Did this episode have it all? Well lets see – we had Ward (yay he’s back!), we had HYDRA (and we even got a glimpse of the Baron himself), we had an amazing time with Cal (Kyle MacLaclan) on his “day out” and we even got to see Lincoln strut his stuff a little bit. So yes, there was tons to enjoy in the most recent episode of SHIELD. Was it perfect … no, but then it never is … there are always some little quibbling little details that are just annoying, but there was lots to love here as I’m sure you’ll agree.
In Frenemy we had Coulson, Hunter and Fitz track down and make an uneasy alliance with Ward. Coulson offers to have Ward get a clean slate via the Tahiti protocol (yeah I don’t think anyone believes that Ward will go through with this) so that he can help him infiltrate HYDRA in an effort to track down Skye. We had Cal returning to his home in Milwaukee (ostensibly to collect his belongings in an effort to make his stay in the Afterlife more comfortable) with Skye in tow. We also had HYDRA tracking the comings and goings of Gordon and his Nightcrawler-esque powers using “quantum entanglement” to arrive in Milwaukee and the “Real” SHIELD hacking into Deathlok’s vision circuits to find out what Coulson and crew were up to so that they also arrived in Milwaukee! Basically everyone ends up in Cal’s Milwaukee office building for a variety of misunderstandings, double-crosses and plans being kept secret from the audience and all of the differing storylines all converge together – finally – in an orgasm of destruction!
When Jiaying makes the decision that Cal can no longer stay in the Afterlife – due to the concern she has for her fellow Inhumans, Skye counters that simply dropping him on the side of the road like a puppy is both cruel and malicious. She makes the very cogent argument that while he might not belong with them, he absolutely should not just be discarded as he will literally explode at the rejection. Making a deal to tag along so that she can let him down gently, Cal and Skye travel to Milwaukee where his enthusiasm to spend some time with his daughter can almost literally be felt. Cal – played so well by Kyle MacLachlan – can emote with the best and his delivery of lines like, “How about next time we grill?!” and “Big overdoer!” was hysterical, even as he showed the manic, dangerous side of Cal always lurking below the surface – one he’d later unleash on those Hydra agents. When they do arrive in Milwaukee, Skye is able to “obtain” a cell phone which she uses to contact May and the others while searching for Coulson. This action helps to get Bobbi and Mac to Milwaukee also.
Talking about Bobbi and Mac, I actually quite enjoyed the interaction between them at the start of the episode where they were discussing whether they’d made the right decisions to betray Coulson. Their banter and sparring (both verbal and physical) was excellently portrayed and when Mac literally bounced off the floor of the training room after being thrown by Bobbi I thought that was just excellent! However much they might be questioning their previous decisions though – they are still all in to find out what Coulson is actually up to and while no mention is made of the Theta protocol from last week’s episode, you can see that this is very much in their mind.
While Skye is sightseeing in Milwaukee with her dad, Coulson has managed to track down and corral Ward and makes him an offer he can’t refuse. While Ward seems to agree to this and gives up Bakshee in an effort to find out what HYDRA is up to with powered people, you just know that his end game is going to be something completely unexpected. If we were betting people, after the first episode of this season aired we wouldn’t have put any money whatsoever on Ward getting a redemption – while there are some instances here where he seems to show some remorse (specifically in regards to Skye), his actions till now have only demonstrated that he is nothing if not extremely dangerous. A complement that Coulson also pays him by bringing Deathlok to their initial meeting.
After Bakshee is able to organize a meeting – one that Mike Peterson (Deathlok) attends, Coulson, Hunter, Fitz, Ward and Agent 33 are able to see that HYDRA is also stalking Gordon and they hope that this will lead them to Skye – this is where Ward might start to change as the only thing he seems to care about, genuinely care about is Skye. Tailing them in their Quinjet they all arrive in Milwaukee also and Ward/Coulson head off in search of Skye while simultaneously fighting off the forces of HYDRA.
Bakshee meanwhile is seemingly NOT as brainwashed as we were led to believe as he manages to capture both Deathlok and Lincoln who were fighting each other, not really realizing that they were both there to protect and help Skye. Perhaps he (Bakshee) has a larger role to play in this after all (?) unless the whole thing is still a long con and he’s actually following the orders of Ward and Agent33.
While Coulson and Skye finally get a chance to see other again … it really is a father/daughter moment … they are yanked apart again by Gordon. Unfortunately Cal too joins in the teleport and you know that he is not going to be a happy camper when they get to the other side. While he’s continued to help and save Skye/Daisy – he’s nothing if not disturbed and his temper is never that far away!
Some Quibbles & Thoughts
- Skye/Daisy kind of “forgave” or empathized with Cal a bit too easily didn’t she? Last week she had to almost be forced to have a dinner with him, but now she’s understanding him so well? While her explanation made some sense – i.e. she’s been searching for her parents for so long and she did everything/anything to find them – I prefer to think that in reality she already had the idea that if she got out with him she could come up with a way of contacting SHIELD. I like to think that she’s that devious/intelligent!
- I hope that now that Skye has seen Coulson in person — even if it was in the unexpected company of Ward — we’ll see a bit more conflict between her SHIELD agent side and her reunited daughter side. With both Cal and Coulson in her life she has to feel pulled in many different directions and while she doesn’t have all of the facts, she needs to wonder about the fact that SHIELD was both helping her and hunting her.
- It was really, really good to have/see Ward again. He’s definitely not reformed and seems to always have multiple plans underway. I’d hate to see them figure out a way to make him back into a good guy as he is an awesome villain – in fact the scene where May and the others back at SHIELD headquarters saw Coulson and Ward together was pretty priceless (even though it was 100% expected), as far as a big “Oh, crap” moment, seemingly reinforcing everyone’s worst fears about Coulson and what he’s been up to. Unfortunately unless Ward becomes someone significantly greater than he is I do not see him staying around forever … I would expect that in an upcoming episode he is killed off while saving Skye giving him some (but not complete) redemption in the eyes of the world and SHIELD.
- There were several Age of Ultron moments – the Baron, experiments on powered people – sprinkled throughout the show and it’s quite possible that the April UK release is going to give all of us some interesting tie-ins and details! There were also references to Raina and her precog talents … this is definitely going to be important in the future.
News and Gossip
Finally some rumors … there has long been speculation about an upcoming Agents of SHIELD spin-off … yesterday it was announced that this show would focus on Bobbi and Hunter and to be honest I’m a bit torn about this. I absolutely love the interaction between the characters themselves – it’s very Mr. & Mrs. Smith with the bickering exes that do spy work together to be honest – and while I can see Hunter being a great standalone character, I’m actually not as enamored of Bobbi. I know this is probably surprising as most reviewers like her character, but her motivations and reasons for betraying Coulson and team leave nothing more than a sour taste in my mouth and I really don’t know if I can allow myself to trust her (character) in the future. Together they absolutely do add “something” to the show, but I also believe that the show could have done without her character and managed with a “throw away” mole within HYDRA to serve as Simmons rescuer.
All that being said though – you know me … I’m a Marvel junkie and I’ll be the first in line to watch this and report out to you all my thoughts when it finally does appear on our screens!