Friday, December 5, 2014

Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2, Episode 9: ...Ye Who Enter Here

Once again there's a heck of a lot going on in this week's episode, as Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. finally answers a few burning questions and confirms something fans have speculated about for months. 

That said, this episode still felt mostly like setup for next week's dreaded Fall Finale. You can tell there's a lot of awesome stuff they want to tell us, but they can't do so just yet.


The Plot:
Skye has a weird dream that I'm sure isn't supposed to be prophetic or anything. 

The Team splits up and head off in different directions. May, Skye, Hunter and Trip head to Vancouver to rescue Raina from HYDRA. Once there, Skye's attacked by Agent 33, who's still wearing her May mask (don't ask). After a lengthy battle she defeats 33 and they just leave her lying there in Canada, where I'm sure she'll never cause any problems ever again.

Skye takes Raina onboard the Bus. There, Raina says HYDRA wants her because she can safely touch the Obelisk, and that Skye can touch it as well. She says, "We're both human, but have the potential to be more." If that ain't an Inhumans reference, I don't know what is. She also finally confirms that the legendary "blue angels" who fell from the sky were the alien Kree, which fans have know all along.

Meanwhile, Coulson's discovered that the Inhuman's city, er, I mean the mysterious alien city is located under San Juan, Puerto Rico. He, Mockingbird, Mac and Fitz head there to blow it up and keep it out of HYDRA's hands. They find the entrance to the city is down a ridiculously deep hole, but it's OK as they just happened to inconspicuously bring some rope to this spot that's off limits to tourists. 

They lower Mac down the hole, where he's zapped by some kind of energy and turns into a red-eyed rage monster, who's most likely a Kree Sentry. He makes his way back to the top and attacks the remainder of the Team. Icer guns have no affect on him, nor do Mockingbird's battle staves, which suddenly have tasers built into them. Just as poor Fitz is about to shoot him, Mac falls back down the hole, where he'd better not die.

Back on the Bus, they're suddenly surrounded by HYDRA quinjets, which I didn't know they had, as Daniel Whitehall's voice booms over the intercoms and tells them to surrender. Evil Ward then enters the Bus and takes custody of Raina and threatens to blow up the plane unless Skye comes with him as well. Skye goes along and the three depart. 

Whitehall finds out that Evil Ward didn't blow up the Bus, and tells Agent 33 to take care of it, which sets up everything for next week.

• The episode opens with Skye having a weird dream involving her running down corridors while Coulson and May leave a baby on a slab.

Note that in her dream Skye is wearing a flowered dress, which is obviously a nod to Raina. There's also a music box that plays Daisy Bell, the same song that HAL 9000 sang in 2001: A Space Odyssey. I'm assuming that's supposed to be significant, but I have no idea what it means.

• Back in Episode 4 of this season, Agent 33 fought May while wearing a "nanomask" of her face. For fans of Ming-Na Wen it was a dream come true.

During their battle, Agent 33's mask was damaged when May jammed an electrical wire into the side of it. I wondered why she was still wearing the mask weeks later, especially since it's burned and half melted. 

According to the episode, the electrical shock permanently bonded the mask to her face. Ouch. The vocal changer was also damaged, giving her voice a robotic quality.

I wonder if Ming-Na Wen gets paid twice as much for playing two different characters?

• We meet Sam Koenig in this episode, who's the third Koenig we've seen so far. Just how many of them are there? Sam and Billy Koenig tell Trip that there are thirteen of them, but then admit they're just joking.  

Although the show's still being coy about it, most fans are convinced the Koenigs are Life Model Decoys, a staple of the S.H.I.E.L.D. comic. I'd be very surprised if they turned out to be something else.

• Coulson mentions that S.H.I.E.L.D. "solved" the Bermuda Triangle in the 1980s. It's a throwaway line, but it implied that there really was a mystery there.

• Wow, they really blew the budget this week! It looks like they actually filmed part of the episode in Puerto Rico. Usually whenever the Team goes to some exotic location they show an establishing shot and then
film the rest of the scenes in good old LA. Whatever it cost them to go on location this week, was worth it, as it definitely showed onscreen.

Coulson and Mockingbird go to Castillo de San Cristobal, an 18th century fort. There's a sentry tower inside, which is surrounded by a legend which translates as "The Devil's Sentry."

Believe it or not, there really is a Devil's Sentry legend at the castle in Puerto Rico! The sentry tower is right on the edge of the sea, and inside it the wind and waves often sounded like ghostly voices, which unnerved the guards. Pretty cool that they integrated a real legend into the story.

• Raina infodumps quite a bit of exposition to Skye. She says she was living on the street in a group of "special" kids when Skye's father found her and took her in. I'm assuming when she says "special" here she means "worthy to touch the Obelisk" and not "mentally challenged." She also says her grandma used to tell her stories about "blue angels" who came from the sky. These angels turned out to be the alien Kree.

At long last this is our first onscreen confirmation that the blue alien whose blood helped revive Coulson was a Kree. 

• On the way to Puerto Rico, Mac notices that Hunter and Mockingbird have apparently reconciled and got back together. He gets Mockingbird alone and asks if she's let Hunter in on "their deal." She says no.

So just what deal is he talking about here? I have to admit I don't have a clue. Could it be something to do with HYDRA?

• As Mac is lowered into the hole and enters the city, he sets off something and is zapped by glowing alien circuitry. This has the unfortunate effect of turning him into a super strong rage-filled monster.

I really hope that Mac isn't dead. His character's really likable, and his bonding scenes with Fitz have been awesome. It'd be a shame to see him exit the series so soon.

Most fans are convinced he's become a Kree Sentry, which was a thing from the comics. The Kree used giant robots to protect their secret installations on Earth. There was even a human who fused with a Sentry in the comics, so I suppose it's possible that the same thing has happened to Mac.

• When Mac attacks (heh) Coulson and the others, Mockingbird uses her battle staves  to shock him.

Is that something new? Have her staves always had tasers built into them?

• Evil Ward surrounds the Bus with a squadron of what are described as HYDRA quinjets. So they have quinjets too? Eh, why not? HYDRA infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. for decades, so it's not that big of a stretch to imagine they stole the plans for them.

• I'm wondering how the show's going to handle the Inhumans. Marvel's scheduled an Inhumans movie, but it's not coming out until 2018. Surely they're not going to let a TV series set up a multi-million dollar movie's mythology? I hope that doesn't mean the show's going to dance around the Inhumans issue for the next four years.

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