What if season 3 was good? What if it explored how society had changed with the growth of Inhumans and the fall out from this? What if part one of the series contributed to the start of Civil War, not just existing in the same universe.
Season 3 started off with the promise of a great concept "The Secret Warriors", a group of people with superpowers (who would of thought). At the end of season 2 the possibilities were endless, AOS had officially introduced mutants, ahem I mean Inhumans to the MCU. The many possible storylines that could be explored/stolen from the X-Men comics including:
- Deformed Inhumans who hide in the sewers, creating their own society.
- Individuals using the new powers to exploit society
- How does society react to the explosion of superpowers
- How does this tie into Civil War
- How do S.H.I.E.L.D. and the government deal with new threats
These and many more themes could give great depth to AOS exploring issues surrounding civil rights, identity and marginalisation seen within many minorities. Instead what we got was more Hydra (Malick), and more Hydra (Ward), Lash murdering Inhumans, Simmons trapped on alien planet and the revelation of Hydra's beginnings (more Hydra) as well as the new government task force (ACTU).
The combination of all these elements and more squashed into the first half of the season left no room for any in-depth exploration of how Inhumans have changed society, and focussed again too much on Hydra and the alien planet.
The premise of season 3 actually promised the creation of a team of super powered people to defend against the new growth of Inhumans, and that they were facing off against the ACTU, but it hasn't really delivered this up until the last 5 episodes.
The new premise would focus on the release of Terrigen into the worlds ecosystem, the growth of Inhumans and how different organisations (from the government to S.H.I.E.L.D.) deal with it.
Terrigen has been released into the world's ecosystem. In an attempt to protect society from these new, sometimes powerful, Inhumans Coulson has created the caterpillar program, creating teams of powered people to help find and control Inhumans. This however is causing divisions within the team, Are Inhumans dangerous weapons that need to be controlled? Or are they simply a new group to be protected from themselves, the community and taught to control the powers.
These beliefs, and the unity of the team, will be tested as other parties take an interest in the new inhuman phenomena and compete with S.H.I.E.L.D. to find them first.
Daisy Johnson (formally known as Skye) S03P01/ S03P02
Daisy is now the main character in the series, she's overtaken Coulson in importance to the viewer as she's changed the most by far and through her superpowers, kick arse fighting style and attitude she is the one everyone wants to see. The central story in the series is the fine line she walks between being both a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and an Inhuman, needing to decide who she is and what she believes him. This is essential to the main question being asked in both part 1 and 2 of season 3, where do civil rights begin and how much civil rights are we prepared to give up in order to feel safe. These questions will be asked all the way up until Civil War whose events will change S.H.I.E.L.D. forever. Throughout the series Daisy will present the view of the minority, of the person whose civil rights are being taken for the sake of the safety. She will embody this side of the argument.
Bobbi S03P01/ S03P02
The growth of Bobbi's profile from the character in series 2 will continue as she becomes the essential character in opposition to Daisy. After losing so many friends and feeling the responsibility of May's death to Inhumans, Bobbi will lead those within S.H.I.E.L.D. that believe Inhumans and powered people should be controlled for the greater good society. The only thing keeping S.H.I.E.L.D. for splitting in two is Coulson, but that will soon change.
Story and episodes
During the first half of the series, which would lead up to Civil War, S.H.I.E.L.D. and the ACTU secretly compete with each other trying to capture Inhumans. Coulson has instigated a new operation code name: Caterpillar. He instructs the team to find as many Inhumans as possible and persuade them to voluntarily join S.H.I.E.L.D. as a trainee agent.
S.H.I.E.L.D. investigate a number of different events involving new Inhumans including disfigured Inhumans that live in the sewers, anti-Inhuman groups trying to destroy them, Inhumans manipulating others to gain power. All the while there is a mysterious large Inhuman known as Lash who is finding and judging Inhumans, determining whether they are allowed to live or not. Lincoln describes him as the Inhumans boogey man, the team fail numerous time to defeat him and struggle to stop him.
The Caterpillar program continues to grow as Deathlok and Crusher Creel join the team along with new recruits Joey, YoYo and Lincoln. As Coulson investigates the ACTU he becomes close to its leader Rosalind whilst trying to discover who is behind the ACTU. He suspects some shady government organisation but it's revealed that Gideon Malick, former head of the World Council, is rebuilding World Council and he wants to join with Coulson to merge the two organisations and rebuild S.H.I.E.L.D., Coulson agrees and his partnership with Rosalind grows even closer.
During this time it's revealed that ACTU are putting Inhumans into stasis until they find a cure. Daisy finds out about this, and that Coulson knows about it, she rebels against him whilst Bobbi supports the ACTU's actions. Coulson is able to explain to Daisy why this is necessary and prevents any fall out.
Agent Ward is drunk in a bar, still struggling with the loss of Agent 33, he's approached by an unknown man who hires him to take out Rosalind. Ward stalks Rosalind for days then kills her in front of Coulson's eyes. Coulson loses control and spends all his time obsessing over Ward, leaving the team to it's own devices. Bobbi and Daisy clash more about how to deal with Inhumans. Mack helps Joey adjust to his powers and teaches him to be an agent, their relationship grows closer and they share an embrace. Lincoln takes Daisy to find James, someone who had discovered information about Lash, but was banished from Afterlife because of it. Lincoln exchanges a Terrigen crystal for the information and James is transformed. He tells them Afterlife isn't the only sanctuary for Inhumans and Lash has been sent from one to keep the Inhumans secret.
A young Inhuman girl is bullied at school, this activates her power, a massive thermal explosion which causes damage and death to the school and her classmates. The media and government go into a frenzy, the team tracks down the girl who's on the run but Lash has beaten them to her. He speaks with her and spares her, offering to help her as he believes she's worthy. The entire team battle Lash, eventually subduing him and capturing him in a containment vessel. Bobbi orders the girl put on stasis but Daisy protests that she's just a scared little girl. The two argue; Bobbi, Hunter, Deathlok and Mack insist that she be taken away, Daisy, James, Lincoln and YoYo resist. Joey is swayed to Bobbi's side by his feelings for Mack, Fitz tries to call for calm unsuccessfully and Creel stands on the side bemused. As the two groups prepare to battle YoYo whisks the others away for protection but is captured in the process. Daisy and her team need to hide, James knows just the place, he calls an Inhuman called Eden who appears and teleports them away.
At the same time Coulson tracks down Ward and the two battle it out, first with guns then hand to hand. Ward, a much more accomplished fighter, gets the better of Coulson. Coulson's fights back, his mechanical hand crushes Ward's arm, Coulson sits on top of him and pushes down on his chest, as he does Ward laughs. When Coulson asks why he's laughing Ward responds he was contracted to kill Rosalyn and bring Coulson to this place, Coulson demands who? Ward smiles "Cut off one head. Coulson then crushes Ward's chest with anger, but as he tries to escape he's shot multiple times and falls to the ground lifeless.
Last scene show Malick placing a Hydra ring on his finger standing over Hive who lays on a medical table being experimented on.