Agents Of SHIELD Recap: Wow, Such Intrigue, So Crying
Last week on Agents of SHIELD we finally had the big reveal about Coulson. He’s not a clone, but he did die, and was only resurrected by some really terrifying surgery by some sort of spider robot thingy. Let’s see if the show manages to pick up that thread this week or if it does the patented Joss Whedon thing of giving us a big episode that advances a season-long storyline and then following it with a silly episode that means nothing in terms of the overall story arc. Oh, c’mon. Like you didn’t notice that in “Buffy” or “Angel.”
We open with some super-bright SHIELD academy students blowing off some steam by climbing into pool post-exam, but suddenly the pool instantly turns to ice, and one of them barely gets out. Was it the work of the other bright kid who didn’t strip down? Only time will tell.
The SHIELD team we are stuck with watching is assigned to head back over to the Academy to see what’s what, because the super-freeze technology is a SHIELD thing, but it takes a super super brain like FitzSimmons to use it. Intrigue!
Looks like Coulson and May aren’t going to go. Jesus, does this mean we’ll have an episode where there’s no Coulson and just the bickering overgrown teenagers go to the Academy?
Because you have to be so super smart to make the Mr. Freeze device, they’ve narrowed down their suspect list to the top 10% of the SHIELD cadet class. You’d think the big brains of SHIELD could have decided on a slightly more limiting set of criteria.
The Academy is making Skye all maudlin because she’s not a real SHIELDy, so she gets a pep talk from Ward about how great she is anyway, and that all one needs to be a part of SHIELD is the will to do so. Really? That’s how you decide your membership in your super-secret top-notch spy agency?
Oh thank god here’s Coulson and May. Coulson is, understandably, freaked the FUCK out. He’s got his mitts on the file of what actually happened, but his head also still remembers the whole Tahiti cover story, so his brain is a mess. May is going to help his brain by making it do something else — namely, heading to Mexico to look into Skye’s parentage. They know what agent dropped her off, but that agent was later killed, while her partner is in the wind. Wait a second. You’re telling me that the only thing SHIELD needs to work on right now, at least vis-a-vis two of its tippy-top agents, is to figure out who spawned Skye??
Looks like FitzSimmons are absolute rock stars at their nerd SHIELD alma mater, so they get to give a speech about science or history, or something. It isn’t really clear. Maybe they’re just going to tell war stories of tech gone wrong. Just as they’re about to start droning, the freeze attacks one of the students, who just happens to be the student that helped break the last person free of the freeze during semi-skinny dipping time at the pool. They aren’t as quick with this guy, though, so he gets flash frozen. Yowtch.
The terrifying freezing thing can be defeated just by stepping on it and smashing it, and then the freezing stops, so the cadet is OK. This does not sound like a super reliable super weapon. The frozen kid, Donny, is a loner and a baby and a supergenius, but they don’t know why he’s the target.
Coulson and May have taken the fancy, utterly conspicuous car to stake out a place where they think Agent Lumley, the partner of the agent that dropped off Skye like a little baby Moses foundling all those years ago, might be getting his fake papers from and maybe Coulson will get some fake papers and go off the grid too? Intrigue!
Good LORD is it hard to work out who is who in this particular storyline. So let’s just call him Lumley and not refer to his complicated Skye-related backstory any more, OK? Thanks.
Back at the Academy, we’re turning the SHIELD crew loose to try to figure out what’s up, which involves going to the boiler room, where the supergenius cadets have carved out a giant party spot, which Simmons is weirdly smug about, even though it just looks like every college party ever, complete with a pool table and lasers.
Fitz has been sent off to draw out Donny, the frozen guy. Donny has a pile of supergenius ideas just hanging about in his room, but they’re not the BIG supergenius ideas, he tells us. Intrigue!
Coulson and May are chatting, but the mere act of May chatting makes Coulson suspicious. She is the least chatty person ever. She’s doing it to distract him from the fact that he no longer trusts his head or SHIELD. Heartfelt talk from May about how she’s got his back, always told him the truth, blah blah blah. We do not like soft and helpful May one bit, no we do not. She’s also newly confessional, and blurts out to Coulson that she’s fucking Agent Ward, but right at that moment he spots the ex-agent they’re chasing, so we have no idea if he heard May kiss and tell.
May has to fight the ex-agent because a fight is the lowest-budget way to spice up this thing.
As soon as ex-agent realizes they are SHIELD, he stops fighting and just instantly knows that they’ve hunted him down because of Skye, who is at least…25 or so? This is the signature event of this guy’s life? Th’ fuck is the deal with Skye? Is she like the SHIELD version of Jesus?
Lumley was running and prepared to cyanide himself because he didn’t want what happened to Agent Avery (the person that dropped Skye off, now deceased) to happen to him, because agents galore were getting killed. Look. We know this is some other big season-long story arc that is coming to a head: Who Is Skye And Why Is She Important?? — but we really just can’t bring ourselves to care AND it is getting needlessly complicated. We need a flowchart or something.
So Lumley and team were headed into the Hunan Province, where the entire village had died trying to protect an Object of Unknown Origin (which is actually a term in the SHIELD world). Turns out the child — which we are now assuming to be Skye, though they don’t say — was the Object of Unknown Origin and the senior agent died with her in his arms. No one knew what the child’s special powers were, but when they returned stateside, everyone started getting themselves all tortured and murdered. Real downside to meeting Skye, people.
The child was moved around every months within the foster system to keep her hidden, because whoever managed to kill her family and all the agents associated with her was obviously a stone cold clever killing machine.
After that solemn little interlude, we’re back to the nerd party zone while Skye and Ward do some investigating and learn that the girl that was in the top spot to get some sort of Top Nerd Placement has now been knocked out of that spot, most likely by the socially maladapt Donny, and she was also a person that didn’t want to go in the pool the night of skinny dipping freeztravaganza. Maybe she is the one going after Donny hmmmm? Intrigue!
Donny, meanwhile, is developing some supergenius thing that Fitz helps him with. Suddenly we’re off into the plot of “Real Genius,” with Val Kilmer. Donny is the young new kid who doesn’t fit in, played in “Real Genius” by an actor that no one remembers, and now Fitz is the Val Kilmer role, the supergenius who has learned to chill out.
Boiler room pool time with Ward and a genius girl. Remember the bar in the second or third season of Buffy? Yeah, probably the same set. Ward figures out that this is a setup — the boys who were frozed have created this whole situation to get the SHIELD team, including FitzSimmons, to come to the Academy. Wait, what? How did they know that is who would be sent? How did they know that Fitz would just offhand be able to help with the key problem Donny was facing in creating his accidental superweapon?
Fitz also figures out that the boys must have a backer and oh, hey, it’s Ian Quinn from several episodes fact. You probably forgot about him. We totally forgot about him too, so don’t worry. Quinn tells the kids the deal is off because of a snag, but he’ll maybe work with them if they turn on the giant freeze device right at SHIELD Academy right now. Except he’s really not going to do the deal and he does the rich person thing of demanding his private plane turn around while he shakes his drink glass at a stewardess.
In the middle of all this, where the SHIELD team is dealing with a weapon that might freeze the entire Academy or the entire world, Coulson decides this is the time to tell Skye her origin story — that an entire SHIELD team was murdered trying to protect her. Swelling music, crying Skye, and complete freezing chaos at the Academy. Skye is not a pretty crier. She’s a blotchy crier.
Meanwhile, the freeze machine has created weather, basically.
Lots of clouds, big hail and snowballs coming down. So, now this is “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs” crossed with Mr. Freeze from Batman. This has turned into the most desperate pop culture blender imaginable as they try to keep our interest.
Now Donny wants to reverse the device because of how it is about to destroy the whole world and all. His friend is like naw mang, this is the most awesome demonstration of our powers ever, but Donny points out that they can’t really strike an awesome deal if they’re dead. Of course they’re unable to do it, and the thing blows up instead.
The SHIELD team is going to parachute in or fly in or something to rescue Donny. It’s mostly a chance to get a shot of the plane, but now in a storm!
The friend of Donny who has helped with the accidentally evil plan is critically hurt so they have to try to save him during a lot of shaky-cam work because May is flying through the superstorm. Oops, unnamed friend dies, like we always knew he would, because was a Red Shirt all along.
Coulson and May have a really clunky talk about how Skye now really belongs because of SHIELD protecting her and they were her real family all along. More swelling music. Coulson is making Skye the heroic centerpiece of this whole series and there’s no reason that she should be. Neither the character nor the actress can carry the weight.
Final scene: Coulson calls Quinn to tell him to step off or SHIELD will shoot him down, but Quinn gets the last word by telling Coulson that the clairvoyant says hello. Intrigue!
Tune in next week. Or don’t. You could always skip watching and just read this.