Marvel's Agents of SHIELD S2.05 A Hen... Review

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Bobbi Morse, aka Mockingbird, makes an impressive (if very Black Widow-esque) entrance in an episode packed with revelations, twists and Skye’s father going psycho. And very good Kyle MacLachlan is at playing psycho too – arguably the best scene in the whole episode is the very final one, when Skye’s dad proves to Whitehall that he‘s just the kind of ruthless, murdering bastard owner of an alien WMD that Hydra likes.

Before that we have a tightly-plotted, tense and action-packed plot with SHIELD having to extract Simmons from HYDRA when her cover is blown. The scene in the restaurant when Raina tries to blackmail Coulson is nailbiting stuff, because we don’t know what Phil knows – that Simmons isn’t the only agent he has undercover in HYDRA. Even without that knowledge, watching Coulson cooly calling Raina’s bluff, then Raina break out in a rare sweat, is superbly gripping.

Skye and Bobbi’s rooftop leap onto the invisible quinjet is another highlight, but it reminds you how few of these truly cinematic moments we get on the show. Gotham, for all its problems, looks gorgeous throughout; SHIELD too often simply looks like a thrifty TV show. Sure, story is more important than flashy visuals, but flashy visuals can enhance good storytelling. After all, if we didn’t want a bit of spectacle, we’d be watching soap operas and hospital dramas, not telefantasy. Having said that, the shots of the quintet flying through the nighttime clouds immediately afterwards are more stylish than many SHIELD quints shots, so may somebody at producer level has been sending out, “More pizzazz and beauty shots!” memos.

Lack Of Loyalty

When Bakshi and his goons arrive to take in Simmons, all the scientist politely move aside to let her get away. HYDRA needs to offer some employment incentives to encourage its workers to help subdue traitors. You’d think the threat of death for not helping out might be enough.

It’s an interesting episode for Skye, too, and not just because she discovers that her dad is a monster (actually the word “monster” is used in reference to him on such heavy rotation – he even refers to himself as such at one point – you have to wonder if it’s more than just a euphemism). She also learns she may be an alien, and the audience learns that Skye isn’t even her real name. All good stuff, but maybe it would have more impact in a episode centring a bit more on Skye – she’s actually a bit passive in this episode, just moaning and moping a lot. Still, all this new info certainly keeps the arc plot elements building nicely.

Mack and Trip are totally wasted again, aside from Mack’s Athena poster moment (see Fitz’s fantasy below) and Hunter’s quips are even feebler than ever, though it was great to his face when his ex turns out to be SHIELD’s latest recruit.

So, another solid, eventful episode of SHIELD with some intriguing character moments, but once again it feels a little like it’s coasting along in second gear. Hopefully it’s building to some episodes in which the show really starts to kick out.

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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WriterBrent Fletcher
DirectorHolly Dale
The one whereSimmonss cover at HYDRA is blown, and Skye learns that her real father is a monster.

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Dave Golder
Freelance Writer

Dave is a TV and film journalist who specializes in the science fiction and fantasy genres. He's written books about film posters and post-apocalypses, alongside writing for SFX Magazine for many years.