That was certainly a crap load of losses stacked up for SHIELD by the end of this latest episode, but don’t worry SHIELD loyalists, we’ll get through this together.
First off, let’s deal with the giant teleporting bulldog in the room, or not in the room, as nowhere were the words Attilan, Inhumans, or Royal Family uttered anywhere in the episode. Yes, Coulson and company discovered a hidden city connected to the Kree (it was in Puerto Rico, not the Himalayas like in the comics), but while the series is tip-toeing around introducing the Inhumans and Attilan, it hasn’t done so just yet. So those dreaming of meeting at least one of the Royal Family this week are going to be disappointed, but those seeking a drama filled installment of the SHIELD/HYDRA war got exactly what they were looking for.
No one said the name Inhumans it is true, but the name Kree was finally uttered in relation to the core storyline of Agents of SHIELD. We all knew the blue skinned alien corpse was a Kree, but it still was a thrill to hear Raina say it out loud. That is a nice bit of story synergy with Guardians of the Galaxy as we now know that the Kree were aware of the human race long before Peter Quill ran afoul of Ronan the Accuser. As fans of the comics know, the Kree built the hidden city of Attilan to house their genetic experiments, the Inhumans. That certainly seems to be where the series is leaning but we haven’t got there just yet.
But we did get to a place where SHIELD is in deep doodoo. By episode’s end this week, Agent Mack was seemingly transformed into something inhuman (?); Skye was taken by Ward along with Raina; the Bus was about to be blown to bits; and Coulson, Fitz, Simmons, and Morse were trapped in the entrance to the hidden city with a raging Mack. That’s a whole lot of cliffhangers right there.
Let’s start with poor Mack. Unless this was the beginning of a major transformation for Mack, it looks like Fitz’s brickhouse pal was nothing more than cannon fodder to be sacrificed to the hidden city. See, it turned out that only those holding the obelisk who possessed alien blood (read: Inhumans) could enter the city. Mack had neither so he was transformed into a red eyed engine of shit kicking fury. I didn’t even know I cared that deeply about Mack until he plummeted down the hole that led to the hidden city. Poor Mack, and poor Fitz, who now must deal with shooting his friend, a fateful moment that led to the brave agent’s fall.
Cliffhanger number two dealt with Ward infiltrating the Bus and taking Raina, a woman HYDRA knows can wield the obelisk and enter the hidden city. Raina was also revealed to hold a connection to Skye’s past, as the girl in the flowered dress knew all about the alien blood and hidden city. Turns out, Skye’s father took in Raina in years past and trained heron how to use her blood born gifts, Raina referred to those trained by Skye’s pop as a group of freaks so it certainly sounds like there are more people out there like Skye and Raina, people who perhaps still have roles to play in this ongoing conflict.
Speaking of Skye’s past, this episode opened with a flashback dream sequence that seemingly featured Skye as a baby recently rescued by Coulson and May. Now this sequence, if accurate, showed us the days following the massacre of Skye’s people, a tragedy blamed on Skye’s dad, but it also showed Coulson and May in the past, and they were rather touchy feely. Remember a few weeks back when May admitted that she was once married? Could her former spouse have been Coulson? That would explain the utter trust the Director of SHIELD has in May, and I’m just spitballing here, but we’ve never seen Coulson with an arm around May before, right?
May had bigger problems this week than possible previous nuptials, like the fact that Agent 33 is still out there wearing (most of) May’s face. It’s pretty cool any time Agents of SHIELD introduces a recurring villain, and the HYDRA loyalist wearing May’s face has enough intrigue to stick around for awhile. Think about it, Agent 33 is a former SHIELD agent compromised by Whitehall via the Faustus Device. Now she is a HYDRA loyalist stuck with the face of an upper echelon SHIELD agent. If Agent 33 ever returns to the side of the angels, there could be a tale to be told there. A fallen SHIELD agent forced to wear the ruined face of a teammate? Yeah, Whedon and company can do something with that. This episode featured an awesome fight between Skye and Agent 33 and we can only look forward to the 33 vs. May rematch.
The installment did contain wall to wall action, but it wasn’t all made of awesome. The Fitz and Simmons stuff is wearing thin as there just doesn’t seem to be enough of a wedge between the duo to drudge up the amount of soap opera angst that has plagued the pair. Fitz and Simmons finally talked this week and their bond was repaired a bit before all hell broke loose with poor Mack, and the girl talk between Morse and Simmons gave us some nice insight into Morse as a woman, but the drama between our favorite pair of Brits seemed tacked on and forced, a sort of forced way to take a breath between action pieces. There just isn’t enough meat on this particular plot point to justify so much screen time.
What does deserve more screen time is Patton Oswalt and his performance as all the Koenig Brothers. The LMD theory is looking more and more likely as, for the first time; more than one Koenig appeared on screen together. Oswalt is perfect in these roles and I so look forward to learning the origin of these characters.
So the Bus is about to be shot down, Ward has Raina and Skye, Mack is either dead or still a monster, and Coulson and company are trapped in the hidden city. We have one more episode before we transition into the midseason hiatus and the beginning of Agent Carter and we can’t wait to see if the series pulls the trigger on the whole Inhumans thing before we take the break.
We kind of covered them all, the Kree, the hidden Kree city, the LMDS, but it’s worth pointing out here that back in the Silver Age of Marvel, it was in the pages of the Fantastic Four where new concepts and worlds would be introduced that would go one to become major parts of the tapestry of the Marvel Universe. In the pages of the FF, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby introduced the Inhumans, the Kree, and so much more. It looks like Agents of SHIELD could be the gateway to concepts that will affect the cinematic Marvel Universe in the same way that the Fantastic Four opened the door to so many amazing ideas in the comics. Not bad for a series that many dismissed as not essential.