyera and Lucio appears to force their loyalty somehow, despite their obvious reservations.
    • Creel is full of them in this episode. He not only has come out of his petrified state, but is now Talbot's trusted bodyguard and is revealed to have something in his biology that can negate Terrigenesis in an unchanged Inhuman. To a smaller extent, the show also makes it clear he is not an Inhuman.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Hunter's suspicions of Creel being treacherous, while ultimately disproven, do lead the team to find Talbot's son and to discover that the whole summit is a HYDRA trap.
  • Stripped to the Bone: The five people Hive eats are left as smoking, blood-covered skeletons.
  • The Un-Reveal: Exactly what Hive does to "convert" both the HYDRA Inhumans isn't clear; it appears to induce some kind of mind control, but they retain enough free will to be disgusted with his gorging on humans.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: After disarming some HYDRA guards, Bobbi notes their guns have a thumb reader on them, rendering them unusable and inconvenient for the unarmed S.H.I.E.L.D. team.
  • Villain Ball: Malick decides to bring Talbot's son all the way from America to Taiwan, which allows S.H.I.E.L.D. to rescue him, instead of leaving him safely at the HYDRA base.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Malick uses the fact that he was already one of these, citing his years on the World Security Council and philanthropic work, to give himself credibility at the summit when framing Coulson for his own crimes.
  • What the Hell Are You?: Lucio when Hive No Sells his petrifying gaze.
    Lucio: What are you?
    Hive: What are we. [infects him with spores]
  • Will They or Won't They?: After over half a season of flirting, Daisy and Lincoln finally have sex.
  • You Killed My Father: Hunter hasn't forgotten or forgiven that Creel killed Idaho and Hartley in the Season 2 premiere.


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