1. Who Watches the Watchdogs?
We were given a little foreshadowing about the Watchdogs organization a few episodes ago, when Daisy mentioned them as a radical group with a more or less “kill all aliens” philosophy (and you’re more than welcome to draw your own social/political parallels from that). Well, now we get to see them, in all their angry, Inhuman-hunting ways.
It looks like a lot of the anger is also just general frustration at the system, the government, or their lot in life; when things are going poorly, it’s easy to find someone to blame and a group to be angry with, and the less-militant Watchdogs seem to be jumping onboard with their philosophy. (Again, draw whatever current parallels you will with that…Okay, the parallels are pretty clear when they say “we need to take our country back.”)
But let’s face it, they’re pretty much the Inhuman equivalent of the Purifiers, with masks that more or less look like angry dogs.
2. Civil War Foreshadowing
The S.H.I.E.L.D. staff doesn’t exactly work hand-in-hand with the movie crews, so nothing we’ll see in Captain America: Civil War will be impacted by any of the events in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. People are popping out of cocoons with strange new powers, and none of the Avengers know or care; they’re too busy worrying about Bucky and fighting each other, but that doesn’t mean that S.H.I.E.L.D. won’t do what it can to connect to the movie universe.
One of the “concerns” that the Watchdogs group brings up is the ever-growing number of superpowered beings (which may or may not include Jessica Jones and Daredevil). They demand “A list of who they are, where they are,” which sounds suspiciously like superhero registration, and add “Or you will have war on your hands.” Well then, Mr. Watchdog, you may be getting that sooner rather than later, when Civil War comes out.
3. Zero Matter and Nitromene
Remember that Zero Matter MacGuffin from Agent Carter? How it would come from a nuclear explosion and suck everything into a black hole? Remember how Howard Stark snuck a little of it with him after everything was said and done?
Well here’s the payoff.
Apparently he did work with it, and developed an implosion-based substance called nitromene. Now it’s the weapon of choice for the Watchdogs. Not exactly the most impressive of reveals, but it does give S.H.I.E.L.D. a personal stake in this fight.
And don’t worry, Doctor Strange fans, this doesn’t invalidate the claims of Zero Matter/Darkforce tying into the upcoming Doctor Strange movie. In fact, we’ve been seeing Darkforce appear on more than one occasion lately, so Agent Carter and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are still setting the groundwork for Strange.
4. Simmons Getting Stronger
When we first met Jemma Simmons, she was one half of the Fitz-Simmons duo. In the time since then, she’s been tossed out of an airplane, dropped out of another into the ocean and nearly drowned, gone undercover in Hydra, and spent six months stuck on another planet where nearly everything was trying to kill her. And that’s not even getting into the relationship drama she’s had throughout the show.
It’s a bit of an understatement to say that things have been rough for Jemma.
But let it not be said that Jemma Simmons is okay with being a victim that needs to be saved. She may be a lab nerd, but she’s still a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, and this episode shows Simmons working hard to become stronger. I respect that in a character, and it shows strong development. It also shows that she’s got plenty of issues to work through, including blaming herself for all the Inhumans killed by Lash when she let him out, but that’s a big part of character development too.
5. And it All Ties Together
All this focus on the Watchdogs, and their leader, the former S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Felix Blake, seems like a distraction from the issue of Malick and his plans with Hydra and Hive!Ward. But no, it’s all connected, as Malick is calling the shots behind the scenes, working with Blake and metaphorically scratching each others’ back.
A tad ironic, after Blake complained earlier in the episode about how S.H.I.E.L.D. was really just a front for Hydra. But I suppose he’s not exactly the best judge of character, going by his organization’s standards.
Bonus Thought: Shotgun Axe
So what do you get when you duct tape a cleaver to a shotgun? A shotgun axe. I just had to mention that, because it’s awesome. Impractical, perhaps, but awesome.