Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “One Door Closes Review”

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Posted April 10, 2015 by Kenneth Rodriguez in Comic Books

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

 

Man oh man, this week’s AoS finally stated paying off all the setup it’s been stuck retreading the past few episodes, and in a big way. We finally get to see the “real S.H.I.E.L.D.” reveal itself to Coulson’s faction and we see just how powerful Skye really is with her new abilities. This week’s episode felt fast paced and full of action, something the show desperately need after the past few episodes of jogging in place. Lots of subplots get fleshed out or finally put in motion without much extraneous baggage, keeping the current trend of fast, paced, hard-hitting world building that the first few episodes after the midseason premiere seemed to be going for. It’s obvious now that the last two episodes were basically filler, setting up situations that would become important later on as the show reaches ever closer to its inevitable crossover with Avengers: Age of Ultron and its almost guaranteed shakeup of the status quo on AoS, ala Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

So, we begin with a cold-open flashback sequence, with Mac and his fellow S.H.I.E.L.D. colleagues being held hostage and interrogated by a HYDRA agent during the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D.. They are trying to find the chief engineer, and one of his friends calls himself out in order to protect Mac. He can’t take that and immediately gives himself up, and the HYDRA agent kills his friend anyway, showing just how brutal HYDRA really is (in case we didn’t already know). Just as it seems all hope is lost for Mac and his crew, Bobbi storms into the room and takes all the agents out, apparently one of the few survivors left trying to retake the ship they are on, along with Lucy Lawless’ Agent Isabelle Hartley (yay! Her scenes are all too brief, but awesome). It seems Fury has tasked Bobbi with a suicide mission, sink the carrier their own before HYDRA can get a hold of its mysterious and apparently very dangerous cargo.

 

The "real" Shield crew fighting to survive

The “real” Shield crew fighting to survive

Since the deck’s are crawling with HDYRA agents and the way back to the control center is nigh impossible to get to on her own, the other members of the ragtag survivors, including Edward James Ulmos’ Commander Robert Gonzales (who makes a fantastic entry, even showing the axe-inflicted leg wound that would come to relegate him to walk with a cane later), decide to all help Bobbi fulfill Fury’s orders. They fight hard, and there are some great action scenes, especially from Lawless and her knife-happy demeanor, but the crew eventually gets back to the control deck. Just as Bobbi is about to sink the ship, taking the cargo out of play but killing them and all the helpless crew trying to save themselves on the ship, Mac starts having second thoughts. They start wondering why they are blindly following Fury’s orders anymore if he is “dead” (as far as they know), if his style of keeping secrets didn’t stop HYDRA from taking over, and in fact might have facilitated their takeover. Commander Gonzales seems deadest on following orders and going down with the ship, with the others pleading with Bobbi to come around and abandon the suicide mission. There is some tussle back and forth, but eventually Bobbi decides she would rather try to take back the ship with them and save as many people as they can, setting up a showdown. There is a great slow-mo shot of all the survivors lined up like a superhero team, emptying their clips in desperate solidarity. We know they survived, as they are around in the present, but the scene does a great job setting up just how desperate the situation was.

 

Mac and Bobbi conspiring

Mac and Bobbi conspiring

In present day, we see the “real S.H.I.E.L.D.”’s efforts to solidify their overthrow of Coulson’s faction the way Bobbi promised to at the end of last episode, before Hunter can warn them about it. We see Coulson allowing Mac to peek under Lola’s hood, but only with supervision, as they chat. We see Bobbi cut the engine lines on the Quinjet and sabotage the Playground’s systems with an over-ride chip. Coulson starts asking Mac some unusual questions about the Lola replica he made for him, postulating that the miniature is so perfect, this isn’t the first time he’s looked under the hood. But there was one thing out of place to Coulson, one specific component (and knowing that Coulson hand-built that car with his dad, we can see why he would know it inside and out). He tells Mac the gig is up, he knows the component was used for spying and while he doesn’t know what for yet, he wants Mac to surrender before he has to force him to. There is some posturing back and forth, with Mac stating HE works for S.H.I.E.L.D.  but Coulson doesn’t, not the “real S.H.I.E.L.D.”. By not answering the questions Coulson figures out Bobbi is involved too, letting May know just in time, as she is about to get her hands on Fury’s toolbox, the device they had identified a few episodes earlier as their main purpose for infiltrating Coulson’s outfit. There is a great action scene between May and Bobbi, with each fearsome lady holding their own against the other, but really beating each other up, until Bobbi sets off her system override and blacks out the base, allowing her to disappear.

Bobbi runs into Simmons as she is trying to get away, who pulls a fantastic stunt in playing dumb about Bobbi’s involvement and chatting her up long enough to setup a knockout device, activating it once Bobbi’s guard was down enough to not notice it. They cuff her and decide what they do with her is dependent on what her plans for them were, still unsure of her intentions. May goes to Bobbi’s locker to see if there is any damning evidence, but only discovers a gas mask in a hidden compartment, just in time for some blue smoke to come seeping out of the air vents. The blackout is enough for Mac to get away, and we see him confront Fitz in the server room, who was about to discover Bobbi’s override device. He tries to resolve the situation calmly, but when he notices gas coming through vents, he runs to Fitz and tries to cover him as the wall behind them blows. The “real S.H.I.E.L.D.” agents were apparently on their way to siege the Playground, and they successfully overtake the crippled base, the only one not captured is May. We see Fitz/Simmons held up in the lab, where the former director of the S.H.I.E.L.D. academy (we saw her have a chummy relationship with the duo in season 1, before the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. ) tries to get them to see reason in this “real S.H.I.E.L.D. “ , and explains her loyalty comes from Agent Calderon saving her at the S.H.I.E.L.D.  academy, as she was fending off an “enhanced” that HYDRA had sent on them all by herself.

Coulson and Gonzales have a show-down

Coulson and Gonzales have a show-down

She asks for Simmons’ help in treating Mac’s injuries, and for the first time I a long time, we see Fitz/Simmons console each other as they agree they should at least help Mac since he saved Fitz. Gonzales and Coulson, now in handcuffs,  talk about what his intentions are, with Gonzales calling him Fury’s creation (figuratively and literally) after bringing him back from the death with alien blood and basically forcing him to accept the position as Director (Coulson deadpans “I didn’t really want that, but I’ve come to appreciate the gesture”). He thinks Coulson is nothing but a continuation of Fury’s failed logic, and thinks only his new regime can be the ones to bring S.H.I.E.L.D. back to prominence. He tries to get Coulson to open Fury’s toolbox for him, which Coulson refuses as he certainly doesn’t agree with Gonzales’ version of events. He gives it to guards, assuring Coulson they will find a way to open in themselves in time, and just as he does May arrives and ICERs Gonzales and the guards. She opens a secret elevator in the office and gives Coulson some supplies, telling him he needs to be safe because without him, there is no S.H.I.E.L.D., she surrenders willingly to guards after he escapes, clearly with a plan in mind.

 

A certain Green Avenger has been here before

A certain Green Avenger has been here before

While this is happening at the Playground, it seems the rouge group’s plan to capture Skye was set in motion and they set out to find her. They discover that Coulson dropped her off at “The Retreat”, apparently a super-secure location that Bruce Banner used to learn how to control the Hulk in, the same house we saw him enter at the end of The Incredible Hulk. Skye’s time there has been lonely, but she has been trying out the suppressor gloves Simmons created for her (apparently causing her to feel woozy just by wearing them, an interesting side effect). She loses contact with the base, which is unexpected, and through her investigations he discovers the walls have false paneling on them, and reveals a Hulk-sized fist-print in the super-strong metal walls behind them (the fact the Coulson brought Skye to the same place Bruce Banner used to contain himself as the Hulk goes to show just how dangerous he seems to think Skye is). Just as she is freaking out about that and cabin fever seems to be getting the best of her, a mysterious knock is heard from the door. It is Gordon (a.k.a. The Reader, the eyeless, teleporting Inhuman we’ve seen earlier) and he comes bearing a message of acceptance and peace if she wants to join up with the rest of them. He tells her when he went through Terrigenisis he had years of preparation, learning what would happen to him and had someone to embrace him after he changed and assume him everything was ok (this was Skye’s mother of course), while Skye was shunned and treated as a danger to everyone. He explains how powerful she can be, her ability is not simply causing earthquakes, but tapping into the natural vibrations of every piece of matter around her, with the potential to do “incredible things”. He tells her he can take her to this safe place where she can learn to control her powers whenever she is ready, even though she isn’t ready to abandon Coulson just yet, and he teleports away. As she is washing her hands and absorbing everything he told her, she begins vibrating the water and changing its shape, a sign she is beginning to get a handle on her abilities.

Things don’t start getting any better for Skye as she receives a call from May, ominously warning her to leave as fast as possible, as ” S.H.I.E.L.D. “ is coming for her. She freaks out and leaves, but it seems as Bobbi, Calderon, and some agents have caught up with her using only ICERs, As they attempt to corner her, Calderon lets out a shot from his standard pistol, to Bobbi’s surprise, and as it is about to hit Skye, she panics and lets out a massive vibrational shockwave, blasting the bullet away but also vaporizing the huge trees at least 50 ft in front of her, flinging Bobbi and Calderon back and embedding lumber shrapnel in the latter. Everyone is shocked, and in a desperate  plea she asks Gordon to help her, and he obliges by teleporting in and whisking her away. We see Coulson chose a tropical destination as his hiding spot (with the bartender postulating his sour mood to an ex-wife getting the house in a divorce, clever). Hunter shows up, and signs a piece of paper, letting him know he considers that his contract and is accepting the permanent position Coulson offered previously.

Lucy Lawless' return was one of the best parts

Lucy Lawless’ return was one of the best parts

Well, this episode certainly did a lot to win back some good factor after the last few episodes’ lackluster performance, giving some solid payoffs for the set we had to endure and setting in motion some cool plot points. It seems we will learn a lot more about the Inhuman “academy” that Gordon is a part of since Skye is now a resident, and it seems she may run into her father Cal while she is there, since that’s where the series left him off. I can only imagine it is the setup for an Inhuman society that will be fully realized in the Inhuman film in 2019, so it may only be the very beginning whispers of the monarchy. The ship the flashbacks took place on was called the Iliad, which also shares its name with a reformatted S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier in the comics that is home to a covert Avengers team whose members include Maria Hill and Daisy Johnson (a.k.a. Skye) so who knows its implications. There is lots of speculation about what the cargo might be on the ship and why would they an aircraft carrier be needed to protect it, with theories between another Obelisk to Fing Fang Foom, and at this point AoS is so wide open either one could theoretically be introduced; but my money is on Mar-Vell, since Kree are already standard fare in the show and they have to start sowing the seeds of Captain Marvel somewhere. Fitz/Simmons have started to repair their relationship in the smallest ways, but it is nice to see them not at each other’s throats and hopefully that continues (but it was strange hearing Simmons call Fitz “Leo” for the first time, I almost forget that’s his given name). The ghostly, desaturated look of the flashbacks were fun, hopefully they can continue to use it to change up the standard look of the show. And lastly, man if Bobbi realizing that Calderon was trying to kill Skye even though she ordered ICERs only might start breaking the rose-tinted glasses she has been viewing the “real S.H.I.E.L.D.” propaganda she has been accepting, maybe she will defect back to Coulson’s side sooner rather than later.


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