By Josh Axelrod
This episode was kind of a mixed bag. We raised some interesting questions and made some progress with the whole alien city storyline, but the whole thing seemed like a setup for next week’s (hopefully) epic midseason finale. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it left the events of this episode feeling a bit too much like filler. Oh well, we work with what we’re given.
The episode began with Skye having an ominous dream that involved her running alone down a darkened hall while Coulson and May abandoned a baby to the tune of the creepiest music box ever. Oh, and some obelisk-like object was turning Skye to stone before she woke up screaming. Is the drug in her system starting to affect her the way it did Coulson? This was never brought up again this episode, but it could definitely be a plot point to watch.
Mac continued to have a cute relationship with Fitz. The two had a very candid conversation where Fitz asked Mac for advice on how to handle working with Simmons. The two have a friendly rapport, and Mac’s patience with Fitz is endearing. During their talk, Mac saw Bobbi and Hunter laughing like they liked each other, a big departure from their usual bickering. Oh, and Mac built a model car version of Lola. Adorable.
Simmons patched up a shirtless Trip, and she was clearly enjoying his body. These two have a weirdly understated spark that I hope gets explored more. Their brief flirtation was cut off by Skye, who told them she had a vibe that something bad was going to happen. As usual, she’s not wrong.
Coulson split the team up for their latest mission. He, Bobbi, Mac, Fitz and Simmons headed to San Juan to check this alien city out for themselves. May, Hunter, Skye and Trip go after Raina, who H.Y.D.R.A needs in order to use the obelisk in the city’s temple. Raina narrowly escaped a meeting with Agent 33 (aka Evil May) with a little help from Patton Oswalt’s Koenig brothers (Billy and Sam this time) and an umbrella that functioned as an invisibility cloak.
There’s a brief moment where Skye and May check out news footage about the “murder suicide” of Christian Ward and his parents, which was obviously carried out by Grant Ward. He shows up later, don’t worry. So hold that thought.
Bobbi and Simmons had a brief chat about Fitz and what exactly went down in that pod last season. Bobbi deduced pretty quickly that Simmons wasn’t being entirely truthful when she said she didn’t have feelings for Fitz. Though Simmons called him her “best friend,” you know there’s something more there. Then again, I’m shipping Simmons and Trip over a FitzSimmons coupling. The look Trip and Simmons exchange before parting ways on their separate missions made me even more adamant about their couple potential.
While flying to San Juan, Mac confronted Bobbi about her rekindling things with Hunter. He asked her if she wanted to bring Hunter in “on the other thing.” What? Are Mac and Bobbi with H.Y.D.R.A? Bobbi did spend a lot of time undercover in H.Y.D.R.A headquarters. Or maybe “the other thing” is something completely out of left field. So many questions!
Hunter saved Sam Koenig (Or was it Billy?) from a H.Y.D.R.A agent before Skye reached them. Right as they were about to move Raina, Agent 33 showed up ready to take her for H.Y.D.R.A. Skye and Agent 33 have a pretty epic fight, mostly because Ming-Na Wen is an incredible fighter whether she’s playing May or Evil May. Skye lost, but Hunter saved her life so the team could continue to get Raina to their jet.
Coulson’s team finally reached San Juan. He and Bobbi bantered before Bobbi asked Coulson if he really plans to destroy the weapon the obelisk might create for H.Y.D.R.A, which was described a few episodes ago as being capable of causing “an extinction-level event.” Coulson pointed to all the civilians around them and reminded Bobbi he’s not Nick Fury. He has no ulterior motive for doing this beyond protecting innocent people. Coulson is such a boy scout that I completely believe him here.
Fitz and Simmons finally had a long overdue talk. Fitz told Simmons that he would move his work into Mac’s garage and let Simmons run S.H.I.E.L.D’s science division. This was clearly Fitz trying to get away from Simmons by any means necessary. His stammering is even worse around Simmons, so it’s no wonder he wants to have as little contact with her as possible.
Raina figured out pretty quickly that H.Y.D.R.A needed her to active their weapon because she can touch the obelisk without immediately dying. Raina tried to make a break for H.Y.D.R.A, but Skye got to her first and got her on the S.H.I.E.L.D jet. Raina proceeded to tell Skye about her history with her father. She met him and Thailand, and he took her in and treated her like a person, not a freak. She also let slip that her grandmother believed in blue angels called…wait for it…Kree! Hello “Guardians of the Galaxy” connection!
At the underground city, Coulson’s group stood around a giant, dark hole. They sent a few drones down which promptly ceased to function. Mac went down to fix them, but touched some temple dust. Bad move, because a symbol got seared into his hand and his body was possessed by some alien spirit. He began attacking Coulson and the gang. Mac is usually pretty docile, but he’s a big guy. No one there could physically take him, that was for sure.
Ward’s forces engaged the S.H.I.E.L.D jet, ordering them to give up Raina. It was the first time the Koenigs had been around Ward since he killed their brother Eric last season, though that didn’t amount to much. Ward wanted two things: Raina and Skye. With May’s team outnumbered, the two went with Ward without much discussion.
Back at the temple, the possessed Mac went on a rampage. Bobbi tried to fight him off without much luck. Coulson shot him with a few icers, which barely phased him. Bobbi had to taze Mac with her two rods. He fell down the hole, so he may or may not be dead. But more importantly, we got a taste of the inhuman (I repeat, Inhuman) things this city can do to people.
The episode ended with Whitehall upset at Ward for not blasting the S.H.I.E.L.D jet out of the sky. He had Agent 33 order her team to do just that, so we’ll see how May gets them out of this jam next week. Hopefully we’ll go into the winter hiatus on a strong enough note to compliment the great work this show has done in the first half of its second season.