By Amanda Gurall
[*Warning: Spoilers for those who do not keep up with Marvel news (identity of blue alien)]
The good thing about holiday breaks in television programming is that we are left with lots of time to theorize about and rewatch our favorite shows. I am probably not the only person whose mind drifted off into fandom when the Thanksgiving dinner went a little long and last week's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode left quite a bit to think about. The creators have teased that the last episode before the long mid season break will be a game changing one and we have also had confirmation from Marvel that the alien stewing in the tank was indeed Kree as most people have suspected. So let's put down the leftovers and look back at the last episode to get ready for Tuesday night.
Our fair heroes of S.H.I.E.L.D. have yet to make that Kree discovery for themselves but last weeks episode included a trip for Coulson (Clark Gregg), Skye (Chloe Bennet) and Trip (B.J. Britt) to Hawaii for some great secret agent work. This is one of my favorite aspects of the show that sets it apart from the super heroes and cinematic world. Coulson gives Skye a watch to be engraved with a coded message and just as she takes it he adds "If it starts to leak any fluids, drop it and run." I don't even mind that the spy action happens off camera as it adds a layer to the show I hope they keep up with and expand on.
I am getting ahead of myself as last weeks episode opened with Whitehall/Werner Reinhardt (Reed Diamond) using Chinese villagers to experiment with the Obelisk, now known as the Diviner. He finds that one woman is able to touch and activate it. Dichen Lachman (Sierra!) played this woman who turns out to be Skye's mom yet before Reinhardt can discover what makes her tick we find him attempting a deal with the fabulous Agent Carter (Hayley Atwell) after his lab and his artifact stash is raided by the SSA. He was sent to rot in a S.H.I.E.L.D. prison called "The Rat" and we had more nifty camera work to show the passage of 40 years of solitude.
Reinhardt was sprung by Hydra in 1989 and went right back to work. Somehow she hadn't aged a day and Reinhardt proceeded to dissect her alive, removing her organs on camera like it was Hannibal. I liked it but it was a new level of gore on the show and one I hope they keep but use sparingly. Soon enough (though probably not for Skye's mom) he found what he needed to turn back time biologically and remake himself into the charming sociopath we are more familiar with, Whitehall. The woman's empty carcass was dumped on a hillside where her husband found her, vowing to seek revenge. Of course that husband was The Doctor (Kyle MacLaughlan) who will spend a lifetime searching out the ones who killed her and later the ones who took their baby "That's not my name" Skye.
This episode had an incredible amount of material and while last week I was praising the faster pace of the plot development, this week I wanted a bit of a buffer. The S.H.I.E.L.D. group left to work in the playpen found Carter's files in a ridiculously quick manner and just about everything else was packed in at a pace that seemed productive but was missing some of the small moments that best develop the characters.
Grant Ward (Brett Dalton) ended up attacking his philandering corrupt brother and forcing him to admit that not only was Grant's version of events at the family well correct but that their parents had been horribly abusive. Apparently Grant went on to murder his brother as well as his own parents and staged it to look like a murder suicide. This all happened off camera so who knows what we may be surprised with in the future. Watching Ward Grant eventually reveal his endgame is enough drama for the character and I really want him to be a stone cold murderous Hydra god and not a reformed baddie or someone doing right by first doing wrong.
Three big things stand out from the rest of the crew as they sort through files and Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) works on his computer assembly project. Coulson believes in him, he really does! First, the not surprising backseat action between Lance (Nick Blood) And Bobbi (Adrienne Palicki) which led me to wonder who cleans up after S.H.I.E.L.D. anyhow? We never see any janitorial support. Do they cook for themselves as well or are they forced to eat Soylent? Is Billy Koening (Patton Oswalt) responsible for this and where is he, anyway? This is what holiday and mid season breaks do to fans. Second, more allusions to Hydra's brainwashing and potential sleeper agents within the group which is not very interesting after the fantastic Ward reveal last season. And third we have Bakshi (Simon Kassianides) being interrogated by Bobbi and after he unwittingly reveals Whitehall's identity she verbally pushes him and he slams his face into the table, releasing a crafty cyanide capsule in his cheek. Do not fear, they saved him and have him on life support from what we can tell.
Back into the invisible plane and down to Australia for the conclusion of Coulson's spy work. They went there to set off an EMP and install Fitz's transmitter to hijack a satellite and find the mysterious city. It ended up working as planned, although a few trigger happy Hydras did mortally wound Tripp. Skye's crazy dad stepped in and saved him, after wounding him more. He made sure to talk about looking at his enemies while giving Coulson the crazy eye so I am assuming he's next on the list. Is it too much to ask to have the doctor enjoying some damn fine coffee in the next episode?
This plot and information cram of the last few weeks has to be used to move us to the mysterious city, whether we find it abandoned or populated (I am betting on the former) and possibly an activation of some powers dormant in Skye? Perhaps her crazy dad "The Doctor" will end up taking her to the afterlife and it doesn't mean death? Or does it? Things will most likely get inhuman in the next two weeks and it will be fun to see where they are going with comics characters, what will become of Ward, and which secondary character is going to be killed? One can assume.