Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “Frenemy of my Enemy” review

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Posted April 24, 2015 by Kenneth Rodriguez in Comic Books

If you would like to catchup on last week’s episode, you can find that here

 

This week’s episode felt like a juggling act, for the showrunners and the viewer. The writers have finally decided to create a situation to corral all the various factions we have been introduced to so far into one location, a surprisingly difficult thing to do. After moving all the pieces in place, everyone happens to show up in an office building in Milwaukee, which ends up being more organic than you would think. Seeing all the different sides interact is some of the most fun AoS has brought all season and really goes to show what it can do when its firing on all cylinders. But, there are a lot of times where the show feel s like it is hovering, keeping things stagnant or just out of reach until the right pieces fall into place, which breaks the fourth wall to some degree. The episode was an interesting place to end up at leading into the finale, but I’m starting to get to the point of fatigue, I would like some answers please.

 

Cal is very excited to hang with Skye

Cal is very excited to hang with Skye

We see that Cal is loving the new, if not very strange, dynamic he has cultivated with his family. Jiaying plays along with being happy their family is “reunited” but she knows it’s not really that simple, and still seems to resent him for his past transgressions. Skye hears about her plan to send Cal away from Afterlife, under the guise of picking up his things, and can’t accept throwing him away like an unwanted puppy. She is concerned not only for his feelings (she seems to be realizing that he isn’t inherently evil, just very misguided and disturbed) but what could happen to innocents if the abandonment enrages him. Jiaying doesn’t want to admit it, but she can see the idea (apparently we haven’t seen Cal at his worst yet, hopefully he has some kind of transformation into a monstrous “Mr. Hyde” form like the comics?) and allows Skye to accompany Cal and let him down easy. It’s really hard not to have some empathy for Cal (mostly due to Kyle MacLauchlan’s grade-A performance), he has spent his entire life looking for his family and went to incredible means to that end, so the consequences are a bit more understandable. As they walk around Milwaukee, Cal realizes that the city is nothing like he remembers it as he tries to show Skye the places he used to hang out on their “Father-Daughter Day”. As he is lamenting, she occupies him with getting ice cream and steals a pedestrian’s phone. She calls up May and tells her to find her and contain Cal, as she suspects there will be chaos when she breaks the news to him.

May receives the message and Simmons traces the location, sending Mac and Bobbi out to help. May is trying to lessen the suspicions about Simmons as she “works” on opening Fury’s toolbox for the “real S.H.I.E.L.D.” , they know she is stalling. Finally the jig is up and Simmons has to reveal that the real toolbox is with Fitz, but May blames only Fitz for the swap, leaving Simmons out of it. May is still upset that Simmons kept that from her all this time, as she is determined to get all the secretes out in the open.

 

Coulson offering Ward his deal

Coulson offering Ward his deal

Meanwhile, Coulson is going to extreme lengths to take advantage of his thin resources and hatches a plan to enlist Ward’s help in their mission, despite Fitz’s protests. They hold Agent 33 hostage in order to stage a meeting with Ward (since the pair are intimately involved now), and it goes off. Coulson offers a deal, help them get to Dr. List and Baron von Strucker (who seem to be experimenting on powered people, as we know from their dealings with Scarlett Witch and Quicksilver at the end of Captain America: The Winter Solider)  and Coulson with let them go. There is one caveat though, Coulson wants to put Ward through the T.A.H.I.T.I. project before he lets him go, in order to release him of all the horrible events of his life, give him a fresh start. Ward is intrigued, and agrees (though we know there’s more than that), deciding to use the newly brainwashed Bakshi as an intermediary to meet with Dr. List. During the meeting, with Deathlok’s eye feed as a view in, they realize that Ward hasn’t told them everything he has been planning. Bakshi offers Deathlok to Dr. List as a sign of good faith, which Deathlok is not ready to accept and trains his weapons. Coulson is furious at the deception and pulls his gun, causing everyone to do the same in a standoff. Ward insists this is the only way to gain List’s trust and get to Strucker, but after some assurances and posturing they broker a truce and Fitz stops Deathlok from firing his weapons, the situation settled momentarily. List continues on, as if nothing were the matter, and lets Bakshi know he will take him to Strucker, but is going to take a short detour to find the source of a strange energy signature he has been following. He mentions it is related to Quantum Entanglement, and Is unlike anything he has ever seen (the audience can realize here he is referring to Gordon’s teleportation powers), and they head to… Milwaukee.

 

Things get heated by the uneasy alliances

Things get heated by the uneasy alliances

It seems everyone has arrived for the showdown, and it kicks off when Skye breaks the news of his abandonment to Cal at his old Doctor’s office. He starts getting heated and attacks Lincoln, who was sent to keep an eye on Skye. Some of List’s HYDRA agents show up and get involved in the fray, while Coulson, Ward and Deathlok encounter them on the other side of the building. Lincoln and Skye make a run for it while Cal is busy, but Lincoln runs in to Deathlok and they go at it. Lincoln’s electric abilities weaken Deathlok’s cybernetics and both Simmons and Fitz (who were separately monitoring his feed) lose contact with him. Too preoccupied to notice, Bakshi uses a stun weapon to knock them both out and takes them in for testing (though since we know Bakshi isn’t really working for list, this might end up working out). Skye, still running, catches a glimpse of Coulson out of the corner of her eye and runs towards him. He is surprised to see her and runs to, but Gordon arrives just before, starting to teleport her away. But just as he is about to disappear, Cal jumps in for a ride and they all vanish. Coulson is blown away, he almost had Skye and now he has no idea where she went. They are missing Deathlok, outgunned and failed their mission to retrieve Skye, and he doesn’t really know what to do about it. In the last stinger, we see Bobbi and Mac arrived well after all the chaos is over, but they find a surprise straggler, Coulson. He quips a good “take me to your leader” and we see he is willingly getting captured, for what ends is unknown.

So, this week felt like a necessary showdown to release some of the steam the show has been building the last couple of weeks. There are so many plots moving around that sometimes it feels like they are completely independent of each other, and we get short 20 minute vignettes of 5 different shows every week. This week’s episode really put everything back into perspective, reminding us they are all working towards similar goals and were once part of the same team. I can see Coulson having a very deep backup plan here, hoping that Ward can keep Bakshi in check and use Deathlok as an inside man in HYDRA, while recruiting the “real S.H.I.E.L.D.” to help him out with his sign of good faith. I’m still not sure what direction the newly announced spin-off show from AoS starring Hunter and Bobbi will take, but if it is anything like the best moments the two have had, it could be interesting. I’m hoping it takes a more spy-themed approach, maybe reorganizing “real S.H.I.E.L.D.” as H.A.M.M.E.R. or S.W.O.R.D., leaving the superhero/Inhuman antics to continue unabated on AoS.

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Things have gotten complicated

It seems Skye and Cal are finally going to settle their differences one way or another, since there are no more false pretenses about their relationship. Hopefully we will get more solid information about the politics surrounding Afterlife, as there are still too many unanswered questions there. They seem to think Raina’s possible pre-cognitive abilities would be the first on earth (though we’ve been fooled with that shtick before) and they have lost track of one of their own, Ethan, though we know he is dead due to List’s experiments. I’m thinking we will have Baron von Strucker arrive in some capacity as a tie-in to Avengers: Age of Ultron and Lincoln will recognize that List and Strucker killed Ethan and are aware of their kind. Maybe this will lead to some Inhuman super-heroing in the future, as they join Coulson’s fight against HYDRA in a theoretical Season 3? I would totally be ok with that. Overall though, while entertaining, this episode was a bit hollow and exhausting (too many unknowns) but necessary for doing a bit of housecleaning.

 

Here is a teaser for next week’s episode “The Dirty Half-Dozen”

 


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