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‘Agents of SHIELD’ Postmortem: Chloe Bennet on Lash, LGBT Characters and Simmons’ Fate

Spoiler warning: Do not read on unless you’ve seen the Season 3 premiere of “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” titled “Laws of Nature.”

“Agents of SHIELD” crammed plenty of twists into its season premiere, introducing us to Constance Zimmer’s enigmatic Rosalind Price, head of the Advanced Threat Containment Unit, and two new Inhumans — potential ally Joey Gutierrez (Juan Pablo Raba).; and the destructive Lash (Matthew Willig). The episode’s final moments also revealed that Agent Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) is still alive on a mysterious planet after being swallowed up by the Kree Monolith in last season’s finale.

Variety spoke to “SHIELD” star Chloe Bennet (aka Daisy Johnson) about her character’s dynamic with Lincoln (Luke Mitchell), suspicions about Rosalind and what’s ahead in episode 302.

Do you think Daisy is going to be torn between her loyalties to SHIELD and the Inhumans at any point, or is she pretty firmly on the same page as the rest of SHIELD now?

She has a really interesting perspective because she is a SHIELD agent and she’s an Inhuman, and she feels a loyalty to both sides. I think she feels very strongly for both; that’s gonna be the biggest struggle for her this season — at least that’s what I’ve played so far. I think she feels a responsibility because her mom, as crazy as she was, was trying to protect Inhumans and trying to help these people, whether they’re kids or adults who are turning into something that they’re not necessarily ready to be, or they’re automatically turning into something different and society isn’t ready for it. That can be hard. I love how relevant that is now with LGBT rights and people feeling different … and the acceptance of that and learning to be okay with yourself. I think she feels strongly on both sides, so it’ll be an interesting season. Loyalty hasn’t shown more on either side so far, so that’s gonna be up to the writers.

Speaking of LGBT rights, the show introduced its first openly gay character in Joey. He’s struggling with his new Inhuman abilities and obviously has a different perspective from Daisy, but also perhaps some common ground because they’re both used to feeling like outsiders. What can you preview about their dynamic and what he could potentially add to the team?

Joey is the first person that she really feels like could be part of the team; they have to go through a certain level of assessment before that happens. As for him being gay, I was really, really happy to see that, and I am mostly happy to see how nonchalant it was and how subtle it was and how no one made a big deal about it. That’s the kind of reference to someone being gay that I like to see; it doesn’t affect the storyline in any way — it’s subtle, and I thought that was really good on the writers. Just like when people ask what it’s like to play a strong female character and it’s always a little frustrating…

Right, they’re just people.

Yeah, why don’t you ask Clark (Gregg) what it’s like to play a strong male character? I don’t know what that means. It’s just normal, so I like it when it’s subtle like that and they did a really good job.

Lincoln was pretty reluctant to join Daisy and Mack (Henry Simmons) in the premiere — how important is it to her to bring him into the fold?

He is gonna be a tough little cookie; I don’t think it’s gonna be as easy as people think and I’m pretty happy about that because often TV tends to be very easy in how things happen very conveniently. It’s definitely not gonna be convenient getting him on the team or convincing him to work with us. We have different views on what we should do with the Inhumans, he has a different view on what it is after the aftermath of Afterlife; he and I disagree a little bit on it and it’s gonna take a little negotiating on Daisy’s part. But at the same time, I think we like each other, so that will also play a part in him potentially joining the team. We’ll also see a darker side of Lincoln and a bit of who he was before we were introduced to him in Afterlife, so there’ll be a lot of nice layers pulled back on Lincoln. Luke Mitchell plays it so well, so I’m really looking forward to learning more about him and I think everyone else will love it too. Plus I think Daisy deserves a little action, don’t you?

I think so — someone who’s not a homicidal, torturing… 

…Psychopath? Yeah!

Poor Ward (Brett Dalton).

I know, poor Ward.

Or not poor Ward, because he was a torturing psychopath…

I know, people are very adamant, they go “he had a hard childhood!” (Laughs) … But all of the team probably didn’t have an easy childhood either in the show — I don’t think everyone’s had it as easy as you’d think. He’s definitely a murderous sociopath, so I think it’ll be exciting to see him at the head of Hydra and doing his bad thing. He does it very well.

Do you think Daisy has written Ward off, or is there a part of her that would still want to save him despite everything he’s done?

I wouldn’t say she’s completely written him off, no. I think there’s a level of “okay, you’re totally crazy” and she would never say it out loud that she’s not totally written him off, but I like to think that deep, deep, deep down, she doesn’t quite buy this evil s–t.

We also got our first look at Lash in the premiere, which was suitably terrifying. What kind of threat does he pose to the team aside from his physical power?

The Lash situation is going to be one that’s gonna really mess people up. I can’t really say much else, but it’s not what it seems, is what I’ll say.

Rosalind Price doesn’t seem particularly trustworthy, given that she’s also hunting the Inhumans, if not blowing holes in their chests. What’s Daisy’s take on her?

She doesn’t want her as a stepmom, that’s for sure. (Laughs.) It’s a little too convenient; she’s right to feel a little bit of iffiness, she doesn’t trust her — she thinks she has a separate agenda from what she’s saying to Coulson and I think the audience will see pretty quickly what that is. [Daisy’s] just trying to make sure she keeps Coulson in check, like… “don’t go sleeping with the enemy any time soon!” I think it’ll be interesting. We’re only on episode 7 and it’s already pulled all of us around; we don’t know which way it’s gonna go, so I’m excited to see what happens with that.

The final moments of the premiere proved that Simmons is still alive — what can you preview about next week’s episode, which sees the return of Peter MacNicol as the Asgardian warrior formerly known as Elliot Randolph?

We’re all gonna be pretty adamant on seeing what happens with Simmons, so the team is gonna go to great lengths to try and get her back.

“Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on ABC.

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