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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Continues to Set Up the Story for Season 2

Bob "MovieBob" Chipman | 1 Oct 2014 16:00
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Agents S2EP2: 9x4

Agents remains a fun watch for Marvel fans, but anyone who hasn't kept up with the series mythology will likely be lost in this week's world-building.

As Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. seems to be leaning plot-heavy and serialized for its second season, I'm experimenting with changing up the recap/review format - "Just-the-facts" story/reference recap upfront, "meat-and-potatoes" review after. My goal: Give you all the info you need without you having to sift through half a magazine's worth of plot-recitation (unless, of course, there's half a magazine's worth of plot-points and Marvel Universe references). Let's see how that goes.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesday night on ABC. If you need to catch up -- and you might want to before you read this -- you can watch on ABC's website or Hulu.

So, then, to recap...

  • Lance Hunter (a name that sounds significantly less silly when you note that the actor's actual name is Nick Blood. Seriously.), the last survivor of the mercenary team from last episode, passes on a rescue by Agent May so she can try to stop Crusher "The Absorbing Man" Creel from getting away with The Obelisk. Instead, he gets grabbed up by General Talbot, who wants him to double-cross Coulson.
  • Lance ends up double-double crossing both Talbot and Coulson over the course of the episode (even going so far as to stun-gun Skye, Tripp and May so he can try to kill Creel himself) in the name of avenging Isabelle Hartley. Somehow, Coulson still offers him a job doing S.H.I.E.L.D. 2.0's "dirty work" as a rogue operator. Phew! For a moment there, I thought inexplicably bad leadership decisions would end with Fury's tenure!
  • Creel's body wound up absorbing some of whatever The Obelisk is, after all. Good news: Now he can turn people into charcoal, too! Bad news: It might be killing him. HYDRA says they can help... but so does Raina -- aka "The Girl in The Flower Dress."
  • As it turns out, the superhuman-obsessed Raina has "broken-up" with HYDRA (we last saw her talking to an unseen figure implied to be Skye's "monster" father), and when Creel rebuffs her offer to acquire The Obelisk she hands him over to Coulson... mainly so she can steal it during the ensuing shootout.
  • Creel is brought down by a weapon designed by Fitz and his new friend: Mac! New S.H.I.E.L.D.'s engineer/mechanic takes it upon himself to make friends with the troubled scientist, and he also helps settle what I'm sure was a bet among many groups of fans: Fitz is aware that "Ghost Simmons" is imaginary, after all.
  • For those worried that the "team of secret-keepers" dynamic from Season 1 was gone, rejoice: Even though May is now enthusiastically playing surrogate mom to Skye, she's still not above lying to her face: She knows that Coulson is "not okay," and that his (recurring, we learn) compulsions to draw alien-writing on the walls remain a problem. I imagine the symbols Skye has been decoding have been coming from these sessions, and not from Garrett like she was told.
  • Coulson offer Talbot a deal that seems to be the setup for Season 2's "mission structure:" If he'll leave S.H.I.E.L.D. be, Coulson will let The General and his men take credit for all the HYDRA plots and supervillains they bring down. That'll work. (Coulson on Creel's post-defeat status: "Well, he turned to stone -- but he could already do that, so who knows?")
  • Raina gets away with The Obelisk and brings it to Skye's Dad, played by Kyle Maclachlan, who still seems to be having a gooey-hands problem. He orders her to touch The Obelisk, and instead of turning her to ash it glows yellow/green from within and shows of more Alien Writing. "Bad Dad" explains: "It let you live," and tells Raina to bring Skye to him.
  • I'm thinking more and more that The Obelisk either contains or is itself one of the Infinity Stones -- "Time," "Soul" and "Reality" are all still unaccounted for in the Cinematic Universe.
  • Alternatively, I suppose The Obelisk could have something to do with The Terrigen Mists, given that one of the more popular fan-theories is that Skye, Skye's Dad, Raina and possibly Melinda May are actually Inhumans -- widely expected to be the team/species the MCU uses as a substitute for the still-verboten mutants.
  • For some reason, I really want Maclachlan to turn out to be The High Evolutionary.

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