By Josh Axelrod
It took five episodes, but “S.H.I.E.L.D” has finally raised its Season 2 stakes in a tangible way. Whenever the phrase “extinction level event” is being thrown around, you know things are about to get serious. It was another satisfying “S.H.I.E.L.D” story that laid the groundwork for some more personal conflicts going forward.
Last week, Whitehall gave Raina 48 hours to deliver the obelisk to him, or else. So Raina went to Skye’s father (a perfectly cast Kyle McLachlan) and begged him to let her have the obelisk. This scene was creepy as hell, as Raina interrupted him giving illegal surgery to someone for some reason. And then he basically Hulked out and almost choked Raina, who saved her life by reminding him she was the only way he would ever see Skye again. Of course, he still wasn’t willing to give her the obelisk.
Enter Agent Simmons. H.Y.D.R.A has taken special notice of their rising star, and Whitehall even asks her in a meeting about the possibility of weaponizing the obelisk. This rightly raised some red flags for Simmons, who messaged Coulson about Whitehall’s plans. Unfortunately, Raina saw her do this and H.Y.D.R.A found the flat screen she used to send the message. I would usually complain that this is lazy storytelling, but Simmons is a scientist, not a spy. It’s not surprising she would blow her cover so quickly.
Though Simmons did do one of the most cold-hearted things ever in planting her S.H.I.E.L.D tech in her lab partner’s desk. She basically sentenced him to death, which I imagine must weigh on her conscience a bit. It saved her skin for a moment, but then Raina had to go and alert all of H.Y.D.R.A that she was the S.H.I.E.L.D mole.
See, Raina decided the only way to get the obelisk from Skye’s father was to blackmail Coulson into letting her take Skye to him. She did this by inviting Coulson to dinner and telling him that if she didn’t give up Skye, she would send every H.Y.D.R.A agent an email outing Simmons as a S.H.I.E.L.D agent. I was shocked when Coulson let that clock expire.
But as always, Coulson had a backup plan. That tight-ass female H.Y.D.R.A agent who harassed Simmons in the bathroom? It was none other than Bobbi Morse (Adrianne Palicki), aka Mockingbird aka a potential future Avenger. Anyone who follows “S.H.I.E.L.D’s” casting knew that Palicki was signed on to play Mockingbird, so the reveal that she was working with Coulson wasn’t surprising. That said, she kicked all kinds of ass and got Simmons out of the H.Y.D.R.A facility unharmed. Welcome to the team Mockingbird!
While this was happening, Coulson was reverse blackmailing Raina into giving him Skye’s father’s location. Being Skye, of course she rushed over there without backup. Luckily for her she found nothing but a picture of him holding baby Skye. The hug that followed between her and Coulson was ridiculously sweet and a reminder that they have a genuine father-daughter relationship.
A few minutes later, Skye discovered the dead patients her father was operating on earlier in the episode and decided that he’s a butcher. He was watching her via a camera in his office, and punched his screen once he realized his daughter thinks he’s a monster. To be fair, he clearly has enhanced strength and some rage issues. It’s all very Hulk-like, which makes me believe gamma radiation might be involved with him.
Back at S.H.I.E.L.D headquarters, Simmons had a touching reunion with everyone, including a flabbergasted Fitz. Fitz had just gotten rid of imaginary Simmons, and now he has to deal with the real thing coming back into his life. Quite a curveball.
More amusingly, we found out that Bobbi is Hunter’s awful ex-wife who he’s always bad-mouthing. They weren’t together for more than a minute before they started bickering. We also learned that Bobbi used to be blonde, which is much closer the traditional Mockingbird look in the comics. Hopefully she’ll be half as cool as “Arrow” made Black Canary.
We ended on two very promising notes. Coulson finally told Skye about the mysterious symbols he’s been writing down, and she believes it might be a map. Remember, Coulson legitimately thinks Skye might be an extraterrestrial, and there’s still the mystery of that blue alien from last season. So this might be how we connect the earthbound Marvel universe with the galactic one. I don’t see a Rocket Raccoon cameo on “S.H.I.E.L.D” anytime soon, but it’s a cool thought.
Finally, Skye’s father walked into Whitehall’s office, took out three of his agents with just his fists and showed him that he was in possession of the obelisk. He told Whitehall that they had a common enemy in Coulson, and the two seemed to forge a partnership in order to kill Coulson…again. More importantly, Whitehall now has the object that he wants to weaponize for the purposes of world domination. Like I said, there’s your season-long conflict.