Man, if you are an old school Marvel fan, this week’s episode of Agents of SHIELD was an absolute blast since the first half felt like a backup feature in a Bronze Age issue of Thor. In fact, the whole installment felt like a crossover between an issue of SHIELD, an issue of Thor, and an issue of the original Captain Marvel. And really, what else can you ask for out of a Tuesday night?
It’s time to get in a Marvel state of mind with Age of Ultron right around the corner, and what better way to prepare for a Marvel spring than with the return of Jaimie Alexander’s wonderful Lady Sif to television? But this time, Sif makes her now annual appearance on Agents of SHIELD with amnesia! Not full amnesia, mind you, but some kind of partial amnesia where she remembered being Asgardian but does not remember her identity or her mission. So after beating on some Portuguese beach bums, SHIELD is called in to corral the wild Asgardian warrior.
The amnesia shtick is played to the hilt as some funny moments follow with Sif acclimating to Midgard. One very sweet moment is when Sif heard the name Thor and was filled with joy. She didn’t remember who Thor was, but the name still filled her with a subconscious feeling of intense love and devotion (you and a million other fangirls, Sif. And fanboys). That was a really nice little tribute to the Thor films and a reminder of Sif’s character arc in them.
So that was the Thor part of the episode. Then we dovetailed into the realm of Marvel Cosmic, as it was revealed that Sif arrived on Earth in pursuit of a Kree warrior who wielded a cudgel that could induce amnesia. I wish I had a cudgel like that so I could forget about seeing Chappie this weekend. Oy. Anyway, SHIELD and Sif went off in pursuit of the Kree, and we were into the meat of the episode.
Secrets and lies were the binding theme this week, because Skye and Fitz continued to lie to their teammates about Skye’s burgeoning Inhuman quake powers. I know: Simmons kept talking about euthanizing Raina, but I just don’t buy that Skye wouldn’t confide in Coulson or May—especially after the episode opened with May and Skye sparring. This scene was a reminder that the usually taciturn May really does care deeply about Skye’s well being and would protect her young charge like a lioness if anyone threatened her. Skye could at least request that somebody put in a call to Tony Stark or Bruce Banner, so someone can try to get to the bottom of these powers. But, no, Skye just kind of brooded and allowed the drama to build, and kept her pals in the dark.
That is until the Kree came a calling. The Kree character, Vin-Tak by name, came to collect Skye and provided a nicely written exposition dump on who the Kree were, what Terragenesis is, and what the Inhumans were meant to be. There’s a poop load of Marvel mythology being batted back and forth, but the episode managed to keep it all grounded and understandable, which was very impressive since the sequence pulled old plot lines from the comics of Thor, Captain Marvel, Inhumans, Avengers, and Fantastic Four.
Skye didn’t take well to the fact that she was now suffering the results of an ancient alien genetic experiment and got all San Andreas. Now, her crew understood that she had the very powers Vin-Tak was discussing, and of course, Vin-Tak’s duty was to take her down. Sadly, the recently restored Sif also wanted to make sure Skye couldn’t threaten Midgard, and we were treated to some cool sparring match ups.
First, we had Sif versus May. As tough as May is, she didn’t stand a chance against an Asgardian, but it did prove that whole lioness thing I was talking about. Then we had Agent Morse against Vin-Tak. Now, what Marvel fan could have ever predicted we would ever see Mockingbird versus a Kree agent right on prime time network television? But that’s the world we find ourselves in, true believers. Morse took down Vin-Tak with the help of Fitz, who wielded a gun that looked torn from a Rob Liefeld cover. Morse gave Vin-Tak a taste of the amnesia cudgel and the threat of the week was over.
But now, the agents knew Skye’s secret, which drove a huge wedge between our heroes. No one trusted Fitz, and many of the agents were scared stupid by Skye. Mack in particular, a man who already has had a taste of the Kree’s genetic manipulation, turned against Skye.
Speaking of Mack, this week’s main subplot delved deeper into the secrets of Mack and Morse. Mack was asked to join the field team by Coulson because he makes The Rock look like Bat-Mite. He reluctantly agreed but was very effective in the field hunting Vin-Tak. We also got to see the Bobbi Morse/Agent Hunter romance in microcosm as things were pretty heated at the beginning of the episode but cooled down as Hunter began to suspect that Mack and Morse had a secret.
Currently, I’m trying to figure out what the secret is. I don’t think they are evil, as we have witnessed both agents being very willing to sacrifice themselves for their team. I have a sense that they are on a mission for Nick Fury or another Marvel Universe higher up. But whatever the case, Hunter got too close, and Mack had to put the poor guy down with a sleeper hold, setting up a cliffhanger for next week.
On the subject of cliffhangers, Vin-Tak’s main mission was to gather up the obelisks containing the Terrigen crystals and return them to Hala, the Kree home world. He found the case, but the crystals were gone. One has to wonder, who has them? HYDRA? The eyeless Reader? Or maybe even the yet to be introduced Royal Family? Some intriguing stuff is here regarding the future of the Inhumans.
It is always awesome to see one of the members of the cinematic Marvel Universe pop up on television. Lady Sif’s return should totally be an annual event since it always turns Agents of SHIELD into something a bit more special. Sif arrived to find Coulson’s agents united and strong, but when she left, the agents have never been more fractured.
One of the coolest parts of Sif being on the show was getting a mini update on what’s happening in the world of Thor. Sif said she was sent to Midgard by Odin to stop the Kree and retrieve the obelisks. Except, we know that that ain’t Odin sitting on the throne of Asgard; it’s Loki in disguise as we saw at the end of Thor: The Dark World. Some nice little multi-level plotting by Marvel there, but what does Loki want with those alien artifacts?
Vin-Tak gave us a first glimpse at a member of the Kree that was not associated with the zealot Ronan, as this episode established the more magnanimous faction of the Kree race.
Vin-Tak mentioned a war with another race forced renegade Kree scientists to bring the Terrigen crystals to Earth long ago. Could that war be with the Skrulls? Marvel doesn’t have the film rights to the Skrulls. Is leaving the name of the Kree’s adversaries a mystery a way to subtlety pay tribute to the classic Kree/Skrull War?
When Vin-Tak was asked his name, my entire body tensed up, as I desperately wanted to hear him reply “Mar-Vell.” No such luck.
Name dropping Heimdall is always welcome.