So it is time for this week’s recap of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD: Making Friends and Influencing People.
This episode opens with the return of the ageless Nazi scientist Doctor Whitehall, who after a speech about patience is shown to be torturing an asset known only as Agent 33. As she is strung up, brainwashing suggestions are made, and she is forced to watch psychedelic images.
Then the scene shifts to our beloved Agent Simmons, who walks through a cheery little musical working lady montage, getting ready for her day, breakfast, coffee, and arriving at work. The scene stealer, after putting on her lab jacket, we are shown that Simmons is working at a Hydra lab, right after she was ignored by her boss.
At the Shield headquarters, we have May training Skye, first with a pistol and then with a sniper weapon. In the midst of it, Agent Blood questions Skye’s credentials, including whether she has ever had to permanently take out a target. She reveals that she hasn’t and then scene ends with May assuring Skye that she will be capable and that it will never be easy.
May then runs into a returned Coulson is who coming back from his trip to recruit Agent 33 empty handed. This sparks a conversation of how there is an ongoing “talent grab” as people on both sides of Hydra and Shield are recruiting former agents.
Back at the Hydra lab, Simmons is giving the load down on her research to her boss, who is about to report it to the higher ups when she recognizes Donnie Gill. Gill was a bright student at Shield school who created a weather device in season one that went out of whack, ending with him being endowed with ice powers and sent to the Sandbox, the Shield holding place for all the people with powers.
The scene then cuts to Donnie Gill in the Middle East, where he is approached by two Hydra agents. After taking those agents out, Gill discovers that he was supposed to be taken to Maribel Del Mar and sets out to find it.
Returning from Hydra lab, Simmons returns home only to draw her weapon and discover Coulson in her kitchen, stocking her with groceries. After debriefing on Gill, Coulson pushes Simmons, asking her to develop relationships with Hydra. And as the conversation comes to an end, Simmons eyes grow sad at the mention of Fitz.
Coulson returns and is asking Simmons help on background on Gill, as he and Fitz were the ones who encountered him in season one. Agent Mack is clearly becoming Fitz’s helper as he processes information.
In an attempt to learn more about how Hydra deals with recruiting people with powers, Skye is sent to Vault D to have a conversation with the traitor, Agent Ward. In the course of having a discussion, where he starts to talk about her family, Skye pushes him to reveal the information, which ends with Ward saying Hydra’s approach is simply to recruit first, shoot second without a lot of time in-between.
Donnie has discovered that the Maribel Del Mar is a boat and he freezes it in its Middle Eastern port.
At the Hydra lab, Security comes for agent Simmons and she heads upstairs where she is accused of lying to Hydra. Of particular interest is why she didn’t reveal that she and Gill knew each other after she discovered that is who her research was on. Simmons works to talk her way out of the situation, pledging allegiance to science, neither Hydra nor Shield and that her loyalty is simply that Hydra now has the resources she needs to keep learning. This moves sets the stage for Agent Simmons to be tested, as the request is made to Doctor Whitehall, even as Agent 33 is still being tortured, with the addition of a villainous speech by Whitehall. Simmons is being sent to bring Donnie Gill in.
So Hydra and Shield are then racing to the middle east, where Gill has essentially left a “come get me” marker having frozen the Maribel del Mar in the port. As the Shield team departs, Fitz is upset at being excluded. In a paranoid episode, he unexpectedly discovers that Ward is in Vault D, not Simmons who he was hoping to find.
As the Shield team is jumping out of place to secure Gill, Fitz is going mental on Ward, depriving him of oxygen in the same way that he was injured because of Ward’s actions. Ward suddenly realizes who Shield is after and has information he gives to Fitz.
Simmons then finds Gill deep in the ship at the same time that the Shield team discovers Hydra is at the ship as well.
Fitz is then online with Coulson sharing that Ward has told him that Gill helped Hydra take the Sandbox, right as Blood has Simmons in his laser sights and is given the order to end the conversation, during which Simmons is being given hypnosis triggers to tell Gill through her earpiece.
Agent May then shoots Blood to save Simmons, triggering a flip out by Gill and a footrace through the ship. A brainwashed Gill then is given the order by Hydra to stop the Shield team, icing everyone. And he is only stopped by Skye using the sniper rifle she was training on earlier. She then misses on purpose to help Simmons maintain her cover.
Back at the Shield base, Agent May then has a conversation with Skye about what it is like to kill someone and how Simmons has others inside Hydra to help her.
Agent Coulson has a frank conversation with Fitz that ends with him revealing that Simmons is on an assignment, and that as director he keeps lots of things from the team.
Back at Hydra, Agent 33 is then shown delivering information to Doctor Whitehall, having been brainwashed. Then a request is made to move Simmons up, insinuating at worst, she will be brainwashed.
The episode closes with Skye and Ward having a conversation, where he admits to not having been brainwashed. He then reveals that Skye’s father is alive, sending the heart rate monitor that has been steady all episode racing, proving Skye is having a hard time with Ward and his revelation.
This episode of Shield has some key points:
- Someone other than Skye talks to Agent Ward. This could be an interesting plot device this season as we see how everyone reacts. Fitz really struggled to hold it together, which makes sense as he was the last of the team to recognize that Ward really had betrayed them. What is his conversation with Agent May going to be like, given the sexual nature of their relationship? And what about Coulson?
- It was a nice moment between Jemma and Coulson, who let down his director persona enough to seem human again. That is something that has been missing from Shield this season and it was a good return to remind us of why we all love Coulson in the first place.
- We move every so slightly towards Skye being in a situation where she is reunited with her father. What will come of that?
- I am looking forward to seeing how many times Agent Blood is shot this year. After Agent May shoots him to save Simmons, he remarks about the bruising and asks if they are even from him having shot her and Skye in episode 2. She remarks that the two of them are even, and smiles, as if there will be other people shooting him. It could be played for a comedic moment all season.
- And Agent 33’s storyline could be great. Clearly, Coulson and Agent May both saw her as a needed asset and were disappointed that she joined Hydra, even if they didn’t know it was against her will.
- Simmons undercover is a great idea and opens up some tremendous story telling opportunities. We get to see inside Hydra in the same way we see inside Shield and that broadens the base they can tell stories from. I hope we get an all Hydra episode soon, as I love Simmons and her current predicament.
I give this episode a solid 6 out of 8 nerds.