Thursday, October 9, 2014

Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2, Episode 3: Making Friends And Influencing People

This week we find out what Simmons has been up to since last season, Evil Ward makes up for sitting out last week, and Donnie Gill, aka Blizzard, returns.

SPOILERS!

The Plot:
We open on ageless Nazi/HYDRA director Daniel Whitehall busily brainwashing former S.H.I.E.L.D. operative Agent 33. We find out that Simmons is now an undercover agent who's infiltrating HYDRA for Coulson. S.H.I.E.L.D. and HYRDA are both after the icy-powered Donnie Gill, last seen in Season 1. HYDRA gets to Gill first and Simmons attempts to recruit him with her feminine charms. The S.H.I.E.L.D. agents don't want him playing for the other side, so Skye 2.0 shoots him and he falls into the ocean. Oh, and Fitz confronts Evil Ward and gives him a taste of his own medicine.

Thoughts:
• I knew Simmons had to be a double agent and wasn't really working for HYDRA! I'm hopeful she won't spend the entire season there though.

What was Coulson thinking with this plan? Sending someone who's as bad a liar as Simmons on an undercover mission seems like a bad idea. It doesn't look good for her at the end of the episode either, as Whitehall and his lackey imply they're going to brainwash her. Ruh-roh!

• Agent 33, who's busy being brainwashed herself in this episode, is an obscure character from the comics. She's an expert on Greek mythology and was assigned to recruit Hercules (yes, that Hercules) for S.H.I.E.L.D.

• So what's up with Skye 2.0 wearing the heart rate monitor now? Is that something new, or did it happen last season and my addled brain forgot about it?

Is May making her wear it to help her keep cool under fire, or will the alien Kree blood in her veins cause her to Hulk out or something if heart rate goes above 120? Inquiring minds want to know.

• Blizzard's powers were well done, especially for a TV budget. And gruesome as well, especially when he froze the waiter who then fell over and shattered into a million pieces.

• Suddenly everyone on the show's calling people with superpowers "gifteds." I'm assuming this is because Fox, which owns the X-Men franchise, has a lock on the word "mutant." Poor Marvel. They came up with the characters, but now they can't even call their own mutants "mutants" and have to settle for the lame "gifted" tag.

This is also why DC Comics and The Flash use the word "metahuman" to refer to people with powers. Damn lawyers.

• Mack mentions to Fitz that Agent Koenig has the night off. This would seem to put to rest the rumors that Koenig's a life model decoy. Robots probably don't need a night off.

• This week Evil Ward gets two visits from Skye 2.0 and one from Fitz.

I wonder where they're going with Evil Ward? I can't believe they'll have him spend the rest of the series playing a poor man's Hannibal Lecter as he tries to worm his way into Skye 2.0's head. At some point they're either going to have to let him escape or kill him off. If he does escape, will he rejoin his HYDRA cronies, or try and redeem himself with S.H.I.E.L.D.? 

Evil Ward says he was loyal to Garrett, not HYDRA, which makes me think it's inevitable that they're going to go the redemption route. I still think that's a big mistake, considering how far he went last season. Someone who did the things he did ought to remain unredeemable. Unfortunately the producers haven't contacted me to ask what I think they should do.

• Fitz wanders down to Evil Ward's cell and confronts him, in a very intense scene. Iain De Caestecker did some amazing work here as Fitz, trying and failing to articulate the rage inside him. He even shuts off the oxygen in the cell to show Evil Ward what he's done to him! Now that's hardcore. For a minute there I thought Fitz might just wander off, forgetting he'd shut off the oxygen in the cell.

That said, why exactly would his cell be airtight?

I thought it was interesting when Evil Ward tried to justify what he did to FitzSimmons. He claims he was ordered to kill them outright, but he did them a favor and just dumped them in the ocean in a sealed container, to "give them a fighting chance." Thanks, Evil Ward! You're a real stand-up guy!

• Speaking of Evil Ward, how'd he get a farmer tan when he's been locked in an airtight, sunless cell for months?

And why the hell is the door leading down to his cell not locked in any way? Can anyone just walk down there and see him? I'm thinking they need some kind of retinal scanner or something on the door. Or put a damned padlock on it, at least!

And are there any facilities in his cell? Something like a toilet that folds out of the wall, or at the very least a bucket under his bed? Or do they make Lance Hunter take him to the toidy whenever he has to go?

Luckily Evil Ward's never sitting on the throne when they de-opaque his cell wall.

• HYDRA's supposed to be an ultra secret, off the radar, technically-we-don't-exist organization, right?

So then why in the name of Stan Lee's Toupee is Simmons wearing a jacket with a goddamned HYDRA logo emblazoned on the back?

I get that they needed a quick & dirty way for the other characters to find out she was playing for the other side, but surely there was a better way to do so than this? Does the HYDRA headquarters have a gift shop full of items emblazoned with their logo?

The logo was even plastered all over the walls of the HYDRA lab!

• Oh no! Donnie Gill's dead! Shot and drowned! I wouldn't worry about it. I'm sure he'll get better. Everyone does on this show.

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