Agents of SHIELD Episode 312 Recap: Who is the Inside Man?

Talbot sees his wife off at the airport. They argue about something, seemingly the fact that he accepted the President’s call to go to a diplomatic conference. Coulson approaches, annoyed in that oh-so-Coulson way, that Talbot has not returned his phone calls. Technically Coulson is his boss, but he would rather be partners.

At base, preparations are being made for Coulson to attend the diplomatic conference, titled Symposium on the Alien Contagion. Coulson is going to spy on the five representatives from various nations. Lincoln is out on a field op with May to get him ready for his field test. Lincoln keeps an eye on Coulson at the airport, as he pressures Talbot into working with him. Lincoln spies a potential threat.

As Coulson and Talbot are in the garage, the threat becomes real: it is Creel. Coulson throws Talbot into the car, and he, May, and Lincoln fight Creel to get him under control. Talbot pops out of the car, furious. “He is here to protect me!”

Back at the base, Coulson briefs everyone on the symposium. Talbot refuses to go without Creel, and even though he has murdered in the past, Coulson is willing to give him another chance. Coulson makes the call: Creel is coming with them. He makes another call: Daisy and Lincoln are staying behind. This summit has a strict “no aliens” policy, so the delegates can speak freely. Since Creel is not an inhuman, he will pass whatever tests they may have. There is also a no weapons policy, which Hunter is not too happy about.

Talbot, as the head of the ATCU will attend as himself. Coulson attends as a CDC doctor. Their mission is to collect info on potential foreign inhumans, and figure out who the inside man is, feeding info back to Gideon Malick. With a special new hand that Fitz made for Coulson, he manages to get the delegates’ hand prints and send them back to his team. Hand prints are the only way for a delegate – or anyone with super-cool spy tech – to get into their rooms. May, Bobbi, and Hunter, disguised as hotel staff, are in charge of that.

Talbot is a xenophobe of the highest order. Every delegate he meets could be the mole. Petrov calls them “creatures” and is Russian; King seems desperate for a cure; Chen is “too nice.” Coulson defends the inhumans vigorously while his team is doing their spy thing. Petrov wants to establish a sanctuary state for inhumans in Russia, claiming it would be a safe haven for them to reside with their own kind. King doesn’t like they idea of all inhumans in one place, fearing they would rise up against “normals.”

Upstairs, Hunter is distracted from his snooping by watching Creel down by the car. When he sees him move, Hunter abandons his job and follows him. May gets notice that King is sending an encrypted text, one that says “Move him now.” Hunter was supposed to be in King’s room, so Bobbi sneaks in to finish his job. Inside the room safe, she finds documents that suggest Australia has an inhuman they are doing science experiments on, but nothing that connects her to Malick.

Outside, Hunter has lost sight of Creel. There is a box truck and he checks inside. Creel isn’t there, but a kid in one of the gel matrix tanks is back there. Creel knocks him out before he can get his transmission out to May.

Back at the symposium, a vote has been called for Petrov’s “sanctuary state.” Talbot postpones the vote and calls for the guards, announcing there is a traitor among them. He outs Coulson, complete with evidence of he and his teams nefarious activities of the day. Malick shows up, and Talbot admits to Coulson that he is the inside man. Malick addresses the delegates, promising that he will do good for the world and for inhumans. He promises compassion; Coulson wants to imprison them. The guards drag Coulson to the basement. Malick and Talbot join him, and Talbot’s demeanor changes. “I delivered. Give me back my son.” Talbot’s son, George, was the boy in the gel matrix. But Malick isn’t about to do that, and informs Talbot that he will be sacrificed to the greater good. Talbot is cuffed to Coulson and both are put in a cell. Malick is building an army, and tells his men to kill the prisoners. Talbot promises Coulson that he has an inside man, and sure enough, Creel shows up, kills the guards, and frees the men from their cell.

Hunter wakes to find several guns on him. May and Bobbi arrive to take them down. Luckily, Hunter smuggled some weapons in with them. The trio arm themselves. May sends Bobbi and Hunter inside to find Talbot, while she goes to find his son. They kill a few stray security guards, but before one of them can shoot Hunter in the head, Creel shows up and snaps his neck. Coulson and Talbot join their crew and sends the lovebirds to follow Malick. Everyone else is tasked with finding George. May is way ahead of them: she found the truck, picks them up, and heads back to the ship.

Coulson assures Talbot that George will be fine; he won’t even remember anything. Talbot is ready to be partners. May had Australian agents get King’s inhuman out and into a safe house. There has been no word from Bobbi or Hunter, but in the final scenes, we discover they are hiding in the baggage hold of Malick’s private jet, tagging along wherever Malick and his best buddy Petrov are going. Coulson can’t shake the feeling that, even though Malick is the only senior Hydra officer left, he is reporting to someone.

And of course, we know Malick is reporting to someone – or something. Throughout the episode, we see Ward devouring knowledge, but his body is still weak and sickly. Malick wants him to choose a new host, but Ward is happy in the skin he is in. But he could use five healthy humans. Giyera delivers them, and Medusa Eyes freezes them. Ward turns to sand and we hear the five sacrifices screaming. By the episode’s end, Ward emerges from a pile of human goo, dripping and naked like some unholy hybrid of the Terminator and Alien. He is healthy and strong, and ready to wreak havoc.

Forced to stay behind, Daisy and Lincoln have nothing to do but fight and have makeup sex. Well that’s not entirely true. FitzSimmons brings Lincoln into the lab to show him a neat trick they discovered. They have a sample of Daisy’s blood, pre-terragenesis, and watch it change immediately when terrigen is introduced. But when they add in a bit of Creel’s blood, it freezes the transformation. While it won’t “cure” those who have already gone through the change, it can act as a vaccine. Daisy doesn’t appreciate this. For her, her alien powers were a gift, made her who she is supposed to be. It is her birthright, and doesn’t think it is something that should be “cured.” Lincoln, however, thinks that a vaccine isn’t a bad thing; they should have a choice. Things get heated, Daisy leaves, but by the end of the episode she apologizes and they have the aforementioned makeup sex.

You can watch a preview for the next episode, titled “Parting Shot,” using the player below.