Bobbi Morse (Adrianne Palicki) and her batons make their debut as the threat against SHIELD increases exponentially.
Let’s bitch it out…
This week’s SHIELD continues S2’s march towards improvement and while ‘A Hen In The Wolf House’ lacks last week‘s humour and epic stunt coordination, there’s a tightening of the narrative that suggests a lot of promise. What’s most exciting is that we’re only five episodes into this second season and the show is already exposing Coulson’s (Clark Gregg) secret to Skye (Chloe Bennet) and partnering her father (Kyle MacLachlan) with Daniel Whitehall (Reed Diamond). At some point it will become redundant to continue pontificating about this season’s improvements over last year, but for now it’s worth acknowledging that these developments would have been drawn out for ages in S1. Here we’re barely a quarter of the season in and things are already shaping up nicely.
The alien writing is driving part of this action as both SHIELD and Hydra are in pursuit, but the Obelisk (or, as we learn tonight, The Diviner) remains a significant plot point. It’s nice that we get a reminder of its power in the opener at the Navy wedding. While the mysterious writing remains firmly entrenched in alien MacGuffin mumbo-jumbo territory, the Obelisk proves to be a more credible threat. It’s pretty clear early on that Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) is in no real danger thanks to the obvious twist involving Morse as an undercover agent, but there are hints between the opening and Simmons’ warning of an “extinction level event” that Hydra has stumbled onto a potent weapon.
Where the episode doesn’t work quite as well is the mole hunt. Perhaps this is due to Internet speculation, but it seemed pretty obvious that Morse is no villain, which eliminates any tension in her scenes with Simmons. It’s a small price to pay, however, since Bobbi quickly and easily emerges as one of the more dynamic characters the show has ever produced (pity poor Mack and Triplett, who continue to languish in the background). Admittedly you give a girl flashy hair extensions and a pair of batons and it’ll be hard to make her uninteresting, but Palicki is a genuinely endearing actress who automatically raises the show’s profile and energy. I can’t wait to see what kind of interactions we’ll get now that she’s part of the team. I just hope that the writers don’t try to mine the “animosity between exs” angle with Hunter (Nick Blood); that storyline was played out the moment it was introduced and their initial interaction here does nothing to make me more interested.
- I’ll acknowledge that there’s a love/hate feeling for Raina (Ruth Negga) among SHIELD viewers (I’ll restate for the record that I’m in the “love” category), but that dinner with Coulson totally works for me. Now that we have two clearly defined sides, Raina is the wildcard and her ability to side with / play both parties makes her far more interesting to me. I especially like how her power lies in her verbal manipulation of people’s desires, something that everyone acknowledges but seems powerless to resist.
- With Daddy Skye making a peace offering to Daniel Whitehall in the epilogue, does this mean that we can assume Raina escaped unscathed?
- Skye believes that she can identify the writing that Coulson has been drawing, despite previously having no clue about it. Learning that Coulson (and before him, Garrett) is going mental somehow helps her figure it out (???). So it’s a map. Now we’re meant to ask: a map to where?
- Skye’s father has Hulk-esque anger issues, no?
- Speaking of The Avengers, Bobbi’s big hero reveal with the batons in the white hallway sure is reminiscent of Black Widow’s escapades in Iron Man 2.
- Tripp (BJ Britt) gets to fly an invisible jet this week…and that’s about it. Let’s all pretend he was hanging around with Wonder Woman before he picked up the ladies from the Hydra rooftop. Who cares if they’re different universes / companies, right?
- Finally, I mentioned last week that Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) had likely seen the last of Ghost Simmons, but here she is tonight, hitting the same plot points over again. I didn’t care for the follow-through, particularly when the real Simmons returns and all we get is an awkward thirty second reunion. Very underwhelming.
- Skye (after Hunter encourages her to dig deeper into Coulson’s secrets): “Wow thanks for the advice divorced guy.”
- Hunter (spotting Raina): “The tiny girl in the flower dress? That’s who everyone is making the fuss about?”
- May (when Hunter asks if Raina is hitting on Coulson): “Yup, it’s what she does.”
- Skye (when Hunter admits he was drinking to protect his cover): “Your cover as what, Ron Burgundy?”
Your turn: Are you excited to see Skye’s father and Whitehall join forces? Were you enthusiastic about Bobbi’s introduction? Were you even remotely concerned for Simmons’ safety? Are you a fan of Raina acting as a wild card? Will the Obelisk become a major plot device now that Hydra has it? And are you excited for more Ward (Brett Dalton) starting next week? Sound off below.
Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays at 9pm EST on ABC