OK, admit it. At this time last year did you ever think Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD would be this good? In the pre-Captain America: The Winter Soldier world, with Ward being a generic good guy, with the show playing coy with Coulson’s resurrection, with the series pussyfooting around introducing Deathlok, did you ever think you would see an episode so immersed in Marvel lore as the one they gave us tonight? Of course you didn’t.
But here we are with a mid-season finale that somehow successfully combined a Captain America story arc (SHIELD vs. HYDRA) with the history of the Inhumans with the revelation that Skye’s father is actually a classic Thor villain. For a series that was panned for existing outside the Marvel Universe, there certainly is enough Kirby and Lee magic to go around now isn’t there?
Where to begin? I guess with the revelation of Skye’s actual identity and the identity of her enigmatic father. This week, everything converged on that mysterious Puerto Rican temple, with poor Mack still trapped underground, transformed into something monstrous. Last week, Ward unexpectedly kidnapped Skye right off the SHIELD bus, so she is present for the proceedings this week.
While she was a HYDRA prisoner, Skye’s daddy revealed that his real name is Cal. This might seem a rather innocuous admission until he called Skye by her real name during the episode’s climax. Skye’s real name is Daisy…as in Daisy Johnson as in the daughter of Calvin Zabo aka the classic Thor and Avengers villain Mr. Hyde. So somehow, Marvel Studios has taken a classic villain and his recently created daughter and dovetailed both their origins with the coming of the Inhumans, and it completely worked. I’ll be knackered. Sadly, we never got to see Cal go full Hyde as he didn’t want Skye to see him in his monstrous form but we have to have something to look forward to when the series returns in March.
OK, so the identity of Skye is finally revealed. She’s not Spider-Woman or Crystal or Jocasta, she is the daughter of Mr. Hyde and an Inhuman and by episode’s end, she was indeed exposed to the Terrigen Crystals, the legendary artifact that gives the Inhumans their powers. After Skye (I’m going to avoid calling her Daisy until she embraces that name) was exposed to the crystals, the Earth began to shake and all hell broke loose underground. For those not in the know, in the comics, Daisy Johnson’s code name is Quake and she has the power to control seismic vibrations. So we have a new super powered being in the cinematic Marvel Universe, two actually, as Raina was also exposed to the Terrigen Crystals and we got a brief glimpse of a porcupine looking being under Raina’s Terrigen cocoon. If anyone has any clue what character Raina might have transformed into please leave your ideas in the comments because I can’t think of any Marvel female porcupine character.
We also got to see the depth of Skye’s dad’s machinations as he manipulated events and pretended to work for HYDRA in order to get close enough to Whitehall to get all Mr. Hyde on his ass and avenge his murdered wife. Sadly, before he could rip Whitehall to shreds, Coulson intervened and shot the former minion of the Red Skull, robbing the already hugely unstable Hyde of his revenge. I guess old Hyde will now hate Coulson like he did Whitehall because not only did Coulson interfere with his ultimate goal but he is also the man that his dear Daisy looks to as a father.
As for the rest of our cast? Ward was left bleeding and dying after being shot by Skye (that was for Fitz you lantern-jawed bastard). Ward was saved by Agent 33 who had no purpose after the death of Whitehall. So Ward now has a new companion, one he can easily control because she was conditioned to be controlled.
Fitz who was successfully able to plant explosive devices under the temple. It seems good old Fitz is regaining control and confidence so at least someone had a victory this week. Tripp made the ultimate sacrifice to save Skye and Coulson by disarming Fitz’s explosives. Poor Tripp got trapped in the Terrigen ceremony with Raina and Skye and not being of Inhuman blood, didn’t survive the ordeal. A shame, as Tripp’s legacy with SHIELD stretched back to the days of his grandfather who served with the Howling Commandos. RIP Agent Tripp, you did your Granddaddy proud.
Finally, to round out our Agents we had Hunter and Morse as Bobbi is still hiding something from her sometimes hubby, something that only Mack was aware of…and he’s in no shape to tell anyone as it looks like poor Mack’s mind has been taken over by the temple permanently.
We just experienced a show that juggled that its own large cast while continuing the HYDRA/SHIELD conflict and introducing some major parts of Marvel lore. The questions that take us into the hiatus are how will Skye (or Daisy) deal with her new found powers, what’s next for her father now that he was robbed of his vengeance, where will Ward and 33 go now that the branch of HYDRA they were tied to is no more, what’s next for HYDRA (I suspect we will find that out in Avengers: Age of Ultron), and what is beneath Raina’s cocoon. That was a great deal of disparate Marvel goodness loaded into a single episode and somehow, it all was very satisfying. It’s going to be a long wait till March, but at least we have Agent Carter to keep us occupied until our Agents’ next mission.
– A shout out to Dum Dum Dugan, always appreciated.
– The device that Whitehall used to paralyze Skye’s father was very similar to the one Obadiah Stane used to incapacitate Tony Stark in the first Iron Man movie.
– Daisy Johnson was first introduced in Secret War #2 (July 2004) and was created by Brian Michael Bendis and Gabriele Dell’Otto. She was never called Skye in the comics. Daisy played a major role in Secret Warriors, a comic that every fan of Agents of SHIELD really needs to put on their reading list. For a time, Johnson was also the Director of SHIELD and was the leader of the Secret Avengers, a comic that featured none other than Phil Coulson.
– Mr. Hyde first appeared in Journey into Mystery #99 (December 1963) and was created by Stan Lee and Don Heck. In the comics, Daisy Johnson is indeed his daughter although neither Hyde nor Daisy had anything to do with Inhumans. Hyde is a long time Marvel villain that has fought just about every Marvel hero and has most recently made life miserable for Marvel’s All –New Ghost Rider. Hyde’s most infamous moment is when he almost beat the Avengers’ butler Jarvis to death in a classic Masters of Evil storyline during the 80s. TV’sHyde is much more tortured and tragic as the comic Hyde has always been a rather one-dimensional if effectively terrifying villain.
– Yeah, I have no idea who the dude with no eyes that possessed an obelisk of his own in the episode’s sweeper was.