Ward is recruiting the next generation of Hydra, May spends time with her father, and an Asgardian helps Fitz-Simmons.
After their confrontation with this new Inhuman hunting monster, Coulson has made putting together their new team a priority. Daisy looks forward to the prospect of their new Inhuman guest, Joey Gutierrez, becoming part of her super powered task force, but is less thrilled about Dr. Garner’s assessment of him, recommending evaluation over three months to see how he’s doing. Overcoming her own misgivings about her Inhuman heritage, Dr. Garner is impressed to see the growth she has displayed from her rebellious hacker origins to becoming a leader. But, he reminds her that anyone with powers or advanced skills have the potential to use them for evil, as well as good.
On his own mission of revenge against Ward and Hydra, Hunter leaves S.H.I.E.L.D. H.Q. and looks to recruit an ally in his vendetta. He finds Agent May spending time with her father, who was recently involved in a hit and run car accident in which the driver fled the scene. Hunter guesses that she has stayed away from the team in order to guard her father over the fear that Ward is looking for his own revenge for the death of Agent 33 and attacking those closest to May. Whether Ward was behind Mr. May’s accident or not, he has been busy. He’s been working to rebuild Hydra, not just with thugs and villains, but with the next generation of Hydra, family members of the higher ups of the organization.
When Fitz emotionally provoked the Monolith, he discovered a clue proving to him that it is in fact a portal through time and space; sand. The sand is not abnormal apart from the fact that it predates the Earth by a few billion years. Finally having a glimmer of hope to the whereabouts of Simmons, Coulson recruits the aid of Asgardian Professor, Elliot Randolph. They are dealing with an ancient alien artifact and portal to another world, so who best to consult than an ancient alien from another world who resides on Earth? However, with the planet in a state of fear of advanced technological alien threats and cities falling from the sky, he prefers to remain in his prison cell, for which he was thrown in for lewd drunken behavior. With a little convincing, Randolph leads them to an old castle in England that was supposedly the home to a secret organization using the Monolith as a portal to the stars.
Having Prof. Randolph back on the show is a treat, and he hasn’t changed his lecherous ways. Finding himself in prison for drunken behavior, telling stories of parties and fire dancers, it’s a new look at alien life in this universe that isn’t the Mighty Thor Odinson or the trickster Loki Laufeyson. Randolph seems to lean more towards the underbelly element of Guardians of the Galaxy than the gleaming halls of Asgard.
While Ward’s reconstruction of Hydra is definitely of ill intent, more vendetta than believing in the Hydra ideal, there is a respectability in his methods. He recruits those who earn their place in his organization, and he gets his hands dirty alongside his minions, often doing the work himself instead of sending a patsy. There is a direct reference in this episode to the influence Garrett had on him as he takes on his own protege, but the rebuilding of Hydra and his methods also bare a resemblance to how Coulson rebuilt S.H.I.E.L.D. It will be interesting to see the mixing of these two characteristics that had a profound impact on Ward manifest in his leadership.
Where has Simmons been? In this and the first episode we got a glimpse of a sandy alien world where Simmons apparently fought for survival for months, changing her character in ways we have yet to see. With her return from this world, she is tense, guarded, afraid. It’s sad to see what Fitz-Simmons has gone through over the arc of this show, with Fitz dealing with massive brain damage last season, and now Simmons possibly dealing with PTSD, or some other change in her state that we haven’t seen.