This week on Agents of SHEILD: a hidden city, a sacrifice and a race against Hydra.
SHIELD returns from the holiday break, and for the first time in a few weeks, the show starts us off with a true WHEDONING moment: Skye running through a nightmarish monochrome dream through the SHIELD base, an eerie music box playing in the background, hinting at the week’s sacrificial suggestion, and toying with Skye’s parent issues with a hallucination of May and Coulson, dressed in very “parent” style clothing, and sacrificing a baby he holds in his hands. Music boxes? Parent issues? Symbolic dreaming? Oh yes, this is a Whedon kind of thing – particularly throughout Buffy the Vampire Slayer, including the nursery rhyme dream that brought forth the infamous, Emmy winning Gentlemen, and even a whole season finale where the Scoobie Gang was trapped in their own dream worlds in which Buffy encountered the original Slayer. And how can you forget the cheese man?
Moving along to the episode proper, Mac and Fitz are getting more buddy-buddy in a genuinely cute way. As cute as a bromance can go in SHIELD, anyway. Of course, happiness is usually a hint at disaster in a Mutant Enemy production, as Mac drops some know-how that there’s a storm coming, but hey. He who smelt it, delt it, dude. He also mentions that Fitz is going to have to confront Simmons himself if he wants to fix things with her, the episode’s main emotional throughline.
Coulson debriefs the team’s, and the show’s, next objective:
Hydra has the Obelisk, but SHIELD has the location of the alien city. Inside it, there is a lock for which a key, the Obelisk, can supposedly create a mass extermination of humanity. The city is somewhere in Bermuda, and Coulson plans to blow it to pieces. (Oh yes, and Trip made a fun jab at Atlantis during the debrief this week, getting fans like me excited for something as ridiculous sounding as Namor the Sub Mariner coexisting here.)
Those plans will be changed, however, because in Canada, Raina encounters the brainwashed Agent 33 with May’s face. You remember the woman from the Face/Off episode a couple weeks ago? Yeah, I guess she still matters! Raina is pursued by Whitehall’s goonies, but runs into… two Patton Oswalts, twin brothers Barry and Sam, sent by Coulson to recover her.
Coulson decides to split the operation into two teams, with Skye leading the interrogation of Raina, namely to keep Skye away from the city, and potentially, her father.
Finally, we get to see Simmons’ feeling on what happened with Fitz at the bottom of the ocean when asked by Bobbi, where she details how their platonic friendship completely derailed on the ocean floor. Bobbi suggests for her to just be honest with him. Ironically, it turns out Bobbi has some honesty issues of her own, when Mac confronts her about whether she’s going to tell Hunter about… something bad she doesn’t want him, or really anyone, to know.
In Canada, we get to see Hunter do his infiltration schtick, and Skye spontaneously kick some Hydra ass, all the while a couple of good quips from the Patton Oswalt twins.
When Team A arrives in the colorful Bermuda, Bobbi questions Coulson’s positive mood. He gives a pretty telling speech that sheds light on the kind of leader he is. Coulson isn’t like Nick Fury. He looks at the modest, hard working people in the world surrounding them, and says the reason he does what he does, the reason there is a SHIELD, is for those people to live their lives.
On the Quinjet, Mac leaves Fitz and Simmons to talk as the “awkward silence is killing him.” More foreshadowing, I guess? The two release their bottled thoughts simultaneously, and before Simmons can really say what she feels, Fitz insists that he wants her to run the lab for SHIELD. He owns the fact that he hasn’t gotten better, and that she belongs in that position, making it seem like pragmatic decision until he says “I can work for you, but I can’t work with you.” Nothing else is said, as the emotional tension for Simmon that has been built since she’s returned comes out via her eyes.
When Coulson and Bobbi get to the entry point, she questions what Hydra could even do if nobody can touch the Obelisk… Coulson rebuttals saying “No one that we know of,” because it’s time for a segue! And a good one too, where we see Raina reveals to Skye that she can wield the Obelisk. Just when it seems Raina is going to get away with handing herself over to Hydra, May satisfyingly nails the bad guys with her car. Back on the Bus, May calls Coulson about Raina’s revelation before A Team heads into the temple.
In classic adventure story fashion, the local informant refuses to follow them into this temple, as he fears the local legend “The Devil’s Entry.” Obviously, this place is haunted… and deep. When put under pressure, and Mac taking a step back from helping, Fitz and Simmons’ relationship slowly begins to rebuild. As Coulson and A Team prepare to go down into the dark below, Raina talks with Skye about her father, the Obelisk, and that they both are special. Human, but more than… so, they’re Inhumans?
After weeks of fan speculation that the hidden city will lead to a story that introduces the Marvel Cinematic Universe to the concept of The Inhumans, and after the announcement of a film in 2018, it’s cemented on Agents of SHIELD, and the Kree will now be a known entity on Earth for the MCU.
Name: The Inhumans
Alias: Inhomo Supremis, “Deadly Weapons of Cosmic Scale”
Abilities: Enhanced strength, speed, reflexes and endurance
Affiliation: Kree, Fantastic 4, Avengers, Ronan the Accuser, X-Men, Galactus, Magneto, Ultron, Apocalypse
Creator: Jack Kirby, Stan Lee
First Appearance: Fantastic 4 #45 (1965)
More at Marvel.Wikia
Raina tells Skye of a legend about Blue Angels from space called The Kree, who sent this Diviner for those who would be worthy to enter the temple, but also eliminate those who are not… as seen when Mac makes it to the bottom of the hole, and the floor creates Kree markings on his hand, causing him to writhe in pain.
When Skye attempts to alert Coulson before someone dies, Whitehall send them a transmission, and surrounds the Bus with Hydra ariel units. Ward enters, with everyone angrily putting him at gunpoint, as he convinces Skye to go with him and Raina to meet her father, keeping his promise to her from before.
Simultaneously, Mac is brought back up the hole, but literally goes berserk, with hyper strength and animalistic alien anger. A solid action sequence ensues that made me excited for the eventual Netflix Luke Cage show, but when Bobbi tases him, he falls back down the hole… Coulson believes Mac, as we knew him, is gone.
Ward’s confusing morals are now revealed to Hydra as well, as Agent 33 meets with Whitehall and tells him that Ward didn’t order the Bus to be shot down as he instructed, but has 33 call the order in regardless.
What happened to Mac?! Will the Whedons kill him?! Will the same happen to Skye? Or Raina? How is May and the B Team going to keep The Bus from being set ablaze? I guess we won’t know until next week, and needless to say, I’m excited. A thoroughly thrilling lead up into what is sure to be an event of an episode next week in the Season 2 Winter Finale: “What They Become”.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Episode 2.9. “Ye Who Enter Here” (8/10)