Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Yes Men

“Men have an inherent weakness we do not share.”

Were you as disappointed with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s last Thor crossover (and I use the term loosely) as I was? Well, it looks like the writers heard our complaints and decided to make amends with ‘Yes Men’, a rollicking episode that saw Lady Sif visit Midgard to help the team take down a mischievous Gilmore. It’s took its time, but Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is finally starting to become the show I hoped it would be.

For much of its run Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has come across like a frothier version of Alias. Most of the plots centred around mad science or super-soldiers. References to aliens and gods from other worlds were kept to a minimum. It was as if the writers were hesitant about fully embracing comic book weirdness for fear of putting off potential viewers. If the last few episode are anything to go by that is all about to change. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. now seems more willing to dip its toe into the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe, starting with a guest appearance from one of the most criminally underused members of Thor’s supporting cast.

Arriving via Bifröst (it is the only way to travel), the Goddess of War has been sent to Earth by “Odin” to bring Lorelei, a would be conqueror with the power to control anyone with a Y chromosome, back to Asgard. It goes without saying that having Jaimie Alexander stop by was a real treat. I hope Sif becomes the series’ regular liaison with Asgard. It is the only way to ensure she gets quality screentime. She had more to do and say in this episodes than she did in two Thor movies.

Unlike ‘The Well’, ‘Yes Men’ tied directly into the events of Thor: The Dark World. Lorelei’s presence on Earth was a direct result of the Dark Elves’ attack on Asgard, which saw many prisoners escape from Odin’s dungeons. There’s a risk that casual viewers, who probably haven’t seen the movies, will no doubt find all of this very confusing. It’s a risk I’m glad the show is willing to take. They can’t keep playing it safe forever, because that is just as likely to put viewers off.

In spite of all the Asgardian shenanigans going on, Skye’s recovery via alien blood was not forgotten about. Coulson is keeping what he discovered from the rest of the team, as well as the rest of S.H.I.E.L.D. Which is annoying Simmons, who finally stood up to him, which I just adored. She has become more and more confident these past few episodes. Coulson is desperate to know what really happened to him now, even quizzing Sif about all the blue aliens she’s encountered. There’s a nice role reversal here, with Coulson now the passionate rebel and Skye the more laidback one. Coulson is fed up with all the secrets and lies. He wants to know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. So he’s going after the only man who can give it to him - Nick Fury.

This all leads us to the episode’s final big surprise - May has been spying on Coulson all this time.


After taking a day to process this I realised that it made perfect sense. Someone like Nick Fury wouldn’t send Coulson back into the field without someone to keep tabs on him 24/7 and report back. May is basically Coulson’s monitor. I can’t see him trusting her ever again if he finds out she knew what happened to him all along. Is all of this leading up to a possible fracturing of the team? This is nothing new for a Whedon show. Joss and his fellow writers seem to enjoy creating artificial families and then putting them to the test. The first half of the season was all about bringing the team together, it stands to reason that the second half would be about tearing it apart. Ward is still holding Coulson accountable for Skye’s shooting, Simmons is openly questioning his leadership decisions, and now we’ve found out that May is not to be trusted. If things continue going the way they are then sooner or later the team is going to implode.

Intel and Assets

--It looks like whatever May and Ward had going on between them is thankfully over. Now we just have to endure the inevitable Ward/Skye romance. Can’t we just have no team romances? And pairing up Ward and Skye just seems so…obvious.

--As Asgardian invaders go, Lorelei was no Loki. The accent Elena Satine was putting on made her sound like Jaime Murray. Now that I think about it, Satine looks a little bit like Jaime Murray. Also, this isn’t the first time that Satine has played a comic book character. She appeared as Mara, wife on Aquaman, on Smallville.

--Knowing that Lorelei’s powers only work on men, wouldn’t it have made more sense to send a female only team after her? Or just May and Sif. I’m sure they could’ve handled her by themselves.

--As well as not being a woman, Benjamin Franklin was never president. Back to school with you, Rooster.

--According to Sif, Thor told them Coulson was killed by Loki. Does this mean they sing songs in Asgard about the valiant Son of Coul?

--One of the blue alien species Sif mentioned was the Kree.

Sitwell: “How was Tahiti?”
Coulson: “It sucked.”

Simmons: “Poor thing. He’s always getting knocked out, isn’t he?“

Sif: “Rest easy, Phillip, Son of Coul.”

May: “Ward won’t kill me.”
Sif: "Do not let your feelings cloud your judgement."
May: “I'm not. He might try to kill me. But he won’t.”

Simmons: "I'm not saying you were weak, I’m saying all men are weak."

Three out of four flying boats which is what I am going to call the Bus from now on.


migmit said...

First of all: Sif — great. (Fire — bad. Tree — pretty).

Ward being into Skye is too obvious, but, interestingly, it wasn't said directly. So, why don't we explore other possibilities? We know already he is not gay, and making him bisexual would probably be too much (although Ward's crush on Fitz seems very enjoyable). That leaves us one option. Simmons. And I have to admit, Ward and Simmons could make a great pair.

Coulson played Sif frightenenly easy.

And, finally, somebody said out loud what I've been saying all along. Coulson is alive. He should be HAPPY about that. Especially as it seems that nothing is really wrong with him.

sunbunny said...

I'm so glad you mentioned "Odin." I was proud of myself for catching that.

My favorite part of the ep was probably Coulson pretending to be entranced or whatever. And Sif and May.

The May is spying on Coulson twist was shocking, but is it everything it seems? Is she betraying him or is there another explanation?

Diogo said...

"Does this mean they sing songs in Asgard about the valiant Son of Coul?"
Our love for him now
Stays with us still
The hero of Midgard
The man they call... Phill!

sunbunny said...

Diogo - that is my favorite comment ever posted on this site. There are actual tears in my eyes.

Patrick said...

While I enjoyed the early episodes of this show more than most people seem to have, I freely admit it had a bit of a slow start. Ever since Coulson was taken by Centipide however, this show has been firing on all cylinders. This episode was excellent, and Sif fit in quite nicely. Lorelai was a decent enough villain. Though the "evil woman who bends men to her will" is not the most original concept, I like that the enslaved men weren't played too over the top.

Nice little name-drop of the Kree, given that we'll be seeing a few in Guardians Of The Galaxy(not a spoiler, since they've already made that information public). I suppose it's too much to ask that we'll ever see Mar-Vell show up, but I appreciate them acknowledging the larger universe. :)

I loved the scene where Coulson talks to Skye about the alien substance used to heal them, they both knocked it out of the park. Chloe Bennet's really come into her own lately. And Skye made some very good points that I hope Coulson will take to heart. One, he's had the same stuff in him for a while now, and so far he's fine. Two, if they hadn't given it to her, she'd almost certainly be dead. As alternatives go, that one pretty much sucks.

Obviously the big shocker in the episode is May's call. Who's she in cahoots with? We're assuming Fury, yes? Based on the first episode it seems like in addition to the doctors, at least Fury and Hill know Coulson didn't really go to Tahiti, but how many of them really know where that stuff came from? And when did Fury loop her in? Coulson was the one who recruited her for the team, after all. Not Fury. But in my mind, that's still not the biggest question they need to answer. And it's not "What sort of alien was that?" or "What organization was guarding it?" either. In my opinion it's still, "What makes Coulson so important that Fury went to such extraordinary lengths to save him, and then mobilized all of SHIELD to find him when he was taken?" I assume the second part is actually because of the stuff used to save him, but it still begs the question of why Coulson was saved in the first place.

Diogo said...

I try to do my best :)

Here are just a few thoughts.

On AGENTS finally embracing its concept:
About time! Dollhouse was partially killed by Fox's refusal to just let it BE Dollhouse. Which is to say, a show that dealt with, among other things, heavy themes like slavery and prostitution (something that terrified them when they realized it just before the pilot), as opposed to a banal spy show with an economic cast. By episode 8, the show had started to come on its own, but it was already too late. A show that had the potential to dissect the very nature of the human soul was cancelled just because Fox suits believed "generic = profit". Oh well...

I'm happy that AGENTS is finally daring to get INTERESTING! Hopefully we'll get more guest stars like Syf, and cool, comic-booky villains like Lorelei. Because all the villains so far have been boring and uncharismatic. Where are the Lokis? The Jeff Bridges? Can someone please give Alan Tudyk another villain role?

Spoilers for those who haven't seen Thor 2!:

Well... "Odin" wants Lorelei alive? Hmm, I wonder if we will see a certain team-up in Thor 3. Probably not, but story-wise, Loki could you use a right-hand man, or woman... someone who wasn't neither a personality-less alien nor a brainwashed hero. I'm sure both master manipulators would be fun to see together on screen...

Katy Morgan said...

Alan Tudyk! Phil son of Coul! Diogo's song! Oh bliss, thy name is internet message boards by Whedonies!

Katy Morgan said...

Sorry, Whedonites.
I found this site via the Buffy quotes series. I miss that kind of dialogue on Sheild. Way too predictable and rarely funny or quotable. Sheild needs moe dialogue written by Joss. And a guest starring role for James Marsters. With blonde hair. And a british accent. And a black leather coat.

Patrick said...

Mark, you mentioned in your review that if Lorelai's powers only work on men it would've been smarter for SHIELD to only send a team of women after her. Upon rewatching this episode today I noticed something. During the scene in Vegas when they bust into the hotel room where Ward & Lorelai were staying, aside from Coulson I don't know if any other male agents were present. The random comm chatter you hear is from female voices. Maybe they wised up after the shoot-out at the diner, or maybe it just took a little while for them to assemble enough female agents for a full tactical team. :)