Welcome back, true believers. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s “One Door Opens” starts off with a look into the “Day S.H.I.E.L.D. Fell,” referring of course to the time around Captain America: Winter Soldier when Hydra was revealed to have been within the ranks of the espionage organization since day one. I thought this was a strong way to get the ball rolling, as it gave us a better look into the motivations of the “real S.H.I.E.L.D.,” and it got in to something that I felt wasn’t dug into enough in Season One. Here, we’re given a good look into how widespread the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. was, and how hard the hits were doled out by Hydra, with Mack, Bobbi, and their original crew fighting a seemingly losing battle. Like many other superhero shows currently running (hint), the episode focuses on both the present and the past and, luckily, it works.
In the present, Coulson reveals that he’s figured out that Bobbi and Mack are not who they seem to be, and tries to capture Mack right off the bat in a nice espionage scene, with the mechanics around the team’s “giant” immediately pulling pistols on him. Bobbi, attempting to find Fury’s “toolbox,” gets into a quick scrap with May (in a well-choreographed fight scene I might add), and then proceeds to knock out all the power in the base, giving the duo a nice means of escape. The plight of Mack and Bobbi, needing to split off into their own faction of S.H.I.E.L.D., is certainly more interesting than them having been revealed to be working for Hydra or some other evil organization. With this, the two have to struggle with the idea that their version of the greater good is one different from Coulson’s, which to be honest, may in fact be the case.
The best parts of the night for me came from some of the quieter moments. Edward James Olmos tearing into Coulson made for some compelling television, with Gonzalez being pretty darn spot-on about Phil not exactly being the best choice to lead. Coulson’s made a lot of mistakes along the way, and his erratic decisions, as well as his past mental troubles, don’t exactly make one rally to his side. Perhaps a more democratic solution, which the “real S.H.I.E.L.D.” is offering, would be for the best at this point. We’ll have to wait and see how this turns out, but for now, they make for an interesting foil to Coulson and the gang. I just wish they had been revealed a tad sooner, as we probably won’t get enough time to really delve into them with so few episodes left this season. We’ve had a lot of different factions to keep in mind when watching this season, and to have a new one introduced so late in the game doesn’t really help. Perhaps if Hydra hadn’t been involved at all during the season, this would have had a bigger punch, but, I digress.
My absolute favorite exchange of the night was between Skye and the Inhuman, Reader. Skye, struggling with getting a handle on her powers, finds herself in a S.H.I.E.L.D. safe house, once inhabited by the Hulk (based on the giant knuckle imprint she found in the wall). She’s visited, quite casually, by the Inhuman messenger who has a seat on the couch, and just chews the fat with the latest addition to the Inhuman ranks. Reader, a.k.a. Gordon, is fantastic in both personality, appearance, and his powers, as he gives us a look into this brand new world that’s right on the fringe of the agents’ while also being just all-around charismatic to boot. As I’ve said in the past, the Inhuman angle was a much needed shot in the arm that the show had been needing and it was presented well here. We’ll have to see how the building blocks fall into place as this plot continues marching along, especially considering the Inhumans film is still four years off from hitting theaters.
Everything came to a head in both the present and the past, though, when Coulson managed to escape the clutches of Gonzalez, Skye exhibited her powers in a destructive fashion only to be carted away by Gordon, and the rest of the team was still being held under lock and key. I would say that I wish Gonzalez’s team would have started things off with Coulson with a more democratic approach, coming to him with arms open rather than holding “icers.” Storming in like, well, Stormtroopers, and bringing down the walls of Coulson’s facility seemed like a really risky move, and not necessarily something that would bring the audience to their side. Still, the idea of a S.H.I.E.L.D. “Civil War” is an interesting one, but maybe one which could have been held for the next season, with this one focusing more on the Inhumans and Mr. Hyde’s rag-tag group. It feels redundant, given how the finale of season one focused on the Hydra bombshell.
The fight choreography, though, was top-notch this episode. Bobbi fighting May gave us a chance to see both of their combat expertise put to good use. We were also given the nice change of Skye being able to throw down the gauntlet (well, metaphorically anyway — she still had on her power gauntlets) and take down a rogue agent in the forest. The effects of Skye’s power as she inevitably lost control were also handled well, with the entire forest falling down, to say nothing of Bobbi, who had just arrived on the scene. The introduction of Skye’s powers have worked wonders for the character, and offered a new take on what was originally meant to be the audience’s window into the agents’ world.
Overall, I thought this most recent episode was a solid one, but I can’t help but feel that with a few changes, it could have been much better than it was. Being more laser-focused in the future, rather than scattershot, would help elevate S.H.I.E.L.D. to new heights.
Episode Rating: ★★★ Good
Agents of M.I.S.C.E.L.L.A.N.E.A.
– Nice to see Lucy Lawless come back, albeit in a flashback.
– I kept waiting for Gordon to drop “Inhumans” or “Attilan” into the conversation. If we can get a full CG Lockjaw during the season finale, then we’re cooking with gas.
– Skye: “Who do I have to thank for the Little Debbie Snack Cakes?”
Simmons: “That was Coulson’s idea.”
– Gonzalez: “It’s been a bastard of a day.”
– Gonzalez: “That man had an axe. Now I have it.”
– Skye: “Why did you make me watch Paranormal Activity?”
– Gordon: “This couch is VERY uncomfortable.”
– Gordon: “And yes, I used to have eyes, they were blue.”
– Coulson: “You haven’t even delved into the record collection.”
– Skye: “Who is coming for me?”
– Coulson: “That was a really nice entrance.”
– Coulson: “That’s a lot of umbrellas for one drink.”