Agents of SHIELD: A Hen in the Wolf House review

Adrianne Palicki joins the Agents of SHIELD as future Avengers member Mockingbird this week. Here's Marc's review...

This Agents of SHIELD review contains spoilers.

Welcome to the Marvel Cinematic Universe Bobbi Morse. The twelve year old West Coast Avengers fan in me is giddy. Giddy, I say! How was the debut of the former comic book lady love of Clint Barton? Read on!

Again the show surrounded mysteries and McGuffins. This week, the McGuffin was once again the obelisk from the premiere (last week it was a painting), but these are just trappings to tell a story about Agent Skye’s lineage, the introduction of a new hero, and the continuing descent into madness of Phil Coulson.

So we learned that Skye is not Skye’s real name, which brings up so many possibilities. Jessica Drew? Crystal of the Inhumans? Carol Danvers?

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I’m guessing most rabid fans are going in one of these directions and it seems Marvel has a comic book destination to arrive at with Skye. The most important thing here is that there is an intriguing mystery and you know what? Skye has become one of the most profoundly interesting and likable characters on the series. It ain’t just the bangs either (but they’re adorable), it’s like the showrunners took everything irksome about the character, the ironic pop culture snarkiness, the wide eyed innocent act, and the passé hacker schtick and they turned down the volume while turning up her loyalty, capabilities, and heroism. She also has fascinating connections like her complex bond with Ward, her student/teacher bond with May, and the father/daughter connection with Coulson. Bravo, Marvel, for making a character that actively annoyed me into one whose story I can’t wait to see unfold.

Speaking of Skye and fathers. Okay, Bakshi and the character simply known as Skye’s Father shared a scene this episode, ya’ll can shut up now, I suck and need to be put into Whitehall’s mind altering device. I hope I earn back my nerd cred with you guys. But Skye’s daddy is an interesting character, a twisted man who seems to hold the key to all the mysteries surrounding SHIELD.

There is a bit of Bruce Banner in this mystery man with a no name, a man who is clearly knowledgeable in the ways of science who also tries to hold in a beast. But unlike Banner, this dude who is clearly in no way Bakshi enjoys spreading mayhem. It will be interesting to see what established character, if any, this dude is. But his joining with Whitehall and Bakshi at the end of the episode clearly marks a villainous triumvirate for a show that once really didn’t have any strong antagonists.

Another character that got a spotlight for the first time this season was the Girl in the Flowered Dress, the enigmatic Raina. All last season, Raina was a master manipulator, a riddle in a pretty dress that was so mysterious that at times it got annoying. This season, for the first time, both HYDRA and SHIELD turned the tables on her with Whitehall demanding she retrieve the obelisk from Skye’s father and Coulson preventing her from doing so. There was a mention of Raina’s grandmother as the person who began her obsession with powered  beings, an interesting little wrinkle that could lead somewhere, maybe even in Agent Carter, perhaps?

The pawn in Raina’s bid to get the obelisk was Agent Simmons. Simmons has been the wild card of the season so far (well, other than Ward). This week, we got to see her inside HYDRA doing the double agent thing and getting busted because of Raina’s machinations. Remember last season when everyone was complaining over Fitz and Simmons because they were too cutesy, too gimmicky? Yeah, not so much anymore, huh?

Simmons returned to SHIELD this week after a daring escape from HYDRA, and was reunited with her allies. You would think reuniting with Fitz would have been a moment of triumph, of celebration. Fitz and his damaged psyche could only stare at Simmons. I wasn’t even sure if he knew she was real and not his sweater wearing delusion. It was heartbreaking that we didn’t get to see Fitz bust out of his shell and greet Simmons the way we all wanted him to. Some damage just goes too deep I guess.

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Now, onto the main event, the debut of a comic book Avenger and a very important woman in Hawkeye’s life, Bobbi Morse, the woman known as Mockingbird. The episode did a really good job setting Morse up as a HYDRA heavy until her third act turn to save Simmons’ bacon. She may not be blond, something the episode went out of the way to address, but she had her battle staves and her combat skills and that’s what really counts when bringing Mockingbird to life.

Adrianne Palicki was born to play a superhero (and she almost did in an unaired Wonder Woman pilot), but the fates must have meant for her to play Bobbi Morse because she just nailed it. She even did the patented Natasha Romanov hair flip after kicking some HYDRA ass; I guess they teach that at SHIELD academy. Morse joined the team by episode’s end, and hey, we discovered that she was the ex-wife that Agent Hunter kept referring to. That should add a bit of depth to Hunter.

And what about Coulson? The alien writing that Coulson is carving everywhere is becoming even more disturbing as we learned this week when Agent Ward recounted what happened to his former mentor Agent Garrett after he started in with the carving. Whatever this blood is inside of Coulson and Skye, whatever it does and wherever it’s from; it is hurting the always in control Phil Coulson. So hopefully Raina can help the Agents find the secret.

Marvel Moments

Bobbi Morse first appeared in Astonishing Tales #6 (June, 1971), was first named in Astonishing Tales #12 (June 1972), became the Huntress in Marvel Super Action #1 (January, 1976) and became Mockingbird in Marvel Team-Up #95 (July, 1980). Whew!

She joined the West Coast Avengers, married Hawkeye, divorced Hawkeye, died, was revealed to have been a Skrull when she died, came back to Earth, became an Avenger again and is now on television. In the last year, she appeared in a kick ass Secret Avengers arc by Nick Spencer that ya’ll really need to pick up.

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3.5 out of 5