A Hen in the Wolf House
We start with a military wedding, the typical affair with terrible embarrassing best man speeches that aren’t that painful but when the wine is served for the toast something goes awry and guests and wedding party members start to turn to stone as if they had touched the obelisk! The odd thing is, it appears others were fine, as the wait staff flee it turns out they report to Bakshi who is running an operation for Whitehall who we all know is after the Obelisk!
We cut to Skye’s dad who it appears is a doctor for criminals operating on a shooting victim, picking up within the first 5 minutes we have a direct continuation from the stinger from last week. Raina tells Skye’s dad about Whatehall’s plans which (unfortunately for her) he doesn’t give a damn. This sends Raina in to panic mode but we do get additional treats with this episode learning about Raina’s past and “fairytales” about Skye’s dad’s people (no details just that they exist) but we also get a hint at something far darker going. Casting out Raina to beg Whitehall for mercy he turns his attention back to the patient he is working on.
Cutting from here we get possibly one of the more obscure Marvel references thanks to Simmons and her lab partner Kenneth. Sometimes we are reminded there were some messed up minds at Marvel in the 1970s (and I suspect a LOT of drugs). Called in to a top level meeting to figure out what went wrong with the mission at the top of the episode. Pretty soon Whitehall calls out Simmons for advice, she’s able to piece together inferences that please Whitehall greatly. We also get to see why Hydra is so messed up when Kenneth comments at how the potential billions of deaths due to the weaponized Obelisk is “pretty awesome”. It removes a lot of the guilt for his eventual fate during this episode.
Cutting back to S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ we get a great “internal dialogue” with Fitz and Imagination Simmons who is checking out Mac’s “physique”. The best part is he continues to heal, and this is really positive. We can see despite his struggles he’s becoming stronger and building new relationships that are healthier than the older patterns. Meanwhile in desperation to resolve her task she turns to the last person she wants to talk to, Ward, who is only too happy to use this as a leverage opportunity but Skye is not buying it thinking Ward is being played. Her frustration is palpable as she tries to get information out of him regarding the writing. She doesn’t quite get the answers she was hoping for but it tips her hand to the source of the writing they are investigating, she knows Coulson has been holding back on her.
Back at the Playground we get straight to the chase with Skye calling out Coulson on holding information back from her, last season this would have stretched out over the course of episodes but they dropped this hint and acted on it in the space of two scenes! This kind of quick resolution is keeping the story moving and keeping it interesting. The best part though, he is straight with her opening up with everything he knows about the writing but which he also opens up to her about activity beyond the writing and the GH formula. Skye immediately realizes she isn’t impacted and Coulson admits they’ve been monitoring her and that they suspect she is in fact she didn’t react the same way because she’s possibly alien. She makes a cute quip to which he just replies with stoney silence which is one of the most hilarious exchanges of the episode because we all know she behaves exactly as we would but when things go sideways and Raina calls with an ultimatum she shuts it down showing how Skye has continued to grow and become a much more reliable member of the team.
Right around the same time though, unfortunately for Simmons, claxons start sounding at Hydra HQ it would appear someone has found one of Simmons’ dead drops and called in security. Bakshi and a security consultant who informs the team there is a mole. Immediately the consultant calls out Gemma who turns the question around pointing out most of the employees of Hydra had some former affiliation with S.H.I.E.L.D. and the attention is only diverted when Kenneth is found in possession of one of her pads used to contact S.H.I.E.L.D. and is quickly subdued and dragged off. Before you feel any sympathy, remember this guy said “billions of deaths AWESOME” a few moments ago. So try to not have too much sympathy, but what’s a real interesting turn is it appears Simmons doesn’t either. We cut to the meeting of Raina and Coulson who can immediately see he’s changed. Her skill is reading people but she’s slowly noticing she may have misread him. She pulls out her phone and shows a picture of Simmons using the dead drop. We cut back to Simmons who is confronted by the security consultant who makes it clear she suspects Kenneth and Simmons to have been acting together and holds it together vaguely but the consultant lays it on thick.
Back at Hydra HQ though the picture is now on every screen in the building and Simmons is rumbled. Bakshi comes after her sending two security to chase after her, like a true bad guy he doesn’t run. It’s amazing how much a “meaningful walk” can be more menacing then an intent fueled sprint. Unfortunately Simmons rounds a corner to find the security consultant and two guards coming her way when the security consultant who at that moment unleashes a can of whoop ass on the two guards and letting Simmons know “Coulson has a plan” cutting back to the meeting Raina is in shock and Coulson is playing it cool. She’s desperate and begging even asking to be brought in but Coulson simply tags her and kicks her to the curb but only after demanding to know how to find her father.
We are now finally properly introduced to the agent helping Simmons escape, we’re given the name Bobbi Morse (aka to the initiated Mockingbird). She is channeling that Black Widow professional calm that Scarlet Johansson was able to play so well during the films. Unfortunately things continue to turn pear shaped as Bakshi and more security come down the hall. Bobbi is able to hold them off as Simmons makes it to the roof. Bobbi and Simmons leap off the building to the waiting security of a stealth mode Quinjet. A quick friendship is struck between Bobbi and Simmons.
Back at the meet Hunter ushers Raina out while May and Coulson discuss Skye’s father. May points out that they were told “where ever Skye went death followed” and they come to the conclusion that “death” was probably her father. Unfortunately Skye has decided to split the party and snuck off to confront her father. She found his hideout but it is empty, he’s left in a hurry leaving little behind but a picture of himself holding her as an infant. Coulson finds her and they have a moment of tenderness. He’s been a father figure to Skye which her father (who is watching via hidden cameras) is not taking well. Skye is coping with the emotion with her humor which in the first season felt forced compared to her earnestness but now balanced by her at times dour nature plays infinitely better as it comes usually as a left hook of funny in an otherwise emotional moment never feeling fake but feeling like a coping mechanism. Unfortunately they find Skye’s father’s patient and his friend murdered viciously, Skye’s father who’s been watching does not take this well.
Let's be honest, we've all had this moment!
We get a moment of reunions first Simmons and the rest of the team, Simmons is quite smitten with her new friend but struggling with old ones finding it difficult to communicate with Fitz who has to ask if it’s really her. Bobbi it turns out is a friend of Mac’s and also Hunter (which explains why he was so tired of Hunter’s ex-wife stories last episode), who it turns out is his “evil ex” and we get a taste of a great back and forth that I hope will continue for a while. I really hope this dynamic continues for a while, Hunter is great and the chemistry between him and Bobbi is amazing. Even Coulson and Skye have a moment, she swears she’s in to help stop her father and Coulson opens up about the writing in its entirety. The scenes fluctuate wildly from sad to funny to scary but it feels honest and true.
In the stinger things go really bad though, with the apparent bumbling nature of a traveling salesman Skye’s father enters Whitehall’s office a feat that is impressive given Hydra are in the midst of bugging out and that’s at the top of a tower full of trigger happy guards. Some of these (much to their misfortune) attempt to stop him and end up on the floor. It would appear that Skye’s father is a member of the “enemy of my enemy” school of thought because he brings Whitehall exactly what he wants offering him the Obelisk in return for helping to destroy Coulson.
Maybe he wants to tell you about the awesome opportunities in Portland... or some cheery pie and a nice cup of coffee?