|New season, new hair.|
I don't know how HYDRA was able to stay secret all this time when they are as obsessed with sticking their logo on everything as S.H.I.E.L.D. was (which is probably where they got it from). Honestly, don't they realise they are meant to be a secret organisation? Slapping your logo on everything is kind of a big give away, guys ("Who did these assassins work for? Oh wait, they've got HYDRA jackets on. Mystery solved").
The opening scenes of the episode were very reminiscent of Lost. We had our new big bad, Whitehall, talking about his very expensive bottle of booze while subjecting Agent 33 to some Clockwork Orange-style brainwashing. Then we saw a character wake up, in this case the much missed flesh and blood Jemma Simmons (who is one of those annoying people who wakes up looking like a classic Disney princess, not a modern Disney princess like the rest of us), and go about their morning routine (exercise, pick out clothes, make coffee, walk to work like she's Mary Tyler Moore) to the sound of an upbeat 60s pop song. Then the "HOLY SHIT" twist is dropped on our heads like a safe on Wile E Coyote. Jemma Simmons, sweet Jemma Simmons, is working for HYDRA (which also has annoying middle-management types). Is this true? Has our Jemma joined the most evil organisation in the world? Okay, the second most evil organisation in the world, after Fox News. No one is more evil than Fox News.
The answer, for the moment, is no. Jemma (yes, I call her Jemma now) is not a HYDRA turncoat. But they sure as hell wanted us to think she was. The opening scene was an act of inception, designed to plant in our minds the idea that Jemma had been brainwashed and was really an unwilling triple agent. But she wasn't, at least not yet. Or was she? Maybe she has already has been brainwashed and they just haven't activated her programming yet. Okay, this is getting way too paranoid, time to move on.
I liked that Jemma infiltrated HYDRA by basically being herself. She never would've been able to pull off a cover identity. The less she had to lie, the easier it would be for her. At the same time, it showed how much she has changed since the start of the series. She's no longer the wide-eyed science geek who stepped onto the Bus. Ever since HYDRA came out of the closet and the bodies started piling up, she's adjusted better than most to this harsh reality without completely losing herself. Also, and I know that some people might disagree, separating her from Fitz has really brought out the best in the character.
Speaking of Fitz, the confrontation between him and Ward was one of the best scenes of the episode. Ward made the mistake of telling Fitz that what he did -- dropping him and Simmons into the ocean -- he did to give them a fighting chance. He did it to save them. Sincere or not (it's hard to tell with Ward), that was the last thing Fitz wanted to hear. Ward's actions cost him dearly. They cost him his mind, they may have cost him Simmons, and Fitz is fully aware of how broken he is. He doesn't have the luxury of ignorance. He knows that the Simmons he talks to isn't real and that he's kept around now more for his own protection than for what he can contribute. He didn't want to be told that it was done for his own good. Gold acting star for Iain De Caestecker, he knocked it out of the park in that scene.
|I know exactly what May is thinking.|
Intel and Assets
--Introducing brainwashing has raised the paranoia level considerably. Jemma may not be a sleeper agent (yet), but that doesn't mean no one else is.
--Assuming that Donnie is really dead (this is a series based on comic books after all), Skye has popped her cherry, in the exact same episode where Hunter had talked about her never having killed anyone before. Really? Come, on guys, there's a big differences between foreshadowing and punching us in the face with a boxing glove marked "Plot Development".
--I loved that the HYDRA scientists had black lab coats (complete with HYDRA bins) rather than white ones.
--It is about time that Ward admitted that he wasn't brainwashed. Sadly, it didn't shut up the more condescending Ward apologists, who are still being rather rude and obnoxious to anyone who doesn't see Grant Ward as poor little victim who isn't responsible for his actions. It was all Garrett's fault.
--So not only are Ward's family well known, they are "beloved". Interesting.
--May and Hunter are now even.
--I'm really starting to like Mack, which is why I really hope he doesn't turn out to be a HYDRA sleeper agent.
May: "Don't be sorry... just wait."
Ward: “I was never brainwashed. Everything I did, good and bad, I did of my own free will.”
Hunter: "Agent May shot me."
Hunter: "May shot me."
Tripp: "Man, I wanted to be the one."
Skye: "You don't give the orders, Trainspotting."
Hunter: "I'm not Scottish!"
Three out of four expensive bottles of booze.
Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011. More Mark Greig.
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