“…Ye Who Enter Here” is the penultimate episode of the first half of a second season superior in most every way to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s first. Here we find Coulson and co. getting ever closer to the city that’s haunted the director’s dreams and made his life a nightmare for much of 2014.
It begins with Skye running through empty corridors into a lab, where Coulson and May stand, looking like suburban civilians — he in flannel, she in pearls. A music box plays “Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two)”, a music box that acts like the Obelisk (or “the Diviner”), turning her arms to stone as she touches it… Sure, it’s a dream, but it offers just the right amount of flashback and foreshadowing, casting Coulson and May, Skye’s surrogate parents, in the roles of her birth mother and father.
Back at HQ, Mack has made a toy Lola (complete with Coulson doll at her wheel) to convince the director to let him work on the real thing. He’s disheartened to find Hunter and Bobbi flirting, muttering that a “storm is coming.” There’s little time to ponder the meaning of these words, however, as Coulson assemble his people to tell them that Hydra is after the same city they are in order to find its temple and unlock the Obelisk. Fortunately, after their trip to Australia in last week’s episode, the team knows where the city is hidden — near Puerto Rico. Coulson plans to blow up the temple.
In Vancouver, Whitehall’s fake May (Agent 33) is still damaged from her fight with the genuine article, and looking a lot like the T-800 after a bad day. 33 goes after Raina, whom Whitehall needs to find the temple. But before she can grab her, one of the Koenigs arrives to save her with his Umbrella of Invisibility, before photographing her for a S.H.I.E.L.D. ID badge. While James Bond-like gadgets can prove polarizing to fans, the show really does need more of them for the right dose of ’60s spy-fi style. And they often bring another layer of humor to its croissant of comedy.
Meanwhile, after witnessing the news reports, Skye and May entirely blame Ward for killing his brother. Which of course means he’ll be proven innocent by season’s end. Elsewhere, Bobbi asks Simmons about her relationship with Fitz. She tells her that Fitz told her about his feelings towards her before saving her last season, and entering a coma for nine days. She says he’s her best friend and that she doesn’t know any more than that. Bobbi says to be honest with him. S.H.I.E.L.D. really does need less of people talking about their feelings. When it must have them, it’s usually best to keep such conversations brief, as when Mack asks Bobbi if she’s brought him in on “the other thing.” What’s brewing with our favorite battle-stave-wielding agent? Alas, that will have to wait for another episode.
Dispatched to secure Raina, Skye encounters 33, and engages her in the biggest fight she’s fought all season. May’s training has paid off, for the fight lasts longer than any hand-to-hand combat on S.H.I.E.L.D. since May’s own battle with 33. In the end, however, Hunter arrives to save her before 33 flattens her into hacker pizza.
In San Juan, Bobbi asks Coulson if he, like Whitehall, is after a weapon on this mission. Since Fury, who gave him the “keys to the kingdom,” would, were he still director, most certainly seek one for S.H.I.E.L.D. Coulson assures her he’s only interested in saving innocent lives. That and finding a hat that looks good on him.
Simmons tells Fitz that she didn’t leave him because of what happened to him. Fitz tells her he’s planning to leave the lab so that she can run the science division, while he goes to work at the garage with Mack. He adds that while he can work for her, he can’t work with her. Damaged Fitz continues to be more interesting than healthy Fitz. Unfortunately, he has a tendency to make Simmons look like a heartless monster whenever she’s around him.
Skye tells Raina that Whitehall has the Diviner. Rains tells her she has the power to hold it, prompting symbols to appear that say where the Diviner “belongs.” Raina also tells her that her dad believes she’s worthy of holding it, and that it’s both their destinies. Raina — again showing she’s no loyalist — runs to a pair of nearby Hydra agents, but May arrives and hits them with her car. Unbeknownst to S.H.I.E.L.D., however, 33 has learned they’ve planted a tracker on Raina, and Hydra and Ward soon fly after them.
Coulson, Fitz, Simmons, Bobbi, and Mack reach the Devil’s Sentry, which looks like one of the cheaper sets we’d see on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which had much less money than S.H.I.E.L.D., even when one doesn’t account for inflation). They begin exploring, but Fitz’s D.W.A.R.F.S. are quickly stopped by a power outage.
Back in the air, Raina apologizes to Skye for running. And tells her her father took her in when she was a petty thief in Thailand. Before she met him, she says, she was a lost soul. But she assures Skye that she is all her father wants. Yet just as we’re starting to sympathize with the sneak, she reveals herself as something of a crazed cultist, explaining her grandmother came from a line of people who believed in the blue angels, the Kree. And that those unworthy of the Kree will perish. While I appreciate the overall momentum of this season, it’s frustrating to be reintroduced to the Kree so slowly and through such a backdoor via S.H.I.E.L.D., when we’ve already met them head on in this summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Thankfully, Hydra arrives to silence Raina, threatening to destroy the plane if she’s not handed over. When Ward boards, he asks Skye to come with him to meet her father. Despite May’s protests, she agrees.
Mack is lowered into the Sentry’s pit, where he finds more Kree technology — a diagram that causes markings to appear on his flesh, turning his eyes red, and driving him mad. After pulling him out of the pit, Coulson and Bobbi fight him, and he falls back down. But the director says this wasn’t Mack and orders the hole sealed.
Back on the ground, 33 tells Whitehall that Ward let S.H.I.E.L.D.’s plane go after securing Raina and Skye. The Hydra leader informs her it wasn’t Ward’s decision to make. He appears fully prepared to shoot the plane down.
To be continued.
Yes, it’s a terrible cliffhanger, and maybe I should stop comparing this season’s episodes to those of last year, but I’ll take awkward cliffhangers tacked onto jet-propelled episodes any day over the boring consistency of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s freshman year.
— Could 33 be the real May, and the real May 33? Could one of Koenig’s toys have pulled a fast one on Whitehall to make this possible? The thought struck me when 33 hesitated while informing the Hydra leader of Skye’s abduction by Ward. Then again, she may have just been worried that Whitehall would be displeased with her report.
— Bobbi: “Don’t die out there, okay?” Hunter: [Shrugs.] “It’s Canada.”
Next week: S.H.I.E.L.D. 2.1 comes to a close. Will Skye finally meet her dad? Will Coulson find the lost city of the Kree? Will Bobbi reveal what’s she’s been hiding from Hunter? Can one episode answer all these questions?! It’s doubtful, but I’ll watch it anyway.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter (@JMaCabre).