Thursday, April 23, 2015

Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2, Episode 18: The Frenemy Of My Enemy

Lots of returning faces, revelations and double crosses this week on Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Programs! Getcher programs! Ya can't tell who's betraying who without yer programs!

Last week Marvel announced they were planning a S.H.I.E.L.D. spinoff series, but didn't provide any details. I was hoping Deathlok might get his own show, but alas, it wasn't to be. This week they finally revealed it'll be a Mockingbird and Hunter spinoff. Hmm. I guess that's OK, but I'd rather to see them do a series about someone with actual superpowers, ala The Flash over on The CW. We've already got one super spy show set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe— I don't know that we really need a second.

Funny how Marvel's already had one TV series with a female lead and is planning another, but DC can't seem to get a Wonder Woman movie off the ground to save their lives.

SPOILERS!

The Plot:
Fitz dodges the Real S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who've been pursuing him and meets up with Coulson, Hunter and Deathlok. Fitz hands Fury's Toolbox over to Coulson, who uses it to locate Evil Ward. Coulson, for reasons known only to him and the writers, believes Evil Ward can lead him to Skye. Fitz is understandably not happy about the prospect of this arrangement, considering the whole "Evil Ward tried to kill him and caused his brain damage last season" thing.

With the Toolbox's help they locate Evil Ward and Agent 33 in Tijuana. There, Coulson offers Evil Ward a deal— help S.H.I.E.L.D. infiltrate HYDRA. In exchange for this help, Coulson offers to use the T.A.H.I.T.I. program on Evil Ward, wiping his memory and turning him into just plain Ward again. That... doesn't sound like much of a deal, but Evil Ward accepts. With his fingers crossed behind his back, no doubt.

Evil Ward proposes using Bakshi, whom he brainwashed a while back, to get close to Doctor List, one of the new leaders of HYDRA. Bakshi takes Deathlok along, who will monitor the meeting through his bionic eye. Bakshi meets with List and suddenly offers Deathlok to him, which wasn't part of the plan. Coulson and the others suspect Evil Ward is double crossing them (which is a good bet), but he assures them it's all part of the plan.

Meanwhile, Mockingbird and Mack begin to wonder if they're siding with the right S.H.I.E.L.D. May tells Simmons to open Fury's Toolbox, but she admits it's a fake she created, and Fitz has the real one. May doesn't take this news well, which makes us wonder whose side she's on this week.

In Afterlife, Jaiying tells Skye that Cal can no longer stay there, and orders Gordon to teleport him to Milwaukee and dump him there. Skye says that's a really bad idea, fearing Cal will hulk out or whatever he does. She offers to accompany Cal to Milwaukee to soften the blow. Gordon takes the two of them to Miltown & leaves. Skye and Cal have a nice father/daughter outing there— well, as nice a time as you can have with a madman with a hair trigger temper. Unknown to Skye, Lincoln is tailing them.

Skye tells Cal it's time to let go of the past, just as Lincoln shows up. Cal immediately realizes what's happening. Just then HYDRA agents appear, having tracked down Gordon's teleportation energy. Cal takes out his anger on the HYDRA grunts. Deathlok also enters the fray, battling with Lincoln. Coulson, Evil Ward and Agent 33 converge on the building as well, resulting in a three-way shootout. 

Hunter is injured and rescued by Agent 33. Simmons taps into Deathlok's hardware, allowing him to see what he sees— namely Coulson working alongside Evil Ward, which doesn't go over well with May back at Real S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters. Honest, May! It's not what it looks like!

Skye also sees Coulson and Evil Ward together, right before she and Cal are teleported away by Gordon. Deathlok and Lincoln are captured by HYDRA.

Mockingbird and Mack enter the building and find Coulson there waiting for them as he surrenders.

Thoughts:
• There were several namedrops of Baron von Strucker in this episode. He has a part in the upcoming Avengers: Age Of Ultron. It would be awesome if he actually popped up on the show!

• I'm fuzzy on the whole "teaming up with Evil Ward" thing. Last week Coulson said they needed to find Ward because he was the only one who could lead them to Skye. Yet when they find him this week, Coulson coerces him into infiltrating HYDRA. Huh? I guess I'm missing something.

Maybe Coulson is using Ward to get into HYDRA, thinking they know the Inhumans' address?

• I'm also fuzzy as to why Evil Ward and Agent 33 go along with Coulson, to the point of risking their lives to help him. Offering to wipe Ward's memory doesn't seem like much incentive. Agent 33 has even less reason to agree to the plan.

They also both had multiple opportunities to kill Coulson and the others, and yet didn't. Gosh, maybe they're not the evil sociopaths we thought they were after all! I really hope they're not trying to redeem the pair, but it sure looks like that's what's happening. Especially with the whole "wiping Ward's memory" thing. It wouldn't surprise me if he returns to the Team next season with a brand spanking new personality.

• Skye learns her real name is Daisy Johnson, which I thought she found out a long time ago. Maybe I'm thinking of the comic book version of the character.

By the way, when Skye mentions this, Cal says he changed his last name to something more sinister when he went on the run. Please tell me he changed his name to "Hyde."

• Skye's change of heart regarding her dad Cal seems pretty abrupt. Just three or four episodes ago she was ready to kill him on sight; now she's eating ice cream with him. Cal has a certain charm when he's not being crazy, but he's not that charming.

• I get that this is a TV show with a limited budget, but it would be nice to see Cal go through some sort of Hulk-like transformation when he loses control.

• Last week I mentioned the fact that in Season 1, we were beat about the head with the fact that psychic powers do not exist in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, even though Raina is apparently a telepath. This week we got a line about her being the first. Someone's paying attention!

• Jaiying orders Gordon to dump Cal in Milwaukee. Skye feels bad about this, and says if they just abandon Cal, he'll hulk out and people will get hurt. Jaiying says those people aren't any of her concern (!). Yikes! Maybe Jaiying's not as nice a person as we've been led to believe.

• May and Simmons seeing the image of Coulson and Evil Ward seemingly working together was definitely an "Oh Crap!" moment. I'm curious to see how Coulson gets out of this painted corner.

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