Before we begin this week’s review, I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge what an extraordinary time it is for fans of the superhero genre. With last year’s triple big screen sundae of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and Guardians of the Galaxy (topped with the cherry of Disney Animation’s Big Hero 6), fans were treated to an embarrassment of riches. And now television is offering us quality doses of our favorite four-color champions on a weekly basis. But this week, it must be said, marks a new peak in the trend, with five-star episodes of DC’s Arrow and Flash as well as well as Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. And we’re just a week away from the premiere of Netflix’s outstanding Daredevil!
Anyway, back to the episode at hand… S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s second season began with a much anticipated appearance by genre favorite Lucy Lawless’ Agent Isabelle Hartley that turned out to be, well, rather short-lived. But Lawless’ Izzy is back in this week’s episode, half of which takes place on “The Day S.H.I.E.L.D. Fell” during the second Captain America film. Here we finally see what drove Edward James Olmos’ honorable Robert Gonzalez, as well as the devoted Bobbi Morse and Alphonso Mackenzie, to create their own version of the spy organization, and, as they finally do here, make their move to overthrow Coulson and his team. Synchronizing the group’s movements in the past and present day is a stroke of brilliance.
With Hunter still missing after he escaped Gonzalez’s clutches last week, and Skye still at “the Retreat,” Bobbi and Mack steal Nick Fury’s “Toolbox” from Coulson’s desk, and take the director and his team prisoner. Fortunately, May escapes capture, frees Coulson, and take his place.
It’s much easier to understand Gonzalez’ actions when we’re simultaneously watching him and his people take back their carrier from an army of Hydra moles who’ve killed scores of their friends and colleagues right in front of them. And it’s easier to understand their lack of respect for the wishes of Nick Fury, whom they believe dead, and who would have had them sacrifice their lives and sink their ship rather than fight to take it back. No wonder they don’t trust Coulson, Fury’s appointed replacement, and believe the alien DNA with which Fury saved his life and nearly drove him mad has compromised his judgement. When Gonzalez eventually confronts Coulson face-to-face, the gruff, world-weary Edward James Olmos and the cool, dry-witted Clark Gregg clash as marvelously as I’d hoped they would.
Skye’s own judgement is a bit askew in “One Door Closes”. Still frightened and cut off from her makeshift family, she receives a visit from Jamie Harris’ eyeless teleporter Gordon, who tells her of her potential, of how he was once like her, and of the existence of a group of individuals like them who can help Skye master her powers. At first she resists his offer to join them. But after Bobbi and Kirk Acevedo’s Agent Calderon try to apprehend her, she loses control once more; and calls on Gordon to take her with him. It’s awesome fateful stuff. I just wish somebody would say the word “Inhumans”. (Besides Fitz’s winky fan-service line a few weeks back about Skye being “something inhuman.”)
I’d be remiss in neglecting to mention the action on display in this week’s ep. In addition to Skye’s tree-shattering display of force, we get to see Bobbi and Izzy take down teams of Hydra agents in the past and Agents Morse and May tussling in the present. But the coda in a tropical bar, with Coulson enjoying an overly umbrella-laden drink as he meets with Hunter — who finally accepts his offer to join S.H.I.E.L.D. by scribbling his name on a cocktail napkin — suggests even greater battles to come. And the start of a beautiful friendship.
— “That’s a really nice entrance.” Every once in while I have this desire to see Coulson and May make out like crazy.
— It’s fascinating to watch Skye’s slow initiation into the world of the Inhumans, knowing they’ll get their own film on July 12, 2019. How big a role will Quake play? And will her fellow S.H.I.E.L.D. agents join her on the big screen? Dammit, Marvel, why won’t you tell us everything now?!!
— Methinks Adrianne Palicki may now be TV’s reigning action heroine. But I’ll listen to arguments from those who believe otherwise.
— Some great lines in this week’s episode, but my favorite is “Without you, there is no S.H.I.E.L.D.” Cue lump in throat.
Next week: Coulson and Hunter move to take back S.H.I.E.L.D. It’s the buddy movie we never knew we needed!
What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter (@JMaCabre).