Well, my questions from last week were immediately answered. Secret no longer are Skye’s powers as of this week. In addition, we get the big return for Lady Sif of Asgard, and our first formal introduction to a Kree, not in the overall universe, but at least in this series.
In an episode that feels about as satisfactory as Thor 2 itself, we begin our story with a mysterious “something” disguised as a human hunting down some form of energy to sustain his power in Portugal, and from the water rises a returning Lady Sif with the old television trope of “powerful character knocked on the butt with amnesia” condition. Yep, its one of those weeks. The hour itself, however, plays out differently in order to spill the audience some more “key” revelations.
Now, to stir your own memories, let me remind you that we have encountered two of the Kree race in the Marvel Cinematic Universe before:
The first being the dead guy Coulson found in the big reveal of Season One,
and Ronan the Accuser from last summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy.
As far as a rap sheet goes, these guys don’t have a lot of trustworthy cred to our human protagonists in Marvel stories up this point; as they’re really only known as the aliens that tried to turn humans into dormant, transformable weapons, or as outraged heretics that wield gross amounts of power and want to destroy entire planets. However, because the first of these guys we’ve seen was dead, and Ronan was stupid powerful in the most awesome sense, we haven’t had a grounded understanding of the power level of this race. Although, we see in this episode that those in the great realm of Asgard, like Lady Sif in this case, can hold their own against a Kree, but can also be made to reach their limits of wit and strength in order to do so. I think that having an opposing character of such power is a great way to introduce a new potential threat into the series full of, primarily, meager human spies, to really establish the danger they posses, but this is small potatoes in terms of this week’s overall story.
Despite learning the powerful capacity of the Kree, we’re also informed by the first, presumably sane, to be encountered of this race. He pleads that the Kree’s time of warring and empire expansion is long over, and have attempted to eradicate all traces of their “terrigenesis” projects throughout the galaxy. The way this was explained was frankly a little clumsy in the form of an expounded conversation about these “abominations”, which riles up Skye’s earthquake powers until she literally starts blowing some gaskets.
The episode overall was a bit melodramatic, even for Marvel, frankly, as this show is burdened with the task of introducing genetically made powers that aren’t the traditional stories of the heroic Captain America and the tragic Hulk. Generally in these comic stories, this is left to the accidentally mutated common folk of the world, like Spider-Man and his rogues gallery, or the Mutants of the X-Men. In bringing Inhumans into the fray first, Agents of SHIELD will be dealing with normal people thrust into unnatural conditions in their bodies, and judged by some, or crucified by others, for simply being what they are. This is where Simmons’ drastic stance on these genetic changes, or the Kree’s own damning of their creations, come into play: to make Skye, among others, unsure of their sense of belonging in the world. However, the treatment of the subject matter has been handled rather hamfistedly over the first two episodes since Skye’s transformation to drive it home for some reason.
That being said, I’m glad to see such unwavering trust in Skye when the team discovers what’s truly happened to her, all rising up to defend her in sequence against the Kree opposition, and its comforting to see that Bobbi and Mack’s scheming, (while strange and aloof to the point of choke holding Hunter) doesn’t keep them from genuinely caring for their teammates. While their allegiance in this episode is revealed to not be with Hydra, but not necessarily on Coulson’s side either, their plotting is becoming more intriguing as we barrel toward our Season Two finale.
In regards to Lady Sif’s return to the series, Jaimie Alexander is clearly having fun being back on the show, but her presence is severely wasted on a cheeseball hour that honestly feels even closer to a 10 year old episode of Smallville than even one of Season One’s SHIELD.
Overall, the direction of the plot this week was swell, and I can’t wait to see May’s combat training with the now ousted Skye turn into some real cool “Buffy/Giles slayer style” dynamics. I only feel that the plotting within “What Are You Really” to get to Skye’s reveal, the meeting of a Kree, and an Asgardian cameo were mostly wasted opportunity when being thrust together.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Episode 2.12 “What Are You Really” (6/10)