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Agents Of SHIELD S2.12 "Who You Really Are" review

Marvel’s movies have done an impeccable job creating a universe which can effortlessly and convincingly accommodate gods and sci-fi superheroes in the same shot. Marvel on TV… not so much.

Admittedly, Sif’s second guest spot on the show is helped by the fact she’s not wearing her Xena cosplay costume for most of the episode but there’s still something jarring about the cod-Shakespearean dialogue she spouts in a show that generally feels more like a high-tech spy show. The result bears a rather unfortunate resemblance to the tone of ’70s superhero shows. Back then the mismatch between the lead characters and the more prosaic gun-toting hoodlums they invariably fought often simply left the superheroes looking a bit silly.

Wisely, the episode largely plays Sif for comedy value, which helps (and there are some very amusing lines). Perhaps the script could have pushed this further, though considering how hammy Eddie McClintock plays Vin-Tak as it is, if he’d realised that everyone else was camping it up, we could have ended up with extreme mugging wars.

Director's CV

In a previous career, Roxann Dawson was B’Elanna Torres, the half-Klingon, half-human chief engineer on Star Trek: Voyager. She is now a prolific and much-in-demand TV director, with episodes of Heroes, The Mentalist, Bates Motel and Bosch to her name.

The main plot is rather skimpy. Having Vin-Tak operate alone is a suspect piece of scripting chicanery; it’s handy to have a bit of Kree intel at this point in the arc plot, but having the Kree race as a whole alerted to the Terrigenesis would be a bit more than SHIELD’s budget could handle. So, with a spurious excuse, only one Kree turns up. On the other hand, the episode is fast-paced, action-packed and full of well-choreographed fights. Plus there’s a bloody big gun. Always a good thing.

At least the secret about Skye’s transformation is out. We feared this might drag on for weeks but thankfully not. The subsequent arguments about what SHIELD should do with Skye are a little stilted, though once again Iain De Caestecker pulls a brilliantly passionate performance out of the bag. He’s become one of the unexpected highlights of this season.

Whatever Bobbi and Mack are up to, it’s suddenly become more intriguing. Any fears they might be just “Ward: Take 2” seem to be dissipating. Sure, they’re preparing to betray Coulson and co but whoever they’re aligned to seem very different to Hydra.

Plus, Mack strangling Hunter into unconsciousness made for a great cliffhanger.

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Best Lines

May: “What about Thor?” Lady Sif: “Um… I do not know this word, but when you say it, I want to smile. Why?” Coulson: “Who can explain the mysteries of the Asgardian brain?” May: “I can.”

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Behold My Mighty Weapon 1

It transpires this is a Kree truncheon, but when Vin-Tak first appears (and because Sif was in the episode) we thought the main the reason he was so annoyed was probably a severe case of hammer-envy.

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Behold My Mighty Weapon 2

Officially this is the Destroyer Armor Prototype gun. Created from the remains of the Destroyer (from Thor) it was the weapon Coulson used on Loki in The Avengers. Nick Fury gave it to Coulson in the Agents Of SHIELD season one finale, “The Beginning Of The End”, when (on the evidence of this episode) Coulson gave it the pet name “Bambino”.

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It's Wossisname!

Vin-Tak is played by Warehouse 13 star Eddie McClintock. Indeed, after SHIELD wipes Vin-Tak’s memory he seems to change personality into Warehouse 13 agent Pete Lattimer. Look at that goofy expression!

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Google-Foo

At one point Skye says she’s going to “scour the web for key references”. Could take a while. When we googled “key” we had 2,610,000,000 results.

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Jumpiest Moment

Most shock-scares are cheap cinematic gimmicks, but this one had genuine jolt value.

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Worst Prophecy Ever

We’re with Coulson when Sif says something along the lines of, “Some things in the universe don’t make sense,” and he replies, “Like this conversation?” Sure, ominous foreshadowing is a telefantasy staple but it’s rarely as woolly as Sif’s warning is here. Basically, all she says is, “Something’s gonna happen.” No shit.

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Clean-Up

We’re amused at the thought that SHIELD is so short-staffed the agents have to do their own tidying up. Do they have a rota for whose turn it is to clean the toilets too?

Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD airs on Friday nights on Channel 4 in the UK and on ABC on Tuesday nights in the US.

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