Among Us Hide – Season 3 Episode 6

Right missed a couple of these over the past little while so let’s try to get caught up as quick as we can shall we?  If you recall from the previous episode (Devils you Know & not 4,722 as while that was an excellent episode, it doesn’t (yet) do anything for the underlying story), May and Bobbi had managed to track down Strucker and while they weren’t in time to stop his beating, May managed to hear that Andrew might not be dead after all.  In fact, Andrew it  turns out is the Inhuman – Lash that Daisy has been searching for.  Turned out, he was the one who set the building ablaze. The worse part is Skye (Chloe Bennet) is right. The inhuman, Lash, they are hunting can indeed transform into human. To blend into the crowd, the beast becomes Garner.  May is in disbelief with the shocking revelation about her ex-husband.

I like giving credit where credit is due, and I can safely say that as someone who has been a fan and viewer since season 1, tonight’s game-changing reveal was on par with the great “Ward is Hydra” turn of 2014. I didn’t see it coming, and maybe I’m alone in that. But when a show can blindside me completely with a narrative that is interesting and unsuspecting, I have to give it props.

agents-of-shield-02Before we get to those big moments, though, let’s start with something important: Andrew Garner is alive. Not only that, he’s alive enough to talk and give May and Coulson the rundown on what happened when Werner von Strucker tried to kill him. He tells them about the men who followed him, who Coulson correctly calls out as being HYDRA. Turns out that Coulson had his own S.H.I.E.L.D. agents tailing Garner, which is how he got lucky: The agents gave him time to find cover, but just barely. (The way this scene was shot, with May watching the medics work on her husband, was incredibly reminiscent of Black Widow, Cap, and Maria Hill watching a dying Nick Fury in Winter Solider…at least for me.)

May’s still pissed at Hunter for putting Garner’s life in danger, and her anger’s not unwarranted. Unsurprisingly, Coulson pulls Hunter off the assignment while May puts herself on, because now she’s going after Ward, hell or high water. At least there’s one positive thing that comes out of Garner’s near-death experience: May’s back. I mean, really back. She’s got the Hunter “out for blood” thing going and takes it to the next level by “recruiting” Bobbi to help her in the way only S.H.I.E.L.D. agents can: by forcing her into a sparring session. Bobbi and Melinda make an amazing team, because they’re both total badasses, but watching Melinda mentor Bobbi and encourage her to see her pain and suffering as “experience” that makes her stronger is pure gold. And that’s an example of good therapy, that makes you more capable instead of making you doubt yourself—as Bobbi proves at the end, when she uses her “experience” to take down Ward’s right-hand man. As much as I enjoyed Scientist Bobbi Morse, I cannot express how happy I am to see my favorite character back in the field, kicking butt, and being an active part of the team again. (And those fight scenes in this week’s episode just proved that. Give me an entire episode of Bobbi and May undercover, please.)

It makes sense that Lash was someone with inside knowledge, and this may even explain why Andrew was so opposed to letting Inhumans go out into the field—since he’s apparently got a lot of issues with his own kind and sees it as a vital mission to hunt them all down and perforate them.

A Most wanted (Inhu)Man – Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (S3E3)

The president’s ATCU (Advanced Threat Containment Unit) begins hunting down inhumans across the country. Meanwhile, Simmons begins her rehabilitation after her extended stay on the alien world.

While the title for “A Wanted (Inhu)man” referred to Lincoln, and his story was solid, the episode’s most notable content dealt with Simmons, as she was back, but hardly back to her usual self.

Elizabeth Henstridge was terrific here, as Simmons seemed on edge and often almost in pain from being around, well, nearly everything. Mundane things like a cell phone ringing got under her skin and Henstridge did an excellent job showing her trying to put on the best face she could, but struggling so much underneath. It was touching seeing Fitz trying so hard (yes, I it was “Aww”-worthy how he had held that restaurant reservation for them, hoping she’d return), but he just couldn’t help her – at least not yet.

Cover from Inhumans trade paperback (2001).
Cover from Inhumans trade paperback (2001). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Most Wanted (Inhu)Man starts off pretty fast-paced. We meet back with Lincoln, who is being chased by a small military squadron. They pursue him through the woods until he escapes after creating a blinding wall of sparks via some steel towers. He continues throughout the episode in a similar fashion, having to give the slip from the ATCU using his powers. Eventually, he seeks refuge with his old friend, John, but he ends up turning Lincoln in after seeing a news report falsely exposing him as a fugitive. Though it was a bit silly (and cliché) to do the “close confident sees news report about friend and freaks out without trying to get explanation” route. However, the fact that Roebuck’s character actually died from his heart attack, despite Lincoln trying to use his powers as a defibrillator – and that Lincoln didn’t redeem himself to his friend or anyone else by saving him – was effective.

 Superpowers should theoretically make a person more interesting, but the Inhuman characters on Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. are the blandest members of the cast. The writers of this series have struggled to give Chloe Bennet a character that brings out the charisma she shows in her public appearances, and while Skye/Daisy has gone through a significant transformation, it’s not one that highlights Bennet’s natural charm.  Right now, Daisy’s entire life is dedicated to S.H.I.E.L.D. and rescuing Inhumans, but it wouldn’t hurt to get a glimpse of what she does outside of work. What is her personal life like? Does she wish she could just be a regular woman in her early ’20s, trying to find her way in the world without alien powers and government organizations at her back? Now that she has control over her superpowers, does she ever have any fun with them?
While Daisy attempts to convince Lincoln to come along, Coulson meets with Rosalind Price. He’s attempting to find the reason her task force is hunting inhumans, particularly Lincoln. While her response is inconclusive, Coulson’s focus shifts when he informs her that he’s aware she knows about Daisy, who happens to also be on her hit list. Realizing neither side will get anywhere if they keep attacking each other, instead of focusing on the bigger struggle at hand, Coulson suggests a temporary partnership with Price.Lance Hunter
May finally decides to team up with Hunter in their mutual pursuit of Grant Ward. They make their way to Boston to meet with an old friend of Hunter’s who is in league with a mysterious arms dealer, suspected to be the new Hydra. It was a lot of fun seeing Hunter and May teamed up and on their own, trying to get Hunter infiltrated with Hydra. As a big Spartacus fan, I loved seeing Dan Feuerriegel as Hunter’s kinda/sorta buddy, “Spud”, they needed to cozy up to in order to get close to Hydra – a comic highlight of both the episode and the show in general was when Hunter and Spud got drunk and their slurred, thick accented dialogue – that May was struggling with – was subtitled. After a few rousing rounds of lager, Hunter agrees to fight his way up the pecking order…literally.  It’s a painful episode for Hunter, but it’s a great one for Nick Blood, who gets to goof off when he’s not being beaten to a bloody pulp.  Blood plays up the comedy even when Hunter’s getting pummeled, giving the character an endearing scrappiness as he fights a much larger, stronger opponent. May also finds herself in an uneven fight against three imposing men, but she’s far from scrappy. She’s ruthless as she quickly takes out her three would-be attackers, and gets the best line of the night as she walks away from the fallen bodies:
“How about I do you a favor and not tell anyone that a tiny little Asian woman kicked your ass.” 
Somehow managing to withstand a pretty hefty beating, he finally decides to go by Hydra’s rules to play as dirty as possible, pulls out his knuckle dusters, and reigns in his victory. Barely able to keep himself upright, he’s taken to finally face the man he set out to kill.
When Bobbi finds Simmons still analyzing the fragments of the Monolith, she tries telling her its been completely disabled and she has nothing to fear anymore. Much to Bobbi’s surprise, Simmons tells her she’s not afraid of being sent back, but for some reason, actually needs to go back.
Meanwhile, despite their differences, we got some more amusing banter between Coulson and Rosalind (them I feel chemistry between) and her “eyes up here!” as he eyeballed her car was a very funny bit.

Did this episode have it all?  Well lets see – we had Ward (yay he’s back!), we had HYDRA (and we even got a glimpse of the Baron himself), we had an amazing time with Cal (Kyle MacLaclan) on his “day out” and we even got to see Lincoln strut his stuff a little bit.  So yes, there was tons to enjoy in the most recent episode of SHIELD.  Was it perfect … no, but then it never is … there are always some little quibbling little details that are just annoying, but there was lots to love here as I’m sure you’ll agree.

In Frenemy we had Coulson, Hunter and Fitz track down and make an uneasy alliance with Ward.  Coulson offers to have Ward get a clean slate via the Tahiti protocol (yeah I don’t think anyone believes that Ward will go through with this) so that he can help him infiltrate HYDRA in an effort to track down Skye.  We had Cal returning to his home in Milwaukee (ostensibly to collect his belongings in an effort to make his stay in the Afterlife more comfortable) with Skye in tow.  We also had HYDRA tracking the comings and goings of Gordon and his Nightcrawler-esque powers using “quantum entanglement” to arrive in Milwaukee and the “Real” SHIELD hacking into Deathlok’s vision circuits to find out what Coulson and crew were up to so that they also arrived in Milwaukee!  Basically everyone ends up in Cal’s Milwaukee office building for a variety of misunderstandings, double-crosses and plans being kept secret from the audience and all of the differing storylines all converge together – finally – in an orgasm of destruction!

When Jiaying makes the decision that Cal can no longer stay in the Afterlife – due to the concern she has for her fellow Inhumans, Skye counters that simply dropping him on the side of the road like a puppy is both cruel and malicious.  She makes the very cogent argument that while he might not belong with them, he absolutely should not just be discarded as he will literally explode at the rejection.  Making a deal to tag along so that she can let him down gently, Cal and Skye travel to Milwaukee where his enthusiasm to spend some time with his daughter can almost literally be felt.  Cal – played so well by Kyle MacLachlan – can emote with the best and his delivery of lines like, “How about next time we grill?!” and “Big overdoer!” was hysterical, even as he showed the manic, dangerous side of Cal always lurking below the surface – one he’d later unleash on those Hydra agents.  When they do arrive in Milwaukee, Skye is able to “obtain” a cell phone which she uses to contact May and the others while searching for Coulson.  This action helps to get Bobbi and Mac to Milwaukee also.

Talking about Bobbi and Mac, I actually quite enjoyed the interaction between them at the start of the episode where they were discussing whether they’d made the right decisions to betray Coulson.  Their banter and sparring (both verbal and physical) was excellently portrayed and when Mac literally bounced off the floor of the training room after being thrown by Bobbi I thought that was just excellent! However much they might be questioning their previous decisions though – they are still all in to find out what Coulson is actually up to and while no mention is made of the Theta protocol from last week’s episode, you can see that this is very much in their mind.

While Skye is sightseeing in Milwaukee with her dad, Coulson has managed to track down and corral Ward and makes him an offer he can’t refuse.  While Ward seems to agree to this and gives up Bakshee in an effort to find out what HYDRA is up to with powered people, you just know that his end game is going to be something completely unexpected.  If we were betting people, after the first episode of this season aired we wouldn’t have put any money whatsoever on Ward getting a redemption – while there are some instances here where he seems to show some remorse (specifically in regards to Skye), his actions till now have only demonstrated that he is nothing if not extremely dangerous.  A complement that Coulson also pays him by bringing Deathlok to their initial meeting.

After Bakshee is able to organize a meeting – one that Mike Peterson (Deathlok) attends, Coulson, Hunter, Fitz, Ward and Agent 33 are able to see that HYDRA is also stalking Gordon and they hope that this will lead them to Skye – this is where Ward might start to change as the only thing he seems to care about, genuinely care about is Skye.  Tailing them in their Quinjet they all arrive in Milwaukee also and Ward/Coulson head off in search of Skye while simultaneously fighting off the forces of HYDRA.

Kyle MacLachlan at 43rd Emmy Awards ceremony
Kyle MacLachlan at 43rd Emmy Awards ceremony (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bakshee meanwhile is seemingly NOT as brainwashed as we were led to believe as he manages to capture both Deathlok and Lincoln who were fighting each other, not really realizing that they were both there to protect and help Skye.  Perhaps he (Bakshee) has a larger role to play in this after all (?) unless the whole thing is still a long con and he’s actually following the orders of Ward and Agent33.

 

While Coulson and Skye finally get a chance to see other again … it really is a father/daughter moment … they are yanked apart again by Gordon.  Unfortunately Cal too joins in the teleport and you know that he is not going to be a happy camper when they get to the other side.  While he’s continued to help and save Skye/Daisy – he’s nothing if not disturbed and his temper is never that far away!

Some Quibbles & Thoughts

  • Skye/Daisy kind of “forgave” or empathized with Cal a bit too easily didn’t she?  Last week she had to almost be forced to have a dinner with him, but now she’s understanding him so well?  While her explanation made some sense – i.e. she’s been searching for her parents for so long and she did everything/anything to find them – I prefer to think that in reality she already had the idea that if she got out with him she could come up with a way of contacting SHIELD.  I like to think that she’s that devious/intelligent!
  • I hope that now that Skye has seen Coulson in person — even if it was in the unexpected company of Ward — we’ll see a bit more conflict between her SHIELD agent side and her reunited daughter side.  With both Cal and Coulson in her life she has to feel pulled in many different directions and while she doesn’t have all of the facts, she needs to wonder about the fact that SHIELD was both helping her and hunting her.
  • It was really, really good to have/see Ward again.  He’s definitely not reformed and seems to always have multiple plans underway. I’d hate to see them figure out a way to make him back into a good guy as he is an awesome villain – in fact the scene where May and the others back at SHIELD headquarters saw Coulson and Ward together was pretty priceless (even though it was 100% expected), as far as a big “Oh, crap” moment, seemingly reinforcing everyone’s worst fears about Coulson and what he’s been up to.  Unfortunately unless Ward becomes someone significantly greater than he is I do not see him staying around forever … I would expect that in an upcoming episode he is killed off while saving Skye giving him some (but not complete) redemption in the eyes of the world and SHIELD.
  • There were several Age of Ultron moments – the Baron, experiments on powered people – sprinkled throughout the show and it’s quite possible that the April UK release is going to give all of us some interesting tie-ins and details! There were also references to Raina and her precog talents … this is definitely going to be important in the future.

News and Gossip

Finally some rumors … there has long been speculation about an upcoming Agents of SHIELD spin-off … yesterday it was announced that this show would focus on Bobbi and Hunter and to be honest I’m a bit torn about this.  I absolutely love the interaction between the characters themselves – it’s very Mr. & Mrs. Smith with the bickering exes that do spy work together to be honest – and while I can see Hunter being a great standalone character, I’m actually not as enamored of Bobbi.  I know this is probably surprising as most reviewers like her character, but her motivations and reasons for betraying Coulson and team leave nothing more than a sour taste in my mouth and I really don’t know if I can allow myself to trust her (character) in the future.  Together they absolutely do add “something” to the show, but I also believe that the show could have done without her character and managed with a “throw away” mole within HYDRA to serve as Simmons rescuer.

All that being said though – you know me … I’m a Marvel junkie and I’ll be the first in line to watch this and report out to you all my thoughts when it finally does appear on our screens!

Filler

Hmmm – I have to be honest I was really looking forward to this episode as unlike some other reviewers I really enjoyed last weeks one and Lady Sif is always badass and cool – however I have to be honest … I was somewhat disappointed as this episode felt like nothing more than a filler.  I mean the whole “reveal” thing of Skye could have been done last week and while the Kree explanation was OK … it was also somewhat unnecessary I felt?  I might be being too judgmental however, so lets go through the recap and see what we all feel like by the end.

Recap

We start with Lady Sif coming out of the surf in black leather looking for “kava” (I actually thought she said coffee the first time I heard it!) and it seems she’s lost her memory.  From this we see May (Ming-Na Wen) and Skye (Chloe Bennet) doing some hard core fighting at HQ but Skye is holding back … while May thinks it has something to do with Tripp’s death, we all know that in reality she’s worried about what might happen if she loses control.  Fitz appears to further reinforce this to us and you can see that May is wondering a little bit about what is going on.

Hunter and Bobbi are having some “relaxation” time together and Hunter tells Bobbi that Coulson has offered him a permanent position on the team.  Coulson meanwhile also offers Mac a more robust (field) role where he can better utilize his strengths.  Mac states that he is not a huge fan of violence, but it seems Coulson is able to persuade him.

The team travel to Portugal where Lady Sif is waiting for Kava.  However Coulson informs her that he isn’t Kava but rather a friend that can help.  (There are some cute sequences where they play upon Lady Sif’s memory loss – i.e. May mentions Thor and Sif smiles, “but doesn’t know the reason why” and her education in regards to things she learnt as a child, knowledge which she still retains.)  She is suffering from amnesia so Coulson gets out his digital photos of all the good times they had together, ever the fanboy. She trusts him even though he is not kava but he is going to help her figure this out. Skye finds a video on Twitter of Lady Sif in a pretty epic boardwalk brawl with a man who is able to hold his own against her. He is wielding some sort of small hammer like tool and he uses this to zap her in the chest. She strikes him with her sword and some liquid shoots out along with sparks before he throws her into the water. If she travelled across the universe to find this guy he must be dangerous.

We then jump to the strange man who managed to beat Lady Sif and see him in a hospital demanding access to their supplies.  When the nurse tries to dissuade him, he zaps her also with the device and turns blue.  The team meanwhile make their way to the pier where the fight took place and with some investigation manage to track him down to the hospital where Bobbi and Skye confront him.  Bobbi fights against him but is beaten quite soundly, leaving Skye on her own.  As she holds a gun on him, the whole room starts to shake and the gun literally falls apart in her hands (quite cool how this happens I have to say) but before anything else happens a shelf falls on her knocking her out and the man escapes.

The team then all gather back together and determine that the man is a Kree.  Lady Sif states that a Kree on Earth is up to no good.  Skye and Fitz meet to discuss what happened and she indicates that she wants to tell Coulson, but Fitz tells her to wait till they know more.  Hunter walks in on their private conversation but its not clear how much he’s actually heard.  Talking about secret conversations, Bobbi and Mac are having their own conversation too where they’re discussing bringing Hunter onboard with their secret plans, but Mac is adamant that doing so is not an option.  It’s very much stated that while their plans aren’t meant to harm SHIELD they also have nothing to do with HYDRA and that “after they pull the trigger” they hope to be friends with SHIELD again.  It’s all a little bit too cloak and dagger and feels forced to be honest.

The team realize that the Kree is in a town in Portugal called Chaves (keys in English) and this is where Whitehall first found the obelisk in 1944.  Skye states that she’d prefer to sit out the fight and while her stated reason is that she feels “banged up” after her previous encounter, both Sif and May look a little suspicious and wonder what is really going on.

The team manage to capture the Kree with an electronic net and take him back to the bus where they interrogate him.  He informs them that he’s actually there to help and his name is Vin-Tak and his truncheon can also restore memories.  He manages to get his hands on it and immediately restores Sif’s memories and then explains that the Kree used terrigenesis on a multitude of planets to obtain soldiers in a war that they were losing.  While it didn’t work on most planets, on Earth it did and created abominations.  When Vin-Tak saw that the program had started again he came to Earth to immediately put a stop to it as the current Kree empire would start the program again, enslaving humans to do their bidding.  When the team looks at the crate that Vin-Tak had removed from the cave they see that there are enough diviners to create an army and while we know one has been destroyed, there are five remaining.

Vin-Tak says we have to find the diviners and destroy the abominations that were created immediately. They talk about the event that changed Raina and when Vin-Tak and Sif learn that Skye witnessed it they are suspicious. Scared Skye starts to rumble the room a bit and again nobody notices which is really odd I’d like to think someone would at least take note that the room was starting to tremble again. The drama escalates and Skye goes full on quake, the enter HQ shakes and Coulson turns to her and says, “Skye..what is doing this?” He knows the answer and the look on his face was torturous sadness he knows how badly this is going to turn out for her. Skye tells him it is her and she shatters the windows behind her but May and Coulson are immediately at her side, guns pointed at Lady Sif and VinTak.

Sif and Vin-Tak immediately want to take Skye away, but the team manage to distract them long enough to allow Skye to escape.  Fitz manages to knock down Vin-Tak with a big gun and Bobbi then uses his own truncheon on him to erase his memory neutralizing him.  Meanwhile Lady Sif has managed to break into the cell where Skye is hiding but she shoots herself with one of the icers making Sif realize that she isn’t evil. Coulson finds them and explains that Skye would rather harm herself than bring harm to any of them and that she can be trusted with her powers.

Lady Sif and Vin-Tak are transported back to Asgard and its assumed Vin-Tak will be returned to his home world sans memory (quite a pity as he was only trying to do the right thing, but now he will not only not know that, he won’t remember anything else either!).  Lady Sif explains to Coulson that Asgard is significantly more advanced than Earth in terms of Science (glad how they state its science and not magic) and sometimes there are some things you just can’t control.  Coulson makes the point of stating that the city is underwater so even though there are more diviners out there, they can’t be used (why can’t they be used under water?)

At HQ everyone is cleaning up and they all attack Fitz for not telling them.  Mac states that they need to be protected from Skye which she overhears.  Skye then proceeds to lock herself in the bus and resigns herself to isolation for the moment.  Later we see Mac working on something when Hunter confronts him about the whole secret with Bobbi thing.  Mac manages to get him into a choke hold and knocks him out.

Review & Questions

This episode was all about revelations; but beyond Lady Sif and Skye, the team is also coming to terms with finding out who ‘each other’ are. Sure there’s fears about what Skye really is; but there is also continuing discord between Fitz and Simmons. We also have the whole Mac/Bobbi/Hunter love triangle really coming to the fore in this episode.

  • Vin-Tak doesn’t seem based on a specific comic book Kree, but his name follows general Kree naming conventions (i.e. Mar-Vell, Yon-Rogg, et al) and the idea that Kree would have violent subfactions is well established. Vinny’s weapon is also reminiscent of Ronan’s Universal Weapon (that hammer-thing from the GotG movie) but his seek-out-and-capture mission makes him seem like a Pursuer (unlike Ronan, who is an Accuser).
  • When Sif initially says she’s looking for ‘Carva’, some could have thought this meant Carva Tessara, a brief Centaurian character in the comics. Of course we learn in the episode that “Carva” is actually the Kree word for “Keys”, which then bring us to “Chaves” which is the Portuguese/Old Spanish word for “Keys”.
  • The stunning icer guns are back; but this time Simmons has increased the concentration of Dendrotoxins, which could be very dangerous and unhealthy for the targets. Sadly, Simmons sees this as necessary for the Inhumans.
  • Showing Skye’s powers shatter a gun help to show that Skye’s powers aren’t geomancy or power over earthquake; but rather shockwaves and vibrations themselves.
  • Despite not knowing who Thor is, Lady Sif still smiles at the mention of his name. This is a reference to their occasional romance in the comics as well as the romance fans have been wanting in the films as well.
  • When Lady Sif warned Coulson ‘There are tides in the universe that you cannot swim against”, you might have remembered the Season One group “The Rising Tide” for whom Skye used to work for. Could this group see an actual return or was this just a simple Easter Egg of Skye’s past in reference to her future?
  • How do you slow down a Kree? Simple, use Coulson’s Destroyer Gun
  • This episode also marks our first confirmation on the Kree’s home world of Hala

OK so if you’ve stayed with me till now – what do you think?  Was there anything earth shattering presented in this episode or was it a simple filler as I’ve stated at the start?  I really don’t think we learnt anything new or at least nothing of significance and while it seems like lots happened, it all revolved around a revelation that could have been done in the previous episode.

This weeks two part season finale entitled ‘S.O.S’ is probably the best Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D will ever be – it literally takes no prisoners in its dealings with the core characters and no one (at all) is 100% safe.  It is extremely fast paced – perhaps frantic in places – and while there isn’t some of the amazingly well choreographed fight sequences we’ve seen in earlier episodes, there is more than enough death and destruction present to satisfy even the most bloodthirsty!  This episode didn’t linger to make full use of the threat that the inhumans posed. This despite the fact that we knew very little about them. Jiaying was an effective villain. Like Darth Vader she meant something to someone and she wasn’t just the unapproachable antagonist with the standard ‘I seek revenge’  backstory.  If you’ve not yet seen the episode, I can’t recommend it enough – be warned thought that if you continue reading this, there are many SPOILERS as always in my recaps and reviews.

Right lets deal with that elephant first … Ward is a dick and there is absolutely zero chance of his ever getting redeemed.  He deserves nothing more than death and I only hope that when it finally happens it is in a particularly gruesome manner suitable to his crimes and attitude.  OK now that, that’s off my chest lets get down to the review … by the way, I’m not normally that blood thirsty but aside from his betrayal (last season) and his treatment of FitzSimmons, his actions this episode warrant nothing more a swift and final punishment.

While last weeks episode showed us that Jiaying is not as innocent as she seems my initial thoughts that it was just hatred of H.Y.D.R.A and S.H.I.E.L.D are probably wrong … rather like any ruler (which she is) she has chosen to take whatever actions are necessary to protect her people and in this case she has determined that those actions necessitate the destruction of S.H.I.E.L.D itself.  She was so obsessed with protecting the Inhumans, that it blinded her own sense of humanity (or inhumanity).

Coulson quickly figures out that the supposed attack is not all its cracked up to be and while he’s immediately curious about Cal and his rationale for being at the base determines that the first priority is getting Bobbi back from Agent 33 and Ward.  Coulson and the “council” realize that they need to do something to fight back against the Inhumans and Jiaying but while Coulson is hoping that Skye will serve as a mediator the remainder of the council advocate an immediate counter-attack.  Fortunately Mack who’s still on the aircraft carrier backs Coulson in his decision.  Meanwhile May and Hunter manage to track down Bobbi’s Quinjet and see signs of the struggle and Cal is interrogated … almost innocently he declares that he’s a trojan horse and has been sent by Jiaying to destroy S.H.I.E.L.D. This is actually our first exposure to his Mr. Hyde persona that has been hinted at over the course of many episodes and when the drugs finally take effect on him he transforms into a hulk like creature with supernatural strength.

Back in Paradise we learn that Jiayings healing ability while internal can be “enhanced” by sucking the life force from another being which she proceeds to do to heal herself from the self inflicted gun shot wound that we witnessed in last weeks episode.  Skye meanwhile is trying to understand what went wrong and visits Raina where she is told by her that her mother is not as innocent as she’s proclaiming and Raina’s purpose is to actually herald Skye’s ascension to leadership over her mother.  Jiaying attempts to stop Raina’s influence over Skye by killing her. However, Skye has seen the murder and for the first time questions Jiaying purpose about attacking S.H.I.E.L.D.   Jiaying realizing that Skye will not be easily persuaded has her incapacitated and incarcerated with the gloves that Simmons developed to restrict her powers.  She takes Skye with her and then proceeds to attack the S.H.I.E.L.D aircraft carrier along with several other Inhumans.  Quickly reducing their defences they manage to take over the majority of the ship but Mack is still onboard and realizes that they are planning on using one of the crystals in the ship to poison everyone.  He takes it upon himself to defend this room against all comers after first managing to help Skye escape.

At S.H.I.E.L.D HQ Coulson has managed to “persuade” Cal (by driving a car into him and pinning him in place so that he could talk to him) that Jiaying might not have Skye’s best intentions at heart.  Coulson has realized that Cal actually has a good heart and while he’s been convicted of multiple murders – in actuality it was Jiaying sucking the life force from them and Cal was basically left to blame.  Cal agrees to help Coulson save his daughter and they set off together to the aircraft carrier to confront Jiaying and the rest of the Inhumans.

Agent 33 and Grant Ward are busy torturing agent Morse. Without any remorse Grant stuffs needles into Morse’s fingers and demands an apology for what she did to agent 33. After an escape attempt Agent 33 tries to kill Morse but can’t do it. Ward decides they should leave and booby-traps the door so the first person walking through it will be killed by a high powered rifle. Grant states he hopes it will be Hunter, so Morse can feel the loss while strapped helplessly in a chair.  When Hunter and May finally arrive, Morse manages to tip the chair she’s strapped to over so that the bullet ends up shooting her instead of Hunter … Ward & Agent 33 meanwhile are attacking S.H.I.E.L.D agents and when May realizes that Agent 33 is there, she manages to trick her into going to another part of the building.  Agent 33 wearing the mask that transforms her features into May’s is instead shot dead by Ward.  Agents 33 death closed the book on Grant Ward ever joining the light-side. I had my doubts at the beginning of the season whether Grant could be allowed to come back without alienating the audience. In hindsight the brief cooperation between him and S.H.I.E.L.D was well handled. Now that he is responsible for the near death injuries Morse suffered he can never rely on the sympathy from either S.H.I.E.L.D agents nor the audience.

Agent 33 (Maya Stojan): Did anyone in the history of this show get a more raw deal than poor Agent 33? She was a nondescript agent (un-capitalized) of SHIELD who got captured by Hydra, brainwashed and turned into a killing machine, then saved by a sociopath who manipulated her into a creepy-love-y-dove-y relationship that may or may not have had real feelings behind it (I think Ward was as close to being genuine in his affection for Agent 33 as is possible). Plus, she had a tragic death, dying at the hands of her beloved, mistaking her for Melinda May, ultimately succumbing to the oft-used plot device that ushered her into the show in the first place. It was one of the most effective and concise arcs on the show, and while her time had come, Agent 33 will be missed.

Finally on the carrier, Coulson and Fitz meet up with Mack.  Fitz has designed a quantum entanglement devise that restricts Gordon’s ability to teleport and forces him to remain in the room – while the three still have problems containing him, they are eventually (& by accident) able to kill him when he teleports behind Fitz who was at the time holding a steel rod.  Gordon drops one of the Kree crystals prior to falling himself and Coulson leaps to catch it before it shatters on the floor killing all of them – and anyone else left on the ship – but as he grabs onto it, his hand starts to turn to stone.  Mack quickly cuts it off before it “infects”his whole body and Jiaying realizing that she is losing decides to escape along with a box of crystals.

Skye rushes to stop her mother, but Jiaying instead starts to drain Skye’s lifeforce stating that she’s obviously not the one to lead her people.  While Skye is able to push the Quinjet over the side of the ship Jiaying is gradually killing her until Cal comes up and manages to stop her.  While obviously in mental anguish he finally does the right thing and puts her down saving his daughters life in the process.  Cal was willing to do anything and everything to repair the damage done to his family, but it was an impossible mission, though Cal managed to save his daughter and his wife from herself.

Finally while we think things are finally golden for our team, we learn that Ward is now planning on creating his own “team” as he dislikes working alone from the remnants of H.Y.D.R.A – one can only assume that he is going to be taking on more of a leadership role in this organization.  Bobbi recovering from her wounds tells Hunter that she doesn’t think she can continue on with S.H.I.E.L.D and while this might have been a good segue into the previously mentioned stand alone show with Bobbi and Hunter, now that this has been cancelled, I wonder what is planned for them.  Cal has been put through the Tahiti program and given a new life as a Veterinarian (one has to wonder about this as so far everyone that has already gone through that program has also had issues) and Skye is put in charge of a new team that seeks out those with powers.  Coulson is trying to deal with his missing hand and while it looks like Fitz and Simmons are finally getting together that’s not to be as Simmons gets swallowed up by the Kree stone held in the glass confinement case.  We also see that while we might have thought Skye had disposed of the crystals safely into the ocean – in reality she might have herself instituted the changes her mother was striving for as the crystals decompose into our food supply.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D has managed to survive through its second season and while some fans have taken to calling this episode Save Our Show, I, personally have enjoyed all the twists and turns that this show taken us on … I think they didn’t drag things out as long as they did in Season 1 and perhaps they might have almost rushed things a bit too much prior to the launch of Avengers:Age of Ultron, but overall I’m extremely satisfied that this show will be back for a 3rd season. Not all future episode of SHIELD can be like ‘S.O.S’, but it is a start.

The long awaited … wait a second, that’s actually not really true is it?  I know that there was some mystery about why May has/was (been) called the CAVALRY, but in reality it didn’t really matter (at least not in my opinion).  While some mysteries NEED to be answered, others can stay as mysteries as they add a little something to the character.  Now I’d like to think that the writers had planned the whole reveal out, right from the beginning where May’s “origins” are linked back to Skye but unfortunately that almost seemed forced. I know that the MCU cannot utilize mutants to explain away powered individuals but by tying this episode into the current Inhuman story arc, they have taken away from all of the others that have been shown to have powers in earlier episodes.  Last year at about this time, the show completely transformed itself with Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the grand reveal of H.Y.D.R.A – conversely this year, while the show has been enjoyable, its also been dragging a little bit as they seem to be doing too much talking and not enough growing.  Unfortunately this weeks episode was really nothing more than a long and extended flash back to May which is a real pity as having a two year mystery about someone’s origins is not really interesting.

One could assume that the upcoming release of Avengers: Age of Ultron will have another bombshell to drop on our favorite team of unpowered (well not counting Skye) crime fighters – perhaps the return of our favorite patch-eyed Director to command of S.H.I.E.L.D?  Would this be how the underlying story between Gonzalez and Coulson gets resolved perhaps?

S.H.I.E.L.D.’s second season has been much more consistent than its first in terms of quality, and it’s done a relatively fine job of introducing secrets and paying them off in quick fashion (for example: Skye already knows that Jiaying is her mother), but it’s hard to ignore the feeling something is missing.  I’ve complained several times already about the (too soon) removal of H.Y.D.R.A and the take over by the “Real” S.H.I.E.L.D was also very anticlimactic considering the buildup.  While Gonzalez is being portrayed as nothing more than a patriot we love Coulson and while it is shocking to find out that he’s got another operation on the go – something called Theta Protocol – I‘m sure you continue to trust him as do I and this will all be explained away in a positive manner.  With Ward and his role in H.Y.D.R.A – well that was a shock I’ve still not gotten over … it truly was a genuine surprise.  Coulson though … he’s a goodie!

The opening sequence featured Blair Underwood as May’s husband, which was a nice surprise. I mentioned in my review of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2 Episode 13, that he was the best part of that episode. Ming-Na did a wonderful job of portraying a pre-Bahrain Agent May. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad we learned what damaged her, but did it have to take so damn long?  Her separation from Blair Underwood was somewhat explained – I know perhaps I’m a bit insensitive, but he is a psychologist so you’d think that he’d be able to explain to her and make her see that the problem wasn’t with her?  After all, if you think about it, Fury did when he had her spy on Coulson while pretending to join her team.  Unfortunately I really think that while they emphasized May’s fighting skills the actual storyline and interaction between May and the “transformed” child + mother was nothing more than a way to tie her storyline into the underlying Inhuman storyline.  It felt forced.  You could see that May was traumatized – this was played out extremely well however so I do need to give her absolute credit for this.  Perhaps her distress at the title was in how inapt it really is as the only reason she was able to disable so many others was because of the use the little girl (Katya) put them to as she was literally dropping them right and left.

The more interesting stuff took place at “Afterlife” between Skye and her mother. Jiaying put a positive spin on Skye’s power and made her move mountains, literally, which was kind of fun. Perhaps even cooler however was her more subtle manipulation of the glasses to literally get them to sing.

While it was absolutely expected it was still nice to hear that she had made an “exception” to train Skye and her explanation on why it needed to be kept a secret made sense (Jiaying fears that some folks might draw parallels between Skye and Katya, therefore she can’t have people knowing the real nature of her relationship to Skye) – it didn’t however have to be tied into May’s role as the “Cavalry” as I feel like S.H.I.E.L.D. is diminishing the importance of that day in May’s life by also making it about Skye.  Is it too much to ask that May’s backstory be about May?

Lincoln: You know it’s really impressive for Jiaying to take anyone under her wing.
Skye: Yeah?
Lincoln: Yeah.
Skye: I like her. I just… I can’t… What’s her role here?
Lincoln: Her role is, in charge. So really she must like you.
Skye: If she’s in charge, how often does she train people?
Lincoln: Since I’ve been here… let me see… never.

Continuing with our Inhuman friends though we do learn one other key thing that will definitely play out in the future … Raina’s power – or at least one of them – is prophecy.  While we all know that the Inhumans story arc is a long one with S.H.I.E.L.D (after all the movie is years away) this gift is sure to be a very important direction for the show and I’m really glad that they are moving Raina’s character forward.  I’ve never really liked her – she’s always been too amoral and only in it for herself, but her transformation to Porcupine girl was also really cruel and I know I started to feel somewhat sorry for her!  The family dinner where Lincoln realized Raina was actually seeing the future was awkward, but Skye behaved herself and everyone enjoyed the moment. Kyle MacLachlan was wonderful as always as Cal, and it was nice to see him smile, although I’m sure you were also expecting the other shoe to drop just like I was?  One thing I do have to wonder though … if the secret of Skye’s parentage must be kept … should Lincoln have been allowed to see them?

The episode concluded with our neophyte James bond wannabe, Fitz hiding in a bathroom after opening Fury’s toolbox.  Always the genius he’s managed to get it working and has figured out a way to contact Coulson and Hunter – yay – the gang is getting back together!

Confusion, concern and questions

So is Skye’s dad (Cal – Kyle MacLachlan) the big bad of the latter half of the season or not?  We’re only two episodes in, but it seems that he’s been sent to the great big dumpster in the sky just like HYDRA was in the last episode. I guess if the main concern from fans about the previous season, was that the show seemed to drag on and nothing really seemed to happen is considered now … well the complaint might be the exact opposite!  Too much is happening and its all happening too fast … it seems like they aren’t closing one issue off before introducing another whole new storyline and its getting (even more) complicated than it normally is!

Skye is out of control, but SHIELD is determined to keep her on the team – somehow – and enlist the help of a psychologist that used to be on their payroll to help assess her and her state of mind.  Coincidentally this psychologist happens to be someone that May and Coulson both trust implicitly – May’s ex-husband – played by Blair Underwood – you might recall that I mentioned in a previous post his appearance on the show?  Well it seems since the last episode that while Skye is still in the cage on the bus, she’s magically managed to gain control of her powers and is able to control the shaking as long as she keeps her cool.

English: Kyle MacLachlan at the Vanity Fair pa...
English: Kyle MacLachlan at the Vanity Fair party celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Tribeca Film Festival. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While this episode is not a filler episode like last week, it seemed much too disjointed and was all over the place.  Cal’s personal vendetta against Coulson for taking away his revenge (for killing Whitehall … by the way, any chance this was a clone or something like that?  He died way too easily in my opinion – just saying!) might have been a bit of stretch right from the beginning, but I was willing to let it slide as it had some great possible conflicts for Skye and her growth as a character with Skye having to choose between her biological family and the SHIELD family that has adopted her.  However if he’s now out of the picture (or at the least on the back burner), it seems like it was all a complete waste of time doesn’t it?  Kyle MacLachlan is too good an actor to just be written off in this manner so I really hope that in some way he returns to the show.  However not as the leader of another band of misfits.

Merry Men (& Ladies) are we

OK while I know AOS is all about a superhero show that doesn’t really have any superhero’s in it (with the possible exception of whatever Skye is becoming), the villains have always been top notch.  They’ve not been at the Galactus or Loki level perhaps, but they’ve been solid and quite respectable – Deathlok for example and the Absorbing Man are both worthy villains that you can get behind the team defeating.  But this motley crew?  They weren’t anywhere close to being worthy and while their purpose might have only been as cannon fodder so that Skye could see how “bad SHIELD is” in Cal’s eyes, with access to the whole list at his fingertips, he could have done a lot better.

Right now this group of messed up people (lets be honest, who grafts razor blades to their fingertips … aside from the stupidity of doing this, blades break, are these supposed to “grow” back?  What about getting dull – that would kind of remove their usefulness as weapons?  Finally why didn’t SHIELD just conduct surgery to remove them?) does nothing more than just take away screentime from the characters we actually know and care about and the other ongoing storylines we’re already invested in.

Skye as mentioned earlier seems to initially have a handle on her powers but as we see during the course of this episode its a bit less than ideal as she continues to shake while in her sleep and ends up literally fracturing the bones in her hands trying not to quake!  Now considering that her “control” came from the school of Agent (shoot first and ask questions later) May its probably not that surprising that its not really addressing the underlying problems but is rather just glossing over them.  It was a quick fix, the equivalent of using duct tape to repair your leaky toilet, but it wasn’t an actual resolution. It also wasn’t healthy. This effect does however have the benefit of (surprise) making her match her comic book character in terms of appearance though which while not a prerequisite, is definitely a nice touch!

One Step Forward

May has a lot to offer—she’s skilled, she’s smart, and she’s strong—but she’s not even close to being qualified to offer advice on how to deal with something like Skye’s powers, which are rooted in her emotional state. May represses everything to a harmful degree, and Skye was doing the same. It’s why her powers came alive while she was dreaming, and it’s why she ended the episode in a cast.

We finally find out the big secret that Mac and Bobbi have been hinting at over the course of the past couple of episodes – namely that they are working for the “real” SHIELD.  While this introduces another major character – Edward James Olmos (of BSG fame) – to the show … which is really cool, as I’ve always liked him and his style, it kind of goes back to my earlier comment that they’re making this show overly complicated as they really didn’t need another plot line.

While it’s cool to see a somewhat lighter side of May (I think she actually smiled), I really want Skye’s character to move forward.  For her to gain some control over her abilities and learn how to use them to the benefit of the team.  I know that it’s a bit simplistic but I’m definitely in the camp where the good guys win and with everything the team has gone through recently (Ward being part of HYDRA, Fitz almost dying, Tripp dying and Skye’s whole transformation) it would be nice if they actually had a win for a change!