Not only have we arrived at Agents of SHIELD’s Winter Finale, but it will be the last episode we see of Season 2 until MARCH 2015, as to make way for introducing Agent Carter in January. So, this episode was faced with the challenge to bring the goods… and damn it still delivered them fresh baked to my doorstep. Thanks Coulson!
MASSIVE SPOILERS HERE, but you already knew that, otherwise you wouldn’t have clicked, so move along. If you’re more interested in figuring out more about The Inhumans instead of the recap, those details are on the next page.
So, a lot happened last night. In fact, a lot has been happening this season, and I would never have expected the dynamic within the world of SHIELD was going to change as much as it has through the first nine episodes, but this? This tenth episode, “What They Become” was just an extra special treat for fans that have stuck with the show for so long, and if you thought things were drastically different now, I’ll quote some guy by saying “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”
So what exactly happened this week? A lot of great, little moments, and a massive event of a moment, really. To set up, last week Coulson, Fitz-Simmons and Bobbi were escaping from the temple entrance, as Mack had been converted into a mindless husk of what he once was.
Skye and Raina had been taken by Ward, and Whitehall issued an order to shoot down The Bus, but as the episode began, we already knew May was a better pilot than that.
The first event of the evening: Skye finally met her father, and in his attempt to not appear as though he’s lost his mind completely we learn a lot from him, firstly that her real name is Daisy, but also about her mother. If you recall episode 8, in which we learned how Whitehall went from Hydra scientist to an Immortal conductor of Evil, a largely unexplained element was the woman who didn’t age, was found by Whitehall decades later, and brutally dissected. As it turns out, that flashback matters less about Whitehall in retrospect since he is now, supposedly, dead, and matters more about the woman, as the Doctor, now officially known as Calvin, tells Skye the story of his beloved wife, her mother, taken from him and destroyed by Whitehall. Pretty sneaky move by the showrunners I’ll admit.
Some great, smaller, moments scattered through the episode include the continued establishment of Bobbi’s suspicious activities, but Hunter making it known that he’s privy to them, making me respect him as a character so much more, which is vitally important if we’re going to be tugged back and forth on if we trust Bobbi for the rest of the season.
Additionally, the Fitz-Simmons relationship has mended strangely, as it unexpectedly seems Simmons is the one more hung up on the emotional thread between the two, and Fitz more prepared to get the job done, but hopefully the distant pining won’t hinder Simmons too much in the coming months.
As mentioned before, Whitehall is gunned down in this episode, which is disappointing to me for two reasons: the first is that I have really enjoy watching Reed Diamond chew up the scenery throughout this season, but there is also the fact that nearly half of the last couple of episodes was spent establishing his character, and while I enjoy that his immortality origin was a bait and switch in becoming more relevant to Skye’s origin, I still can’t help but feel I was cheated out of some screen time with my A Team for that story, especially since the show won’t be returning until March.
That being said, the result of his death was the catalyst for a great moment in the episode in which Calvin, The Doctor, is enraged that Coulson took his only opportunity for revenge by gunning Whitehall down, and a fistfght occurs revealing Calvin’s untapped power, and his jealousy of Coulson’s established, and more legitimate role as a father figure for Skye.
Possibly some of the greatest moments of the episode, to me, was seeing Skye in combat, which has been shown and discussed before but I felt most prominently in “What They Become” that she has evolved into an incredibly tactile, ruthless field agent, most notably in the split second where she decides not to take Ward’s scheming anymore and just shoots him in the chest.
The episode leads into Raina taking the Obelisk down into the temple, with Skye following her, and Coulson, after all his trials and tribulations he has been through, follows Skye, and what happens down below is a defining moment for Agents of SHIELD.
When Fitz-Simmons hear that Coulson and Skye are down in the temple, Triplett makes no hesitation to rush down below to retrieve their detonators, and as Skye puts Raina at gunpoint, the Obelisk performs its magic, but not before Triplett gets lost and locked inside this tomb with the two, with Coulson trapped outside the tomb with Mack’s husk. The fan service ensues, as the Obelisk releases a mist that cocoons Skye and Raina, and turns Triplett to stone. As the dust settles, Skye uses her new superhuman abilities to break free, having to watch Triplett reduce to ash.
Goddamn it, they did NOT just kill off two black guys two episodes in a row! Did they? This is my only other gripe with this Winter Finale, even though I understand Triplett, while a fun guy, had little characterization outside of being shot a couple of times. So, out of the whole crew at SHIELD, he was probably the most expendable, but he will still be deeply missed. On the other hand, this means that Mack better be revived in some way. Whether by the mercy of the Kree or by new superhuman Skye, I need Mack back! We still need diversity!
Oh, yeah, and there was a dude with no eyes in the last shot. What? Go to the next page for a debrief on The Inhumans.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Episode 2.10 “What They Become” (9/10)