|Marvel's Agents of H.U.F.F.L.E.P.U.F.F.|
With a title like that you'd think this episode would be all about Bobbi and Hunter, but 'Love in the Time of HYDRA' explored different kinds of love. As well as the tortured romantic love of Huntingbird, there was the parental love that Coulson feels for Skye, the damaged love of Hunter and Bobbi and the misplaced love of Agent 33 for Ward.
Coulson (and May) love Skye as if she were their own daughter. That is obvious for everyone to see. He (and May) would move the heavens themselves to keep her safe or maybe just get her some Twizzlers. But at the same time he recognises the threat her new powers pose. Getting her out of the city to somewhere remote and isolated was the right thing to do. What wasn't the right thing to do was to leave her there all on her own. Right now the last thing Skye needs is to feel like a pariah. She should have someone, either May, Fitz or Simmons, with her 24/7 to give her the emotional support she needs.
Fitz and Simmons have very different takes on Skye's new powers. Fitz sees them as an enhancement while Jemma sees them as a problem that needs to be fixed. Neither are really wrong. If properly controlled, Skye's powers could be a great asset to to the team. But at the same time I'm sure Skye would be happy to be rid of them. Like Bruce Banner she will now have to be in total control of herself. She can no longer lose control without it having terrible consequences.
Being a massive Battlestar Galactica fan I am ridiculously excited about the old man himself, Edward James Olmos, joining the series as Robert Gonzales, the head of "real" S.H.I.E.L.D. Hopefully he'll make up for the disappointment that was Daniel Whitehall by providing this series with an antagonist who is a) a credible threat to our heroes and b) an interesting character in and of himself. As exciting as it is to have Adama on the series, I can't shake the feeling that we've seen all this before. This S.H.I.E.L.D. verses S.H.I.E.L.D. storyline is almost exactly what the HYDRA reveal was last season. Secrets are being revealed, friend is being pitted against friend, even the promo pictures are similar:
|Pretty much everyone in this picture is dead.|
According to Adama, the "real" S.H.I.E.L.D., or H.U.F.F.L.E.P.U.F.F. as I prefer to call it (thanks, Hunter), is all about transparency, which is rather ironic for a large collection of spies who are currently spying on other spies. They don’t want to repeat the mistakes that Fury made, the same mistakes they believe Coulson is currently making. Transparency is nice in theory, but only works if you have complete and absolute trust in the people you are being transparent with. Fury kept secrets because he didn’t trust everyone and, as we all eventually discovered, he had good cause not to. If he hadn't been such a paranoid son of a bitch, "hail HYDRA" would be part of the national anthem.
Does Gonzales completely trust all his agents? At least one of them has to be HYDRA. If that's a yes then he is a fool. Bobbi's loyalties definitely seem to be wavering. Especially now that Hunter has chosen Team C over H.U.F.F.L.E.P.U.F.F. I'm not surprised by that at all. H.U.F.F.L.E.P.U.F.F. seems too stuffy and by the book for his liking. With their fancy base and all suit dress code they are more like the old S.H.I.E.L.D. than they'd probably like to admit. They probably don't even have karaoke nights. Who wants to work for an agency that doesn't have karaoke nights? Come on, Bobbi, see the light. You know you're a G.R.Y.F.F.I.N.D.O.R., not a H.U.F.F.L.E.P.U.F.F.
Ward and Agent 33 were back, re-enacting Pulp Fiction and getting their Bonnie and Clyde on. Because he is so treacherous and shifty, it is hard to pin down Ward's exact motives. Does he genuinely care about Kara or is he simply taking advantage of her fragile mental state to suit his own purposes? What even are his own purposes? He doesn't have a place with either S.H.I.E.L.D. or HYDRA and seems to have finally accepted that Skye is just not into him (being shot by her four times was something of a give away). So what now? Open a B&B? Try to make it on Broadway? I imagine Agent 33's new shapeshifting powers would come in handy there.
Intel and Assets
--As well as Olmos, H.U.F.F.L.E.P.U.F.F. included other familiar faces. Agent Calderon is Charlie from Fringe, while Agent Weaver was Fitz and Jemma's teacher from the S.H.I.E.L.D. Hogwarts.
--Fitz made a point about how much Jemma has changed. While Fitz and Skye have changed physically, Jemma is the one whose personality has undergone the most dramatic changes.
--The Agents of H.U.F.F.L.E.P.U.F.F., as well as Hunter, believe that Fury is really dead. Some spies they are.
--Coulson and May didn't buy Mack's story for a second. They know Hunter is not the type to just vanish, he's the kind of guy who'd send a really offensive text, probably complete with a picture of his naked backside, to his boss whenever he quits.
--How did Talbot ever earn the rank of general? The man is a complete buffoon. An entertaining buffoon, but a buffoon no less.
--H.U.F.F.L.E.P.U.F.F. is located on an aircraft carrier. I wonder if it flies. Which begs the question of who is funding all of this? Where are these competing spy agencies getting their green from?
Hunter: "So, where now? To see the wizard?"
Skye: "Just to be clear, I am the Corvette in this story?"
Hunter: "Least fun road trip ever."
Bobbi: "Forgetting Arizona?"
Hunter: "More like repressing the memory. Still can't listen to the Eagles without getting the chills."
Three out of four Twizzlers.
Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011. More Mark Greig.
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