Welcome back, true believers, to the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. mid-season finale! Touted as being one of the most “emotionally charged” episodes of the season, the latest installment promises to reunite Skye with her villainous father for the first time, revealing answers to questions about her past. The race for the secret city continues but can the team rescue their kidnapped compatriot or will they lose both Skye and the ancient remnants of a lost civilization? With showrunners also promising to tie into the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron, could we see a hint at the antagonistic automaton? Hit the jump for my recap of tonight’s episode, “What They Become”.
Our episode begins with the gang escaping from Hydra who were in their sights at the end of last week. Enough about this though! Let’s talk about the interaction between Skye and her father, the best part of the night. There have been a lot of running theories as to who Skye’s dad was, and in turn, who Skye was. This episode reveals Skye’s father’s name to be “Cal”, which is short for Calvin Zabo. For those who don’t know, Calvin Zabo is a long running villain of the Avengers in the comics with the super villain alias, Mr. Hyde. Hyde has strength on the same level as the Hulk but tends to dress in Victorian attire. Hyde’s daughter in the books is named Quake, eventually becomes a member of the Avengers herself, and has the power to make earthquakes (shocker, I know).
It was a nice reveal and the accompanying scenes between Skye and Cal were the highlight of our latest entry. Kyle MacLachlan does an amazing job as Cal, creepily humming and shaking throughout the exchange, putting his previous experience as Agent Cooper in Twin Peaks to good use here. Chloe Bennet, in turn, manages to keep up with both MacLachlan and hold her own, even managing to ruthlessly unload a clip into Agent Ward while his back is turned. I always felt a tad disconnected from Skye throughout the show, mostly because she was the character the writers were pushing for the audience to connect with, almost to a level of being annoying. Though with Skye’s new role revealed here, and Chloe’s acting chops growing with each week, I’m excited to see where the character goes. It was a nice display of range from all parties and it’s something I’m looking forward to seeing further developed as the show goes on. MacLachlan’s insanity is played exceptionally well as when he starts ranting that he’s going to rip people apart with his bare hands, you believe him.
To say nothing of the Mr. Hyde/Quake reveal, “What They Become” has HUGE ramifications for the Marvel cinematic movie universe moving forward. The obelisk is revealed to in fact be a “terrigen crystal”, an element that grants the super human race, the Inhumans, their powers. As you may or may not know, the Inhumans are one of the big properties Marvel Studios is rolling out right around the time of Avengers: Infinity War in 2018 it’s certainly a good surprise to see that Marvel is already beginning to plant the seeds to this four years in advance. Moving forward, the show will most likely have a much different skew, with powers and abilities now becoming much more routine than episodes prior.
To fill you in on what happened exactly at the conclusion, when Raina, Skye, and Tripp went into the cave and opened the obelisk, they were doused with “terrigen mists”, which normally grants folks superpowers as mentioned above. It’s very likely that Tripp isn’t in fact dead, but may just be invisible, on another plane of existence, or vapor to an effect. As for what powers Raina has received, we’ll have to wait and see. This adds a great new element to the show that I feel it desperately needed. It’s tying it’s way to the Marvel Universe, while also feeling important and treading waters that the movies themselves have yet to even touch upon. This is what the show should have been striving for from day one and I’m more than happy to see that this route is being taken.
Anyway, after you catch your breath from all of these events, the episode itself was one of the better entries in the show’s history. Nearly every character felt important and were given something to do here. I say nearly because I still think that the show is a tad top heavy as it seemed May, Fitz, and Simmons had to be relegated to the sidelines. With such a heavy cast, it can be quite the chore to balance a cast as unruly as this one, but fortunately everything worked during this outing. The action scenes were also well choreographed with the Coulson/Hyde fight standing out amongst the bunch.
Most of the character drama took a back seat to the action propelling forward, but this was a benefit this go around. Certainly the best of the quiet moments to be found was the continued interactions between Koenig and Tripp. The dialogue between these two always manages to get a laugh out of me and the idea that Koenig is still trying to sell Tripp on the idea that he and his brother may be robots is great stuff. I could have lived without the Mockingbird and Hunter scenes to be honest, as it didn’t really add much to the overall proceedings, though if you’re going to incorporate these two into the latest story, I could think of worse. Again, as I’ve said in previous reviews, one of the weakest parts of this season is the sheer amount of characters and it looks like this episode did rectify that to an extent with a good number of character “deaths”.
In summation, this was one of the best episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and I strongly suggest that, if you’re a big Marvel fan and haven’t been watching the show, to give this episode a try.
Agents of M.I.S.C.E.L.L.A.N.E.A.
– You may be wondering who the eyeless man at the end of the episode was. Well most likely that was “Reader”, a member of the race of the Inhumans who is blind but acts as the eyes of the group, parlaying information back to the royal family.
– “These are awesome, Dum Dum Dugan would be proud.”
– “I’m going to kill the man who did this to us. Best day ever.”
– “I’ll make it easy for you. Maybe cut off an ear, take an eye?”
– “What did you do??”
– “Join S.H.I.E.L.D. Travel to exotic, distant lands. Meet interesting people…and kill them.”
– “Seriously? Again?”