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Recap / Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S3 E3 "A Wanted (Inhu)man"

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Lincoln is on the run with S.H.I.E.L.D. attempting to bring him in before he's captured by the ATCU, and May and Hunter begin their attempted infiltration of HYDRA through an old contact of Hunter's.


Tropes:

  • Accidental Murder:
    • Lincoln inadvertently causes his sponsor to have a heart attack after zapping a metal bat out of his hands.
    • Hunter accidentally kills his friend during his initiation fight.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Downplayed Trope. When Coulson meets with Rosalind and he brings up several valid errors in her methods, she concedes his point and actually asks him what he thinks she should be doing, as her extreme methods aren't working.
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  • Blasting It Out of Their Hands: Lincoln does this to a baseball bat.
  • Brick Joke: Hunter says he has to fight instead of May because a small Asian woman beating up a large thug in the crowd they're infiltrating would attract unwanted attention. When she's later accosted by three large thugs and effortlessly beats them down, she tells them she'll keep quiet about them being beaten by a small Asian woman if they do the same, so they won't be embarrassed.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Coulson has to make some really tough calls, each of which earn him a What the Hell, Hero? speech from Daisy.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The brass knuckles May is handling earlier at the safe house are later key to Hunter's victory in the underground fighting match.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Hunter, struggling to beat his friend, eventually resorts to brass knuckles. Given there are no rules, it still counts.
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  • Continuity Nod: Coulson references other "good guy" factions that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been caught up in infighting with over the last couple seasons — Talbot and Gonzales's S.H.I.E.L.D. — concluding that We Are Not Going Through That Again and forming an alliance with the ATCU.
  • Cool Car: It seems Rosalind is also a fan of vintage automobiles, which Coulson finds impressive.
  • Cover-Blowing Superpower: When May suggests it would be a better idea for her to participate in the fight club, since she knows she would win, Hunter counters that it's precisely because she would win so easily that she can't participate. Tales of a tiny Asian woman demolishing the competition would surely make their way back to Ward, while Hunter winning a fight as a simple brawler would fly under the radar.
  • Cry into Chest: Simmons struggles not to cry on their long-delayed dinner date, but seeing her distress, Fitz moves his chair next to her and she breaks down.
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  • Curb-Stomp Battle: May vs. three thugs. No contest.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Rosalind had the ATCU go public in order to gather support and gain an advantage over S.H.I.E.L.D., but given they had very little in the way of results to begin with, this puts pressure on the group to bring in results, which would have proven more feasible if they had still had the low profile and lack of urgency they originally did.
  • Double Entendre: Rosalind's line, "eyes up here", is a jab at Coulson's fascination with her vintage sports car, but could easily be taken for its original meaning of a man staring at a woman's chest.
  • Driven to Suicide: Lincoln has tried to kill himself in the past.
  • Enemy Mine: Coulson decides to simply ally with the ATCU to share S.H.I.E.L.D.'s expertise on superpowered humans because he's tired of fighting people who really should be on the same side against a common enemy.
  • Facial Dialogue: A Hydra thug promises May that she'll have a good time if she goes with him. Her smirk clearly communicates that she plans to have a good time beating him up.
  • Fantastic Racism: When Lincoln calls on his AA sponsor for help, he happily offers his home and help. Then he sees Lincoln on the news labeled as an alien terrorist, calls the information hotline and picks up a metal baseball bat. This is more out of fear, not real racism, because of the information about Lincoln on the news as an alien terrorist but the "I don't know what you are'' comment still stands out.
  • Fight Clubbing: Hunter's subplot involves getting into an underground fight in order to prove himself worthy of a meeting with Ward.
  • Foreshadowing: It is easy to miss the first time around, but during the "Drunk Subtitles" scene, Spud looks like he is suppressing a lot of anger when Hunter is dishing out embarrassing details about his ex. It makes his decision to beat Hunter bloody in HYDRA fight club less surprising.
  • Fun with Subtitles: When Hunter and Spud get drunk, the show feels the need to subtitle their conversation.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Rosalind had the ATCU go public to gain support for the group. Now to prove the organization is necessary in S.H.I.E.L.D.'s absence she is being pressured to bring in results.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Rosalind wants to make people feel safe by informing them about Inhumans and what the ATCU is doing to deal with the situation. As Coulson said, all she's accomplishing is making people more afraid and the Inhumans more paranoid.
  • Heroic BSoD: Lincoln hits this when he accidentally causes his sponsor's death.
  • He's Dead, Jim: When Hunter asks why no-one has called his match, someone points out no-one needs to. His opponent isn't breathing.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Rosalind makes a whole series of cracks referencing Phil's artificial hand before he gets tired of it.
    Rosalind: I'm sure I'm not the first.
    Coulson: Actually, you are. It's kind of a recent thing.
    Rosalind: ...oh. Sorry.
  • Intimidation Demonstration: To prevent an officer who recognized him from following him, Lincoln uses his electricity powers on a nearby metal pole to scare him.
  • Irony: Rosalind is implied to have the influence over the President, and now he is the one pressuring her to bring in results.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Invoked by Coulson when meeting with Rosalind. She says that the ATCU aren't looking to start dissecting Inhumans like HYDRA was, but Coulson brings up that this simply hasn't happened yet.
  • Male Gaze: Of a different kind. Coulson can't stop looking at Rosalind's... vintage car, even after she reminds him that My Eyes Are Up Here. He even asks if she has a name. Rosalind says no, he doesn't.
  • Mugging the Monster: Three imposing Hydra thugs dragging a small woman into a basement against her will would have been genuinely terrifying... if they hadn't decided to do it to Melinda May.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Lincoln is horrified with himself after accidentally electrocuting John.
  • Never Heard That One Before: Rosalind assumes this will be Coulson's response to her artificial hand jokes. It turns out that he lost his hand recently enough that he really hasn't heard that one before.
  • Nice Guy: John is portrayed as this, making his betrayal of Lincoln and subsequent death all the more brutal.
  • No-Holds-Barred Contest: The fight Hunter has to win to prove himself to HYDRA. He spends a good few minutes on the receiving end of a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown. When his opponent stops to gloat to their audience while he's down, Hunter slides a set of brass knuckles from his pocket and puts him down in a few hits.
  • Not So Different: Rosalind demonstrates that she has a similar sense of humor to Coulson. She also owns a restored convertible, and although she hasn't named it, the car is still a "he" instead of an "it".
  • Poor Communication Kills: The ATCU just wants to talk to Lincoln, figure out what's going on with the Terrigen spread. They decide the best way to do this is to hunt him down like a fugitive and tell the public he's an alien terrorist—which the ATCU seems to genuinely believe. By the end of the episode, Coulson has decided that he can dial back some of their excesses by sharing some S.H.I.E.L.D's expertise.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Not only does Jemma have to deal with psychological rehabilitation, but also physical since the environment of the planet she was on was significantly different from Earth's (e.g. different oxygen levels, force of gravity, vitamin deficiency because of a radically changed diet, etc.).
    • The ATCU is trying to step into the vacuum left by S.H.I.E.L.D.'s fall, but while Rosalind has established herself as a player in the game that would have done well against the likes of HYDRA, Coulson points out that she has no idea how to deal with the current situation efficiently.
    • Lincoln uses his powers to zap a metal bat out of John's hands. This also causes John to undergo cardiac arrest and die from the fear of him using his powers, or possibly electrical interference with his heart or pacemaker.
    • Daisy Unpersoned herself before the series started. Naturally, having no information on her piques Rosalind's interest.
  • The Scapegoat: The ATCU is vigorously pursuing Lincoln, because since the President made them public they need to show results. Daisy would do just as well; anyone would do just as well, as long as they are Inhuman.
  • Sensory Overload: Simmons spending six months on a barren, perpetually dark planet has left her senses just as out of whack as the rest of her. Turning on the shower is enough to force Simmons to cover her ears. When Fitz finally takes Simmons on their date, he buys out the restaurant to make sure she isn't overwhelmed.
  • Shout-Out: One of the episode's final scenes is Mack and Daisy playing Halo 5: Guardians together. When a fan on Twitter pointed out that Halo 5 doesn't have split-screen support, Clark Gregg replied that Fitz hacked it. While reading poetry.
  • Skilled, but Naïve: This episode makes it clear that Rosalind is a genuinely capable adversary able to match Coulson but it is obvious that she is out of her depths in dealing with the kinds of problems that S.H.I.E.L.D. is used to. Every decision she makes towards achieving her goals only creates more problems for herself, to the point that the only real victory she gets in this episode is Coulson offering to work with her, and that comes from him being fed up with fighting Well-Intentioned Extremist groups, rather than being forced into it.
  • The Stinger: Bobbi finds Simmons testing the remains of the Monolith. Bobbi assumes that Simmons is worried about getting sucked back in, but much to her shock Simmons wants to go back.
  • Tell Me Again: Hunter tells May who Spud is and why they're meeting with him as they're entering the bar where the meeting will take place.
  • Wham Line: "I have to go back."

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