Review: Marvel's Agents of SHIELD 2.14 – Love in the Time of Hydra

Coming down from last week’s action packed B-List slug fest things slow down a little and we get a couple of very claustrophobic stories.  Unfortunately none of those stories involve what happened to Cal and the Inhumans last episode.  I was looking forward to some payoff on that but that’s not what I got.  Instead we spend our time working through a couple of intense, interpersonal stories. It’s hard to pick an ‘A’ story, that is to say, a main story.  Two of the stories impact the main plot but they are both very separate while the return of Ward and Madame Masque is clearly a ‘B’ story because that doesn’t really seem to affect anyone or anything other than to reintroduce us to those characters.  The two A stories are divided between Skye and Coulson coming to terms with Skye’s powers and Hunter being introduced to the ‘Real SHIELD’.

The Skye and Coulson story was interesting in that it forced several characters to come to terms with things boiling under the surface.  The father/daughter chemistry between Coulson and Skye is still there and there’s something unique about it because Clark Gregg doesn’t seem to be able to have the same kind of scenes with anyone else.  When it’s Coulson/Skye time it’s unique to those characters.  Coulson takes Skye to an undisclosed location to figure herself out away from the SHIELD crew.  They talk a little about what the changes are to Skye and what Skye should do.  She’s essentially a prisoner in a very fancy prison.  Most of that interaction though is pretty forgettable and kind of standard comfort banter.  It’s white noise, if it weren’t there you’d notice it but it being there doesn’t do much for your experience.

The more important part of this plot comes in the form of a side exchange between Fitz and Simmons.  Fitz points out that Simmons is afraid of the changes that happened to both Fitz and Skye and that fear has in fact changed Simmons the most out of everyone.  It’s something they’ve been building to and they dropped the bomb a few episodes ago when they were all cleaning up the mess left by the Kree agent and Fitz lets Simmons know he knows how Simmons is behaving and how he relates to Skye.  I really liked how they’ve changed Fitz and Simmons dynamic this season giving it a bit of depth and stretching Fitz out a bit in the process.

Marvel Agents of SHIELD 2.14  – Love in the Time of Hydra

The other A plot is Hunter being introduced to the ‘Real SHIELD’ which was kind of a letdown after all the mystery and hype of Hunter being choked out.  The core conceit of the ‘Real SHIELD’ is transparency and apparently the irony of wanting to be a transparent organization that uses spies and hides in the shadows never occurred to anyone.  Which is strange because I know for a fact Edward James Olmos has a highly defined sense of irony.  I know that from playing chess with him.  In my mansion.  Where I keep all my money.  Have I mentioned I don’t believe in lying?  I believe in only telling the truth.

Anyway Hunter escapes and they have 12 hours before he makes shore and they’re pretty sure he’ll blow their cover at that point, instead of say, fuck off and drink himself unconscious which is the cover they’ve been using to Coulson and he seems to believe that pretty easily.  But they’re worries about their precious cover they’ve tried so hard to keep.  Because they don’t believe in hiding in the shadows like Fury or Coulson.  Because they’re transparent…  Mockingbird asks to be put back in to… ‘Fake SHIELD’… I guess… so she can take out Coulson.  For this organization.  That doesn’t believe in backstabbing or lying.  When presented with the 12 hour deadline she grimly assures everyone she can do it in 6 hours.

Meanwhile Coulson and May decided to take Mack out because they know he’s a spy.  Of course they do, you can’t subtly choke a guy out and drag his body somewhere.  Trust me, I know this from experience.  Metal Gear Solid makes it look so easy but it’s not, you try it and suddenly everyone at the church is looking at you wondering what you’re doing to the priest.  I’m just glad I didn’t know anyone at that wedding.

The decidedly B plot is Ward and Agent 33 (Madame Masque) go to get her face fixed so she doesn’t look and sound like a broken Agent May Hall of Presidents robot.  It starts with a Pulp Fiction-esque café kidnapping and ends with General Talbot delivering the best parts of this episode.  After they get her face fixed she tries to seduce Ward by looking like Skye but sounding like May.  She should have known that wasn’t going to work, that’s far too confusing for a penis.  Ward tells her the way to get her groove back is to go after Bakshi who you may remember as Hydra’s number one number two.  They do this by breaking into Talbot’s Air Force base.  Talbot is the star of this episode by far, he has the most personality and delivers the best comedy.  If it weren’t for him then this episode would have been a dumper.  From talking about riding lawnmowers to yanking on some woman’s face to prove she’s an infiltrator to pointing a gun at his own wife he makes this episode worthwhile. Not a whole lot of forward momentum and it’s definitely missing that Cal payoff they tried so hard to set up last episode but it keeps the story floating, even if it doesn’t go very far.  If you like Marvel's Agents of SHIELD then this will sit as one of those mediocre episodes if you don’t like the show then this is just going to be another reason to not watch it.

Score: 3/5

Marvel’s Agents of Shield 2.14

New episodes of Marvel’s Agents of Shield – Tuesdays 9/8C