Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “Face My Enemy” Review

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Posted October 15, 2014 by Kenneth Rodriguez in Comic Books

If you would like to catch-up on last week’s episode, you can find it here.

 

 

So this week’s episode title describes the major reason this episode seems to exist in the first place, a pretty stellar Melinda May vs. Melinda May “face-off” (punny, very punny). The overall tale didn’t do much to advance the plot, but it seemed to replace heavy plot points with a Mission Impossible style undercover heist and fight scenes. This review might be a little lighter than usual, because in all honesty not much happened, but there were a few character building moments to point out.

We start off in a church in Miami, which we see has been burned to a crisp, and they brought out the local Catholic Church miracle expert to confirm… something. It seems that there was only one thing that actually survived the inferno, a 500 year old Renaissance painting of The Virgin Mary & Child. The church official is sure it must be a miracle (which is interesting since the Judeo/Christian supernatural mythologies does exist in the Marvel U) which I thought was the direction they were going, but sadly it wasn’t. The 500 year old painting seems to have the same markings GH-325 fueled Coulson has been obsessively drawing carved on the back. The church official wants to get it scientifically analyzed, so it gets taken away. We then learn that the S.H.I.E.L.D. team has learned about it, and we see Agent Lance wooing the secretary of the Philanthropist that acquired the Miracle Painting. They scooped up his schedule from her, and figured out they will need to go undercover to the art auction to steal the Miracle Painting for their own analysis.

 

May and Coulson go undercover, and May looks fantastic

May and Coulson go undercover, and May looks fantastic

Its decided May and Coulson will take the lead on the undercover mission, with the rest of the team backing them up. Coulson and May pose as husband and wife (and Ming-Na Wen looks fantastic) and they act as if they couldn’t be happier (she says my face hurts after smiling for  a while). Funnily, the team is confused when they hear May laughing, thinking something has happened to her. We get some hints at Coulson and May’s past, talking about how they used to go on missions together and how being solo undercover reminds them of the good old days. But, we do get a new wrinkle as Coulson wants to talk to May about a contingency plan in case something happens with his “episodes”, but she doesn’t want to hear about it. As they’re scoping out the place, it turns out Talbot shows up to the party too, and Coulson decides to meet up with him, to make sure their deal is still on and he won’t blow their cover. He seems to appreciate their deal, and says he won’t rat them out, but Coulson decides to move up their timetable to cut off the possibility. May distracts the Philanthropist (with some pretty good Spanish) as Coulson scans his retinas. They see he is actually ratting them out and ready to capture them, they go down to the storage space and find there is no painting there, and the government has already acquired it. We then see Talbot is talking to his superior about the successful mission stopping Coulson from getting the painting, but it turns out its actually Dr. Daniel Whitehall (revealed in previous episodes as running HYDRA), so it seems Talbot is actually a HYDRA lackey.

 

Talbot is ready to take Coulson out

Talbot is ready to take Coulson out

He has convinced Coulson and May to meet up with Talbot so he can covertly hand them the painting since he is actually a nice guy. May goes to check out the scene while Coulson goes back to The Bus, but it turns out “Talbot” actually Whitehall’s sidekick wearing one of those perfect hologram identity masks from Captain America: The Winter Solider that it seems HYDRA has co-opted from S.H.I.E.L.D. The brainwashed Agent 33 from last episode tries to take May out (which doesn’t end well for 33) but Dr. Whitehall’s assistant gets May with a tazer. Then, the HYDRA team co-opts May’s identity with the hologram mask, and Agent 33 becomes “May” to go undercover and find out more about S.H.I.E.L.D. She goes to the Bus to talk to Coulson as May is interrogated by Whitehall’s sidekick. As “May” arrives, she puts an electronic sabotage device on the bus and convinces Coulson to go to “Talbot” and get the painting. On their way to the meet up, Coulson decides she isn’t going to get away from the conversation about a contingency plan, and tells her if anything happens to him, he only trusts her to take over. As “May” agrees, she reassuringly grabs his hand, and he suddenly knows this isn’t the real May. In the hallway of the hotel, he asks her to “go out for that coffee they were supposed to get all those years ago” in case the mission goes south, when she agrees, he punches her in the face since “May hates coffee”. Whitehall’s sidekick stops his interrogation when he hears the struggle outside the hotel room, giving the real May a chance to escape her restraints and beat the crap out of the sidekick guy. He gets out of the hotel room with the painting, as Coulson goes to chase him, we finally get the May vs “May” fight we have been waiting for. It’s a fantastic fight, beautifully choreographed, and pretty brutal for network tv, overall the Real May gets the better of Agent 33 and knocks her out. Coulson catches the sidekick guy with an ICER and they get out of there fast.

 

May takes Agent 33 out hard

May takes Agent 33 out hard

There has been a mediocre B-story going on behind this, with the other team members bonding and chatting while they provide backup, but Fitz doesn’t think he can get involved. He is fighting with ghost Simmons about whether he can actually get involved with them since he doesn’t feel normal. As the Bus begins to be sabotaged by “May’s” electronic disruptor, Fitz saves the day with Hunter (since apparently his physiological issues are also physiological and he cannot control his hands as well anymore). After they barely save the Bus from blowing up, Hunter invites Fitz to join their pow-wow and the whole team bonds some more. The real May and Coulson talk to Talbot about him being impersonated by HYDRA, and why Coulson didn’t realize he wouldn’t bother showing up for just a painting (this is true, Coulson should have been way more suspicious about this). Then they finally have a real conversation about contingencies. May says she already has a plan to send him to a cabin the in the Australian Outback (“Cuz I like Kangaroos, I get it” Coulson responds) but he tells her that isn’t going to fix it, and no matter her feelings, he has to take him out if it comes to it. She isn’t comfortable with that and she is surprised he is so serious about it, but she understands that’s how it has to be. In the last teaser, we get a scene with Dr. Whitehall personally showing up to threaten Raina in person about her possession of the Obelisk. He plants a 48 hour time bomb on her, claiming he has sadistically operated on a patient for a full week in the 40’s, so he is sure he can do more now after taking her in for not complying with his demands. She then leaves, seemingly going to get the Obelisk for him.

So this week’s episode seems to have been a bit of fluff, hinting at Coulson and May’s previous relationship and building Fitz’s comeback a bit more. Not a whole lot of plot points were moved forward, but we found out the Winter Solider hologram masks are still around and HYDRA is very much active with co-opting S.H.I.E.L.D. technology. Coulson seems very serious about not ending up like John Garrett, and hopefully we get some more information about how serious his condition is. Hopefully next week’s episode gets more into some meaty plot details, but as of right now, these sort of episodes are meant to fill some space before the big season’s climaxes.


About the Author

Kenneth Rodriguez

Kenny has been completing his pokedex since Pokemon Yellow, ever ready for his next test, comics in hand. He thinks Mass Effect is the best game series ever,.. period and loves TV and Movies dearly. Follow him on Twitter @k_rod14