Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: One Door Closes

“The path we’ve chosen, doesn’t leave a lot of room for trust, does it?”

There is no doubt in my mind that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is at its best when it gives up its weekly search for alien macguffins and lets the relationships between its characters take center stage.

For me, the highlight of the episode (besides the Bobbi/May showdown and Skye kicking ass at the cabin) was the confrontation between Gonzalez and Coulson. The show is obviously about Coulson and his team and I expected to be on Coulson’s side but I wasn’t expecting to be so annoyed with what Mark Greig has decided should be called the Agents of H.U.F.F.L.E.P.U.F.F.

H.U.F.F.L.E.P.U.F.F.: what are you doing. Seriously, what are you doing?! You didn’t like Fury because he kept secrets. S.H.I.E.L.D. is a SPY AGENCY. Are you kidding? You sent not one, but two spies into S.H.I.E.L.D. Two spies and yet you’re claiming the higher moral ground here? Nuh-uh, climb off of that homemade pedestal, Gonzalez. I understand you had differences of opinion with Fury. Congratulations, so did everyone. That’s really no reason to divide the small number of agents left after Hydra’s coming out party into two teams and pit them against each other.

Gonzalez seems to have only two problems with Coulson: the fact that he was brought back to life by alien technology, and the fact that he was always Fury’s favorite. Dial down the Jan Brady, Gonzalez, you’re a grown ass man. As to Coulson’s alientastic resurrection, Coulson wasn’t very happy about that himself. I can’t help but think the whole S.H.I.E.L.D. versus H.U.F.F.L.E.P.U.F.F. conflict could probably be solved with a weekend retreat and a professional mediator.

Thus far, the biggest disagreement between the two organizations is how to deal with Skye and others like her. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is putting in overtime to make Inhumans mutants by another name (they obviously can’t be mutants by the name of mutants as Fox owns X-Men). It’s not quite working for me. The difference between the Inhumans and the X-Men, at least in the MCU and the current continuity of X-Men movies is that mutants were born that way (cue Gaga) whereas Inhumans chose to become what they are, with one, Skye-shaped exception. Both Skye and Raina seemed to be a little more than human (they could both hold the Diviner without Hulking out) but nothing started shaking until after Skye’s terragenesis. Fortunately, it looks like we’re set to learn more about them next week as Skye is whisked off to Gordon’s School for Inhuman Youngsters.

But back to S.H.I.E.L.D. vs. H.U.F.F.L.E.P.U.F.F. Right now we have the alien intolerant H.U.F.F.L.E.P.U.F.F. and Cal’s roving bad of c-list bad guys with Team Coulson uncomfortably stuck in the middle. The contrast they’re trying to make between H.U.F.F.L.E.P.U.F.F. and S.H.I.E.L.D. is not quite working for me. They’re trying to paint H.U.F.F.L.E.P.U.F.F. as the intolerant ones, but the sad fact is that S.H.I.E.L.D. isn’t the beacon of tolerance and kumbayaness necessary to make us really judge H.U.F.F.L.E.P.U.F.F. that harshly. Unless it turns out that Calderon shot Skye on Gonzalez’s orders and not on his own volition. Then I will have some very nsfw things to say about H.U.F.F.L.E.P.U.F.F.

The cabin fight was really great, although I couldn’t help but think H.U.F.F.L.E.P.U.F.F. just could have taken out Skye’s communications and sent Bobbi in with a “S.H.I.E.L.D. comms are down but your parents Coulson and May need you, come on, we’ll stop for froyo on the way” and then have Bobbi ice her while she got her coat. It would’ve worked; everyone loves froyo. Instead, you traumatize her, driving her right into the hands of the people you’re afraid will get their hands on her. Well done, H.U.F.F.L.E.P.U.F.F.

Skye was horrified at what she did to Calderon, but she’s just been barely beginning to control her powers. She managed to fight hand to hand with that H.U.F.F.L.E.P.U.F.F. agent without downing so much as a sapling. Calderon shot at her. Of course her instinct was to protect herself and, as of now, that instinct involves things shaking. She should cut herself some slack. She’s still learning. And honestly, if he was going to shoot her, Calderon deserved to be impaled.

Intel and Assets

-- Bobbi slid her phone across the floor to distract HYDRA. There’s an app for that.

-- I loved the detail that Skye was staying at a cabin originally built by Bruce Banner.

-- Simmons’ summer internship with Hydra seemed to pay off. She was able to fool Bobbi. BOBBI. She had good reason to look self satisfied as Bobbi passed out.

-- Gonzalez doesn’t know Fury is alive. Coulson didn’t know Gonzalez was alive. They both sort of suck at their jobs.

May: “The last person who betrayed me, I broke his larynx.”

Gonzalez: “Let’s just hope we don’t live to regret this, Agent Morse.”
Hartley: “Let’s just hope we live.”

three and a half out of four S.P.Y. A.G.E.N.C.I.E.S.
---
sunbunny, in this week for Mark Greig

5 comments:

Billie Doux said...

Loved the review, sunbunny. Laugh out loud funny. Dial down the Jan Brady, indeed. I was also thinking a weekend retreat might be in order. Really.

I want to like Gordon, but I keep thinking giving us a character with a big space where eyes ought to be is a mistake. Couldn't they put a big pair of wraparound sunglasses on him? :)

Lamounier said...

H.U.F.F.L.E.P.U.F.F.: what are you doing. Seriously, what are you doing?! You didn’t like Fury because he kept secrets. S.H.I.E.L.D. is a SPY AGENCY. Are you kidding? You sent not one, but two spies into S.H.I.E.L.D. Two spies and yet you’re claiming the higher moral ground here? Nuh-uh, climb off of that homemade pedestal, Gonzalez.

Yes. Ten times yes! Those are exactly my problems with this current arc. There were two moments in this episode when H.U.F.F.L.E.P.U.F.F. agents irritated me: first, when Bobbi said May didn’t work for real S.H.I.E.L.D., then when Agent Who Was Fitzsimmons’ Professor (sorry, didn’t memorize her name) told Fitzsimmons they had no right to say the organization they worked for was S.H.I.E.L.D. What? Drop the sermon already. First, the hufflepufflers criticize Fury’s methods, then they claim they are the rightful inheritors of Fury’s collapsed agency? Uh, guys, logic says hi.

I appreciate the intention of this arc, really. It makes complete sense that, once S.H.I.E.L.D. fell, several distinct factions would come out of it, each with its own vision of how the agency should be rebuilt. I just can’t get behind H.U.F.F.L.E.P.U.F.F.’s reasoning. Maybe I could if their actions didn’t translate as “I’m not happy you’re the boss, so I’m going to take over”. It’s childish, to say the least. Coulson is not a power hungry man, he probably would be open to criticism so S.H.I.E.L.D. wouldn’t repeat past mistakes. Instead of talking to the man, Gonzalez decided to bring him down. Not cool.

I’ll give H.U.F.F.L.E.P.U.F.F. this: apart from letting Hunter escape on the previous episode, they look efficient, more so than Coulson’s team. It’s nice of the writers to build a situation in which no side is good or evil, but as of now H.U.F.F.L.E.P.U.F.F.’s actions are cutting them short. And as long as they have problems with different people such as Inhumans and mutants, I’m firmly on Coulson’s side.

Apart from my problems with H.U.F.F.L.E.P.U.F.F., I thought this was a very strong episode. It delivered on several fronts. The flashbacks to the day H.Y.D.R.A. came out were very effective, and I really enjoyed the hufflepufflers there. In present time, both Mack and Bobbi earned several points by saving Fitz and Skye, respectively. It was also a reminder that this is a not a “good vs. evil” type of situation (except for the hufflepuffler trying to kill Skye).

Simmons is slowly becoming enjoyable again. Her taking down of Bobbi was very cool. On that scene, I initially thought she was working for H.U.F.F.L.E.P.U.F.F., because when Bobbi found her she said “what’s next?”, and I got SO angry. I was relieved she didn’t change sides, though. It was nice to have her and Fitz bond again by simply holding their hands and exchanging glances. Speaking of Fitz, he didn’t get much to do, but he shined every time he was onscreen. On his scene with Mack you could sense the tension on Fitz’ eyes. He clearly learned from his experience with Ward.

May besting Bobbi on the fight, keeping herself out of hufflepufflers way and then setting Coulson free was A.W.E.S.O.M.E. Coulson’s appreciation of her skills (“nice entrance”) are a great touch to his character. But why did she stay behind? Sure, Fitzsimmons and other agents loyal to Coulson would’ve be left behind, but wouldn’t she be more useful not captured? Oh, who am I kidding, this is the Calvary, she’ll get it done anyway.

On the Skye plot, Gordon turned out to be a very cool guy. It’s refreshing to see a character addressing her powers as something good and useful, rather then something she should suppress. Plus I really enjoyed the science approach he took to explain her quake powers. Speaking of it, wow on Skye kicking some ass (I had been missing it!) and directing a quake attack on the hufflepuffler. The CGI was pretty bad, though.

Gonzalez doesn’t know Fury is alive. Coulson didn’t know Gonzalez was alive. They both sort of suck at their jobs.

Hahaha. Yes!

Lamounier said...

BTW, I’m loving how you guys are using “H.U.F.F.L.E.P.U.F.F.” on the review. This was a very fun read.

mona said...

YAY sunnybunny, what an awesome review :D I still have a smile on my face. Ty! :)


I think this show might gotten me paranoid, but Gonzalez seems "off" to me. Did we get information about him in previous episodes that I missed? I simply get the feeling that he is not what he seems to be... like he might have worked against Fury for longer... not like Hydra... Ugh..I dunno xD

I also feel iffy about Gordon. He seems more "Magneto" than "Professor X" to me...

Well... at least the show keeps me on the edge about things :)

Marianna said...

I completely agree about the "real" SHIELD's lack of moral high ground. I'm almost hoping that they are secretly HYDRA because that would explain why the entire concept of their organization is backwards. Although that would make Bobbi and Mack even dumber than they already are for buying into it.

By the way, what distinguishes mutants from inhumans is not that inhumans chose to be that way but that Kree mixed human D.N.A. with their own D.N.A. to create inhumans whereas mutants are 100% human.