After sidelining Hydra for most of the season to focus on Inhumans, the A.T.C.U. and building tensions between them and S.H.I.E.L.D. it felt a lot like Hydra was becoming a thing of the past, a side plot that would come up only when the writers wanted to give Ward some screen time. This weeks episode changed all of that.
In a dramatic final five minutes we discover that Hydra is much older that everyone in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and us the audience, were led to believe. It turns out Hydra was around long before the Red Skull and the events of Captain America: The First Avenger, 'hundred generations' ago. Hydra were also behind the NASA mission that sent Will and his team through the monolith to the alien planet Simmons was trapped on, and had been sending people through for hundreds of years. All because they serve the Inhuman that was sent through the, presumably the 'creature' Will was so afraid of.
Hydra believe that this powerful Inhuman is destined to rule the world, and plan on both bringing it back to Earth, as well as building an Inhuman army for it to lead.
This is the kind of moment that makes S.H.I.E.L.D. a genuine joy to watch. Whilst I anticipated Hydra being behind the A.T.C.U. and wanting a force of Inhumans under their command, their being connected to the monolith, and being founded to worship and serve a powerful Inhuman was definitely a twist I wasn't expecting, and certainly sets the stage for some exciting stories to come.
Elsewhere in the episode we were treated to the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. being agents again. Instead of going up against Inhumans, or other alien threats we got to see our favourite secret agents actually being secret agents again, breaking into a secret facility.
Taking up a decent sized chunk of the episode, the team were tasked with breaking into the A.T.C.U. facility to find out just what Rosalind and her people were up to, something that was genuinely enjoyable to watch. Things got changed up as we got to see Hunter playing the techie as Daisy talked him through tech speak that he was obviously clueless to, and even had Mack's phone call role-play was fun to watch.
When the spying didn't go exactly to plan it was down to Bobbi to fight her way out of the facility, which led to a fun new use of her iconic batons, as she made use of some snazzy magnetic wristbands to make the weapons fly back to her after throwing them. Her fight with the Inhuman Mark Damascos was fun to watch, though way too short.
The episode had some good character development too, in more than one place. We got to see May open up to Lincoln in a very well written and tender scene as the normally stoic woman opened up to Lincoln and apologised for Andrews actions as Lash. This scene was by far the best one of the series so far to feature Lincoln, though mainly due to Ming-Na's excellent acting, and will hopefully help to bring the Inhuman into the team.
Coulson and Rosalind also had something of a rocky week after their romantic moment from the previous episode. It would appear that whilst Coulson does genuinely like Rosalind he just can't trust her 100%, even going so far as to lock her in one of their Inhuman holding cells to question her motives and what the A.T.C.U. is really up to.
Whilst some will still think that Rosalind is working with Hydra, I believe she has to be one of the good guys now. Her reactions to what Coulson were doing, and the revelation of what was going on in the A.T.C.U. building seemed too genuine to be faked, even for a seasoned spy. I think that like many before her, Rosalind was simply fooled by Gideon Malick into thinking he was a good guy. Don;t forget, this man was on the World Security Council in Avengers, so he's clearly very good at hiding his true intentions. Add into that the fact that Rosalind helped Bobbi and Hunter escape I think she's going to continue to be an ally of S.H.I.E.L.D. throughout the rest of the season.
The main moment of the episode, other than the shock ending, came with Fitz and Simmons finally kissing. It's been building for two and a half years and didn't feel false when it finally happened. With the shadow of Will still hanging between them it was hard to watch the two characters try and resolve their situation, especially as Fitz made it clear that he felt in some way inferior to the handsome astronaut, those his doubts were blown away when Simmons made it clear just how amazing Fitz really is, he 'dove through a hole in the universe' to save her. That's pretty damn bad arse in my books.
This episode is a prime example of S.H.I.E.L.D. doing what it does best, giving us action, drama, emotion, intrigue and revelations that will go on to shape the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe. Fingers crossed the show can keep up this standard and deliver one of the best seasons yet.