Agents of SHIELD: The Frenemy of My Enemy Review
In a week full of great Marvel television news, Agents of SHIELD is also continuing the good word with another stellar episode.
This has certainly been a week to celebrate the future of Marvel television. With the reports of a Mockingbird/Agent Hunter spin-off in the works and the more than welcome confirmation of a second season of Daredevil on Netflix, the future looks bright indeed for Marvel on the small screen (but they better bring my dear Peggy back for a second season as well!). Still, we should not overlook Agents of SHIELD, which just put together another intricately plotted and deftly executed hour.
There was so much going on this week in Agents of SHIELD that it is difficult to choose where to begin. So let’s just start with Skye and the Inhumans, and try to have a semblance of a structure here. This week, the world building of the Inhuman mythos was put aside for a bit to focus on Skye’s father Cal. In truth, Calvin Johnson has become somewhat of a classic Marvel villain. His motivations were understandable even if his methods were highly questionable. He just wanted to be reunited with the family that he tragically lost.
This week, we saw a few new sides to old Cal. We learned that he lovingly sewed his wife Jiaying after she was torn apart and dissected so many years ago by Whitehall and HYDRA but we also witnessed the man whose rage now defines him.
When Cal took his daughter Skye on a tour of his old stomping grounds of Milwaukee, we caught a glimpse of the man Cal wishes he was. He used to be a volunteer for Doctors Without Borders; he used to be a man who had a simple dream of sharing an ice cream with his daughter. But he also is a man who has become a monster. He is so monstrous that Jiaying does not want Cal anywhere near the Inhuman retreat or Skye.
Cal is a villain cut from the same tragic Marvel mold as Magneto or Doctor Doom, and every bit of info that we learn about him takes him farther from the more familiar Mr. Hyde who has always been a frightening but somewhat minor villain in the comics.
Cal’s tour of Milwaukee put Skye right in the middle of the rest of this week’s action. Also in town were Coulson, Fitz, Deathlok, and Hunter who conscripted the evil Agent Ward and his new consort, the no-longer faceless Agent 33. Coulson and company were looking to take down the heads of HYDRA and needed Ward to supply them an in. What Ward didn’t know was that HYDRA was tracking the mysterious Inhuman-teleporter, Gordon, and everything went pear shaped when SHIELD, HYDRA, Skye, and Cal collided.
Coulson’s plan seemed sound: use the recently brainwashed Hydra Agent Bakshi to infiltrate the upper echelons of the enemy. It seemed like a scheme that could even bring down HYDRA except for the unexpected arrival of Cal and Skye. What followed was a smash ‘em up in pure Marvel style. I know I mentioned that Michael Peterson, good old Deathlok, was involved, but did I mention that the electricity wielding Inhuman Lincoln was also present?
So, we got to see a brief super powered smackdown between Inhuman and cyborg. I am very happy with the way Deathlok has been brought into the later part of the season; it gives the series some connective tissue to the super powered goings on of the comics and movies. Plus, J. August Richards is always more than welcome to take part in any action series.
There were layers upon layers of intrigue this week as two factions of SHIELD put aside their differences to take down HYDRA while trying to crack the riddle of the Inhumans. Remember last year when people were complaining that SHIELD was too simplistic and didn’t involve enough elements form the Marvel Universe? Yeah, not so much anymore. The other half of SHIELD was not forgotten this week either. Edward James Olmos’ Agent Gonzales was nowhere to be found, but we got plenty with Morse and Mack, and Simmons and May.
May finally found out about Simmons’ bait and switch with Fury’s treasure chest, and Fitz and May had to help Jemma keep her secret. Sadly, May was beginning to doubt Coulson for the first time. She knew that Coulson, the man she trusted above all others, was keeping many secrets from his team and those secrets began to crack May’s loyalty. When May saw the image of Ward and Coulson working together after Simmons hacked into Deathlok’s eye camera, well, let’s just say that didn’t put Coulson and his machinations in a kinder position to May’s eyes.
Oh, and the complex Ward always adds great intrigue to the proceedings. Don’t get me wrong, I still want to see Ward die horribly after what he did to Fitz, but man, is he fun to love to hate. There was another layer added to Ward as he truly seems to care about and wants to settle down with Agent 33. Is this love for real, or is it another layer to Ward’s evil? Has Ward given up his twisted interest in Skye? When Coulson offered to wipe Ward’s mind and give him a new start in exchange for helping him track down HYDRA’s elite, Ward’s interest kind of seemed sincere, but it also seemed that there was another level to Ward’s plan. All plans got interrupted by Gordon who teleported the Inhuman contingent out of there, leaving SHIELD and HYDRA behind.
So we were kind of in the same place where we started. HYDRA still intact, Skye and her daddy dearest still with the Inhumans, and SHIELD split in two by mistrust. But with Coulson surrendering to Gonzales’ men, things should become even more intriguing next week as two SHIELD factions will try to find a common ground. But is that possible now that SHIELD, particularly May, has seen Coulson fight side-by-side with Ward?
Another name drop of Baron Von Strucker who we will see in action very soon in Age of Ultron.
The mention of Calvin Johnson’s OTHER name. Was that a reference to Zabo or his more commonly known ominous moniker, Mr. Hyde?
Skye-or Daisy-finally got her last name, Johnson, the name comic fans first knew of her with.