Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “Scars” Review

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Posted May 12, 2015 by Kenneth Rodriguez in Comic Books

If you would like to catch-up on last week’s (FANTASTIC) episode, you can find that here

ALSO, since the film has been released and all the Marvel Cinematic Universe properties are connected:

**AGE OF ULTRON SPOILERS AHEAD**

 

So, three steps forward and two steps back I guess? This week’s episode was such a banal and disappointing followup to the exciting promise the last episode tempted us with I’ve found it difficult to even write this review. It sets up some interesting plot points, but they are the ones we all knew were coming since the end of season 1, without much surprise to make them new again. I really hope the finale next week lives up to the grand hopes this episode this episode seems concerned to spend most of its runtime setting up. Seeing as this season has been mostly filled with surprises left and right, I am inclined to give it the benefit of the doubt, but we will see. It wsa just recently revealed that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter have been officially renewed by ABC, so there is also the question as to whether the finalie was filmed as a surrogate series finale as well (back when they were totally unsure if they were getting a season 3). But regardless, lets get this week out of the way so we can speculate about what the finale might hold!

 

"Theta Protocol" before Age of Ultron

“Theta Protocol” before Age of Ultron

We begin with the confirmation that “Theata protocol” was the plan for Coulson to keep a helicarrier secretly operational in case Fury (or in as it happened, the Avengers) needed it. We are given a flashback of Agent Koneig (yay Patton Oswalt! And boo the ham-fisted dialogue meant to proclaim him and his brother as man-children rooted in the GAM3R millennial generation playing COD) introducing Coulson to the storage facility. We are then reintroduced to the team on said Helicarrier celebrating how they helped defeat Ultron in some way, and regrouping for the current threat. This scene makes the Deus-Ex Machina-ness of the Helicarrier’s arrival in Age of Ultron more forgiving, but for people who only watch the movies, they will never know that this was the deal, a strange way for Marvel to go. What a perfect way for them to reintroduce Coulson to the Avengers, by having him save them for once, and also give AoS viewers more confirmation that yes, this show is indeed connected to the films. If they don’t want to get involved in the whole explaining the TAHITI project to the Avengers in such an overstuffed film, have Simmons or May or Koenig show up and mention that the carrier is “Theta Protocol”. It doesn’t impact the movie watching crowd who wouldn’t know who they are, but would give die-hards who watch the show a fantastic fist-pump moment, maybe even spurring some movie watchers to check out the show to understand the link. But alas, we get another “oh yeah, the Avengers were awesome off-screen” monment like the aftermath of Thor: The Dark World, nice but ultimately unnecessary to the greater plot of the show. (Now if Theta Protocol was more involved in the New Avengers training facility we glimpsed at the end of Age of Ultronlike I speculated last week,  that would be interesting).

 

Raina trying to turn Gordon to her side

Raina trying to turn Gordon to her side

Through some negotiating and promises of nobility, Coulson manages to convince Gonzales to combine the two S.H.I.E.L.D. units under himself as Director, but Gonzales’ brain-trust as a less    pretentious and more experienced “World Security Council” like S.H.I.E.L.D. used to have.  In the meanwhile, we see Raina finally embracing her gift, but using it for nefarious purposes. She is using her visions to gain trust and favor amoung the denizens of Afterlife, bring them good news about their fortunes. She seems to be jockeying herself into a position where she can challenge Jiaying for leadership of Afterlife, beause as she sees it, who put her in charge? She seems to be succeeding, with Gordon apparently going along  with her plan in questioning Jiaying’s authority. She has a vision of something that will cause great danger to the Inhuman community, and seems to manipulate Gordon to take her to it and not let Jiaying know. He teleports her to the place, which just happens to be the Helicarrier everyone else is hanging out in. They scout the place, trying to find the item of interest and they find it, but not before Hunter catches them too. It turns out the item Raina saw is also the mysterious cargo Gonzales had been keeping secret al this time. Everyone was surprised by what it is, and Fury’s toolbox knew nothing about its compision, only that the 8 ft tall constantly melting and reforming stone was of Kree origin. Gordon and Raina leave, and It turns out they have found a way to track Gordon’s teleportation energy signature and have tracked him back to Afterlife, and they are itching to blow it out off the map. Coulson obviously is not entertained by this idea, and jockeys for it to be a fact-finding mission instead. Gonzales warns about the folly of letting one man have all the power, like Fury used to or Stark creating Ultron due to no one questioning his actions. Coulson agrees that he may not be as impartial as he would need to be with things that concern Skye as he should be, so he will be sitting out this mission. They send Gonzales as a surrogate and several S.H.I.E.L.D. teams., with Skye and Lincoln acting as liasons.

Cal is consistently warning her about Raina’s manipulative tendencies, and how even from a young age she began to influence people to her benefit. Upon Skye and Lincoln’s return, they hear of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s imminent visit and they panic. Skye begs Jiaying to hear them out, so everything can continue since all they want to do is “index” them, not directly attack. Jiaying is not convinced, but Cal offers himself up as a peace offering. If Afterlife shows that they are willing to let them capture a wanted criminal, they can be perceived as less of a threat, which helps convince her a bit more. On the way to the facility, Bobbi and May have a heart to heart about the situation with S.H.I.E.L.D. but something’s off about the coordinates they are flying to. “may” reveals herself to be Agent 33 in disguise and attempts to capture Bobbi, which does not go well for her. After a major asskicking, Bobbi disembarks from the plane, disoriented, but gets hit by an ICER by Ward, completing the plan that he apparently had cooking since he left Kara there last week. I imagine this side plot was meant to launch the AoS spinoff series starring Bobbi and Hunter next season, but we know that series has now been shelved by ABC, and the Finale was probably filmed with that in mind, so… I imagine that those storylines will be folded into AoS Season 3 or neatly tied up in the season premiere, pretending that was never the plan.

 

Gonzales and Diviner metal don't mix well

Gonzales and Diviner metal don’t mix well

Before the meeting occurs, it seems Gordon wasn’t as entranced by Raina’s machinations as she thought, and the whole Inhuman crew comes to pay her a visit. Jiaying chastises her for abusing her gift, which is very against the Inhuman ways, and they decide to segregate her from the meeting and decide what to do afterwords. She warns them about her visions of the destruction, and how it will all start with Jiaying’s meeting but she is “the boy who cried wolf”, no one believes she isn’t trying to manipulate them now that she got caught. Gonzales finally arrives and has a private audience with Jiaying, trying to express how much they have no quarrel with the Inhuman community as long as they let them document their existence and cooperate, presenting a trinket she was going to give Skye as a child that she lost and S.H.I.E.L.D. had recovered long ago. Jiaying seems to be taken aback by the gesture, but begins to express her concerns. She shows Gonzales an artificial Terrigen Crystal they have synthesized, but it seems that it is imperfect, as it is embedded with shards of the Diviner casing, but it is still fully effective.  As she is explaining this, she begins getting more irritated and upset about S.H.I.E.L.D.’s arrogance in segregating people because they perceive them as different and slams the crystal down, spreading the mist. We find out now that Gonzales is not an Inhuman, as the diviner metal in the msit begins turning him to stone, before he can shoot Jiaying in defense. It seems she is willing to do anything to protect her people, including starting a war with S.H.I.E.L.D.. She grabs Gonzales’ gun and shoots herself twice in the shoulder, hoping to make her use of the Diviner look to be her own self-defense, it seems Raina’s vision of horrible danger coming to Afterlife weren’t so crazy after all.

 

Jiaying is stirring up a whole pot of trouble

Jiaying is stirring up a whole pot of trouble

Well, yeah this episode seemed to just be setting up the conflict between S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Inhumans we knew was coming for a long while; though I suppose it is notable they are finally called “Inhumans” in-universe. But the more I see them, the more I realize this particular sect will probably have little if nothing to do with the more prominent Inhuman Royal Family (famously Blackbolt, Medusa etc.), especially since they do not seem to hint toward a wider net existing beyond themselves. Jiaying’s manipulation of Gonzales’ trip was shocking, but made sense for her character and made me a lot more hopeful they won’t kill her off (though,… I guess she is immortal so they couldn’t?). In the finale, I’m still pretty sure the strange melting/reforming Kree artifact they found in the basement of the ship will somehow turn out to be some kind of Terrigen Bomb, creating many new Inhumans that could create a situation the government might find in need of restriction and control. Its highly probable that the artifact will go into hiding and be released during Captain America: Civil War, acting as the “event with collateral damage” that causes the government’s reaction, as a couple thousand new Inhumans running around without any semblance of control over their abilities would be cause for concern, and maybe necessitate a Superhuman Registration Act in some form. It would also serve as another great tie-in to AoS, much like Theta Protocol was for Avengers: Age of Ultron, paying off a major storyline for show watchers at the end of Season 3 but easily explained during the film for movie watchers. I imagine Skye’s allegiance will shift by the end of the episode, can she really argue for S.H.I.E.L.D.’s merit when they just shot her mother? I expect the Inhumans to take on an antagonist role for Season 3, since it seems like much of HYDRA has been eliminated for now after Baron von Strucker’s death in Age of Ultron (but, you know there’s the whole “cut off one head, two replace it thing” too). Seeing as Cal drank a bunch of his special serum before S.H.I.E.L.D. took him into custody, i have to imagine Jiaying will also use him to destroy their facility from the inside, (and hopefully we gete a full “Mr. Hyde” transformation) But it will be interesting for Coulson and viewers to most likely have a character like Skye, who is sympathetic to S.H.I.E.L.D. and holds great power/influence in their ranks, on the opposing side. Well, let’s see how much of this comes true on the 2-hour season finale this Tuesday.


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