Agents of SHIELD: The Things We Bury review

So many secrets were revealed on this week's Agents of SHIELD. Get ready for spoilers galore in our review...

This Agents of SHIELD review contains spoilers.

Oh my, by the bristling beard of Odin, now that was an ending!

Before we can discuss the climax, let us discuss what got us there. Namely, an episode of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD that flip-flopped between two timelines and multiple points of view to tell a story and finally reveal a major secret about Skye. No, not that secret, the other one you didn’t even know existed. We still don’t know who Skye really is, (although these days I have abandoned my Jessica Drew theory for Daisy Johnson, but even that was called into question today) but we do know a boatload more about her parentage.

How did we discover this? Well, let us start with the always welcome inclusion of Peggy Carter and the origin of one Werner Reinhardt, otherwise known in the present day as Daniel Whitehall. Reinhardt was a chief HYRDA science officer who gained control of the Diviner, you know, the obelisk from this season’s opening episodes, and discovered a special group of people that the artifact won’t turn to stone. Again, we’re guessing Inhumans here as Reinhardt related a tale of blue aliens who visited Earth to perform experiments on humanity to find a few genetically worthy individuals.

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So in one origin sequence, we have the past of the Marvel Universe in Peggy Carter, the present with the Kree, and the future with the possible arrival of the Inhumans. Now that’s some cross-media synergy, right there. All you would need is Ultron and Daredevil tap dancing in the background and you would pretty much have the contemporary Marvel Universe in its entirety.

Anyway, let us leave Whitehall for a moment and come to the present as Coulson and his crew begin their mission to find the mysterious city. Just about all the agents were given a chance to shine this week (except May who seems to be the focus of the post-Thanksgiving episode). We learned a little about Agent Morse this week as she was in charge of interrogating the captured HYDRA agent Bakshi. Morse’s interrogation techniques were mostly effective as she discovered that Whitehall was in fact a contemporary of the Red Skull as well as divining the villain’s real name through subtle clues provided by her captive. She also drove him to near suicide as after she revealed what a failure Bakshi was in withholding Whitehall’s secrets, he bashed his face onto the table to release a cyanide capsule hidden in his cheekbone. Ouch.

Morse pushed too hard in her relentless pursuit of intel which led to a confrontation with her ex-husband Agent Hunter who called her to task for her dogged dedication to duty. We got some insight into why their marriage didn’t work and further insight into how deeply Hunter is still in love with her but can never trust her because she deals in lies as a career. That’s some awesome stuff to flesh out the two newest additions to the series. By the way, we also had another excellent interrogation scene with Peggy Carter and Reinhardt and if the upcoming Agent Carter series is anywhere as awesome as this little snippet, we are in for a mid-winter treat to be sure.

Next we have Fitz and Simmons. Not much Simmons this week other than her disgust with her former HYDRA boss Bakshi, but Fitz is once again becoming the agent we all know and love from last season. Let me amend that, he’s becoming better, more confident, braver, and cooler under fire. This week, Fitz had to train himself, damaged hand and all, to set up a complex device under fire in six minutes. For a bit, he played the old Fitz, filled with frustration, but in time for the mission, he was ready to go and set up the device that would allow Coulson to hijack a communication satellite in the middle of a firefight with Agent Tripp bleeding to death beside him.

Ah, poor Agent Tripp. He hasn’t done much at all this season and I didn’t even know I cared that deeply about him until he was bleeding out. And who was there to help him? Why, that would be Skye’s father! Coulson didn’t realize it at first, but Skye’s dad soon revealed himself and laid out his plans for Skye, HYDRA, and the hidden city. He did indeed save Tripp, thank goodness, but now Coulson knows the face of his enemy. Coulson also knows that Skye is not her real name. You know what? She has to be Crystal right? Yeah, Crystal.

Before we get to the ending, let’s talk Ward for a minute. Last week, Ward escaped from his confinement and while I was hoping to see a more of the Lecter/Starling dynamic between him and Skye; Ward being on the loose adds a wildcard to the HYDRA/SHIELD war. This week, we discovered the secret of the well. Was it Ward or his now senator brother that drowned their little brother?

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Ward’s threats and machinations led Christian Ward to confess to the murder. It was also revealed that the Ward brothers were horribly abused by their parents and that Christian killed the boy to get back at his abusive mother who really loved her youngest son. This all puts Agent Ward in the mold of a classic Marvel villain, an enemy with an edge of tragedy that makes his evil almost justified. Almost. By episode’s end, Ward heard his brother’s confession and oversaw the death of his parents in a house fire. He used the recording of the confession to disgrace his brother and free himself of his past. Now, he was ready to join Whitehall and Skye’s Father to find the hidden city.

So we have our group of big bads. We have SHIELD ready to seek out the city for themselves and we now know the horrifically disturbing secret to Whitehall’s immortality. Remember those genetically perfect people the obelisk wouldn’t kill, the ones the Kree were looking for ages ago? Yeah, Whitehall found one in the days following the fall of the Red Skull but she was freed during the fall of the Reich. It was revealed Whitehall spent his life in an underground prison, put there by Peggy Carter herself. Without recapping too much, Whitehall escaped thanks to HYDRA and, in 1989 found the girl that escaped him years ago. Agents of SHIELD hasn’t delved much into horror, but this week, we got to see in terrible detail the dissection of this woman. It was bloodcurdling.

What was even more shocking was the identity of the woman. Skye’s mother. A woman her father swore to avenge. The repercussions of this are staggering. Skye’s father was believed to have murdered his whole village, but this was a lie, it was Whitehall, and now there is a monster within HYDRA and we know he is driven by revenge.

Marvel Moments

Not a whole heck of a lot other than Peggy Carter and the name dropping of the Howling Commandos and the Red Skull.

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4 out of 5