Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Face My Enemy

"Laser grids. Why does it always have to be laser grids?"

I loved this episode. If I ever compile a list of my favourite episodes of season two, I'm confident this will make the top five.

This week the spotlight was on my two favourite characters, Coulson and May (the father and mother of the reborn S.H.I.E.L.D.), as they went undercover together to steal a painting with some very familiar writing on the back. In truth, Coulson was just taking full advantage of his position as director to take May out on a date. Was there any reason why it had to be him and May on the mission? Why not Tripp and Skye? Sure, this week's McGuffin is connected to the alien code he's writing, but getting it never seemed all that urgent. It's was blindingly obvious that Coulson's number one priority was to spend some alone time with May without the kids butting in every five minutes. He seemed to be going out of his way to get May to loosen up and have fun, which she was loath to do (it hurts her face).

After a trio of relatively serious episodes (the MCU doesn't really do full-on serious drama), it was time for something a little lighter. Watching Coulson and May go undercover was great fun because of their contrasting attitudes toward undercover work. Coulson loves it. He's like a giddy little boy playing Bond in the school yard with his friends. May, on the other hand, hates it with a burning ice cold passion, which is ironic considering how good she is at it. Coulson undercover is just Coulson, only in a more expensive suit. But May, she gets fully into character (remember her Simmons impression?). She was laughing and smiling, and talking, so much that the rest of the team was left absolutely gobsmacked.

The other highlight of the episode was without a doubt the May versus May fight. Well, technically it was a May versus someone who looks like her fight. If it had been been a real May versus May fight it would've ended in a standstill amongst the ruins of what remained of human civilisation. Still, the fight we got was pretty goddamn awesome, especially considering that it was done on a TV budget.

Of course, Coulson had other, other ulterior motives for going on this date/mission with May. He wanted to get her alone so they could also finally have the "What you need to do if I go crazy" talk that she's been avoiding. And with good reason. No one wants to be told that they may have to kill someone they care about. Far better to send them to live in a cabin in the Australian outback (it has kangaroos).

If worse came to worst, would May pull the trigger? Would she kill Coulson? May is the most pragmatic of the team, which is why Coulson trusts her to do what is necessary if he starts to go the way of Garrett. Even after everything that happened last season, May is still the only one that Coulson trusts completely. But at the same time, May, despite her frosty exterior, is in fact the most caring and protective person on the team. This is her family, and she will do anything to protect it. The only reason this team even exists is because she wanted to take care of Coulson. If he truly did become a danger to others, I think she would put him down, but I think she would do everything she could to save him before making that fatal choice.

Intel and Assets

--Seeing as this show is set in a universe where Norse gods are real, was Hunter being literal when he described his ex as a demon from hell?

--And just in case you forgot that Hunter is English, they show him playing with a football. Ahhh, cultural stereotypes.

--It's great that Fitz's is finally starting to engage with other people again, although it was sad that he was bonding with the new guys and not with his old teammates.

--Even for a HYDRA agent, Whitehall is super creepy.

--Look, I know they are the good guys, but S.H.I.E.L.D. is never going to win this war if they shoot all the HYDRA agents with the night night guns.

--Seriously, HYDRA? You have Melinda May knocked out and you tie her up with robes?

--The Nat in May's call history has to be Black Widow. What do we have do to to get a May/Black Widow team up episode, Marvel?

--HYDRA was really lucky to have an operative around who was the exact same height, build and skin complexion as May.

Coulson: "This is fun, right? Isn't this fun? Look, cuff-links!"

Coulson: “May, nostalgia’s fine but then life happens. It’s time to deal with reality. Hard choices are coming. I need you to make this one, for me.”

Bakshi: "Where are you based?"
May: "Currently? About five feet from kicking your ass."

Four out of four $500 flats.
Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011. More Mark Greig.


drnanamom said...

I agree, I loved this episode but I can tell I am getting really invested in the characters because it gets way too tense for me when someone is in danger. I particularly enjoyed how Fitz used everyone to save the bus in their own special way. He's still got it even if it's diminished.

sunbunny said...


I was also thinking how fortunate it was that Hydra had an agent with May's exact build and hair.

Just like last week, Hydra insisted putting their logo on everything. This time it was *really* not a good idea. And now I'm wondering how Hydra gets their logo on everything. I mean they have to custom order stuff, so do the people they order it from think it's weird they're putting the symbol of a terrorist organization on file folders and jackets and polo shirts and iphone cases...

Patrick said...

Definitely one of the strongest episodes of the show so far, from this season or last season. The actual plot was so-so, and not terribly original. We've seen spy teams go undercover at fancy parties, we've seen them have to hit the dance floor, and we've seen the bad guys use super-spy tech to create doubles to try and fool Our Heroes. I was delighted to see that they didn't let FakeMay fool Coulson for very long. May's a very...unique personality, and Coulson's no dummy. It wouldn't have been believable if he didn't pick up on the ruse pretty fast.

It was great to see Fitz finally start to engage with the team a bit more. Hopefully we'll continue to see progress on that front. Ideally, I'd like to see Simmons rejoin the team soon. Partially because the two of them are fun together, partially because I'm curious to see what will happen with the potential Fitz/Simmons/Tripp triangle, but mostly because I just really miss non-imaginary Simmons :)

Of course, the highlight of the episode was the big fight. May in a dress fighting May in a slip? Yeah, pretty sure I can die happy now :)

FYI, if any of you aren't yet following the cast of this show on Twitter, you really should. Their live-tweets during the airing of the episodes are a hoot, this one was no exception :)

Marianna said...

Definitely a fun episode. One thing that bothered me was they didn't kill the Hydra agent who disguised herself as May (unless I missed it). She now knows that Coulson is director along with many other bits of significant information I'm sure. It seems really unwise to just leave her.

Jess Lynde said...

I thought Fitz fixating on bonding with the new guys, rather than the old teammates, made a lot of sense. He wants to be part of the team again, but his old teammates have either betrayed (Ward) or abandoned (Simmons) him, or are treating him with kid gloves because they knew former him (Skye, May, Coulson). So reaching out to the folks that just know him as he is now, and building from there, might have been an easier approach for him.

So much goodness in the May v. May fight sequence! My favorite bit was when Agent 33 pulled out the knives and May just smiled slightly and gave her the "bring it" hand gesture. Yeah!

I also loved that Ming-Na got to work in a variety of modes this episode. I adore her in stoic, kick-ass mode, but she's a talented actress, and I'm glad that she's now getting to stretch a bit more with this role. Her stuff with Coulson at the end was fantastic.

Lamounier said...

Good episode. At first, I was worried because they were delivering a very typical spy story, but Coulson and May were a hoot together, May was AWESOME and the twists were really cool.

I laughed out loud with May’s “we are modern” commentary to the man she was flirting with. Best line of the episode. I also laughed with Fitz unexpected share of his experience with Jemma. Poor Fitz, he’s so broken you kind of want to hug him until he feels better. I loved how Hunter responded to his confession and backed him up.

Speaking of him, I’m in love with Hunter. He’s charming and he has a heart, a sexy voice and a sexy accent. Great addition to the team!

The season has been good so far. Now, if only they stopped using McGuffins on EVERY FREAKING EPISODE... I have to agree with drnanamom, though: I can tell I like the series because of how invested I am on the characters.

sunbunny said...

Okay I do have a problem with the episode. May was having way too much trouble taking down fake!May. Coulson didn't even break a sweat in his fight with fake!May and it just seemed like May should've had an an easier time with her. I mean I know it was done so we could get a longer May vs. May scene but it bothered me. A few weeks ago she punched a guy who was half metal but now she's evenly matched with a random Hydra agent? Nope. Not buying it.

Kathy said...

Definitely loved this one! Like you, Coulson and May are my two favorites, so it was so much fun to watch an episode centered around the two of them!

Remember a year ago we were all going "This is what we're going to get? This show borders on sucking! Why can't it be better?" What a difference a year makes!