Saturday, March 28, 2015

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 2.12: "Who You Really Are"

“You will control your emotions. Just like we practiced.”

This particular episode of “S.H.I.E.L.D.” was an interesting meld of what the show was pre “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and what it became following the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. in that film. We saw the team investigate a specific alien-related incident like they used to, but we also got another heaping helping of Inhumans mythology and Skye angst. Okay, I guess the Skye angst part has always been there. Can we stop focusing on Skye so much for a while? She may be a mutated person, but she’s annoying! This episode felt like the calm before the storm that is certain to result from the secrets that were revealed by the episode’s end. I don’t think we’ll see this particular group of people going on an investigation together in quite the same way ever again. Too much has happened and too many people, rightfully or wrongfully, feel betrayed. Such is life, I suppose. No routine or social group lasts forever.

We begin this episode on a beach in Portugal, where a group of young adults are enjoying an American-style bonfire. Unfortunately for these folks, though, Lady Sif arrives on the scene and causes some trouble. She is looking for someone named Chaves, and she also can’t remember her own identity. She does remember how to fight, though, and she wreaks some serious havoc on the campsite and the rather hapless campers. They’re Portuguese hipsters, really, from the tone of their conversation, which was mildly amusing. I was glad to see Lady Sif return. Any tangible connection between the show and the films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe seems like a positive thing to me. The whole thing is a massive Marvel publicity feedback loop, really. I have independently wanted to see “The Avengers” (Joss Whedon!), and “Guardians of the Galaxy” (the trailer looked really fun), but every other Marvel film I have seen in the past couple years has pretty much just been to keep up with developments on “S.H.I.E.L.D.” So it’s working, no doubt.

Back at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, everyone is still seriously angsty. May and Skye are sparring, and Fitz interrupts to check on Skye. May is pretty pissed off about the interruption. Bobbi and Hunter are getting some exercise too, of a different sort. They discuss Hunter’s future while post coital. Coulson has offered him an opportunity to work with the S.H.I.E.L.D. team on a more permanent basis, and Hunter wants to take him up on the offer. Coulson also has big plans for Mack. He saw how good a fighter Mack can be, so he wants to use Mack in the field instead of just letting him stay in the garage. Mack soon has his first assignment as part of the team. S.H.I.E.L.D. need to go retrieve Lady Sif from Portugal. The whole team is going to go, and they’re going to take the Bus like old times.

The desk clerk of what looks like a hotel in Portugal got Lady Sif to stay put by telling her that Chaves was on his way. Coulson is decidedly not Chaves, but he manages to calm Lady Sif by convincing her that he is an ally. She doesn’t remember who she is or what she is doing on Earth. Pretty much all she knows are some basic facts learned in school (which aren’t so basic to our humble Earthlings). Skye finds a video on Twitter that may shed some light on why Lady Sif returned to Earth. The video shows Lady Sif fighting another very powerful being, possibly another Asgardian. That other being happens to be played by Eddie McClintock, aka Pete from “Warehouse 13.” This was definitely a good episode from a guest cast perspective, for sure. Anyway, he is definitely up to something nefarious in Portugal, and the S.H.I.E.L.D. team needs to figure out what it is.

The team splits up to undertake their investigation in Portugal. Mack, Hunter, and Fitz get a sample from a broken lamp that might help explain what happened. Coulson, May, and Sif interview witnesses. The main witness is an elderly merchant who is (understandably) very upset because one of his nitrogen tanks was stolen in the earlier fray. Skye and Bobbi investigate a rather fancy looking hospital (I may have mistaken it for a hotel earlier), and they notice that the staff are trying to take care of one of their own who has come down with amnesia. Clearly the person they are looking for has been here. Since nitrogen takes are used for surgery, and they know one is missing, they decide to search more around the hospital. Eventually, they find the potential Asgardian they are looking for. He looks blue until he takes in some nitrogen, though, so he’s not Asgardian after all. Skye gets stressed and starts quaking, and she causes some shelving to fall down. The person they were looking for uses that opportunity to run away.

Eventually, the team figures out (probably because of the appearing to be blue for a few seconds thing), that the person they are chasing is Kree. Before the chase continues, though, there’s the other plots of the episode to advance. Skye and Fitz talk about Skye’s situation. Skye really wants to tell Coulson what’s going on, but Fitz thinks she should wait a little longer so he can run some tests. If he can figure out a “cure” before the news gets out, Skye will be in a much better position. This conversation is interrupted by Hunter barging in because he wanted to look at some weapons (Skye and Fitz were talking in a weapons closet). Speaking of Hunter, Bobbi and Mack talk about Hunter’s news that he’s going to stay with S.H.I.E.L.D. on a permanent basis. Mack really doesn’t want to let Hunter in on whatever nefarious thing he and Bobbi are up to, and he tells Bobbi that she needs to push Hunter away for now if she ever wants to be with him in the future (Mack doesn’t think Hunter would like whatever they’re planning).

There is a break in the case when the team realizes the true meaning of Lady Sif’s search for Chaves. It’s not a person, it’s the Portuguese word for “keys.” There is also a town in Portugal named Chaves, and there is even an SSR file about that town because a piece of Obelisk was stored there. Which makes it seem like a pretty good place to search for their Kree friend. The team is able to trap the Kree there. Once interrogated, the Kree, whose name is Vin-Tak, says he was trying to help the people of Earth, but Lady Sif got in his way. As a show of good faith, he offers to restore Lady Sif’s memories if S.H.I.E.L.D. gives him his truncheon back. Bobbi is studying the truncheon, and when Hunter tries to help, she pushes him away just like she told Mack she would. Hunter doesn’t take it well, obviously.

Vin-Tak eventually grabs the truncheon for himself and restores Lady Sif’s memories just like he said he would. Lady Sif said that she was sent to Earth because Odin detected the presence of a Kree, and he assumed that meant trouble. Vin-Tak says he came to earth because of what happened in Puerto Rico. The Inhumans are the result of an experiment set up by the Kree a very long time ago. The goal was to create living weapons. Vin-Tak says that if his fellow Kree found out that some of the experiments have been successful, Earth would be in big trouble. He calls the results of the experiments (people like Skye) “abominations.” Skye, naturally, doesn’t like this, and she starts quaking. Everyone finally realizes that the quaking is Skye’s fault, and she gets so agitated that she blows out a bunch of windows.

May and Coulson, thankfully, have an instinct to protect Skye, so they run off with her while Bobbi and Mack fight off Vin-Tak. Bobbi ends up wiping his memory with the truncheon. Lady Sif follows Coulson, May, and Skye, and she finally gets on board with letting Skye live when she sees Skye ice herself to stop quaking. Clearly Skye doesn’t actually want to hurt anyone. Lady Sif ends up taking the partially amnesiac Vin-Tak back to Kree. Before she leaves, though, she tells Coulson to keep an eye on Skye and that he’s doing the right thing by letting her try to adapt to her powers. The rest of the team, especially Simmons, is really pissed at Fitz for lying about Skye and messing up the test results. I personally think Simmons just needs to get over herself. Skye hears Mack say that they need protection from her, and she gets upset and locks herself in a cell. Skye’s not really the dangerous one here, though. Hunter later confronts Mack about knowing he and Bobbi are up to something nefarious, and he gets chocked unconscious by Mack for his trouble.

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