This week, SHIELD goes back to its roots as a spy organization, and does some legwork that the Black Widow would be proud of. It’s a quieter, more light-hearted episode after last week’s emotional roller coaster ride, but family and loss are still themes. Deke figures out who his grandparents are and remembers his beloved mom, while Mack reaffirms that he’s not going to think of Elena as a robot just because she has robot arms. In the run up to Infinity War and Thanos, the show also brings up familial abuse, both as physical abuse and as the abuse of power. Hale becomes a stand-in for Thanos, and her team, especially Ruby, become alternates for Thanos’ children.
And Werner von Strucker is back! He’s still institutionalized, but out of his Ward-induced vegetative state and being threatened with heavy doping via Thorazine. He’s also using his favored alias of Alex Braun, but his therapist seems to know his full history and identity anyway.
His therapist wants Werner to show motivation toward making progress in therapy by revealing as much information about his past as possible, so that Werner can avoid the thorazine. Werner, however, has developed powers after being trapped in a particular memory in the memory recall machine while in a persistent vegetative state, then being shocked out of the memory loop by Lincoln Campbell zapping Werner with inhuman electrokinetic powers.
Now Werner remembers everything that’s ever happened to him, and every detail of his surroundings, no matter how small. He also seems to have enhanced senses, though I’m not sure Werner realizes that yet (or the writers 😉). He read the small type on an envelope in the trash from across the room, and heard the other side of a phone conversation through a wall. That’s not normal hearing or vision, and may be part of why he’s so out of control. Both hypersensitivity and psychic powers have a long tradition of driving people mad until they get a handle on their powers.