By Josh Axelrod
Thank god “S.H.I.E.L.D” didn’t make us think Simmons had actually joined H.Y.D.R.A for too long. Simmons is my girl and has been since she jumped out of that airplane in Season 1. Seeing her turn to the dark side for real would have been absolutely heartbreaking considering she had always been such a goody two-shoes. But having Coulson plant her as a spy in H.Y.D.R.A says a lot about both their characters: Coulson is now more willing to put his friends in danger, while Simmons is strong enough now to be trusted with some heavy field work.
Simmons alerted Coulson to the return of Donnie Gill, aka Blizzard, whose origins played out last season. I guess getting killed off “Scandal” (Dylan Minnette also played Jerry Grant Jr.) freed up his schedule for a quick return. And he came back in a big way, freezing everything and everyone in his path. He wasn’t even doing it maliciously; he was just pissed and trying to get everyone to leave him alone.
“Making Friends” basically devolved into a race between S.H.I.E.L.D and H.Y.D.R.A for Donnie’s loyalty. It was interesting to note that S.H.I.E.L.D’s directive here was to either recruit him or take him out. This was a surprisingly dark order from Coulson, and it conveniently intersected well with Skye’s misgivings about having to take someone out on a mission.
I thought to myself once they got on that boat, “Skye’s going to shoot Donnie.” And as usual, I was right. There was no fussing about if it was the right thing to do or not either; once H.Y.D.R.A had hypnotized Donnie (more on that later) and he was about to freeze the ship, the only thing Skye could do to save May and Hunter was to send the kid to an icy grave. Granted, the way Donnie’s body was freezing makes me believe that he’ll somehow be preserved until someone finds and thaws him.
But it was an effective moment for Skye because it was so black and white. You could see on her face that she wasn’t completely comfortable with pulling the trigger, but she did it without complaints and moved on like a real agent. That speaks volumes to how much Skye has grown. Last season, we would’ve gotten an entire follow-up episode with Skye freaking out and running away. Now that Skye knows her father is alive and looking for her, she won’t have time to think about that.
Who gave her that information? Ward, of course, who appears to be doing everything in his power to help S.H.I.E.L.D. As he said, he was loyal to Garrett, not H.Y.D.R.A. According to Ward, whatever brainwashing methods H.Y.D.R.A is using to turn the likes of Agent 33 and Donnie were never used on him. Take that with a grain of salt, but I actually believe him in this case. It certainly doesn’t justify his actions, but it does make everything he’s saying now seem slightly more genuine.
Though man, I was really hoping Fitz was going to kill him. I have never felt for Fitz more than when he could barely form a sentence while talking to Ward. And I have never felt a revenge would have been more justified than when Fitz started depriving Ward of oxygen. Unlike Skye though, Fitz should never have to kill anyone. And clearly Ward needs to stick around to keep feeding the team information.
Overall, another solid outing for the newly confident “S.H.I.E.L.D.” Hopefully its ratings start reflecting the spike in quality, because being up against “The Flash” on Tuesdays isn’t going to help its viewership (FYI, “The Flash” pilot was really good). Marvel fanboys: Support this show before ABC pulls the plug. It’s officially must-see TV, so start giving it its due.