By Josh Axelrod
“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” just had by far the best midseason finale of any fall show. There, I said it. The level of awesomeness on display here was beyond compare. Oh, and it also just happened to unlock a previously untapped side of the Marvel Universe that has the potential to impact just about every upcoming Marvel movie. Pretty cool for a show that too many impatient people left for dead last season, huh?
“What They Become” began with H.Y.D.R.A trying to blast S.H.I.E.L.D’s jet out of the sky. Thanks to some fancy flying by May, they were able to escape unharmed. May, Trip and the Koenigs reconneced with Coulson’s team in San Juan. Trip broke out some of grandpa’s Howling Commandos gear and Sam Koenig even namedropped Dum Dum Dugan. I hope everyone’s psyched for “Agent Carter,” which premieres in a few weeks!
The rest of the team was still reeling from Mac’s disappearance down that hole last week. Fitz was particularly upset, which resonated because we had seen the two form a cute bond this season. Simmons tried to comfort Fitz by telling him she thinks the city may have co-opted him rather than killed him. Not a notion that would make me feel better, but her heart was in the right place.
Bobbi blamed herself for leaving Mac behind. Hunter tried to comfort her, which, again, resonated because of this show’s vastly improved ability to make us buy character relationships. Hunter also mentioned that he knows Bobbi is keeping a thumb drive to herself, and Coulson probably knows too. I really hope Bobbi isn’t H.Y.D.R.A. Considering she’s destined to become Mockingbird and possibly become an Avenger, I don’t want to waste time with her on an evil path.
At H.Y.D.R.A headquarters, Ward delivered Skye to her father like he promised he would. The father-daughter reunion was just as awkward as you thought it would be. Kyle MacLachlan was great here portraying how sincerely his character loved his daughter and just wanted to form a relationship with her. Skye called him names like murderer and monster, which he didn’t deny. “I’m sorry I couldn’t be there for you,” he told her through tears.
In San Juan, Bobbi and Hunter came across Bobbi’s contact who may or may not have been compromised by H.Y.D.R.A. As he and the H.Y.D.R.A agents passed them, Bobbi made out with Hunter while grabbing the address of H.Y.D.R.A headquarters from her contact. Seriously, Bobbi is a kickass character and her relationship with Hunter is really fun. Don’t make her evil please.
Skye’s father told Skye about his time in China with her mother. Skye finally knows that her mother was special and that Whitehall killed her to gain her eternal youth. He made it very clear he wasn’t working with Whitehall and was there to kill him. On cue, Whitehall called for a meeting with him.
S.H.I.E.L.D planned to bomb the city and bury it before H.Y.D.R.A could use it for world domination. They determined that H.Y.D.R.A headquarters was practically right over the city, so they had access to it as well. There was an amusing moment where Sam Koenig made Trip believe he was a robot for a second. This is a fun mystery, but let’s not let it linger for too much longer. More importantly, Coulson told Sam to enact “Theta Protocol” if anything went wrong.
Whitehall arranged a meeting between himself, Ward, Whitehall, Raina and Skye. Whitehall made Skye pick up the Diviner, which of course she can do. She used it to kill a few H.Y.D.R.A soldiers before Whitehall restrained her. “I hope you’re as special as your mother,” he said with a cocky smile. Her father’s reaction made it pretty obvious who he really was, and Raina told Whitehall that Ward was only there to win back Skye’s love. He locked up the three people who could (and would) cause him the most trouble.
S.H.I.E.L.D’s plan to blow the city involved sending Trip, Fitz and Simmons into the hole to plant charges. As they began their mission, Whitehall used some sort of buzzer to hurt Skye’s father before talking about his plans to torture her. He was interrupted by Coulson, May, Bobbi and Hunter storming that facility guns blazing.
Skye’s father took out a H.Y.D.R.A guard (thanks to a distraction from Ward) and left to finish off Whitehall, leaving Skye and Ward behind. Coulson shot and killed Whitehall before Skye’s father had a chance to, which sent him into a rage spiral. Evil May (aka Agent 33) looked legitimately sad as she stared at Whitehall’s dead body. That brainwashing is strong stuff.
Coulson and Skye’s father have an all-out brawl. Ward and Skye managed to escape, but before they go anywhere Skye shot Ward! No talking, no holding him at gunpoint, just popping a few bullets in his side. It was an important moment of growth for Skye, a pretty weak character at times last season. Ward convinced Evil May to help him escape, so we know he’s still very much in play.
Skye had another big moment a few minutes later where, as her father was beating Coulson to pulp, she pointed her gun at him and told him to back off Coulson. He leaves, but not before saying two important things. “After you change, no one will understand,” he said. More importantly, we now know Skye’s real name: Daisy. I’ll explain the significance of all this in terms of the Marvel Universe later.
While all this was happening, Raina took the obelisk with her into the hole. She found Mac, who the city was using as an avatar. She asked him to lead her to the temple, and he obliged. Skye went after Raina, Coulson went after Skye and Trip went after both of them.
Skye also found Mac, and was shocked to find him in his current state. She found Raina in the temple and tried to get her to leave with the obelisk. Too late: The obelisk began glowing and levitated on to the temple altar. The chamber closed, locking in Skye, Raina and Trip. On the outside, Coulson had to fight off Mac, which considering Mac’s size and the fight Coulson just lost with Skye’s father, wasn’t easy.
The obelisk opened up and silver crystals grew out of it. Skye and Raina were hit with some force emanating from the obelisk, and the two turned to stone. Trip shot the crystals, and the same force hit him and also turned him to stone. Skye burst out of the stone, looking stronger and…dare I say…powerful! She looked over at Trip, who slowly began to crumble. R.I.P. Trip. We hardly knew you, but you were a good guy through and through. And if your final act was trying to save Skye, you went out a true hero.
We then cut to a scene where we see a guy take ANOTHER OBELISK out of a chest. He was talking to someone on the phone and said that others had just revealed themselves. The camera then panned up to show that the man on the phone had NO EYES. HOLY CRAP.
So to recap:
- Mac appeared to have been released by whatever force was controlling him, so the show didn’t kill off both of its black characters in one episode.
- Maybe Trip isn’t dead? I’m hoping he somehow survived this ordeal, but I doubt it.
- Raina’s fate is still uncertain, but it’s safe to assume since she could touch the obelisk that she will be reborn as powerful as Skye.
- The city name “Atillan” and superhuman group “Inhumans” were never specifically referenced, but that force that struck Skye, Raina and Trip from the obelisk was almost definitely Terrigen Mist, which is what gives the Inhumans their powers.
- According to my comic book guru IGN, Skye is Daisy Johnson (aka Quake) and her father is Calvin Zabo (aka Mr. Hyde). Finally, those mysteries are solved for good!
- I couldn’t be more excited for the second half of “S.H.I.E.L.D’s” Season 2 if I tried. Is it March yet?