Tweetable Takeaway: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ramps up everything in anticipation of its mid-season finale. And it’s amazing.
Airtime: Tuesday at 9ET on ABC
By: Dana Leigh Brand, Contributor
I love AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. so much that it’s becoming unhealthy. It usually takes me a few hours (yes hours) to calm down enough to write my review, and that with piling a different TV show I love on top of it so I can absorb it fully. But tonight there is no calming down. There is no waiting period after which I will become coherent. There is simply now, and there is next week, and there is me still screaming and shaking here in a puddle on my couch. There is my file full of profanity laden, key-smashing, typo-ridden notes. I will try, try to turn them into complete sentences in an orderly fashion. I make no promises. It’s glorious that this episode is called “…Ye Who Enter Here.” That ellipsis is so telling. We can’t just run around calling it “Abandon All Hope” now, can we?
Okay, first let’s start off with me being obnoxious: CALLED IT. I’ll say again I don’t read comics, and I don’t do spoilers–I can barely stand episode previews let alone any “sneak peeks” or interviews. But I said like a month ago that this entire thing was feeling very Guardians of the Galaxy and tonight we definitely and definitively connected up Coulson’s blue GH325 alien to the Kree. I’m quite happy, since this is the first line we can draw between Guardians–which felt ridiculously out-there–and the rest of the MCU. Also, I knew Lee Pace’s naked blue behind would bring me more good things.
So much is going on here, though. So much. Let’s start with my personal obsession to get it out of the way. Fitz and Simmons are apparently avoiding each other like the plague and get stern talkings-to from various newbs. I always manage to be terrified they’re gonna get ruined. So far, so good. Simmons explains that she had all of zero seconds to process what the hell Fitz was telling her, and apparently still has no idea how she feels about his feelings. Girl, I’ve got your back. I can now go delete that half-finished fanfic that said basically the same thing. Here’s my favorite bit of perfection: “I never thought of him as anything else. That said I can’t imagine my life without him.” Hang on, I need to go punch my feelings into the couch cushions. Mack is about to crack some skulls if these two don’t get their act together. The long-anticipated FitzSimmons talk turned out to be not so much a talk as Fitz running away yet again. That’s fine, I can deal with that (she says, screaming loudly.) His plan isn’t going to work out anyway. My drama meter says more drama is imminent.
Hunter and Bobbi remain an item and Mack is side-eying them hard. He confronts Bobbi about if Hunter knows about “that other thing” which she very sternly denies. What other thing, Bobbi? I am beyond intrigued. We don’t know Bobbi well yet, but I sure do love her, and there are hints that she’s got about six games running at the same time. Intrigue upon intrigue! “Knowing Bobbi,” I imagine, is something like “knowing Ward” or “knowing Romanoff”– it’s just not going to happen. I look forward to peeling back her onion layers.
While Coulson heads for Puerto Rico and the alien city, May, Skye, and Hunter get a tip from Koenig that Hydra is after Raina who’s been on the run for a while. Agent 33 (our old brainwashed-into-Hydra peon who May zapped in the face a while back) is stuck in May’s face and running point for Whitehall. Things I liked about this entire scenario: Skye got to kick some serious ass; May still has a doppelganger; there are like an infinite amount of Agent Koenigs and Patton Oswalt is having way too much fun with it; Raina’s idea of “undercover” seems to be literally wearing anything except a flower dress; Raina gets a lanyard (all Koenigs are obsessed with lanyards.) Duplicitous and self-interested as ever, in the middle of the S.H.I.E.L.D. rescue operation, Raina tries to run to Hydra since they have the Diviner. May and co. still bring her in on the Bus, and she has a long chat with Skye about Kree, and cities, and crazy plot things that have big red “PAY ATTENTION” flags hanging on them.
Back in Puerto Rico, Bobbi and Coulson discuss collateral damage and Coulson’s style of directing versus Fury’s. We get some nice moments between the two, and–while last season Coulson’s pontificating about morals and values always seemed sort of strange–now they’ve got it right. Every time Coulson refuses to compromise on protecting people I love him just a little bit more. Bobbi’s local contact is terrified of where they’re trying to go because of local legends about the place and bails. Simmons fills us in on the ghost story while Fitz sets up his tech and tries to get Simmons to be in charge of all science-y bits. She’s not having it, and makes Fitz do his Fitz-y thing. Mack, meanwhile, is increasingly tired of being the human wall that they’re both hiding behind. Fitz has attached to him in lieu of what he had with Simmons. So of course, who do we send down into the dark pit to figure out why the tech died? Mack. We send Mack. Take a deep breath, friends, the damage is about to start.
DON’T TOUCH THE STUPID ALIEN STUFF, OKAY GUYS. HAVE WE NOT LEARNED THIS?! DON’T TOUCH THE ALIEN CRAPOLA. So, Mack touches the stuff, curls up screaming in pain, is dragged back topside and goes Kree-nutso. There is peril, mayhem, emotional damage, certain people hanging upside down in shafts of death (that’s you, Simmons, that’s you), and dearest, darling, sweet, precious, wonderful Mack turns instantly into a rampaging killing machine, is knocked out thanks to a group effort, and inadvertently tossed back down the death-shaft. I AM UPSET. I had a bad period in my life where I was on Tumblr around a lot of disagreeable people who took “fandom” as “free license to hate everything” rather than “let’s love things together.” I can imagine, for a variety of reasons, Tumblr is pissy tonight. I’m not upset for pissy Tumblr reasons. I’m upset because I loved Mack, because his apparent demise is devastating to me, because people (characters, Dana, they’re characters) I love are still trapped down in crazy town with no idea how to handle it or what to do, and because ugh, MACK. He was uber-sweet to my Fitz! He made a remote controlled Lola! He was on the verge of smashing FitzSimmons’ heads together out of annoyance! Of all the newbies, they picked the one that would hurt the most to swiftly and violently destroy. And it hurts good, man. They got me good. (I’m always reluctant to actually accept characters are totes dead. Ask me next week.)
Moving on: Ward is off the reservation and I’m still filled with glee about it. He went to Hydra, sure, but Ward is playing his own game in the middle of all this crazy. He retrieved Raina, as Whitehall asked, but he also didn’t destroy the Bus and took Skye with him because he has a deliciously creepy fixation which I adore. He’s so good at quintuple agent-ing he’s about to outfox Coulson and Whitehall together and become some insane third party just trying to figure out who the hell he is and what he wants. I have far too much to say about Ward, so I’ll spare you the essay for now, but suffice it to say: love. Love love love. Keep being a free radical, Ward, you’re adding spice to the already caliente stew.
Lest I forget Skye’s crazy intense dream that we started with. (Way to write your review backwards, Dana.) Skye runs through the abandoned S.H.I.E.L.D. base, calling for Coulson. When she finds him he’s with May, and they’re bemoaning that they have to leave their infant behind for the greater good. Needless to say, Skye’s foreboding dream and creeped-out feeling is spot on.
I conclude with Chloe Bennett threatening my sanity:
All I have to say is… This week is mundane compared to next weeks mid season finale. Get ready friends. #AgentsofS.H.I.E.L.D.
— Chloe Bennet (@ChloeBennet4) December 3, 2014
You mean… this can get more intense? There can be more peril? More plot? More action? More MCU strings? More interpersonal drama? Someone have the ambulance on speed dial next Tuesday, okay? I’m gonna need it.