Welcome back, true believers! Did everyone have a good Thanksgiving? Well the Agents are back to serve you a heaping helping of their ongoing adventures so hope you have room for leftovers! This episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is the second to last before the team’s winter break and it promises to reveal more about the hidden city that has been slightly out of the agents’ grasp since it’s reveal several episode ago. We’ll also see the return of Agent May’s sinister double and Patton Oswalt once again enters the picture as Agent Koenig, which has been a long time coming. Will the lost city finally be revealed as the Inhuman city of Attilan? What does the terrible trio have up their sleeves for the agents? All this and more in my recap of the latest episode, “Ye Who Enters Here”….
Our episode begins with an air of foreboding, as Skye runs through a malevolent dream with Coulson and May leaving a baby on the HQ table and Skye being engulfed by stone from the obelisk. One of the great things about this season has been the loss of “training wheels” in terms of letting the show go into areas that are much darker than the first. This could be seen in episodes recounting the deranged S.H.I.E.L.D. agents being experimented on and the general acts of our antagonists this time around, so when you see the characters begin to feel a storm coming, you can bet it’s going to be one heck of a typhoon. The pieces have been assembling on the chess board and it’s time to start the match.
A lot of characters make their return this time around with Oswalt’s Koenig(s), now plural, Raina, and May’s scarred doppelganger, Agent 33, all crashing back into the scene. Ultimately, while I am enjoying these characters, I still think the show is a bit top heavy with the sheer number of subplots and character drama that we’re juggling at any given time. More time could be used to flesh out some of the individuals since we’ll often find ourselves bouncing from the relationship troubles of Bobbi and Hunter, to the troubles of Simmons and Fitz, to the speedy recovery of Tripp, etc etc. It makes it a tad difficult to really take everything in with so many intersecting plotlines but again, as stated in the previous paragraph, a “storm is coming” so maybe the show will shed some much needed weight (and it does!).
Speaking of returning characters, Patton Oswalt makes his much welcome return and sheds light onto the mystery of the Koenig brothers, apparently actually being triplets. Granted, it could eventually be revealed that they are in fact LMDs (Life Model Decoys), robots used by S.H.I.E.L.D. to fool enemies and sometimes each other, but the brother angle seems much more plausible at this point. Oswalt blends in well with the rest of the cast, as he has for most of the series, effectively proving himself not only as a great delivery system for one-liners, but an effective agent. The scene with both Koenigs on screen, messing with Agent Tripp was probably my favorite exchange of the night.
I haven’t really mentioned Coulson as much as I had in the first season, but he really shined once again this episode. It was a nice change of pace to show the differences in approach between himself and Fury, with Coulson really selling the idea of a “friendlier” S.H.I.E.L.D. If the organization is going to survive and make it’s way back into the movie franchise proper, following the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it could use a facelift, and Phil’s interpretation would be a welcome change. This isn’t to say they lost their bite, as tonight’s episode was another example of the team working like clockwork and really stressing espionage over super heroics. It’s good to see a group of fully functional agents taking on whatever mission comes their way and feel like S.H.I.E.L.D. rather than a bunch of rookies riding around in SUVs with their logo stamped all over everything.
There wasn’t a lot of action this time around, with one of the only real fight scenes being that between Skye and Agent 33/Bizarro May. 33 instantly taking Skye apart was a nice nod to the fact that though Skye has had some training, she is nowhere on the same level as May or any of the other agents that have been living in the field. The other fight of the night was a crazed Mack, imbued with powers from the writing on the…floor, which I found a bit odd. I didn’t necessarily understand why this particular code had such an effect on Mack, though I suppose it was a means to an end to give the agents another obstacle to overcome and to ultimately get him out of the way when Bobbi was forced to take him down and throw him back into the hole. Mack was a pretty decent addition to the cast in season 2, but with Fitz and Simmons back together on the team, I suppose he is something of a third wheel.
Can I mention again how great Ward is as a villain? Whenever he comes back to challenge the gang, it’s like twisting a knife for each character for an entirely unique reason. His ruthless smirk and cold efficiency is welcome as he effortlessly manages to snag both Raina and Skye from the agents. I did find it a tad head scratching that the team was willing to give them up as Hydra isn’t exactly the most trustworthy agency around and you would figure they’d rather go out guns blazing than putting their lives into Hydra’s hands. Again though, the pieces are all in place for next week’s mid-season finale and I’m intrigued to see what that storm has in store.
Agents of M.I.S.C.E.L.L.A.N.E.A.
– So we are finally given the official confirmation in the show that the blue alien the team found was in fact Kree. This of course leads more credence to the idea that the secret city is in fact Attilan, though I wish it had been revealed this episode as it seems like it’s a carrot that’s been dangling on a string for a tad too long.
– “Hey, if you’re looking for vacation time, bribery will get you nowhere.”
– “Bad guys love their WMDs.”
– ”Next right unless you want to make your last stop at the Hotel Hydra.”
– ”What are you 13? You can’t even do a sit-up!”
– ”Don’t die out there, ok?”
– “OO! HATS!”