Jun 5, 2019
AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. RECAP: I call this one "Diary of a Madmonster" (S2:E5)
The folly when watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is seeing things on the show and attempting to connect them to what has happened in the comic books. It is easy to do and there’s evidence to prove the worth behind it, but you’re also setting yourself up for disappointment.
There’s also the problem in guessing where Marvel is going to go instead of just enjoying the ride.
That happened to me last episode with Skye and her father, played by Kyle MacLachlan. First we learn that “Skye” is not her real name and a pesky rumor that she might be an alien. Then we learn that her father is some sort of criminal doctor with super strength and a mean streak. Then fan fingers start to point to characters like Mr. Hyde and Daisy Johnson from the comics, helping to muddy the waters and overwhelm my feeble geek brain.
That’s where we are though, attempting to unravel the mysteries at the core of this show and the bigger Marvel Cinematic Universe. Luckily the show is getting much better in its second season, so we have some great performances and stories to counter the rabid fan speculation.
For instance, this episode could’ve just revolved around Skye’s father and the sly nod to his possible comic book counterpart. Instead we got a continuation of the HYDRA plot line, the introduction of a brand new character, some decent action, and development for the characters we already have. It’s like pot luck at the local Bingo hall!
Agent Coulson is more than just the goofy suit who collects Captain America trading cards; he’s a leader and moral guide. Fitz and Simmons are more than just brainy comic relief; they are now damaged and tested outside of their comfort zones. And Skye is a whole lot more than what she was last season, an almost night-and-day change.
They’re actually people you care about instead of just those people on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. that do spy things. That doesn’t mean they don’t still do things, of course. They do lots of things this episode.
HYDRA is still after the Obelisk and is using parts of its victims (namely that poor waitress from episode two) to reverse engineer their own version of it. It doesn’t work, but they do kill some members of the Navy and ruin a wedding in the process.
This experiment is what sparks this episode and gives us a peek back inside HYDRA. There we catch up with Simmons as she is called to a meeting about the failure. Whitehall is at this meeting, sort of proving that she’s “made it” to the inner circle of sorts. Trust is present, even though it shouldn’t be.
There’s a problem though. HYDRA knows there’s a S.H.I.E.L.D. operative in the building. They’ve intercepted transmissions, and they want to find out who is behind them. This introduces us to Bobbi Morse, known in the comics as Mockingbird and played here by Adrianne Palicki, a hard-as-nails HYDRA operative that is out to nail the spy.
She spends the episode pretty much grilling Simmons and trying to get her to crack, all due to her relatively short relationship with HYDRA. There’s also more at play here, but shit, do you want me to spoil everything now?!
Back at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, Skye is trying to get info about her father and gather together what is known about all this alien writing that’s floating around. That means another talk with Prisoner Ward and a weird “pulling rank” tongue-lashing from Coulson.
Now there’s good reason for this lashing. Coulson is well aware that Skye might not be what she seems and informs her of as much later on. Is this hacker beauty really an alien? Is she an Inhuman? Do you even know what an Inhuman is? She’s certainly not a mutant because we don’t own the rights to that. Damn these mysteries and poor business deals!
This moment sends us to opposing side of the Skye coin: her father. He’s currently operating on some rough-looking fellas when Raina waltzes in with bad news. HYDRA wants the Obelisk, and she still hasn’t brought him his daughter. This brings the anger out and forces him to get all chokey on Raina’s neck. He stops short of killing her, but it is clear that he’s short on patience and needs outside help calming down.
That also means Raina needs a homerun, one she finds in Simmons. She manages to snap a few photos of our favorite, adorable mole sending messages back to S.H.I.E.L.D. and then sets up a meeting to blackmail Coulson.
Obviously trust is an issue, so he has backup at the scene of the meeting and it proves to be worth it. Raina threatens to release her photographs to HYDRA, outing Simmons to everyone in the organization, but Coulson isn’t willing to budge. Skye is desperate to find her father, but May stops her from interfering. Coulson has a plan.
Turns out Coulson’s got an ace in the hole: Bobbi Morse. The HYDRA ball buster from before is actually a S.H.I.E.L.D. mole, and she is there to keep an eye on Simmons. Once Raina releases the photo and everyone knows where Simmons stands within the organization, Morse bursts into action and whoops a bit of ass. Also makes things a bit awkward for Secret Santa later on.
She gets Simmons to the roof, and they escape onto a nearby Quinjet piloted by Agent Triplett. This leads to a happy reunion between agents and forces recappers everywhere to make sly references to Adrianne Palicki’s failed turn as Wonder Woman. Invisible planes and beating ass can happen in Marvel too, even if you don’t have a magic lasso.
While this is happening, Coulson and Hunter tag Rina and attempt to find out where her boss is hiding. Skye is already on it though, having slipped away from the others to head to the hideout we saw earlier. Inside, Skye finds a picture of her father and the bodies of the two men from earlier. They’re very dead, all at the hands of Skye’s father, and it leads to Skye calling him a monster.
The bad news is that he saw all of this via some cameras connected to his tablet. It doesn’t make him happy, and neither does the sight of Coulson comforting his daughter after missing her chance to meet him. He smashes the tablet and drives off in Clark Griswold’s station wagon.
Back at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, everyone is reunited. Fitz is happy to see Simmons, especially after shedding Fake Simmons from his mind earlier and showing some improvement from his injury. Skye is also happy to be back, chatting with Coulson about what happened and how they need to be more open with each other. This forces Coulson to show Skye his latest wall writing.
The entire wall is filled with his space text, but he has no clue what any of it means. Skye takes a close look at it and thinks back to something Ward told her earlier in the episode. She stares closer and reveals that the writing is actually a map. To what? Who knows at this point.
The final cliffhanger moment shows Skye’s father entering the office of Whitehall. HYDRA is leaving their current HQ due to Simmons’ intrusion, so everyone is in moving mode. This doesn’t stop MacLachlan from chewing some scenery, killing two HYDRA guards, and offering to teach Whitehall everything he knows about the Obelisk (now called The Diviner).
So we have our major villains all tweaked out for the season and working together, plus I haven’t made a Twin Peaks reference yet. All that is left is to raise the danger level for our heroes.