Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: What They Become

"After you change, no one else will understand. They’ll be afraid. Change is terrifying. But I am your father and I love you. I will always love you, Daisy."

Boy, they weren't kidding when they said this would be a game changer. I honestly don't know where to start. There was just so much goodness in this episode. Let's start at the end and work our way backwards.

The ending of this episode is bound to keep fans restless until the show returns in March (thank god we've got Peggy Carter to keep us company during the hiatus). After entering the temple and opening the Diviner, Skye and Raina were exposed to the Terrigen Mist (don't ask) and underwent Terrigenesis (seriously, don't ask) confirming what many have speculated for a long time - they are both Inhumans. Not only that, but we also found out that Skye is a version of Daisy Johnson, a super-powered S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in the comics code named Quake whose father is the super-villain Mister Hyde (real name Calvin Zabo).

Oh, and Tripp died, but I'll rant about that later.

Ever since it was revealed that Skye was an 0-8-4 I've been waiting for her to gain superpowers. I wasn't excited about it then because I was very indifferent towards Skye. But the character, and the show in general, have come a long way since then and I now think of Skye as one of my favourite characters. It's a given that the second half of this season is going to be centred around her new abilities and how they will affect not just her but the team's ongoing war with HYDRA as well.

Skye can create earthquakes now, that effectively makes her the most powerful person on the planet. She could potentially level whole cities. More than likely the first few episodes back will see Skye struggling to control her powers, while at the same time I can see Coulson struggling with his paternal instinct to protect Skye at all costs, his Avenger instinct to protect the innocent if she can't control her powers, and his S.H.I.E.L.D. director instinct that will tell him to use her as a weapon against HYDRA.

Skye was finally reunited with her father and the reunion was worth the wait. Cal tried to be the loving father (he wanted there to be flowers and little almond cookies), but he just couldn't repress the crazy, which did nothing to ease his unsettled daughter, who wasn't letting her obvious desire to know where she comes from override how pissed off she was about being abducted at gunpoint by her sort of ex and brought here. Gold stars for Kyle MacLachlan and Chloe Bennet. They both acted their socks off throughout the episode, especially Bennet.

I think it was a smart move on the writers' part to make Skye an Inhuman (Daisy isn't one in the comics) as it provides an explanation for her powers, opens the door for other super-powered individuals since Marvel can't use mutants, and also lays the ground work for the upcoming Inhumans movie. It says a lot about how confident Marvel is right now that they're setting up a movie that won't even be released until 2018 in a TV show that might not even be around by then. Anyone expecting a trip to Attilan any time soon probably shouldn't get their hopes up, though. With TV budgets being what they are, I don't imagine the show is going to delve too deeply into Inhuman mythology. We'll probably gets some hints here and there, maybe the odd character cameo, but Black Bolt and co will more than likely make their debut on the big screen.

This episode featured the deaths of two major characters - Whitehall and Tripp - and I was disappointed with both for different reasons. Whitehall was meant to be the big bad of season 2.1, but he never really reached his true potential and his death was beyond anti-climactic. Tripp's death annoyed by how pointless it was. His death served no purpose other than giving Skye a reason to be sad. If the writers wanted his death to have the impact they desired they really should've done more to show how close he and Skye were. We've seen them hanging out and being cute with each other in a few scenes, but that wasn't enough. Tripp spent too much of this season as nothing more than a glorified extra, when he should've been a central figure.

On a brighter note, Mack is alive and seems to have recovered from his temple induced madness.

Intel and Assets

--So there's another Diviner and it is currently in the hands of freaky no eyes guy.

--The song Cal was humming, the same song the music box played in Skye's dream last week, was Daisy Bell.

--The pre-credit sequence was probably the most exciting action sequence the show has ever done.

--With Whitehall dead, there's now a vacant seat at the HYDRA table. Will Ward fill it? He needs something to do now that his plan to win back Skye's affections by reuniting her with her father has backfired spectacularly with her putting four bullets in him without a second of hesitation or regret (imagine what she'll do to him now she has powers).

--We didn't get a clear look of what Raina turned into, but some have speculated that she could be Naja.

--Was Sam being serious when he talked about Billy's "circuitry"?

--Every time I see Agent 33 I think she looks like one of the aliens from V.

--I can't stop laughing at Ward's reaction when he is shot:

Hunter: "Join S.H.I.E.L.D., travel to exotic distant lands, meet exciting unusual people...and kill them."

Bobbi: "When this is all over I'm going to cry for like a week."

Skye: "Never turn your back on the enemy. You taught me that."

Ward: "Bringing you along was my idea."
Skye: "Maybe you don’t remember, but we’ve played this game of ‘Let’s kidnap Skye’ before and it didn't end well for you."
--Didn't end well for him this time either. Don't try for a third time, Grant.

Four out of four best days ever.
Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011. More Mark Greig.


CH said...

This episode didn't make quite such an impact on me, and I think it is because I have very little knowledge of the comics. I have been enjoying Agents of Shield, but I didn't really understand this episode or the impact of the reveals, which disappointed me. When Skye's name was revealed to be Daisy, I had a feeling it meant something major, but I had no idea what.

I haven't had the same problem with Arrow or Flash; I haven't read DC comics, either, but I've never felt like I've missed something major when watching those episodes.

I'd be curious what other people thought, especially others who haven't read the comics or aren't familiar with the mythology.

sunbunny said...

I've never read comics either, CH and all my Marvel knowledge comes from the recent movies and this show and I've never really felt that. I didn't know Daisy was a Marvel character until someone told me. I didn't know she was an inhuman until someone told me. I'm still not clear on what that is. But it's never bothered me. I think they do a decent job explaining things as they go. The way they do it gives comic book fans clues and mysteries to unravel but I never feel left out by the show.

Michal Dvorak said...

I don't think any comic book knowledge is required. I did read some of the comics, but I don't have extensive knowledge of the mythology. I'm also not clear about what exactly the Inhumans are, although I'm vaguely aware they exist, and I've never heard of Daisy Johnson until reading Mark's review.

To me Raina and Skye were transformed by some mysterious mist and the name Daisy was simply Skye's father's last attempt to connect with her. I didn't feel like I was missing anything important. Like sunbunny says, they explain what they need to, plus they include fun clues and references as a bonus for the hardcore comic book fans.

Also, if someone had to die, I'm happy it was Tripp and not Mack. They never really found a place for Tripp on the show and now, that the bruiser duties have been taken over by Bobbi, there really was no reason for him to stay.

Juliette said...

I don't know the comics, but I didn't feel I was missing anything, and actually have kind of skim-read the review a bit (sorry Mark!) because I don't really want to know, I'd like to be surprised.

Having said that, I'm far more interested in Bobbi and whatever she's up to - please don't die or be evil Bobbi, you're too awesome! - and the reason I watch the show is FitzSimmons, especially Fitz. I love so much that a character has actually been permanently injured by the terrible things that happen to them. So really, I don't care all that much about whether Skye has superpowers now, I just really hope we see more of Fitz, and hopefully Simmons, when the show comes back. (Not till March? sadface).

rebecca_s921 said...

While I read comics, I don't read the Inhuman books and I didn't read the "Secret Warriors" books, which showcased Daisy. I've read the online theories about Skye's identity and was excited by the development. I can't wait to see how the show further develop the character, how it will differ from the comic book lore. There's so much to love in the show now, in addition to recovering Fitz, Fitz & Simmons dynamic, Bobbi-Hunter, what Bobbi is up to, May still being amazingly badass. I'm sorry to see Tripp go, but the ending left me both sad and elated, can't wait for the show to return!

Jess Lynde said...

I agree with others that lack of comics knowledge doesn't hinder my enjoyment of the show. I've been very engaged by the show this season, and I'm not a comics reader at all. But I love getting all the comics tie-in tidbits from those who are familiar with the source material. It enhances the whole experience for me. (Same for The Flash.) So thanks for including those bits, Mark!

All the Skye material worked great for me this week. I really loved the way they let Chloe Bennett underplay Skye's reaction to Cal while he was in the room and didn't have her go soft on Ward. But they also let her have a few private moments, or moments with Coulson, to express how much turmoil and pain she's in. It lets the character be strong, but also (in)human and sympathetic. I've always had a soft spot for Skye, and she's done nothing but grow on the show. I can't wait to see where the road takes her now.

Mark, I agree completely re: Whitehall and Tripp's deaths. The former was underwhelming, and the latter didn't have the impact they probably wanted. I was a bit sad to lose Tripp, and I felt just awful for Skye as she watched him crumbled away, but I was mostly relieved we were losing Tripp and not Mack. I hope Mack gets more to do in the second half of the season. In the meantime, bring on Peggy Carter!

Billie Doux said...

I thought the scene where Skye met her father from Twin Peaks was excellent, for all the reasons everyone has stated so far. I could feel a death coming, mostly because it's the midseason finale, and I was sorry to lose Tripp, whom I like. I'm glad Mack made it, though, mostly because he's just been so good for Fitz.

"Join S.H.I.E.L.D., travel to exotic distant lands, meet exciting unusual people...and kill them." That's from a bumper sticker. I remember seeing it once, years ago, and I never forgot it. It originally said "Join the Army" instead of "Join SHIELD."

CH said...

Thanks so much, everyone, for the feedback! I think I may have to watch the episode again, or perhaps attribute my reaction as something other than not being up on the comic book lore :) I'm not saying I didn't enjoy this episode; I just didn't find it as amazing as everyone else seems to have found it. Oh well.

drnanamom said...

Great review - thanks Mark and I agree I love the comic tidbits as I don't read them either. I think that the deaths in this episode didn't have the impact they might because there was so much else going on in terms of emotion particularly pain and loss. It totally sucked that Tripp risked his life to save everyone and then died as his reward. I think that is going to have an impact on everyone, especially Skye.

Dustin said...

As soon as Tripp reentered the cavern, I knew he was a gonner. After all, he had a close call a few eps back, and it seemed like such a Whedonverse thing to do. Make it look like you're killing someone, have them live, and then kill them a little bit later.

I really liked Tripp's character, but he'd been WAY criminally underused all season long.

Lamounier said...

An interesting bit of dialogue from the previous episode:

Skye: “I can’t shake this vibe that something really bad is about to happen.”
Trip: “You mean like someone getting shot? Yeah, I got that covered already, so you can lose that vibe. We’re good.”

See? The Whedons are evil.

I have to admit, I didn’t love this episode. There were some great moments in it, but overall it wasn’t all it could’ve been.

First of all, the episode was rushed and the script was not polished enough. The writers needed specific groups of characters to be in specific scenes, but the staging and transitions from one scene to the next sometimes were weird. For instance, why would Cal arrange a meeting with his daughter right under Whitehall’s watch? Because the story needed everyone to be in the same place. Another one: why would Whitehall freaking stand in the middle of an open hall where he was an easy target when he knew they were under attack? Why wasn’t he with Raina? Because he needed to be killed off to give Cal a reason to fight Coulson (that fight was great, though. Clark Gregg showed some impressive fighting skills).

Another problem I had was with Agent 33. She denied being loyal to Hydra and clarified that she was loyal to Whitehall, and even showed feelings for him. What the freaking what? Was there any indication of this on previous episodes? It felt like this was made up to allow Agent 33 to run away with Ward (by freeing her from Hydra’s control), while also giving them something in common (“oh, look, they were both loyal to their mentors, not to Hydra”). I just can’t believe Whitehall, who literally met the founder of Hydra, wouldn’t program his right-hand agent to be loyal to Hydra. Moving on...

I also had a problem with the fight scenes... While Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is excelling on body to body combats, the confrontations that involve shotguns are so not convincing. I was underwhelmed by every scene of this type on this episode. The final one was the worst: May, Bobbi and Hunter easily killing a few Hydra soldiers, who just happened to be passing by almost randomly. Seriously, show, you can do much better.

Final complaint: Trip’s death. What a waste. I get what the writers were going for, but if they wanted his death to have more of an impact, they should’ve given Trip more attention on this first half of the season. As it stands, it’s an early exit to a very cool and underused character.

Lamounier said...

Ok... there was plenty to like as well. While I was not as impressed with Chloe Bennet as some of you were (she was definitely trying hard to sell some of the difficult material she was given, but was not getting quite there), Skye was awesome. Using the Obelisk as a gun, going after Raina to stop her, telling Mack she would be back for him. Awesome stuff. One year ago, who would’ve thought? The best moment by far was Skye shooting Ward. That was brutal, shocking and, well, fair. Skye is totally right not to give a damn to Ward’s obsession with her and consider him the enemy. I love the Whedons’ treatment of women. Some writers should take note.

Speaking of Ward, I’m a little upset that apparently all there’s to his actions is his obsession with Skye. When Raina “read” Ward to Whitehall and Ward had this oh-yeah-guilty-here-it’s-all-about-Skye look on his face, all I could think of was “really?”. I do trust the writers, though, to keep Ward the complex character he has become. One can only hope Skye shooting him several times will take him on an Angelus path.

While the episode wasn’t perfect, that final act was made of gold. I must have watched it ten times by now. Everything was right in place (uh, except for poor Trip): great directing, great score, great acting. You could feel it was a monumental moment. I haven’t read the comics, but I read the theories on the internet about Skye’s true identity and it was really cool to see it unfold onscreen. I’m really excited to see where they’ll take her story now. Storm has always been my favorite character on X-Men (who wouldn’t want to control the weather?), and Skye/Daisy/Quake seems to be her equivalent for the Inhumans.

March can’t come soon enough.

Lamounier said...

Oh, one more thing... while watching this episode I thought Chloe Bennet resembled Eliza Dushku a little. I mean, doesn’t Skye look like a half-Chinese version of the kickass vampire slayer?

Docnaz said...

I was so happy to see Kyle MacLachlan as part of the cast. Since Twin Peaks, he has been one of my favorite actors, so now I doing a binge rewatch of that show! It is hard to believe that show was only two seasons. For those of you that are old enough to remember and watched it from the beginning, it was the first television show that was had the look and feel of a movie.

Did anyone else think that Skye had a less Asian appearance in the beginning. They are really playing up that look now.

Thanks to this blog, I realize I have been pronouncing MacLachlan incorrectly all these years...doh!